Monday, February 8, 2010

Lip Cream part 2

The last three Lip Cream DVDs arrived as this week as well as the reissues of all their CDs.  Like the first six DVDs, these are each about 40 minutes long.  The CDs are also on drummer Pill's Oni label.  These were originally released around ten years back with much better mastering than the Selfish label originals (and before the CD volume wars got out of control) and have been generally unavailable for the last couple years.  I'm glad to finally upgrade from my Selfish copies of 9 Shocking Terror and Close To The Edge.

I asked some friends to comment on the specific albums they like best, but in the meantime...

"Thrash Til Death" compiles everything other than the albums, the first two singles and "Hardcore Unlawful Assembly comp tracks (which Pill didn't play on) and the "Virus" comp tracks.  So you have the songs from the "Thrash Til Death", "Punx", "A Farewell To Arms", and "My Meat's Your Poison" comps, as well as the studio side of the s/t cassette (aka "Kill The IBM").  Crucial stuff, and a good range of material from the early rocking punk, anthemic songs like "Kill Ugly Pop" and "Bloody Summer", and the aggressive thrash of their later songs.

"Kill Ugly Pop" was their first full length and probably my favorite.  Opens with the Comes "Shangri-La" and proceeds with the full burn Chuck Berry at double speed leads seamlessly mixed into anthemic hardcore.

"9 Shocking Terror" was an ep (and is a little less expensive than the others) and marked a shift into more aggressive, thrashier hardcore.  "Close To The Edge" continued that sound with 18 songs of relentless all out attack.  This is part of the foundation or blueprint of what has come to be known as traditional Japanese hardcore.  Something that stands out to me was the way these records were all mixed to let the drums remain very dynamic.  Pill continues to take a very artistic approach to his current drumming projects, and it can be seen here as well, with the unusual fills and tom rolls that jump out of the mix like concussion blasts.  It can't be understated how much influence each member of Lip Cream left on the Japanese hardcore scene, as in Naoki's burning rock leads, Minoru's thundering bass, and Jhajha's howl.

My other favorite Lip Cream album, their self titled finale.  The attack of "CTTE" is still there, but this album is somehow even heavier while bringing back some of the catchier, more anthemic feeling.  I'm having trouble expressing how much I like this record.  I passed it up the first time I went to Japan because of the unusual cover, my mistake.

DVD VII "Lip Cream Only.  Plus"
Scene 1 "Lip Cream Only at Shinjuku" (30 min)
Scene 2 ""Other tunes from Lip Cream Only" (18 min)
If I could only have one Lip Cream video, it would be this one.  This is the band at maximum energy and aggression on a small stage (flanked by torches!) with the crowd right on top of them.  Each member has a cool little "off stage" clip, and for one song it cuts back through old footage of total mayhem.  As a bonus there's another 18 minutes of songs from the same show, fully edited from the multiple cameras.  This rules.

DVD VIII "Dog Days Live,  Plus"
Scene 1 "Dog Days Live at Kyoto"  (10 min)
Scene 2 "from Gudon Last 2 Days Live" (8 min)
Scene 3 "December at Citta" (14 min)
Scene 4 "August At Hiroshima" (19 min)
This video compiles their later compilation appearances.  Very cool to get four different shows on one disk.  Each show seems to catch the opening of their set, so you end up with four versions of "Close To The Edge", which they seem to have opened every show with around this time.  I don't know how, that song is a marathon sprint, but I guess its best to come out blazing and get it done before being winded.  Songs from the 4th LP also start showing up in the set list.  The "Dog Days" clip has interesting footage from outside the show, including grinding blocks of ice into chips by hand outside the show.  It must have been truly hot...

DVD IX "DDD 9/24.  Plus"
Scene 1 "Last Live At Kyoto" (39min)
Scene 2 "August At Hiroshima" (5 min)
And the final DVD...  Good quality, multiple cameras...  Aaaaagh I'm going to have to watch this again later!  9 DVDs of Lip Cream, "Close To The Edge" is seared into my brain,,,,

Again, postage and the exchange rate are working against me, but I'm keeping the price as low as I can (and actually my mark up on these is lower than anything else I'm carrying).  DVDs are $30.50 and I'll do a package deal of all 9 DVDs for $250 (which saves $24.50).  I set the CDs to the same price as the Japanese MSRP, so they are $27.50, except for 9 Shocking Terror which is $24.  I also have some stickers of the album covers and fliers for the Lip Cream reunion show in June that I'll include with orders for these.

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