Nate Fitzbutler did a remix to Kanye West’s and Kendrick Lamar’s “No More Parties in LA” called “No More Parties in SD”. He said, "we made this track to try to bring some national buzz to our city that’s always been in the shadow of the LA music scene."

Niko Sitaras from the San Diego based dream rock band Paper Days says, "We just released our new EP 'Fun For Family & Friends'. Our release party is on Feb 19th being hosted at the Irenic (with The Bash Dogs & Splavender). 

Panic Is Perfect is an indie-pop group from San Fran and they are touring in support of their new album, Cellspace, which drops tomorrow on Strange Loop Records. They'll be playing at The Loft @ UCSD on Feb. 12!





 

 

 

 

 

2006 Shinjuku JAM by Bloom 01.15.07
Editors note: What happens when you team up 2 members of Les Rallizes De Nudes with noise pioneer Keiji Haino?
...So as we step into another year, let us not forget those things which sent out a vital impact across the universe in recent memory...specifically, there was a mother of a concert last september 1st....

There are some basic images which come to mind when the topic is 'Japanese
rock'- cute girl groups playing with western-derived images and sounds, and long-haired dudes...playing with western-derived images and sounds. To get to the essential point, then, we need to cut to the marrow and clarify where the significant developments occurred, where things moved beyond perpetuating an existing tradition to establishing new archetypes and building blocks, we're talking where people like Van Gogh and Monet started a whole new movement after looking at Japanese prints and Chinese ink paintings (for fans of Monet, check out what people like Mi Fu were doing in the 11th c.; Van Gogh's infatuation with Japanese prints led him to curate exhibitions and make exact copies in his own hand).

1960's Japanese airwaves were awash with groups doing their (corporate) take on the Beatles, Hollies, Herman's Hermits, and by golly, what else could you ask for?, until a group singing about the hollowness of it all had their take on reality (in an era when Japan 'officially' decided to become protected by a foreign power despite massive protests) banned from the radio. The Jacks just weren't doing what all the other kids were- their standout songs on their 1968 debut lp, "Vacant World", tended to be extremely melancholic (the banned single, 'Vacant World'), sung with sensibilities taken from traditional and avante Japanese culture (also note the delay effect on the guitar line), and even abrasive in the now legendary 'Marianne', where primal, cataclysmic drumming replaces the usual bass-snare-bass-snare beat and fuzz guitar howls and screeches to the end to accentuate the anguished cries for redemption from the young leader Hayakawa Yoshio, who breaks it down wearing dark shades and long hair extending well beyond his shoulders, bangs cut straight across. Yeah, there is some filler amongst the middle tracks (to be expected when you're signed to a major), but the first 3 and the second-to-last track heralded a new sound and look which was to provide a foundation map for Japanese underground psychedelic rock.

After this initial record, various member changes (obviously such a recording didn't result in massive sales) and such led to the eventual break-up of the Jacks. However, the initial salvo had been launched, and its explosion felt keenly in the minds of the talented and imaginative. Particularly, the early songs of a certain Mr. Mizutani tended to evince a similar fondnes for darker atmospheres, and not unlike the Jacks' track 'Love', coaxed mildly-hypnotic acid-folky spells from his guitar to accompany forlorn vocals. By the time it became obvious that the Jacks weren't going to deliver any further breakthroughs, Mizutani had by around 1972 put together his vision for the 2nd Coming- Les Rallizes des Nudes had become an all-out psychedelic assault with fully reved-up fuzz guitar completely awash with delay and accompanying feedback, vocals stuttered out in stacatto to accentuate the reverb, everything turned up to 10, reflecting the on-going chaos of the student movement against the puppet government (but hey, major league baseball and Disney have more than made up for it, haven't they?), things getting out of hand as students barricade Kyoto University and the bassist for Les Rallizes joins the Red Army group that hijacks a Japan Airlines jet to North Korea. It's 'Marianne' loaded up on LSD and dope, which is apparently what was regularly smoked before shows, and Mizutani wearing the archetypal shades and long hair, bangs cut straight across.

