Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Yesterday Was... A Flying Nun Compilation 1980-2002

For many fans of independent music, the 80s were about record labels such as Creation, Rough Trade, Homestead, SST etc.. For me, it was the Flying Nun label from New Zealand. It took about 3-4 years for their early releases to filter through to the UK, and when they did I was gobsmacked that so much good music was coming from a country I'd never really recognised before on the musical map. From 1981 to the mid 90s this label was, for me, at the forefront of exciting, new, independent music.

You had the lo-fi, and way ahead of it's time, experimental band Tall Dwarfs (people should check out their Hello Cruel World compilation), the classic pop of The Chills (Pink Frost is down as one of my favourite tunes of all time). Then there was The Gordons, making the kind of music in 1981 which took at least another 3 years for Sonic Youth to even come anywhere near emulating. Check this description of their debut album: "This is a jugganaut of a record . When you put it on not only will your lawn die, your Motorhead albums will shrivel in their sleeves, leaving only a sticky black gel ..".

You had the jangly pop and wonderful harmonies of Sneaky Feelings (also the first Flying Nun band I ever heard), the snotty brat-punk of Bored Games/Doublehappys (both fronted by Shayne Carter who went on to front the seminal Straitjacket Fits). Then we have The Verlaines: "noted for their angular, 'difficult' song structures, wordy and downbeat lyrics, unusual subject matter all contained in often frantic up-tempo playing."

There have been many Flying Nun compilations released over the years, but I thought I'd add my own personal slant here. A lot of the tunes I've selected aren't the "obvious" classic songs, many are songs that tend to get overlooked on the aforementioned compilations. So while this isn't neccessarily a "greatest" of Flying Nun, I hope this comes across as a well balanced mix of the more familiar songs amongst some total obscurities.

Disc 1
Buddy - Snapper (3:40) 1989
The Water - Goblin Mix (4:23) 1985
Into You (remix) - JPS Experience (3:43) 1993
Yesterday Was - The Great Unwashed (2:04) 1983
Misirlou - King Loser (3:17) 1995
Year Of The Tiger - Look Blue Go Purple (2:33) 1988
X - Bailter Space (4:47) 1994
Your Heavy Dream (Won't Fly) - Alec Bathgate (3:31) 1996
Supa Day - Betchadupa (4:02) 2002
My Love My Life - Bike (3:39) 1995
Wet Blanket - The Chills (2:37) 1988
Sunken Head - 3Ds (3:45) 1992
This Room is Wrong - Tall Dwarfs (3:21) 1983
Mothlight - The Terminals (3:03) 1988
Down in Splendour - Straitjacket Fits (3:38) 1990
Point That Thing Somewhere Else - The Clean (9:17) 2000

Disc 2
Killer Clown - Superette (3:53) 1994
For the Ride - The Bats (3:45) 1995
Others Way - DoubleHappys (3:32) 1984
Own Two Feet - The Jean Paul Sartre Experience (3:23) 1986
Death Rehearsal - Toy Love (3:22) 1980
Amino - High Dependency Unit (5:49) 2000
Maybe You Need To Come Back - Sneaky Feelings (4:14) 1990
Crazy - David Kilgour (2:56) 1994
Go Ahead - Pop Art Toasters (2:07) 1994
Witches - Chug (2:37) 1994
Hold Me - Able Tasmans (4:32) 1990
Joe 90 - Bored Games (4:25) 1982
Laughing Now - The Gordons (4:10) 1981
Sunflower - The Exploding Budgies (2:23) 1985
Ain't Mutatin' - Bird Nest Roys (2:45) 1985
Doomsday - The Verlaines (4:02) 1986
Laughter - Chris Knox (3:32) 2000

  FLAC:  Part 1  Part 2
    MP3:  Here!

