Saturday, 26 December 2009

Switched On! Christmas Party (December 26th)

Tokyo's finest new wave/electro/technopop party Switched On! has its annual Christmas party again tonight back at its original venue, the old Bar Drop. Although the venue officially closed last year, the place is still there and the owners invited us back to do a show, so it should be a homecoming spectacular for all concerned. For all, that is, except our special guests Tika Tika from Nagoya, and N'toko from Slovenia, both of whom will be adding some of their own spice and glamour to procedings.

12/26 (Sat)
Kichijoji ex.Bar Drop
5:00 P.M. - 11:00 P.M.
2000yen adv. / 2300yen door

Ian Martin (Call And Response Records)
Katsumi Suzuki
Takayuki Tonegawa (Wicky Records)
Kovacs (Petit Mit)
Mince (The Frap Frap Fraps)


Tika Tika
(from Nagoya)
N'toko (from Slovenia)

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

C.A.R. stuff on teh Internets Part 3

Nippon Rock has an interview with me on their web site now, augmented by a gloriously fuzzy photo that I took of myself in a mirror at Akihabara Club Goodman using my iPhone. Go there and marvel at what I look like when I'm dangerously drunk and mirror-reversed (also check out the 90s retro Aston Villa away shirt I'm hiding under my jacket in anticipation of the Villans' historic win over Manchester United later that same evening!)

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Fashion Crisis (December 2009)

The last Fashion Crisis of 2009 is coming up next Monday, so be sure to cancel all appointments and get on down to Koenji for the undoubted extravaganza that the event will surely be. Along with the familiar faces of Candles will be special live guest Kiyokazu Onozaki from indie/folk/neo-acoustic tunesmiths the Andersens. Also, making regular DJs Ian and James look like the hopeless amateurs they are, will be Slovenian electro/hip hop/experimental superstar N'toko.

Date: December 7th 2009
Time: 7:30 P.M.
Place: Koenji Bar One
Cost: FREE
Live: Candles / Kiyokazu Onozaki (from the Andersens)
DJs: N'toko / James Hadfield / Ian Martin

Monday, 30 November 2009

Fire in Koenji

Some people might over the last week have read about the fire in an izakaya in the Tokyo suburb of Koenji that claimed four lives last Sunday morning. Certainly for those of us who live in and around Koenji this has been enormous news and of more than a little importance in the music scene.

Koenji is famous as a music district, with way more than its fair share of live venues, as well as record shops catering to pretty much all tastes, from hardcore punk, to reggae, to fucked up experimental improvised music to old 1950s and 60s singers. Many of the residents are musicians or otherwise involved in the music scene, and Ishikaritei, the izakaya where the fire happened, was a central place in Koenji's music scene, as much part of the scene's fabric as venues like 20000V or shops like Enban.

Positioned on the second floor of the building that also includes the punk venues Gear and 20000V, Ishikaritei was a regular venue for the after-gig drinking that often followed gigs. The food was cheap, the staff were friendly, easygoing people, and it always had good music playing, usually a mixture of 60s and 70s rock and pop. The staff there clearly liked music and were always accommodating to musicians with their cumbersome bags full of equipment and frequently drunken behaviour.

Over the past week wherever I've gone, any time I've met music scene people, the conversation has invariably come down to the fire. All that has been published about the two staff members who died is that they were a man in his sixties and a man in his forties, but in any case it's clear that the people killed included people we knew, at least tangentially. These were people you would walk past in the street and recognise. Possibly people you'd smile and nod your head to them.

The fire occurred at about 9 A.M. on Sunday morning, and one of the most sickening things about the past week was hearing the tutting, clucking insinuations of the media talking heads as they ask what people were doing out drinking at such a time. There is something decadent, seedy, morally bankrupt about it, they imply. Those four people who died had somehow brought this on themselves.

Ishikaritei's customers weren't just musicians though. In the evening, it was just like any normal izakaya, with couples, people having a post-work drink, groups of friends. From ten or eleven o'clock the musicians started pouring in, and then from about 3:00 or 4:00 A.M., like any other izakaya, it would become quiet. After 5:00, however, it would get busier again as the workers on night shifts came by for an after-work drink. These were the workers from other izakayas, the girls from the hostess bars, the people who keep the town running until morning for everyone else.

This urge to seize on any aspect of the abnormal is perhaps understandable when trying to deal with a senseless tragedy like this. After all, none of the normal 5:00 A.M. izakayas burned down, just the freaky 10:00 A.M. one. It still fills me with anger though. The building, like many in Koenji, is an old one, and fire is an ever-present danger for an izakaya specialising in yakitori (grilled chicken), and something should be done to ensure that these old buildings are made safer, but it's hard not to feel that the culture as a whole is being victimised by these insinuations.

