WAKE UP - Odorou boku to…. [踊ろう僕と······]
(from the “踊ろう僕と” single, 19??, AMS/Young Plaza)
Yet another lil’ tidbit from the Young Plaza catalogue. No release date given, but based on the catalogue number I’m guessing this came out either during the late 70:s or the very early 80:s. No info about the band, of course, save the obvious fact that they once managed to win the Young Plaza competition.
Nothing really super-particular about the single to be honest …just a plain ol’ nice song (in my opinion of course). Sort of proto- or semi-new wave vibes with a nice sentimental and forlorn undertone to it. I like it!
WAKE UP - Odorou boku to…. [踊ろう僕と······]
MEMEKURAGE ROLLING BAND - Sohan’iga … So Hard!!!
(from the “炒飯一個 … So Hard!!!” single, 198?, AMS/Young Plaza)
Another piece of the Young Plaza puzzle. Young Plaza was a televised talent show for up and coming bands, broadcast in the Kansai area of Japan and running from the late 70:s through the early 80:s. Each week a winning band was decided on and had their winning performance released on a 7” single (always coupled with an interview of the band) resulting in hundreds and hundreds of titles in the Young Plaza series being released, making for a collectors nightmare and/or wet dream.
Even though I’ve yet only heard a fraction of the immense Young Plaza catalogue, this certainly has to be one of the weirder entries. A four piece armed with three guitars trebled to the max, a bass and a rhythm box, the ridiculously named MEMEKURAGE ROLLING BAND (Memekurage = some sort of jellyfish?)blasts the surprisingly enthusiastic audience with some shrill and grating no wave fumblings for just over four minutes.
It’s sort of mind boggling how this noisy mess got voted to win a Young Plaza contest among the other (probably more traditional) bands MEMEKURAGE ROLLING BAND were pitted against. For all the inevitable duds (boring folk combos, tepid trad rock bands, sluggish ballad snoozers)in such a huge discography. gems like this, THE MARIAES, PLAZMA MUZIC, RAVE etc. makes it well worth seeking out records on the Young Plaza imprint.
MAKOTO YAGUCHI [矢口誠] - Curve Mirror
(from V/A - “博多 Amateur Band Catalogue ‘84” LP, 1984, MRP)
Unclassifiable track by some proto-hipster looking dude named MAKOTO YAGUCHI. As with KAIBASHIRA-ZU posted earlier, this is also lifted from a compilation of various unsigned and, mostly, unremarkable bands of the 80:s - this time with a focus on the music scene in Hakata in 1984.
As one of the two standout tracks in a compilation otherwised crammed with dreck (the other one being a rather nice punk-ish tune by a band called ELSE); MAKOTO YAGUCHI’s effort is certainly the crowning moment of the LP. Quite a minimalistic track, "Curve Mirror" is, after some tension-building preamble, composed around a stilted guitar and drum machine riff punctuated by MAKOTO’s out-of-place-yet-somehow-strangely-fitting hard rock-ish vocals and various guitar noises and synth effects. Falling between the chairs of several genres; this tune is - to my ears at least - both strangely and compellingly singular.
My apologies for the background noise on this …I’ve tried to clean it up best as I could, but my copy of this record is pretty beat.
Cosmic Invention : 愛 Love Come On -1981 Cosmorama
Teen synth shreddage!
Tight Rope - Hard Line/Rock’n Roll
(from the “Tight Rope” single-sided 7” flexi, 1986, Infouc Record)
Mysterious single-sided flexi disc released in 1986. It seems that all information about this record is what is to be found on it’s very spartan sleeve: two tracks by a band called TIGHT ROPE, consisting of at least two persons (both previously unknown to me; Akihiro Kanasuqi and Toshinori Hiqano …though I’m not 100% sure about the spelling - the typeface used makes it hard to see, ie. the q:s could be g:s and vice versa). It was released on a label called Infouc Record, which is probably the bands own imprint, and comes with the recommendation to "Play loud 33 rpm". That’s about it …so on to the music!