Nippon Gendai Ongaku

01. Les Rallizes Denudés - Otherwise My Conviction (3:35) from "Yodo-Go-A-Go-Go", recorded 1967
02. Blues Creation - Sooner Or Later (5:16) from "Demon & Eleven Children", 1971
03. Yonin Bayashi - Omatsuri (11.14) from "Isshoku Sokuhatsu", 1974
04. Jacks - Gloomy Flower (3:22) from "Vacant World", 1968
05. Flower Travellin' Band - Satori Part 2 (7:07) from "Satori", 1971
06. Akira Ishikawa & Count Buffalos - Pigmy (7:46) from "Uganda", 1972
07. Magical Power Mako - Jump To You (5:45) from "Jump", 1977
08. Speed, Glue & Shinki - Ode To The Bad People (5:00) from "Eve", 1971
09. Love Live Life + One - Love Will Make A Better You (4:23) from "Love Will Make A Better You", 1971
10. People - Prayer Part 2 (4:34) from "Ceremony~Buddha Meet Rock", 1971
11. Far East Family Band - The Cave (8:33) from "Nipponjin", 1975
12. Kuni Kawachi & Friends - Graveyard Of Love (4:12) from "Kirikyogen", 1970
13. Les Rallizes Denudes - The Night Collectors (8:32) from "Heavier Than A Death In The Family", recorded 1977

FLAC: Part 1  Part 2
MP3: Here!

OK, I guess a few words from me about this compilation. This mix was inspired by Julian Cope's Japrocksampler book, which I really do think is an essential read, just like his other book Krautrocksampler (about, of course, the thriving German music scene of the 70s).

There have been a good few Japanese bands over the years which I have long enjoyed, and until the past 10 years most of their albums were damned hard to get hold of. It was bands like the Boredoms, or Ruins, Zeni Geva or even Shonen Knife which first alerted me to some crazy (and delightful) music coming from Japan. But I knew very little about the thriving music scene they had in the late 60s/early 70s, which didn't spread to other parts of the world. Yes I'd heard the odd tune, mainly thanks to Pebbles compilations and suchlike, featuring the likes of The Golden Cups and The Mops. But this was just the tip of the iceberg.

I guess the band that really kicked off my obsession with the Japanese music scene was Flower Travellin' Band. About 4-5 years ago somebody recommended to me their album "Satori". To this day it is still my favourite album from this scene, and I guess Julian Cope thinks so too, making it to number 1 in his all time top 50 Japrock albums. So I started doing a bit of searching, discovering bands like Speed, Glue & Shinki. Les Rallizes Denudés. Very little information was out there about these bands (apart from on Cope's website, HeadHeritage.com of course). Which is why I was delighted when Cope brought out his book, featuring not just the bands I'd already heard of, but dozens more.

The top 50 can be seen here: http://rateyourmusic.com/list/Internaut/japrocksampler
Of course I had to seek these out. There ae a few bands which have still to this day eluded me. Anyone have Gedo's self-titled album? Or Itsutsu no Akai Fusen's "Folk - Volume 1"?
Anyway, here's just a few quotes from reviews about some of the artists included on my mix:

Blues Creation:
Your unworthy earholes will have an auditory orgasm as Lord of Hot Licks Kazuo "Flash" Takeda and his band of not-so-merry-men stomp all over those foolish notions you had about what comprised groovy Hard Rock.
Flower Travellin' Band:
Satori is a huge album in every way. From power chords to Eastern-tinged North African six string freak-outs and crashing tom-toms, the band flexes its collective muscle from start to finish. In short, this is a real rock classic of the type they simply don't make any more.
artistically, the Jacks were miles ahead of their peers, in terms of both musical innovation and emotional depth. Singer Hayakawa Yoshio's wails resonate in a way that none of his contemporaries could achieve, exhibiting a heart-tugging pull that commands respect.
Les Rallizes Denudes:
"The Night Collectors" pushes pop song to scandalous levels of distorted delirium where everything melts into a throbbing, hemorrhagic migraine. Two decades on, High Rise and Mainliner would "patent" this sound - not to mention Rallizes' magical combination of crippling distortion and cruddy fidelity - without really improving upon 1977's model. Sheer beautiful-noise overdrive of rarest pedigree, "The Night Collectors" points at a possibly unstated influence on Sonic Youth and their ecstatic kin.