Japanese garage punk
January 14, 2003 9:47 PM   Subscribe

Japan Punk Project is an adequate intro to the inscrutable world of Japanese garage punk. Witness if you will The's, a bizarre surf guitar-playing all-girl band which is like a funhouse mirror version of The Supremes. My personal favorite, Guitar Wolf, has live concert videos online here. Their 2000 "Rock 'n' Roll JET-movie" Wild Zero is not to be missed. Links may be NSFW, but just tell your boss, "Love has no borders, nationality, or gender! Rock 'n' Roll!!!"
posted by son_of_minya (21 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
one of my happiest months in chicago were seeing the 5678s a few years ago. thanks for the nostalgia, son-o-m
posted by Peter H at 9:54 PM on January 14, 2003

uh that should read -moments- not -months-. ha, they only played one night ya know. urp.
posted by Peter H at 9:56 PM on January 14, 2003

nice work.... There is an american distributor that is working on releasing Wild Zero in the US, if they haven't already..... if you like Guitar Wolf, you should check out Teengenerate and The Michelle Gun Elephant as well!
posted by terrell at 9:57 PM on January 14, 2003

*fires up winMX*
posted by delmoi at 11:37 PM on January 14, 2003

Tobio is totally hot.

Another movie that stars Guitar Wolf and is almost as good as Wild Zero is The Sore Losers. From the site:
SEE HOODLUMS vs. HIPPIES! SEE an Angel descend from Heaven...with a beer in her hand! SEE the screen's first catfight IN AN ELECTRIC CHAIR! SEE David F. Friedman in his first role in 25 years! SEE the city of Memphis leveled by powerful forces from outer space! SEE the Flashback Hippie Party Death Scene! SEE a lime green AMC Pacer in a weird face off with a UFO powered '55 Chevy! SEE an asylum where the head nurse hasn't aged in 42 years!
There's an amazing version of The Oblivians 'Bad Man with a Toy Piano' that's in both Wild Zero and The Sore Losers. Pick up the soundtrack while you're out getting the movies.
posted by bunnytricks at 2:49 AM on January 15, 2003

the only japanese (all girl and vaguely punk) band i've seen live is shonen knife - i suspect they're considered has-been commercial sell-outs compared to these bands. still, i have a nice glow-in-the-dark long sleeve shirt.
posted by andrew cooke at 3:16 AM on January 15, 2003

I love Wild Zero! I'm going to track down The Sore Losers immediately...thanks bunnytricks!
posted by JoanArkham at 4:01 AM on January 15, 2003

I recently ordered Anadorei 's album "Pussy Cannibal Holocaust" from here based on the description:

"Raw and primitive girls punk trio from Tokyo underground scene. Erotic anarchy!! Including cover songs of Velvet Underground, Dirt. Sounds like No New York + Nashville Pussy!?"

Considering Nashville Pussy's singer is a raw deep voiced man it should be quite interesting.
posted by oh posey at 5:46 AM on January 15, 2003

I remember a friend talking about Guitar Wolf, saying how great they were, and how their albums sound like they were recorded in someone's basement, with the microphone outside an open window...two blocks away.

Wasn't my particular cup of tea, but I could appreciate it. After all, I like noisy stuff like Whitehouse.
posted by angry modem at 6:56 AM on January 15, 2003

This site is a pretty good starting point from what I've been able to find about J-Punk.
Teengenerate and Guitar Wolf blew my mind when I first heard them (and still do every time I drop the needle on their vinyl)...
Current personal fave: King Brothers and eX-Girl (granted eX-Girl are more on the theatrical art-school tip, but they still rock a mean riff and put on an amazing show).
In short: Cool link. Thanks.
posted by chandy72 at 7:04 AM on January 15, 2003

If the main link isn't working for anyone, try this (antioch-college.edu instead of college.antioch.edu).
posted by staggernation at 7:35 AM on January 15, 2003

Guitar Wolf ain't bad -- first heard of them while looking for Domo-kun links. (Domo-kun -- cutest damn monster you'll ever see. Logo for Japan's BS1 television channel.) GW did the soundtrack for one of their animated interstitials.

