Friday, February 24, 2012

Duel Jewel pre-Lapidary demos

Genre: Alt/Pop Rock
Released: 1999-2000
Region: Tokyo, Japan
Label: Self-Released?
Format: Cassette

月と戯れ tracklist
01. 月と戯れ

白 tracklist
02. Chaste Sin
03. 永遠に夢を重ねて
04. 絆~Pray To Gray~

黒 tracklist
01. Bloody Mazenda
02. 暗幕
03. Nauthiz and…?

沈黙 tracklist
01. 沈黙

Since it was made clear that you guys don't mind much if I post low bitrate stuff every now and then ... I figured I'd start with these old, rare Duel Jewel demo tapes. All but one of the tracks off these tapes made it onto either Lapidary or Noah, but in updated versions.

Fuzzy and amateurish demos are something I've always had a weakness for and when they're of songs I already know and love it's even more exciting. These songs sound just awesome as their full versions, the biggest difference being some lyrics in Anmaku, the overall recording quality, and the song "Bloody Mazenda", which DJ have all but abandoned ever since the kuro tape - a REAL shame. It's an awesome song.

If you dig Lapidary as much as I do and are really curious how those songs sounded in simpler, younger, and somehow even more mystical-sounding demo form, then check these out. If you never gave that album a listen, check these out anyways cause they're freakin' beautiful.

Snagged off WinMX forever and a day ago.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Syndrome - 涙ノ下弦… (2000)

Genre: Glam Metal/Goth Rock
Released: July 12th, 2000
Region: Osaka, Japan
Label: Matina
Catalog #: MTR-016
Format: CD

01. 涙ノ下弦…
02. 情景
03. 疼ク喉

Second maxi by Matina flagship band, Syndrome. One of my favorite releases of theirs, as every track is a gem; track 3 in particular is sinister, intense, and is one of my favorite songs from this band, and probably my top favorite from the 龍夜 era.

Bought from a friend.

Madeth gray'll - 十字架の結末… (1998)

Genre: Goth Rock
Released: August 10th, 1998
Region: Osaka, Japan
Label: Matina Soleil
Catalog #: SMMG-005
Format: CD

01. パラサイト
02. 廃人狂イ人形
03. missantroop

First maxi released by the fantastic Matina band Madeth Gray'll under their 4th lineup. Three classic and, for me, very nostalgic dark-vk tracks on one disc.

Bought from a friend.

Friday, February 17, 2012

fi-ar - Unseasonable Snow (1998)

Genre: Alt Rock/Pop Rock
Released: February 25th, 1998
Region: Osaka, Japan
Label: FEAR music
Catalog #: FEAR-00001
Format: CD

01. I Believe
02. DEAR...
03. Unseasonable Snow
04. Imitation Venus
06. Discharge
07. Sarenade

I snagged this for really cheap based on the fact that I haven't seen it ripped anywhere and the drummer(and co-songwriter) later joined ZXS(and co-wrote songs like カニバルカーニバル and メビウスブルー), a band I'm quite fond of(which you'd know if you followed the blog! I sure love parentheses!)

Unfortunately, I was really not into this release and I couldn't find a single track worthy of replay. Maybe it needs some relistens, I dunno. I'm glad I have it for the purpose of archiving ZXS band member history stuff, at least. Maybe one o' you guys will dig this album more than me.

Bought from an ebay seller.

Chateau La tour - 「葬列..」 (2000)

(Chateau La tour - "Souretsu..")

Genre: Goth Rock
Released: September 4th, 2000
Region: Saitama, Japan
Label: Iraya Label
Catalog #: IR-7773
Format: CD

01. 葬列
02. 奇形の君へ
03. Tragedy
04. 未完の終幕

Third single from one of DEViL KiTTY/Kar'MariA frontman Yuuga's earliest bands. If you've heard his other stuff, you'll surely recognize parts of track 2. Yuuga liked to take parts of his old songs and recycle them into new ones, which always made for interesting comparison listening and almost felt like those songs were tied together in some canonical way.