The first track ("Hard Line") starts off with some skewed, slightly prog-ish dual guitars kinda meandering about without any clear direction. After a while, some wah-guitar and very distorted bass slowly gets introduced and suddenly we’re thrown into an instrumental three piece jam. Centered around a hard, harsh and repetitive riff, it goes on for a little while until it too suddenly stops and makes way for the next track.
Being more of a “real” song than it’s predecessor, "Rock’n Roll" begins with a swoosh of ominous synthesizer before launching into a riff akin to "Hard Line", but relatively more rhythmically complex and sounding much more bleaker - quite certainly due to the freaked out and distressed-sounding vocals, giving the whole track a sort of claustrophobic atmosphere.
Not really sure how to place this confounding flexi with it’s hard rock riffage combined with post-punk feel and various avant garde-y quirks. I’d be hard pressed to speculate about what TIGHT ROPE was really aiming for with this release …though what I can say is that I do enjoy this odd little sonosheet and that I hope you will too. Any information about this band at all is of course welcome btw!
KAIBASHIRA-ZU [貝柱ズ] - Fuck in the Night
(from V/A - “Super Gimmick Special ‘82” LP, 1982, Musical Tube)
Raunchy and rambunctious punky madness from incredibly oddly named all-girl band KAIBASHIRA-ZU (貝柱ズ = Adductor Muscles???). Taken from an otherwise pretty lame compilation called "Super Gimmick Special ‘82" whose saving grace, apart from two rippers by these crazy gals, are some wonderfully sleazy AOR by groups N・E・W・S and LAST CAST (in particular the latter one delivers some top grade city cheese).
But back to "Fuck in the Night" - it’s a blast of straight ahead, no-nonsense and just plain, stupid fun punky madness. You can really hear how fun the band had recording this - seemingly giddy to get this relatively obscenity-filled track down on wax. Take especial notice of the section after the quiet part (circa 2:12) when the band members take turn in shouting out "このやろう" (= “bastard”, “you shit” or something like that) - charmingly rude!
So yeah, KAIBASHIRA-ZU are bascially like SHONEN KNIFE’s raunchier out-of-control little sisters. As far as I know they only released this track plus another one ("Virgin Dream", which is in more of a new wave vein, but still really good) also featured on the above mentioned "Super Gimmick Special ‘82" compilation - a pretty mediocre record overall, but well worth grabbing for those two tracks alone (at least that’s what I try to tell myself).
"Fuck, fuck, fuck!"
EARTHLING - Urbanitrops
(from the “Slown Down The World / Urbanitrops” promo 7”, 1981, YWA Inc.)
Studio version of EARTHLING’s song "Urbanitrops", otherwise found in a live rendition on their second LP ("Rhythm"). As far as I know, this version is unique to this promotional 7” that, I suppose, was sent out to labels and radio stations (my copy’s got stamps from an Italian radio station on the label).
EARTHLING is sort of a weird band. Probably most famous for their contribution to the "Tokyo Mobile Music" compilation, they also released two albums ("Dance" and the above mentioned "Rhythm") on major labels - both of which are, for some reason, pretty damn rare. But what really strikes me as odd is that they did some sort of a mini tour in the US in the early 80:s, from which the material from "Rhythm" is culled. Riding on the popularity of Japanese synth sensations YMO? Who knows… they’re anyhow introduced as “the hottest band in Tokyo” on the live recording - which I think you should take with a grain of salt, since it’s seemingly only minimal synth aficionados who cares about or even know of EARTHLING nowadays. But yeah, it’d be really cool to hear from anybody who went to see EARTHLING at the Peppermint Lounge in NY when they gigged there in 1982.
Anyway, this particular track is a pretty singular entry in EARTHLING’s repetoire. Still featuring their trademark crisp drum machine, repetitive bass & guitar and drawling vocals; "Urbanitrops" is a bleak outlook on urban life - complete with bizarre wails, icy synthesizers and some really disquieting distorted vocals coming in at the end. Certainly quite different and more harrowing than their other, more spacey, output (which, btw, you can check out here …very recommended stuff!)