Thursday, January 18, 2018

The Blues Brothers - Gimme Some Lovin 7" (France)

Untitled

Atlantic (1980)

First Blues Brothers post of the new year.  Even though when I first started collecting and writing about these 7"s, I was posting them at random, I decided a few weeks ago that what I was going to do was to work my way through each album chronologically.  I finished up all of the Briefcase Full Of Blues singles last year (aside from a few Soul Man variants that I haven't been able to track down yet) and today I'm going to start up the Blues Brothers movie soundtrack singles.  I did write about the US version of the Gimme Some Lovin 7" on blue vinyl at the very beginning of this project, but I'm going to pick up on the rest of them now.

First up is the French version of Gimme Some Lovin.  Music wise it still has "She Caught The Katy" as a B side and these are still two of my absolute favorite Blues Brothers songs ever.  The variance here is in the art work.  Even though they are using the same picture as the US version of the 7", it has been taken into black and white.  The fonts on the text are slightly different and there's also the little French blurb in the bottom right hand corner of the picture.  This picture is also the image used on the cover of the soundtrack as a whole.  Get used to this picture, there's a lot of singles that use a version of it.

The Blues Brothers - "Gimme Some Lovin'":

The Blues Brothers - "She Caught the Katy":


Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Her Spectacles - Remain CD EP

Untitled

Waterslide (2006)

I've really been in a state of constant disbelief lately.  So many of the recent Japanese records that I've been reviewing lately have come out quite a while ago.  This one from Her Spectacles came out all the way back in 2006.  I just don't know how I missed out on all of these.  Well, I have a little bit of an idea for something this old as 2004-2007 was a really down time for buying new records as my job was beating the life out of me and I didn't want to listen to anything.  But still, had I known about a record this good, I would have absolutely made time for it.

This EP by Her Spectacles actually reminds me of something that's kind of in the middle of the last two records I've reviewed on this very site.  They've got the same sort of attention to melody and dynamic guitar work of Does It Float (riyl Three Minute Movie), while at the same time keeping things poppy and catchy like Tin Soldiers (riyl Kevlar, Sugar).  The combination of these two style makes Her Spectacles the most impressive of the bunch as these sounds are combined into energetic and hook filled songs, while still displaying a level of musicianship and song craft that lets you know that these folks really know how to play.

I still can't believe this EP is as old as it is.  Remain sounds so fresh and exciting and all it does is make me want to listen to more by this band.  Sadly, there doesn't appear to be much more out there.  I have the three way split with Skimmer and Peace of Bread and the only other record I can find is a split 7" with Phoenix Foundation.  I'll be keeping my eye out for that, but I just wish there was more.'

Her Spectacles - Remain:

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Tin Soldiers - Boys Love Songs CD EP

Untitled

Self Released (2010)

Boys Love Songs is another wonderful treasure I picked up while record shopping in Tokyo.  I wasn't familiar with the band, but they were recommended to me, so I grabbed a copy.  This is another one of those records that is so right up my alley, I don't understand how this could have been kicking around since 2010 without me knowing about it.

Tin Soldiers is is from Japan, but they are a far cry from the usual Snuffy Smile leaning punk rock sound that I typically gravitate towards.  Instead, Tin Soldiers keep things much more mid tempo and eschew ferocity for wonderfully crafted guitar pop tunes.  There are times where they remind me of Sugar and other times where they sound a lot like the more poppier leanings of Kevlar.  The band has a gigantic sound for only being a three piece and most impressive is the huge, dynamic guitar work of Daichi Sato.

If the Waterslide records distro is any indication, it looks like Tin Soldiers have another seven song EP and a demo floating around out there (sadly sold out at Waterslide).  If anyone ever sees any other records by this band please let me know, I definitely want to pick them up.  Unfortunately I can't really find any music online by this band apart from a MySpace page that I can't get to play anything.  I'll link it below, just incase you can coax some music out of it that I'm not able to.

Tin Soldiers - "Boy's Song":

Tim Soldiers - "The Hate":

Monday, January 15, 2018

Does It Float - Every Words In Your PS CD

Untitled

Urban Sleep (2009)

This CD was sent to me by Urban Sleep Discs along with a few others.  I'm trying my best to get all of the Japanese CDs I've acquired in the past year reviewed for this site, so if there seems to be more of them than usual, this is one of the reasons why (Another reason being that very few new albums tend to get released in January, so it's a good time to play catch up with some others).

Does It Float is playing an extremely catchy variant of melodic, emo tinged punk rock.  The thing that stands out to me more than anything else is the impressively complex lead guitar noodling in each song.  It adds a level of depth and musicianship that you don't hear just anywhere, but the band never dives too far into self indulgent guitar wanking.  Every note means something and serves the incessantly catchy hooks that the band manage to sneak into every song.

It actually reminds me a lot of the first few Three Minute Movie songs I heard from their split with Braid and that 3" CD that came out around the same time.  Mix in some Scaries style pop hooks and that's a pretty decent road map to the sounds that Does It Float are working with.  It may not be a brand new release, having come out in 2009.  But it's definitely work backtracking to check out.  