Bought from a friend.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Lonesummer - There Are Few Tomorrows For Feeding Our Worries (2011)

Genre: Experimental Rock/Black Metal/Shoegaze
Released: December 31st, 2011
Region: Philadelphia, PA
Label: Music Ruins Lives
Catalog #: MRL14
Format: CD

01. I Hope You Miss Me Now, Because I Want You To Know How Much That Hurts
02. Worries and Weariness
03. Tobacco, Gin and Bile
04. Ghost Stories
05. All My Bitterness Is Just Regret
06. The Sweetest of the Sweet Dreams
07. To Make Things Good Again
08. There Are Few Tomorrows For Feeding Our Worries
09. You're Ash To Me
10. Dream Me Free
11. Clouded Eyes and Candlelights
12. Despair Will Hold A Place In My Heart, A Bigger One Than You Do
13. ...For Just One Warm Day

Lonesummer are a (very)lo-fi experimental post-rock & black metal band who are label mates with mine and this, their latest full length, is my favorite release of theirs so far. A passionate, noisy feast that ranges from loud, fierce and intense to sweet, poppy and upbeat. Highly recommended. Favorite tracks are probably 3, 6, and 7.

Bought from the label a couple months back.

Monday, February 6, 2012

東京YANKEES - Overdoing (1992)

(Tokyo YANKEES - Overdoing)

Genre: Punk/Heavy Metal
Released: October 1st, 1992
Region: Kyushu, Japan
Label: Extasy Records
Catalog #: EXC-009
Format: CD


J's writeup:

Overdoing, compared to their first album, is much more ambitious, now the length of a more typical album, better songwriting and general improvements all round, the songs also vary more. A few voices of the old visual kei scene appear in choruses, most notably hide of X Japan, Pata also guests as guitarist in the song Drugstore Cowboy.

Most notable about the album is that it includes a mini-disc, this disc features a remake of their first and only single Joker, it sounds much more ferocious and is definitely a highlight. This album's booklet also ends with a special thank you...

"Most of all, this album is dedicated to our following, some of the most punk, hardcore, or hardrockalike people we have ever met. We love to live the worst life in this gloomy society. We must live by the different laws. Who cares? Who will scold us? We find that we're doing all those things you would not have done without rhyme or reason. Do you envy or curse us? The past we made may be forgotten, but it never dies. Your feelings are free-for-all everyday, and our dramatic potential of sound that's helped by you is unknown. SO PLAY THIS LOUD, LOUD, LOUD as LOUD as the speakers and you can bear!! Everybody shout for joy and pain. Hope to invite you to another heaven. Good luck..."

東京YANKEES - Do the DIRTY (1991)

(Tokyo YANKEES - Do the DIRTY)

Genre: Punk/Heavy Metal
Released: May 28th, 1991
Region: Kyushu, Japan
Label: Extasy Records
Catalog #: EXC-006
Format: CD


James is on a ROLL with these j-punk/metal albums!!
His writeup for this'n:

Do the DIRTY is more like an EP than a full album, clocking in at only six relatively short songs, regardless this is the Yankees' first break into something full and is pretty decent in its sound. Ume's distinct vocals come out mostly as a slur, but seem to give the album more of a raw edge along with a don't-give-a-fuck attitude; these are the Tokyo Yankees and they're going to hammer your ears no matter what it takes (I take back what I previously said about mostly correct English, this album is Engrish through and through, can't say it detracts the charm though).

This one's a short headbanger, nothing brilliant, but fans of the faster and slightly grittier side of old metal will find something to like.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Aggressive Dogs - Lycaon's Den (2004)

Genre: Punk/Metal
Released: August 25th, 2004
Region: Kyushu, Japan
Label: Nippon Crown
Catalog #: CRCP-40077
Format: CD

01. LYCAON "大和魂" STYLE (feat.エンセン井上)
02. Lycaon's Den
03. 綾斗
04. Rain (9F9D)
05. FREE YOUR MIND(feat.Fumio Ito,RYOJI,タケムラアキラ)
06. Keep The Pride With My Crew
07. Bullet (Bullet Catchers) feat. Q
09. Face To Yourself
10. Unbreakable Wall
11. 9F9D (Rain)
12. Lycaon Style
13. Tap Out II
14. Reckless feat.藤沼伸一
15. All Of My Strength (I'm/I can)
16. Quietus feat. Jun-ya
17. Chapter III
18. Rain (Camille Waters Remix)
19. Ghost Remains
20. Raging Storm
21. 無法松
22. Nerve feat. Kō
23. 小倉太鼓

More great AD from James!

Compared to the last Aggressive Dogs album I submitted you would think this is an entirely different band; if roughly translated articles are to be believed, AxDx never changed its line-up over the years, it instead only brought in two new guitarists (giving them three overall). This album is a varied mix of spoken word tracks, brief instrumentals, very raw vocals, hardcore, gangster rap and guest vocalists, plenty of styles are utilised overall but the general theme of street gangsters is present throughout.

