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JAPANESE MUSIC THREAD


Curt McGirt
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Next up is another metal band. 

Dead End formed a bit later than the other metal groups I mentioned, and had more of a speed metal sound at the beginning. Their early sound is sometimes compared to the German band Accept. 

By the end of the 80s, they had morphed into a hybrid band that incorporated elements of goth, metal and new wave. They were highly influential in the visual kei scene, especially lead singer Morrie, whose look everyone wanted to emulate. I believe they were the first visual kei band to start selling a significant number of records. If you like X Japan, you should give them a whirl. 

 

 

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Next, I'm going to introduce some Japanese hardcore bands. I know this is Curt's territory, so hopefully I don't embarrass myself too much.

SS are often credited as the first Japanese hardcore band, forming in Kyoto in 1977. If you've ever been to Kyoto, or know anything about it, it's hard to imagine the city giving birth to hardcore punk, but here it is:

Guaze formed in Tokyo in 1981 with one goal in mind -- to play as fast as possible. 

GISM are a band Curt has discussed before. They also formed in '81. Their unique sound drew upon metal elements as well as the industrial and avant garde scenes, which was unusual for Japanese punk at the time. Their sound is often compared to early death metal. Very noisy, and very good.

Kuro are another early hardcore band, infamous for beating up the metal band 44Magnum because they had blonde hair and were signed to a major label. 

 

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Gai were hardcore pioneers, The Swankys, who were forced to change their name when they were banned from live venues for their shows being too violent. 

Death Side came along later, and had more of a metal sound to my ear, or perhaps what more knowledgeable people would call crust punk, but in any case it's noisy and good.

Here are pioneering hardcore group, Lip Cream, tearing it up:

And The Comes featuring female vocalist, Chitose:

Speaking of girls, this all-girl group Nurse have a slightly poppier sound but are still cool:

 

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Tetsu Arei were another band that came along slightly later, but few went harder in my humble opinion:

Gaseneta were a highly influential band in the underground scene. They didn't release any music while they were together, but eventually there was a comp released of their music:

Kikeiji mixed it up a bit more with slower songs and fast paced ones, and weren't the hardest band around, but listen to those vocals.

And of course, thrashcore legends S.O.B. Legend has it that they weren't really welcomed into the hardcore scene, but they certainly left their mark on it.

This is kind of the tip of the iceberg, and I don't profess to be an expert. This is the stuff I've listened to and enjoyed. 

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You did a great job! All those are killer bands. In fact I'm ashamed to say I don't know a few of them so I'm learning stuff too, haha! 

Really there is so much good Japanese hardcore that it's hard for me to think of bands to rep. The main style in Japan is known as "Burning Spirits", and tends to have a strong melodic edge, anthemic choruses, rockin guitar solos, and is probably best personified by Death Side, Nightmare, DSB, Crude, and others. Here would be a good example of that style, Acute.

On the other hand a strong feature in Japan is also noisy punk because British bands like Disorder and Chaos UK had as big an influence as Discharge. Along with Gai/The Swankys, were the very important Confuse. They took the pogo thrash beat and screeching feedback of Disorder/Chaos UK/Chaotic Dischord and turned it to 11.

After those bands, there was an explosion of Swedish-influenced hardcore over the world with bands beholden to the D-beat drum/vocal/songwriting patterns of Discharge. When you take Confuse, smash it together with Discharge, Anti Cimex, Mob 47, and the related US style of bands like Disrupt, State of Fear, Aus Rotten, etc. you get what is referred to as Crasher Crust. Disclose are the best example of that, but right up there as examples are bands like Framtid and Life. 

 

And then you will have bands that still refuse any molds and do their own thing, like the potheads in Rocky and the Sweden

There are also pure crust bands in the Amebix and Axegrinder mold like Zoe and Effigy, grind bands like Senseless Apocalypse and Unholy Grave (who have one of the longest discographies of any band ever next to Agathocles, Sabbat, and Nunslaughter), etc. 

Edited by Curt McGirt
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I went on a listening binge -- Zouo, L.S.D, Confuse, Bastard, Mobs, Gastunk, The Clay, Outo, The Execute. Some really heavy sounding bands, and a few that sounded more like thrash. 

Let me change tack and talk about Yosui Inoue. Inoue was a folk-rock singer-songwriter who gained tremendous popularity during the 70s. His 1973 album Kori no Sekai became the first LP to sell more than a million copies in Japan. TBH, I wasn't sure what to make of his records at first, but he's so revered in Japan that I kept plugging away and slowly I became a fan of his unique tone.

 

 

He can be melancholic at times, but Christ it's Japan.

Also very good is singer, actor, poet, Shigeru Izumiya. He released some excellent LPs at the same time as Inoue. I got lost in his output a few weeks back

 

 

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And a couple of guitar players.

Ever heard of the Japanese Jimi Hendrix? Shinki Chen recorded several different psychedelic rock records (the most acclaimed being Food Brain, I believe) before quitting the recording business and preferring to only play live. 

 

 

 

Char is generally regarded as the best guitarist in Japanese rock history. I've only listened to his early stuff, but he has a bit of a pop rock sound that even borders on city pop at times.

He formed a power trio that did some pretty good stuff:

 

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6 hours ago, ohtani's jacket said:

I went on a listening binge -- Zouo, L.S.D, Confuse, Bastard, Mobs, Gastunk, The Clay, Outo, The Execute. Some really heavy sounding bands, and a few that sounded more like thrash. 

Bastard is one of my favorite bands to only ever have one LP and one EP. And I still don't have a copy of the 7". It haunts my dreams...

I should mention that there are a ton of really great Japanese hardcore punk compilations out there that are good samplers for this stuff. Starving Dog Eats Master, Eye of the Thrash Guerrilla, My Meat's Your Poison, Thrash Til Death, Attack of 4 Tribes, Outsider, Game of Death, A Farewell To Arms, Jisatsu Omnibus, Great Punk Hits, Hardcore Unlawful Assembly, he list goes on. Many of them are on Youtube. 

And before I stop I have to bring up one of the greatest Burning Spirits bands, Judgement. 

If that doesn't put a hot pepper up your arse you might just not have a pulse. 

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Oooo, here's another good one. Apparently this tape was never even released to the public at large and just got a vinyl release. Wild and snotty early hardcore, not pure thrash but too fast to be Killed By Death material. I'm gonna go down the list of links attached to this and listen to everything I haven't heard yet cause there's a treasure trove there.

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Unrelated but Mai Yamane rules and it's a shame the Kid Cudi/Pissy Pamper track had to be pulled due to copyright claims. 

They've basically nuked the internet of all the Bourne mixes of the above but here's an instrumental take to give you an idea:

Yamane did some tracks for Yoko Kanno on the Cowboy Bebop OST that were super unsurprisingly. 

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WRVA played WoWa by Namie Amuro this morning on their World Music block this morning.

I totally forgot this song existed.  Sadly her record company has the internet on lockdown and I cannot find the Pink Panther official version of the video for the song.

Edited by J.T.
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