Unfortunately, I'm not able to find any of their songs online to link to, But the band also has a split 7" with Stay Clean Jolene that came out on All In Vinyl some time back that's easier to hear online.  I'm just happy to add more song by these guys to the collection.  


Thursday, January 11, 2018

Thirsty Chords - Kioku No ED CD

Untitled

Shirafu (2016)

I have three CDs by Thirsty Chords that I acquired last year.  I reviewed one of their full lengths a few months ago and I have another full length of theirs still in the review pile.  I figured I'd go with this seven song EP today.  With this EP, the band is two for two when it comes to putting out releases that I think are pretty great.

As a whole, I feel like this EP is a bit more melodic than the last full length of theirs that I wrote about.  Where their debut album was pretty fast and passionate in a way that reminded me a lot of Minority Blues Band, this time out Thirsty Chords have taken the tempo back a bit and with incredible results.  More than anything, I keep hearing echoes of recent Leatherface, but really only in the guitars.  Leatherface has a very distinct guitar sound with palm muted leads that blossom into frantic chord changes and Thirsty Chords have tapped into this sort of song structure.  It's particularly evident in the first two songs of the album, though the song titles for both are in Japanese so it's difficult to list them here.

That's not to say there aren't a few blasts of energy on this EP.  Both "Middle Class" and "Man Is Said" are full throated rippers with blazing guitar riffs and enough energy to power a small village.  Thirsty Chords is another one of those bands from Japan that I just can't figure out why it took me so long to hear about them.  I'm relieved I finally did as their records are pretty spectacular, but I wonder if there are other bands out there that I'm just not hearing about. 

Thirsty Chords - "エイトセンチメートルランニング":

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Blackender - Demo CD

Untitled

Self Released (2015)

I have to admit, I don't remember where I got this CD.  I may have picked it up record shopping in Tokyo, though it's equally possible it was recommended to me as part of a mailorder spree from this past year.  No matter how it ended up in the collection, I'm pretty glad it did.  From the looks of the artwork, you'd think that there might be some metal going on here, but fear not.  Blackender is another in the seemingly never ending line of excellent, poppy Japanese punk bands.

There's only two songs on this CD and boy do I wish there were more.  Particularly because of how great the first track, "Try To Find," is.  It seems like such a throwback to the nineties, in the best possible way.  There's a little bit of that Husking Bee pop mastery mixed in with the more punk leaning energy of Blew.  It's an incredible song that I can't say enough good things about.

The second song, "Bravado," doesn't soar quite as high, but it's still a pretty good showing.  The verse is a little darker with slightly fuzzy vocals, but once again the band shows that they know how to write a chorus that's destined to get stuck in your head.  I don't think there's anything else available from these guys, but if there is, someone please let me know where I can get it.

Blackender - "Try To Find":

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Trashmind - Longtime Losers' EP CD

Untitled

Self Released (2017)

I think this was self released by the band.  There are no markings of a record label and I can't find any information on line, so I'm just going to assume it's self released.  This three song EP from Osaka based Trashmind is outstanding.  It looks like this EP has been about ten years in the making and honestly, it sure seems like it was worth the time and effort to me.

The first comparison that comes to mind is that Trashmind seems to inhabit a space right in the middle of early Green Day and early Pinhead Gunpowder.  It's not quite as slick as Green Day, but it's also not as gruff as Pinhead Gunpowder.  Trashmind somehow sits perfectly in between the two, churning out three incredibly catchy and upbeat songs.  For good measure there's also a hint of the No Idea records sort of group vocal choruses here and there that mix wonderfully with the Lookout records sounds the band is churning out.

My biggest complaint is that there are only three songs on this CD.  I desperately want to hear more.  Trashmind has a bandcamp page with another demo of theirs available to download.   Rest assured I'm going to go grab that immediately.  If anyone in Trashmind reads this, please make more records as soon as you can.  I don't want to wait ten years for the next one.

Trashmind - Longrime Losers' EP:

Monday, January 8, 2018

Without - Westgate No. 5 EP CD

Untitled

Raft (2017)

Hello and happy new year.  I'm starting off the new year with a goal of finally getting through all of the Japanese CDs that I have piled up over here.  It's amazing that I still have records that I bought in Japan last year that I haven't gotten to.  Couple that with a few spots of mailorder over the past year and I have a pile that has been sorely neglected.

First up for 2018 is this Without EP.  I can't say I know a whole lot about them outside of the three songs on this CD, but I'm sure it was recommended to me as something I'd like.  That recommendation was correct, this is good stuff.  Without have an interesting combination of the sort of Snuffy Smiles Japanese punk rock sound mixed with slightly more melodic (some might say emo) tendencies.  The band has a knack of having explosive verses and catchy choruses, but then you'll come across a really dynamic breakdown or outro.

In particular the ending of the song "Dislike" really reminds me of the sort of thing that you would have heard from the Get Up Kids back when they were good.  You know, on that first CD EP.  The only time the Get Up Kids were really, really good.  Anyway, Without captures those sort of energetic detours and manages to integrate them seamlessly into the rest of their punk rock.  This is a very strong debut EP and I hope it isn't the last I hear from Without.

Without - "Dislike":