Well, standing in the wings following these developments was another aspiring musican who wanted nothing to do with the establishment. He had founded a radical free jazz group, but after its dissolution was looking to form a Japanese rock band for the millenium, one that explored and did things that had never been done before. As Les Rallizes were obviously the trippiest thing around, it has been said that this musician attempted to forge links with members of Les Rallizes to form his new group, which led to some conflicts of interest. Eventually he did succeed in securing a guitarist by the name of Miura Maki, and formed a group called Fushitsusha.

The Fushitsusha sound- loud, reved fuzz feedback guitars, anguished screams, stacatto vocals- arranged orchestrally to alternate with poetic passages of calm, eerie falsetoo vocals, whispers, and avante rhythms- was a breakthrough into something not seen or heard before (as with The Jacks, the 1st album is the one to look for). Fronting the group was the guitarist/vocalist Haino Keiji, wearing the shades, the hair cut long, bangs straight across.

So now, then, back to September 1st, 2006. An acquaintance and long-time fan of Haino has the audacity to dream up pairing him with two former Les Rallizes members, Doronco (bass) and Sammi (drums). The setting was set, then, for the hard psyche event of the new century, spanning decades back to the days when the two camps sparred and fought while singing for the activist students who were getting their brains bashed in by gangland goons paid for by Uncle Sam. Yes, it doesn't get any darker, desperate, anguished, or tripped out into trial by fire than what we got here tonight, this all-black stripped-bare live venue (did you say you'd prefer some wood paneling?-that kind of money doesn't see the light of day here in central Tokyo with normal folk), more like a sound-proofed bomb shelter, with all the people that Tokyo (and the Tokyo 'scene') doesn't want, deserters, loners, older guys who are just barely avoiding the park bench at night, they didn't sign up for that Toyota interview then and they're not about to get behind Puffy or any of the underground imposters now. They know where it's been, they know where it has to go, and everyone's clear that it's not earned by the usual routes, certainly not by being clever with your choice of amp or basing decisions on name value. The lights go out, the rhythm section gets set, out strides the shades 'n hair, and it is on, Sammi pounding out the incessant beat, Doronco pounding out the thick notes on his ancient Fender P-bass, Haino absolutely ripping the innards of his Telecastor custom to shreds, pausing to intone a tome wraith-like, suddenly stomping the effects pedals to drill new caverns in our brains...he goes back to the Fender Twin amp and turns it up further, Doronco seizes the chance to parade himself stage center for a few precious moments, then goes back to his amp to turn things up, Sammi just keeps on, a flurry of songs end, Doronco leans against the stage wall, heaving gulps of oxygen, Sammi bent over panting, vegetarian/yoga meister/no-drink/no-dope 53 years young Haino tapping his foot impatiently, finally they're up again, throttling it for all its worth, then in the midst of the hurricane Haino pulls out a flute, things slow down, it gets all bewitching as the flute swirls and floats, pulling the water from the rock, the nectar salves and saves, we know we've made the right choice in life to be here, to be this initiated... they pile-drive into the last song, a Fushitsusha standard, the same one you can see on YouTube, with Haino pounding the same power chord incessantly, who cares that some mohawked jackass got up and positioned himself right in front of Haino so that 70% of the people have their view obstructed, it's beyond that now, it's beyond everything, it's the only place anyone ever wanted to be, free.

So, yes, a lot of stuff being put out now is good, but to really be able to evaluate it we need to familiarize ourselves with the sources, to understand how much represents real work, and how much is restyling. To be honest, there's been more than one occasion when the good ol' boys club politics have taken precedence over substance, and this is exactly what the pioneers of psyche rose up against and abhorred, and it is exactly this spirit which gave rise to the defining moments of Japanese psychedelic rock.


