Thursday, December 28, 2006

Shinjuku Motion

I went to my first show in Tokyo last week at Shinjuku Motion. I was on the guest list because I knew one of the bands from some friends in Taiwan. Six O' Minus actually played Taiwan several times including Spring Scream, the Formoz fest as well as some shows at the Wall in Taipei. Well I took the elevator up to the fifth floor, paid the 1000 yen entry fee for 2 drink tickets (yeah, guest list in Japan doesn't mean free), the indie girls at the door handed me what seemed like a booklet of flyers and I entered the small but cozy loft bar.

I found my new friends from Six o' Minus and had a couple drinks watching the opening bands. The first was called something like Hnywo with two girls on guitar and bass playing some disco beat rock n' roll. Next was Nanocycle, another band I met while hanging out at the venue that created some wall of sound shogazer music with a laptop, guitars and female vocals on bass. Six o' Minus didn't disappoint me with their melding of dub reggae and post rock. There were a few other bands that night, but I spent a lot of time talking to the guys from Six o' Minus about Taiwan, Spring Scream and Pacifiction Records.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Pacifiction Records: Items for Sale!!

OK... Finally I have some stuff for sale on Pacifiction Records:

1) Baseball - ep - Manic Pixies/ Dirty Three influenced indie rock with searing violin!

2) Chasing Sparrow/Fall of this Corner - split CD - Two of Taiwan's only post-punk bands. Sounds ranging from minimal indie punk to screamo!

3) Armedalite Rifles - Orange County NY mod influenced punk with reggae and a touch of 80's hardcore.

4) Love Cinema Vol. 6 - North Jersey trash punk by way of Takashi Miike, complete with bondage anthems and Blondie covers!

Yokohama, Mon Amour!

Well, I'm living in Japan now! I arrive at Narita airport with a few battle scars. One of my large bags was left behind in Toronto and I started getting a sore throat on the airplane. Well, I got the bag back two days later and I finally feel a little better. But the first weekend I was in Japan, I missed Guitar Wolf, the Vickers aaaaannnddd Last Target!!! T_T And this weekend, there's not much going on... why do I always have such bad timing. Well looks like it will be a punk rock X-mass cause I'm planning on going to see Guitar Wolf and the Vickers on Christmas in Nagoya!

Last Barn Party

The weekend after Thanksgiving was my official last weekend in the US, so I threw a barn party. I invited a bunch of bands and people but only a handful of people that I invited showed up. Special thanks to Ideal Brain Tonic for bringing the crowd! The night started of with Soviet Spies and the Robotapocalypse from West Point with sampling and screaming. Then Ideal Brain Tonic with their out their experimental hard rock. The night ended with Third Part Reverse from north Jersey playing stoner post-rock accompanied by the theremin. Thanks to Deuce for stopping by and although all members of Butterface were in the same time-zone, they were all too hung-over to do a reuinion show.

Rebel Night!

Well, usual, I have some blogging to catch up on... a lot has happened in the past 3 weeks!

About two weeks ago I had Good Bye NYC / Pacifiction Records website launch party at Otto's Shrunken Head in the East Villiage. It was also Rebel Night with guest DJ Mike Mortician spinning incredible rare 50's rock n roll and rockabilly (he even threw in a car/motorcycle noise theme set!!). It was a real sock hop with all these Japanese cats with pompadours and white tee-shirts doing the Twist! The girls in more 60's mod fashions did occasional line dances to the slower songs and there were a lot of couples spinning and shaking at the rave!

I have to thank all my NYC friends who cam out: Amy Uzi, Tony and Chris, Anna Bananarchy and Mary, Paul Wheeler (Rock of Japan) and my web designers Antonio and Peggy (Freckles Studio) ans well as all the people they brought with them.

I also have to thank the DJs and Rebel Night gang: Sei, Kick and June!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Head Phones President

Something very unusal happened at work today. Nothing every seems to happen at Radical Records, at least recently, but on Friday we had guests form Japan. My boss's friend Frank Wood who is a booking agent for a host of NY bands asked to stop by with Head Phones President kind of a spiritual hard rock group from Tokyo with a wild fairy like lead singer.

The next day I stopped by the Pass Out Record Shop and coincidentally they were the opening band for a day long rock event. It was amusing trying to talk to the band with my very limited Japanese ability and only my photocopied text book notes to work from, but I felt like I made some new friends I could meet up with when I get to Japan.

While talking with Head Phones President, there was another Japanese cat hanging around the store front. I found out he's in a band called Das Boot... one of the original Back from the Grave Tokyo garage bands! While I'm not familiar with Das Boot, they were on one of the Hodge, Podge, Barrage comps and are from the same background as bands like Guitar Wolf, Ginnyvamps, Great Mongoose, Jackie and the Cedrics and the 5678's!

TV Party!

So I was on public access TV in Port Jervis, NY last Thursday nite playing Mandolin with Rich Murphy and the Barn Boys! Rich Murphy is a 79 year old WWII vet who started playing guitar and yodelling when he was a kid. He played real country rock n' roll in bars all throughout the 30's, 40's and 50's and after putting down the guitar for 20 years, he stepped in to VFW open mic hosted by my father's friend GT and blew the crowd away with his classics.

After a year and a half of backing up Rich in my father's barn, we got invited to play a public access TV show called Keepin' Country Strong (kind of a Hee Haw type showcase of local country and rock acts). We played some classics like Blue Moon of Kentucky, Wabash Cannonball, Okie from Muscogee and Pictures of Life's Otherside. It was a lot of fun and I'll try to get some of the show on Youtube one of these days!


