Tag Archives: Worst Taste

Connect And Receive – Summer 2021 Japan underground picks

I’ve put this blog on hold while I’m trying to finish writing the terrible book I’ve been putting off working on for the past five years, but as a compromise, I made this mix of tracks from Japanese underground and weirdo punk releases that have come out during the first half or thereabouts of this year. You can listen to it here:

TRACK LIST:

OOPS – Riso no Morning / 理想のモーニング
An up-and-coming punk band from Osaka, taken from their Out of Pictures 7-inch single.

LLRR – Anonymous
Released on streaming sites last year, this Kyoto art-punk band’s debut < = > EP got a limited cassette release this spring (full disclosure: from my Call And Response label).

THE QUESTONS – I am I
This garage-punk trio from Okinawa have put out a couple of releases this year, with this track coming from their Koi no Yokan EP in February.

M.A.Z.E. – Spread the Germicide
Punk with oblique no wavey flourishes, from this reliably in-your-face band’s short, sharp, sub-15-minute 9-song collection II.

Ignition Block M – Houses of Fire
There’s a lot of buzz around this Tokyo punk band, with this song the title track of their recent Houses of Fire EP.

KLONNS – Gehenna
One of the core bands of the Discipline event, usually held at the great Koiwa Bushbash live venue, which combines punk, metal, psychedelic noise and intense techno, Klonns hold up the ferocious, gothic grindcore end of the spectrum on this single. The label Black Hole has also carved out a noteworthy space as a key hub for young, stylish, noisy artists in Tokyo. Aisha from Ignition Block M appears as a guest vocalist on this track.

Ms. Machine – 2020
Another young band with connections to the Discipline and Black Hole crews, Ms. Machine’s debut album was one of the few underground releases to really attract a buzz in Tokyo this year, combining simple hooks in swirling, gothic no wave squalls of noise.

Barbican Estate – White Jazz
Another hotly tipped Tokyo indie band, this 4AD-esque psychedelic swirl came out as part of the Rhyming Slang label’s Japan/China compilation cassette early this year.

yokujitsu – Just Vibes
This Tokyo psychedelic band released a live EP earlier in the year, followed up with this cassette single in the spring.

concrete twin – Nigella
Lo-fi shoegaze that builds up towering walls of distorted sound around its fragile melody in this track from their “Re​:​encounter” sound source #04 EP. The band claim a trip-hop influence, which is hinted at in the shuffling drums, although I get more of a Madchester vibe from it.

BD1982 – THEW3ST
One half of the team behind Tokyo’s fantastic Diskotopia label, this track hails off BD1982’s excellent Ryuichi Sakamoto-meets-Throbbing Gristle solo album Distance Vision.

Jesus Weekend – Forever Breeze
A welcome return from what was once a curiously meandering Osaka lo-fi band and is now a more ambient-focused Tokyo solo act, with this Eno-esque piece taken from the lovely Rudra no Namida cassette EP.

rima kato – today was so bad
This is an old track, from the Four Songs EP, originally released by the aotoao label in 2010 and just re-released this year. Rima Kato’s simple, melancholy melodies and gentle, warm delivery are always worth checking out.

Mitsuru Tabata – Nichijo Part 1 / 日常パート1
Another old song, re-released this year as part of eclectic underground legend Mitsuru Tabata’s (ex-Boredoms, Zeni Geva, Acid Mothers Temple and a billion other bands) large archive of tracks released for compilation albums over the years, Compilation Breakdown.

Closh – I don’t care bcz I’m just ????
A curious and always interesting presence in the Tokyo indie scene, Closh released a couple of mini-albums with the band Doodless before joining alt-rock band Wetnap. As far as I know, this is her first solo release but her exasperated vocal howls and catchy, lo-fi indie-punk guitars are instantly recognisable.

Merry Ghosts – Scotch Egg Struggle
Previously known as Trespass, Merry Ghosts are a post-punk-edged Osaka-based (I think originally from Kobe) alt-rock duo, with this track a deceptively catchy, scuzzy highlight of their very good new album Pink Bloom. It’s not available on Bandcamp, but there’s a CD out there if you can track it down.

Worst Taste – New creation
A mainstay of the Tokyo alt rock scene over the past 15 years or so, this piece of sparse yet intense art-punk comes from their recent Ultra Power EP, which seems to be available only as a cassette directly from the band at the moment.

PANICSMILE – Have You Seen The Bridge
Another album not available on Bandcamp, but the self-titled CD album it comes from is available pretty widely from label Like a Fool Records (and you can find it on the evil Spotify if you don’t want the band to get any money). Put together last year through a sort of pass-the-parcel remote recording process between Tokyo, Nagoya and Fukuoka, this album revels in its fragmentation and unexpected turns, but comes together with an urgency that it’s amazing a band with such a long career can still summon.

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Top 20 Releases of 2012: No.17 – Worst Taste – Tōhikō wa Owaranai

You can read the full review of this album that I wrote in October 2012 here, so please do that to get my main thoughts on this fantastic album.

Beyond what my original review states, I should add that the fact that Worst Taste maintain a very distinctive musical identity without sacrificing musical development and experimentation in their songwriting is one of the most praiseworthy aspects of the band. With bassist Naoto Kojima having departed for America last summer, just after the release of Tōhikō wa Owaranai, the band have continued to perform as Worst Taste & Special Magic, with the effects wizardry of DJ Memai filling out their sound and drawing them in a different direction, but still there, credit must go to guitar/vocalist Kaita Tanaka and drummer Mao Kato that even losing the sparse, crisp three piece arrangements that have characterised their music so far, they are still recognisably themselves.

Listening back over the album, it deserves stating again what an ace track Datsuraku no Asahi is, with its drawn-out, deliberate pace, edgy, suppressed atmosphere, and inventive arrangement displaying the group’s confidence with song styles that expand their sound into new areas. At the same time, opening track Hyper Up aptly demonstrates that when they’re in their comfort zone, Worst Taste are hard to beat in their comfort zone of hard rocking, slightly off-kilter garage-punk.

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Worst Taste: Tōhikō wa Owaranai

 

CD, BounDEE, 2012

This new album by Tokyo punk trio Worst Taste picks up where their previous Dance de Kimete left off with a barrage of taut, fierce and often minimal garage rock guitar riffs over a hyperactive machinegun rattle of drums and pummelling bass, topped with Kaita Tanaka’s furious, barking vocals. The way the songs ricochet back and forth between unreconstructed Nuggets-style 60s garage-punk, arty, rhythmical postpunk and kick-you-in-the-face hardcore is familiar and over the course of a fifty-minute album can be exhausting in places, but the band have made some significant and interesting moves to expand their range of sound with the ponderous, psychedelic synth-textured opening of Akumu no Yokoku o Yokan Shite recalling the experimental 1970s rock of This Heat and the near ten-minute Datsuraku no Asahi also exploring more expansive territory, occasionally recalling the atmospheric minimalism of Pere Ubu. There are also signs that Tanaka has developed and grown in confidence as a guitarist, here restricting himself less to sharp, angular chords and allowing himself to wig out in a shamelessly rock’n’roll style solo on Step wo Funde, while elsewhere on the album picking out curious melodies reminiscent of Eastern European folk music. As batty as it sometimes sounds, this is a tightly-wound, intense but never less than accessible flurry of vibrant, energetic, offbeat punk rock and well worth your attention.Soulmate Crisis

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