    Lotushouse MP3 Sampler
    Maquiladora - The Revenge of Becky Royal (New Piano)
    Tenniscoats + Maquiladora - Hours
    High Mountain Tempel - Processional (An Invocation to Thee Angelic Sister)
    Raagnagrok - HJD
    Beggars - Will We Call It Love
    Maquiladora - Termez 1936
    Maquiladora - Song 26
    Buzz or Howl - Sendhe Mortu Chin Rigore
    Earthling Tempel - Celestial Inhabitants of the Sun
    Buzz or Howl - The Sins Of The Flower Are Visited On The Shunned
    Maquiladora - Light of the Rain
    High Mountain Tempel - The Ascended Master (Hang Gliding in Heaven)
    High Mountain Tempel - Fluctuat Nec Mergitur
    High Mountain Tempel - Tempel Walk
    Buzz or Howl - 05 Oct 05
    Buzz or Howl - Sun as the Destroyer of Dreams
    Live version at the Make Room SF 2005
    Maquiladora - In This Life
    Maquiladora - Simply to See You
    Maquiladora with Kawabata Makoto - Nampasen
    Maquiladora Maquiladora - Drunk and Lighting Fires (A Waltz)
    Maquiladora Maquiladora - Ritual of Hearts
    Maquiladora Maquiladora - Ankle
    Maquiladora - Mayday
    Loraine Loraine - Pasqually Old Pasqually

    Beggars - S/T
    by Pierro Scaruffi

    Maquiladora's Eric Nielsen and Bruce McKenzie joined forces with Skygreen Leopards' Glenn Donaldson to form Beggars, whose double-disc Beggars (Lotushouse, 2013) is a tour de force of ecstatic Eastern-influenced freak-folk. Mostly these pieces lean towards the traditional song format, although inevitably deformed by the musicians' pedigrees.

    The ghostly hyper-dilated drones of Ghost Coyote are imbued with quasi-Morricone western-movie guitar twang and even harmonica. The sweet lullaby and the trotting pace of Eureka My Love as well as the romantic honky-tonking Justine (with a refrain a bit reminiscent of Dylan's Blowing in the Wind) hark back to the heydays of country-rock. 2-3-74 Floating evokes the martial laments of the young Neil Young although diluted amid discordant guitar jamming and lulled by waves of funereal vocal harmonies. Berserker's Boogie is a lively and poppy almost-bluegrass tune. They even intone the singalong Queen Anne's Lace with drums, banjo and all.

    Thankfully, the spaced-out yodeling of Lullaby de Bourbon (memories of Aoxomoxoa-era Grateful Dead), the free-form quasi-jazz guitar and vocal interplay of Will We Call It Love, the seven-minute dreaming psalm Big Pink Sun and its sublimely disintegrating coda, remind us of what Maquiladora are best at. The 23-minute Midget Decapitates Clownis an ambitious concerto for suspense and agony. Far from being just a droning piece, it piles up sonic event after sonic event, producing the trancey effect out of a multitude of traumatic sounds. The chirping and tweeting that accumulates half-way into the piece decays into a nervous organic filigree and dies away in the most cryptic manner; one of the high points of Maquiladora's career.


    Earthling Tempel - Pilgrimage To Thunderbolt Pagoda
    by Aquarius Records

    Not sure if this is part 4, or just the first in a new multi part epic, hardly matters, what does matter is, this is another glorious expansive collection of meditative psychedelic abstract dronefolk ambience. Every High Mountain Tempel disc we're reviewed thus far has gotten played to death here, and this one doesn't appear to be any different. Well, at least in that respect. In one distinct way it is very different, HMT are not going it alone this time. They've assembled a pretty impressive collection of sonic alchemists and musical conjurers to help with this ritual, Isis Aquarian from the Source Family, Charles Curtis from La Monte Young's Just Alap Raga Ensemble, and two crews from the UK we've never heard of, Earthling Society and Astarism, but even with all those cooks in the kitchen, HMT and friends have managed to weave another dark minimal masterpiece, all hushed barely there guitar shimmer, drifting whispered vocals, delicate crystalline melodies, dense swirls of piano, warm swells of tape hiss, mysterious voices and field recordings, whirring organ, bowed steel strings... so lovely.

