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Lately, I've felt that I don't have quite enough variety in the music I keep around. I am fortunate enough to be employed in a place where I can listen to pretty much whatever I want, and after 6PM, at almost any volume I want. So, I'm embarking on a personal mission to try and listen to at least one new album by a band I'm not really familiar with at least once a week.

On a semi-related note, I ended up asking Augustine some questions about what he's been listening to over in Japan. Augustine was kind enough to send me a bigass archive full of recommendations, and after listening to them for a while, I think I actually have an opinion on them now. Thus, this week we'll be kicking off with a special all-Japanese set of reviews.

Uncle GhettoAardvark's Occasional Music Review

Bugy Craxone - Hello, Punk Lovers (June 11, 2008, ZubRocka)
It took a few listens on this one, but Suzuki Yukiko's voice is starting to grow on me. They're best described as extremely solid indie rock that has kidnapped a female lounge singer as their vocalist. She has a dark, throaty voice that makes me wonder what Karen O would sound like if she were forty years old and had been smoking off and on for the last twenty years. I like it, but not quite enough to go looking for more of this as of right now. "Romanticist" is definitely the highlight track.
Interesting Trivia: They cite The Clash as their biggest influence.

Electric Eel Shock - Slayer's Bay Blues (1999, Double Peace)
Augustine's notes list them as "love them or hate them", which makes total sense as soon as you turn on the first song, "Turbo Slayer". It's very guitar heavy punk rock done with those twangy blues guitars, filtered through something that makes it all sound even messier. Very cool, but I've got enough messy blues-rock to last me for a while. "Overkill" and the aforementioned "Turbo Slayer" are my favorite tracks on this one.
Interesting Trivia: Slayer's Bay Blues was recorded entirely on an 8-track player.

Shugo Tokumaru - L.S.T. (June 15, 2006, Compare Notes)
I can't help but think of Sigur Rós with this. They have a few strong things in common, especially the soft (as in touch, not noise level) vocals and emphasis on lightness and the tendency to evoke landscapes. I think I actually prefer Shugo Tokamaru over Sigur Rós. He has less of a tendency to get lost in his own music, and the songs all have very marked sounds. After listening to it for a while, though, I'm convinced that he and Rufus Wainright share some influences, though I couldn't say why. "Karte" and "Vista" are both really good tracks, though I think I prefer "Mist".
Interesting Trivia: Apparently, over 100 different instruments were used to make the album, and every single one was played by Tokumaru himself.

Next week: More music from Japan, including hot drummer chicks, noise bands, and my new favorite hip-hop DJ.