Dynamo / Pop Ball (1998)
I've said it before and I'll likely say it a hundred more times, but going record shopping in Tokyo with Kazu from Waterslide records was just one of the best days of my life. The incredible stores we went to, the insane records that were at each of them and the great conversation all day long was really a highlight of a trip that had its share of highlights.
Throughout the day Kazu would point me towards records that I wouldn't have even known I needed if it weren't for his recommendation. This split 7"is one that I picked up because I thought it looked like 90s pop punk and Kazu confirmed for me that yes, in fact it was.
Bug Sneakers have three songs on their side of the split, two bouncy and catchy originals and a Ramones cover of the song "Oh Oh I Love Her So." The two originals are both great examples of quintessential 90s pop punk. It's not as loud or fast as the sort of thing you'd hear on Snuffy Smile, but it takes a much poppier path and more fits in with some of the bubblegum type stuff that Lookout was putting out in the mid to late 90s.
Just A Fine Slope have two songs on their side and they're certainly a bit faster than the Bug Sneakers songs. "Sunday" is built on a blazing guitar riff and thousand mile an hour drumming, but the vocal harmonies keep everything grounded in pop. "Have A Nice Summer Day" is just as good and reminds me a little bit of the faster moments of the band Walker. The Just A Fine Slope songs are rougher around the edges than Walker ever was, but they both have a similar pop song structure that I just love.
Both of these bands have other records out that I don't have. I definitely need to get my hands on them, especially the Just A Fine Slope full length that I found out about while searching on Discogs. It feels like there's always going to be a never ending supply of amazing Japanese punk rock records to buy. I wish I could go back to Japan to look for them tomorrow.