Waterslide records from Japan sent me a package of CDs to review and I couldn't possibly be more excited about it. Long time readers will probably know that Japanese punk rock is one of my absolute favorite things in the world. It really started for me with Snuffy Smile records and the split 7"s they have been releasing since the 90's. I think the first time I had heard of Snuffy Smile was when they put out the Goober Patrol/Sprocket Wheel split 7", but it was very soon after that they started a string of 7"s featuring some of my favorite UK bands like Broccoli, Skimmer, Travis Cut and Chopper.
At first the Japanese bands were just these other bands that happened to be on the records I was buying, but it didn't take long for these bands to start being the highlights. Two of the first to really make an impact with me were Blew and Lovemen. This Lovemen CD is the first chapter of a two part set compiling everything they released. This first set includes the band's debut album December, the two tracks from their split 7" with Exit Condition, four compilation songs and a bonus disc containing their first four song demo tape.
Now, I am a pretty huge Lovemen fan and I did already have the bulk of the songs on this set, but even for a completist like me, there we still new and interesting discoveries to make. Lovemen created such a distinct sound in their day, melodic as can be with scratchy vocals that clawed their way into my heart. The songs are incredibly dynamic with interesting chord changes and tempos. They can throw down a straight ahead burner just as easily as they can slow things down and get really complex with their song structure.
To have everything compiled on this album is such a crazy thing to see for someone who spent so much time trying to hunt down these records in the dark ages of the 90's. It's especially great as the vast, vast majority of these records have been out of print for ages. If you have even the most passing interest in Japanese punk rock, this is an essential collection from one of the most important bands in the early days of the Snuffy Smile scene.
Lovemen - "Believe In Me":