So I spent my Halloween weekend in New Paltz, my old college town. I saw a host of old friends like Matty Pants who I went up to Cabaloosa with to see an female-fronted Misfits cover band and Pitchfork Militia. Some girl dressed as snot remember me from jumping off the roof at a party a year ago and I was flattered. And at the end of the nite Joker and Harley Quinn waltzed in. Fantastic!

Halloween in New Paltz is always cool. I wore my usually Chinese ghost mask which always creeps a lot of people out. I went up to the haunted house with some new friends and then actually went Trick or Treating for the first time in 10 years!

Suicide Girls vs. Benten Girls!

Two weeks ago I saw Tsu Shi Ma Mi Re open for the Suicide Girls burlesque show. I hung out at the merch table before they went on and I met Paul Wheeler, the wiz behind the Rock of Japan website. I had just had business cards printed up, and made some Taiwan indie sampler to pass out. I had previously corresponded with Paul via email, but was happy to finally meet in person. As a hobby, he goes out to any Japanese rock events around NYC and writes show and CD reviews to give exposure to these otherwise under-the-radar bands. When I first found his site I noticed it was that it's goals where similar to my own site for the Taiwan underground music scene, Island of Sound. Look for a Pacifiction Records banner add on Rock of Japan sometime soon!

Tsu Shi Ma Mi Re played a great fun set, with my favorite songs Ebiharu Shinji and Tea Time Ska! I love watching Yayoi dance like a maniac! Benten bands are so cool and I can't wait to see groups like Lolita No.18 and Mummy the Peepshow when I go to Japan. After the show, I hung out at the merch table with Tsu Shi Ma Mi Re. As the Suicide Girls did bare-breasted tricks on stage with little black X's on their nips, I thought to myself, Suicide Girls?.. I prefer Benten Girls!

Pacifiction News!

Ok, I'm not the greatest blogger, cause a lot has happened in the past couple weeks and I haven't taken the time to post anything.

First off, I met with Freckles Studio almost a week and a half ago. The site is looking great and should be well into the programming phase right now. I hope to meet with the designers this week to see what's up. The next step is to create a PayPay account and get that integrated.

As for stocking CDs, I've been talking to 7 Inch Vinyl about getting Varo, Tin Pan Alley and SMOL. And I will be carrying Dolly's Pillbox's new EP as well as the new 8mm Sky full length from Silent Agreement. Also on the way is the Chasing Sparrow/ Fall of this Corner split and the Australian band Baseball's EP. Once I figure out how to pay these labels and bands and get them available on my site, we'll really be rolling!

All CDs so far will be shipped direct from Taiwan by my friend Once. He's acting as kind of a manager for me and helping me out in a very big way.

I'll write more about Pacifiction Records after my next meeting with Freckles Studio.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

End of the Century

This past weekend saw the closing of the beyond legendary NYC punk haven CBGBs. On Saturday nite, Debbie Harry smiled at me from stage and then HD Manitoba from the Dictators assured us all that NYC will always have rock n' roll as long as he's around. And it was great meeting all the characters on line and at the gallery even though I didn't get to see Patti Smith. Special thanks to Matt Pless for the acoustic punk jam.


(Me an' the Captain at CBGBs; Dead Man Walking show November 2005)

Thursday, October 12, 2006

What goes on.

I have another meeting with Freckles Studio next week to discuss the progress of my new website for Pacifiction Records. So far it's looking good! And I've already made tentative plans to leave for Japan on December 1st this year. Hopefully I will have enough time and money to visit Taiwan in January or February for Chinese New Year. In the meantime I will be arranging things between indie labels in Taiwan and setting up my Paypal account.

Now I'd like to stay away from deep political discussions and focus on this new business venture of mine, but I saw a very provocative and emotional documentary about people in Japan and Korea who are fighting to protect their environment as well as their peaceful way of life. I was invited to a screening of Yukihisa Fujimoto's documentary "Marines Go Home!" The film discuss the damage to the ecology, the disruption of daily life and the accidental killings of innocent civilians due to the unnecessary, and arguably, unlawful US occupation of Korea and Japan. Stroll with a man in Hokkaido who refuses to leave his home in the middle of a training camp, celebrate with Korean villagers of Maehyang-ri as they see the closure of an air force bombing range and share the distress of Okinawan protesters as attempt non-violent means to stop a survey for a new military base at Henoko. It's truly chilling to see these devoted environmentalists take their canoes out to sea, block the surveyors, and even struggle with their own stance of non-violence while they are being pulled into the water from the survey stands and threatened by those working for the Japanese government. Fujimoto-San is taking this film on tour across the US to various universities. I was lucky to catch it last night in NYC at Bluestockings Bookstore.

Special thanks to my Japanese tutor Yuko who invited me out for the screening as well as dinner with the director, his crew and some students from Okinawa University traveling with him. ( By the way, I met Yuko at an Afrirampo show at Tonic last year, just to tie this all in with music.) As far as documentaries go, this one is a bit choppy cutting back and forth between the three locales, but the true-to-life filming gives the outsider, whether they are an American from Nebraska or a Japanese Mainlander, vital insight into these critical issues.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Go for Broke!

After spending a year in Taiwan going to shows and fests at every chance, I started documenting the underground scene on a website called Island of Sound. The basic goal of the project was to give exposure to some of these great bands that would otherwise go unheard. About a year later, and maybe 3 months ago, I decided to open my own online store called Pacifiction Records where you can find mostly Taiwanese indie rock, punk and electronica but also other rare Asian underground music.

The website for Pacifiction Records will be launched in early November and shortly after I will be stocking Taiwanese indies such as Varo, SMOL, Dolly's Pillbox and 8mm Sky. So get ready!

On a side note, I like the the phrase "Go for Broke!" as a way to describe my decision to leap into a somewhat risky business venture. The phrase was used as a slogn and battle cry by Japanese Americans fighting in World War II. The 1951 movie Go for Broke is pretty good watch.