Plenty of Engrish abounds, making efforts like this a little laughable at first but the Dogs are totally serious and loyal to their work. The only major downside to this album is how the production values are not great, everything just seems to hurt a little when played at full volume with earphones on, other than that though it's still a very interesting and hot-blooded listen. This album is dedicated to either a relative or friend of lead singer Uzi-One, the theme of family and brotherhood being a key theme among recent Aggressive Dogs material.

Monday, January 16, 2012

東京YANKEES - Ghostrider (1993)

(Tokyo YANKEES - Ghostrider)

Genre: Punk/Heavy Metal
Released: October 21st, 1993
Region: Kyushu, Japan
Label: Triad/Nippon Crown
Catalog #: COCA-11183
Format: CD

07. WALL

Here's a fantastic Tokyo Yankees album submitted by James!
He's also done an informative write-up on these guys just for this post ...

Tokyo Yankees can be considered to Motorhead what Balzac are to The Misfits (minus the same level of success); a tribute band without actually playing cover songs, but to say that would be to frankly discredit both bands' abilities (though Tokyo Yankees have covered Ace of Spades and Overkill, while Balzac also has a Misfits tribute act, but I digress). Originally X Japan's roadies, Tokyo Yankees contrasted sharply to X Japan's fast-beating songs on sex and gentle but powerful ballads with grunting, heavier riffs and delirious drum beats in fashionably more typical rock 'n' roll songs.

Their unusual look had the bad boy leather-donned stylings of Motorhead but with all the pretty-facedness and fountain hair of early visual kei bands, a definite juxstaposition and most likely something just to fill a quota, they look glam but their sound is definitely metal with some hardcore punk influences. Tokyo Yankees originally formed in 1988 with Hiyori on vocals, who would later go on to front Youthquake before 1990, in which Soichiro "Ume" Umemura would take over as permanent singer, their line-up would stay the same for most of their career (first guitarist Tohda played for as long as Hiyori sang and Ami played on bass from 1988 to 1996, making some guest appearances in recent live shows).

One single, four albums and one compilation album were released over six years before the band went on hiatus, later reforming in 2000 to contribute an entirely new song exclusively for the History of EXTASY - 15th Anniversay omnibus CD, before releasing a brand new album in 2002 and their one and only EP in 2004, which has composed of cover songs of various western metal bands and remakes of two of their old songs. There has been no new material since, and may not be any ever as Ume sadly passed in 2007, a DVD commenorating the band's 20th anniversary was released the following year featuring interviews and live footage.

Forever unstoppable and true to their cause despite never making it big, Tokyo Yankees still play many live shows with the remaining three current members covering the vocals (suddenly their tagline of "Extreme Noisy Rock 'n' Roll" just evokes further images of Extreme Noise Terror and that band's split vocal antics). Tokyo Yankees' relatively slim discography is something that I find appealing about them, as with most straight-up metal acts, one too many albums just becomes repetitious, and of their releases they all progress in overall quality very nicely; first album Do The Dirty is a little tough to swallow but listeners will find subsequent albums (especially this one) very pleasing with Ume's steadily improving vocals, thrashing guitar solos and an exotic mix of sampling going in well with their full volume sound.

Their songs are always entirely sung in (largely correct) English. Definitely not the best, or the most complex or the most unique band about there, but a sorely underrated Japanese act nonetheless who have not let anything stop them doing what they know best.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Aggressive Dogs - TRUTH&NEWS!MEDIA!! (1990)

Genre: Punk
Released: November 12th, 1990
Region: Kyushu, Japan
Label: Nippon Crown
Catalog #: CRCR-6011
Format: CD

01. トゥルース&ニュース!メディア!!
02. シュア,ゴー・トゥ・ザ・カントリー・トゥ・キス(カム・オン)
03. リフューズ・イズ・マイ・サン
04. ドゥ・イット・ユアセルフ
05. ディド・ザ・キャリア・ピジョン・ダイ?
06. お前には解けねぇさ (I Know You Can't Solve)
07. ××××イズ・ハイ
08. マニアック
09. ノー・ラフィン,ノー・ダウン
10. いつの日かマトモになってやるぜ (TOUGH BOY)

A bit of history: Aggressive Dogs have seemingly been around on Japan's hardcore punk scene since 1982, in that period they released a few early EPs, I think this is their first proper album with full production values, it's pretty sharp.