They're not quite as noisy, but the Nelories can be fun too. And mad props to Shonen Knife.
posted by Vidiot at 8:50 AM on January 15, 2003

although not punk, the zoobombs are a deranged garage band that fuse the rolling stones and the jon spencer blues explosion together, and they rock. emperor norton has a few of their albums available domestically.

meanwhile, the 5,6,7,8's are supposed to be featured quite heavily in tarantino's revenge movie, kill bill, due at the end of 2003.
posted by myopicman at 8:53 AM on January 15, 2003

Snuffy Smiles in one of my favorite Japanese labels. Broken Rekids out of California have released a bunch of those bands in the U.S.-- Blew, Water Closet, Sprocket Wheel, the Urchin. It's just really good, sloppy, melodic punk.
posted by toddst at 9:41 AM on January 15, 2003

keiji haino's fushitsusha are by far the most important band in the world. not particularly punk rock, more nightmarishly terrifying post-apocalyptic psyche-rock transmissions from another dimension. haino doesn't so much play the guitar as send it off into space and channel the return signals through his frail body and into the humming PA.

when i was working in japan i asked a colleague whether he knew them, and he'd never heard of them. he asked his boss, who informed him that fushitsusha were a psychadelic band but not very popular in japan.

i've heard great things about guitar wolf, too.

and everyone should own at least one merzbow release. preferably the 50 cd merzbox. ha ha.
posted by nylon at 10:00 AM on January 15, 2003

i should have mentioned last time (but my colleague was chewing my ear off, going on and on and on about some ridiculous scheme he's dreamt up to allow petty criminals the chance to stay out of prison by paying them more than many people earn not to re-offend because it's cheaper than putting them in prison, and i got sidetracked and lost concentration. i digress) that the guitar wolf page is brilliant, s_o_m. i still haven't been able to listen to any of their stuff, but they're a band i desperately want to be good. they're the kind of band i love already even though i've only ever read about them.

btw, has anyone heard of bump of chicken? they're quite popular in japan at the moment it seems, and they appear to be marketed as a punk type band. i've not heard any of their stuff though. i could search out a link, but i'm supposed to be at work. let's think about the name for a moment - bump - of - chicken. i can't even begin to imagine what they were thinking. this can't even be a straightforward mistranslation. anyone?
posted by nylon at 11:13 AM on January 15, 2003

and everyone should own at least one merzbow release. preferably the 50 cd merzbox. ha ha.

occasionally, 'pulse demon' comes on winamp (shuffle), and I jump for the millionth time, because it's mixed at a substantially higher volume...and well, it's merzbow.

that and 'movement 2000' from whitehouse. probably the best static I've ever heard.
posted by angry modem at 1:02 PM on January 15, 2003

Though not the rock-n-roll film like Wild Zero, you should check out Versus.
posted by oninochuck at 1:57 PM on January 15, 2003

Versus was alright. Sort of an Asian and much-cooler Highlander. Really got into this type of music after seeing Electric Dragon 80.000 V... "He conducts electricity! He taIks to reptiles! He's the man!" Between Versus and Electric Dragon, there's a whole slew of Takashi Miike and underground "punk cinema," culminating in the ultimate Rock'n'Roll-JET movie, upon viewing of which, I was hooked.

Hope I can find these other bands at the record store. Recommend the Tokyo Trashville Compilation CD, but I couldn't find a link for it, so left it out of the FPP. It's like the badass evil twin of the Power Puff Girls album, IMHO.
posted by son_of_minya at 3:05 PM on January 15, 2003

i can't even begin to imagine what they were thinking. this can't even be a straightforward mistranslation. anyone?

In Korean, and quite possibly Japanese as well (don't know any Japanese), what we call 'goose bumps' in English is called 'chicken skin', more or less.

I would guess it's a bad translation of the Japanese phrase for 'goose bumps', which is a reasonable name for a band, I guess.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:58 PM on January 15, 2003

High Rise, the Ruins, OOIOO, Boredoms, Teengenerate, Guitar Wolf, Buffalo Daughter, and so on and so on -- all the best bands come from Japan...
posted by Fabulon7 at 7:13 PM on January 15, 2003

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