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.