Snuffy Smiles (2015)
This was a CD that was on my list of things to hunt down while in Japan. I have to once again thank Kazu from Waterslide records for helping me find it. Due to its minimal artwork and lack of a spine, I don't know if I would have tracked this down on my own. Luckily, Kazu found it at one of the record stores we went to and now it is in my collection.
Gleam Garden has been one of the great Japanese bands of the last decade. They have a few albums out and have released a lot of singles. This CD compiles most of their 7"s along with a few CD and compilation tracks. I had most of these songs previously from the various Snuffy Smile 7"s in their catalog, though the compilation songs included are new to me. Also, it's kind of nice to have everything on one CD that I can just play from start to finish. Sure, it would be nice if this was an LP, but singles comps are one of those times where I really don't have a problem with their not being a vinyl release. After all, I do have just about all of these songs on vinyl from the 7"s.
Musically, Gleam Garden are simply amazing. Fast and loud, they come roaring at you with their guitar attack. You can hear hints of Dickie Hammond style riffs on some songs, while on others the chord progressions are more immediate and stripped down. No matter what the song, Gleam Garden is always there to cram in a hook or a chorus that makes you want to start jumping around whatever room you are in. They've managed to capture an energy in these recordings that can elude so many bands.
Simply put, I just love this band and wish they got more attention here in America. Pick this or any of their other records up if you see them.
Gleam Garden - "Factory" (this is a live version, but the studio version is on this comp):
Gleam Garden - "Evaporation" (Also a live version, I can't really find many of the regular versions floating around online)