Kaneko Jutok is probably the least well known of Japan’s black clad and shade wearing guitar gods. His main band, Kosokuya, is one of the more NY No Wave influenced bands in contemporary Asian psych coming off like a Lydia Lunch fronted Black Sabbath. For this 2001 solo outing Kaneko appears alone with his instrument on four cuts of raw crash and burn guitar torture and howling vocals. The two other cuts add Takuya Nishimura (Che-SHIZU) on bass, and Koji Shimura (White Heaven, Mainliner) on drums for further explorations into dark heaviness.
Kaneko Jutok - Endless Ruins
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Friday, September 22, 2006
During the 80's I was a huge fan of the ugly atonal sounds coming out of the Midwest. The one band I could never quite wrap my ears around was Madison, Wisconsin’s Tar Babies. I’m certainI caught them live a few times, but have no recollection. I own some of their records mainly because I heard a song that I dug, would play only that track after bringing the LP home, then file it away forever after using the tune on a mixtape. Always up for reassessing the past, I snatched up their second and third SST releases when I spotted them last week in my local used CD store's cheapo bin and have been digging them since.
By the late eighties most of my fave bands were dropping the three-chord polkas and dipping into interesting sonic-hybrid experimentations. Though I haven't listened to it in nearly twenty years, I recall the Tar Babies' first SST release, Fried Milk, as still retaining the velocity of their skate punk origins while adding some slap bass and scratch guitar. Sorta where the Minutemen were heading on their last album. No Contest and Honey Bubble slow things down a bit, occasionally veering towards a Red Hot Chili Peppers white boy funk sound, but never in a sucky way (if that’s possible). There’s also some fantastic pre-post-rock like the instrumental Wisdom Drill. In fact, drummer Dan Bitney would later help refine this sound as a member of Tortoise and Isotope 217.
The band's website says that there was one more LP after this (which I’ve never heard) and that some members still play Madison as the Bar Tabbies. Pre-SST Tar Babies releases can be found on Lexicon Devil Records, a cool label outta Australia that has inexplicably been reissuing the best 80's underground sounds from America's Dairyland.
Tar Babies - No Contest/Honey Bubble
Monday, September 18, 2006
Les Rallizes Denudes was the vehicle for guiterrorist Mizutani Takashi’s psychotic feedback drenched overdrive from 1969 – 1996. Tales of intense light shows, association with radical politics and one member’s involvement in an airline hijacking surround them. Existing in the shadows of the Japanese psych scene and releasing no official recordings have turned them into mysterious legends. All of this also makes them a sonic freak’s wet dream and their music seems to only be found now amongst file-swappers and bloggers. I’ve seen the excellent Heavier Than a Death in the Family and the recent reissue of ’77 Live make appearances on other sites, but never this 7” given away with Etc. magazine in 1996. Fallin’ In Love is one of Mizutani’s more restrained moments (and that’s not saying much, actually) with a gorgeous drone that stops me dead whenever I hear it. The flip, Now Eternally sounds like it's edited from a larger piece. More typical of the Denudes sound, it starts out in the red and pretty much stays there as the rhythm section lays down a heavy krautrock groove for Mizutani to blast his trademark shards over, then it's all over too soon.
Saturday, September 16, 2006
Without guitarist Zal Yanovsky The Lovin’ Spoonful woulda been just another boring folky 60’s pop band only recalled through boomer marketed Time-Life compilations. Unfortunately, that seems to be how the Spoonful are remembered today anyways. That’s too bad ‘cause I love Zally’s melodically spacey twang. After splitting from the Spoonful and being deported to Canada following a well documented pot bust Zally recorded his only solo LP, Alive and Well In Argentina (And Loving Every Minute of It). The trademark guitar sound is there, but goofy covers and too much stoner silliness kinda kills it for me. The best cuts are the instrumentals, especially the closer L.T. Schtinckhausen.
It’s no surprise then that my favorite showcase for Zally’s playing is the soundtrack to What’s Up Tiger Lily?, a comedic English language dub of a Japanese spy movie that was sort of Woody Allen’s directorial debut. It was entirely AIP’s idea to have the Spoonful provide the music and to pad the film out with an appearance edited into it. Woody Allen was so outraged by the studio’s decision that he threatened to sue. Fortunately, the flick was a hit and Woody backed off, but not without vowing to use the same crappy jazz score in every one of his subsequent films.
Zally & the Spoonful
Thursday, September 14, 2006
Hard to believe, but even after my daily rundown of favorite music sharing sites there’s still some stuff that I think should be out there. I’ll probably be leaning towards obscure psych, proto-punk and 80’s US underground. Mostly the kinda stuff I’d spin while entertaining a room fulla fellow record-geeks. If you like what you hear please join the party by dropping a comment.