    If the liner notes are to be believed, two of the tracks feature Earthling Society on their own, and those tracks do sound different, much less free and sprawling, a bit more structured, like seventies UK acid folk, swirling and melodic and quite lovely. The final two tracks find the two groups in full on collaborative mode, and the gears shift to something much more space rocky and Hawkwindy, all blissed out and heart-of-the-sun, until the final track which is a strummy, delicate, moody chill out closer, a sort of dour doom folk drift, that makes a perfect ending.

    Super nice packaging, silkscreened oversized 4 panel sleeve, white on black, with the cd-r affixed to the inside. And of course, SUPER LIMITED!

    High Mountain Tempel - The Glass Bead Game by Aquarius Records

    Part three in the ongoing series of limited cd-r explorations from mysterious drone combo High Mountain Tempel, and like the two before it, the band continue to delve into some murky sonic underworld, again presenting loooong songs, each separated by brief sonic interludes, this disc seems feature more actual vocals, the opening track features a processed voice, that sounds a bit like throat singing, or a Speak And Spell, intoning some arcane message, interwoven with long drawn out tones, and a thick ropy buzz, super dark and intense and atmospheric. Elsewhere sampled voices surface, there are bits of chanting here and there, all peppered throughout the disc. But even with the extra voices, the focus here is still on dark, lugubrious, extended dronescapes.

    The sound of High Mountain Tempel is probably closest to Expo '70, as their various permutations of dronemusic seem to have a definite krautrock vibe, that gives the sound a sort of spaced out quality, and a subtle propulsion, but unlike Expo '70, HMT seem to have a distinct Eastern influence, much of the music is meditative and subtly dramatic, a bit soundtracky, and some of it sounds like it could be Japanese. Especially the way field recordings are incorporated into the sounds. Giving everything a definite texture, some of it sounding like it was perhaps recorded live in some hilltop temple. Which we would imagine is the idea.

    Not sure what else to say actually. This is indeed fantastic, brooding and malefic, but also shimmery and dreamy, sonically it has much in common with the first two installments, so definitely check out those reviews to read more about their 'sound'.

    Needless to say, fans of the drone and folks into the current crop of cd-r soundscapers will for sure dig this, but like the other HMT discs, this is more than simple drone music, this is ritualistic alchemical soundwork, one can almost imagine stumbling across a group of cloaked figures huddled around a fire in a forest clearing, tossing various powders into the flames, causing the fire to change color and cast beastlike shadows on the branches above, and this is the sound filtering through the forest like a black moonlit fog...
    SUPER LIMITED of course, packaged beautifully in a foldover silkscreened sleeve, gold metallic on red on the outside, black on red on the inside.

    High Mountain Tempel - A Screaming Comes Across The Sky - The Faultline Scriptures
    by Aquarius Records

    Record number two from this mysterious drone-kraut styled duo. Their last disc was a huge hit around here, so we were pretty thrilled to get our hands on this one, a logical sonic extension of the first, delving deeper into some murky tripped out twilit soundworld.
    The disc opens with shimmering clouds of gongs and cymbals, whirring and sizzling, suspended over a deep distant rumble, a delicate intro to a record at once hypnotic and lovely, dark and dense.

    The record is arranged into three epic tracks, interspersed with short sonic interludes, ranging from field recordings of crickets, looped chants (Elizabeth Clare Prophet if we're not mistaken), spirituals and mysterious liturgical songs, whirring drones, and backwards percussion, but it's the long tracks where the duo get to spread out, let their dense soundscapes sprawl.

    The three long tracks sounds like movements of a greater whole, clocking in at 15 minutes, 11 minutes and nearly 17 minutes respectively, each rife with creepy delayed vocals, churning guitars and smeared chords, roiling muddy whirls, which often dissipate leaving streaks of fragmented melody and haunting slowed down voices. Buried amidst the drones and whirs, are lullaby-like melodies, skittery percussion, streaks of grinding distortion, hidden voices, more field recordings, thick swaths of cavernous rumbles, little bits of electronic glitch and lots and lots of low end buzz.

    Packaged in a fancy navy blue fold over sleeve, screenprinted in white ink, with a photocopied insert with liner notes and song credits.

    LIMITED TO 150 COPIES! Each one hand numbered.

 

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