From this period onward though they would adopt more of a NYHC sound and even became good friends with Agnostic Front, their later focus on more gang-orientated themes seems a little laughable at first but they actually melded themselves around that pretty well, I think it's just pretty commendable that lead singer Uzi-One could adopt a new style so well without looking like a terrible poser.

There is basically a massive difference between their old and new stuff, but I think they still play some of their old punk songs at lives, which is cool.

(Submitted by James)

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Melt-Banana - 666 (2002)

Genre: Punk/Noise
Released: September 1st, 2002
Region: Tokyo, Japan
Label: Level Plane Records
Catalog #: LP-37
Format: 6" Single

A1. Got the Head Back
B1. About
B2. Neck on B1

If you're familiar with Melt-Banana, this little record contains a few short and expectedly awesome tracks that sound like they were scraps from the Cell-Scape studio sessions.

If you're not familiar with Melt-Banana, they're one of the most well-respected noise punk groups in the world, Japan or otherwise, and you're in for a treat. Snag this, then go snag Charlie, Cell-Scape, and Bambi's Dilemma, and then everything else.

Bought from a seller on eBay.

The Breaks - The Breaks (1983)

Genre: Pop Rock
Released: 1983
Region: Memphis, TN
Label: RCA
Catalog #: AFL1-4675
Format: 12" LP

A1. She Wants You
A2. You Stole My Heart
A3. Don't Mislead Me
A4. Fire in the Wire
A5. Green Eyes
B1. Wishy Washy
B2. I Play The Fool
B3. Lonely Girls
B4. Keepin' The Love Alive
B5. The Last To Know

Found this in a $1 vinyl bin at a local record store and bought it ONLY because the cover just looked so adorable and 80's nostalgic, but it also helped that I had never heard of them before. When I got home, I looked them up and was barely able to find anything at all. They have very few listens on and their artist page is taken over by a different band. When I popped the record on, I was greeted by some absurdly, infectiously catchy pop melodies, a beautiful female voice and an overall charming, optimistic, youthful sounding pop rock group.

Turns out the singer and lead guitarist have been a couple since the 70's and they've had two or three bands together(this and Drama) as well as some solo stuff here and there. This record sounds a bit like something Heart or Pat Benatar would've done, but it's not so much the band's sound as it is their knack for toe-tapping pop hooks that grabs me. It's a shame they never got bigger. They would've gotten really far with better promotion, I think.

Give 'em a try if you like accessible pop and are always looking for something to hum and sing along to while paying close attention to who might be looking because what you're singing along to might not be the manliest thing in the world.

Bought from a local record store.

History of EXTASY 15th Anniversary (2000)

Genre: Metal/Rock/Punk/Other
Released: June 21st, 2000
Region: Japan
Catalog #: EXC-020
Format: CD

02. LUNA SEA - Precious...
03. GLAY - 真夏の扉
05. GLAY - Rain
08. Breath - ぼくのまわり
09. Screaming Mad George & PSYCHOSIS - Paranoiascape
10. YOUTHQUAKE - Across the line
11. ラヴィアンローズ - ほたるの
12. DEEP - Billy the Kid
13. THE HATE HONEY - Diary
14. 東京YANKEES - Japanese Motherfucker
15. MEDIA YOUTH - Yellow
17. HYPERM∀NIA - 虹の向こうへ…
18. ZI:KILL - I 4 U
19. X JAPAN - Unfinished...

This is a 15th Anniversary compilation of many of EXTASY RECORDS' most celebrated associated acts. Lots of gems on this disc and quite a few of them I hadn't heard before James sent this, such as the Breath and SMG&P tracks, which I really love.

Submitted to the blog by James. Thanks!

D†L - 破片~kakera~ (1997)

(D+L - Hahen~kakera~)

Genre: Alt Rock/Goth Rock
Released: November 25th, 1997
Region: Japan
Label: EastWest Japan
Catalog #: AMCM-4347
Format: CD

01. ガ・ン・ジ・ガ・ラ・メ
02. ユメ ノ ユメ
03. 僕ノ中デ...
04. 月色の十字架
06. 破片

Most people that know D†L know them because it was one of the bands that Dir en grey's bassist, Toshiya, was in prior to his recruitment. This release came out a little while after Toshiya had left the band. The songs on the CD sounds a bit like something Velze, Phobia or Mebius would put out, but not quite on that level of quality. There are still some great tracks on here for fans of this type of music, however. I absolutely love the bass in track 4.

Bought from a vk merch seller.