In Japan there is a tradition after an incident like this for people to leave offerings at the site. Flowers, of course, but also other small gifts. There's a kind of pathetic irony in the contrast between the magnitude of the event and the commonplace nature of the offerings, but within that is something deeply moving.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Hyacca on the Internets

There's a review of Hyacca's new album Hanazono on Nippon Rock. If you don't trust me, as the owner of Hyacca's label, that it's ace, please trust this neutral observer.

For potential buyers, C.A.R.'s own release info is here.

Monday, 2 November 2009

Fashion Crisis (November 2009)

Fashion Crisis is back with all the usual favourites as well as special guest DJ Shingo Nakagawa, infamous as the bass player in Tokyo's most fearsome no wave noiseniks The Mornings. Tuesday is a national holiday, so there's no excuse not to let loose and disco down.

Date: November 2nd 2009
Time: 7:30 P.M.
Place: Koenji Bar One
Cost: FREE
Live: Candles / Back in Tokio
DJs: Shingo Nakagawa (The Mornings) / James Hadfield / Ian Martin

Thursday, 15 October 2009

More C.A.R. stuff on teh Internets

British newspaper The Guardian has an article on its web site based on an e-mail interview with me about five or six months ago. Naturally, considering how long winded my response was, the finished item has been edited somewhat, although unfortunately this leaves some points unclear and others nonsensical. To prove I'm not stupid (or at least that I'm stupid in the right way) I posted the full interview including questions and my own unedited responses on the Clear And Refreshing web site for comparison purposes.

The line about "Shibuya-kei is the only scene anyone really speaks about here" makes me cringe and is something the writer pulled out of their arse.

Update: Oct.15 11:31
Zac Bentz has posted his thoughts at Japanator. He's not happy with the tone of the series of articles that my interview was part of.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Fashion Crisis (October 2009)

This month's Fashion Crisis provides a reprise of September's guest, Koenji electro scientist Back in Tokio, with a hopefully fit and healthy Candles returning after Tessy's frankly astonishing Akiba-metal solo performance last time. If that isn't enough to make you wet with anticipation, Tokyo's favourite fake Brazilian DJ extraordinaire Antonio Yodobashi will be spinning all manner of fabulous tunes in honour of the fantastic victory of Rio in winning the 2016 Olympics.

Date: October 5th 2009
Time: 7:30 P.M.
Place: Koenji Bar One
Cost: FREE
Live: Candles / Back in Tokio
DJs: Antonio Yodobashi / James Hadfield / Ian Martin

Friday, 2 October 2009

Fuck Perfume...

...these three girls really knew where it's at. All mainstream Japanese music since 1978 has been toiling in the long shadow cast by this trio's five years of perfect pop.

Monday, 28 September 2009

Koenji Pop Festival (October 10th 2009)

It's anniversary time again for C.A.R. with the fourth annual Koenji Pop Festival, as usual featuring a wealth of musical debauchery amid fountains of low quality alcohol. In total there will be ten bands performing, including three from the southern rock and roll Eden that is Kyushu, augmented by a wealth of local talent.

Along with a number of familiar faces like MIR, tacobonds, The Mornings, ruruxu/sinn (pronounced "lulue-shin"), Grouncover. and Zibanchinka (地盤沈下), the event will also feature Fukuoka instrumental trio Me I Sashimi (ミー愛さしみ), the fierce and sexy Hemay (悲鳴), the glam rock/kayoukyoku stylings of Momoiro Ageha (桃色アゲハ), not to mention old co-conspirators Abikyokan, who return to C.A.R. to dazzle you with their science.

Info and artist links below:

Place: Koenji 20000V
Date: October 10th 2009
Open: 16:00 Start: 16:20
Cost: 2,000 yen + 1 drink adv. / 2,300 + 1 drink door

The Mornings
Hemay (悲鳴)
Zibanchinka (地盤沈下 -- From Kagoshima)
ruruxu/sinn (From Fukuoka)
Me I Sashimi (ミー愛さしみ -- From Fukuoka)
■Momoiro Ageha (桃色アゲハ)

Friday, 18 September 2009

Spoon Market (September 18th 2009)

All-girl indie synth thing Tokyo Pinsalocks are holding the latest of their Spoon Market events tonight, gathering together all manner of girly music, arts and crafts at the unlikely venue of the Sasazuka Bowl (as in a bowling place, rather than something like the Hollywood Bowl). Call And Response are represented by myself, who will be DJing the more ambient end of Krautrock and NDW, plus whatever else comes to mind upstairs in the lounge area, and by Fukuoka indie supergroup Miu Mau, featuring Hyacca's very own Kajiwara Hiromi on guitar. In addition, regular C.A.R. collaborators Motocompo will perform live, as will former Fashion Crisis DJ Noriko. Frap Frap Fraps and Sweet Vacation, who Switched On! partygoers may remember from past events, will also be performing in various capacities.

Date: September 18th 2009
Time: 7:00 P.M. - 5:00 A.M.
Place: Sasazuka Bowl
Cost: 3,000 yen (advance) / 3,500 yen (door)

All information is on the Spoon Market web site where you can find a full list of artists, a detailed timetable, and a floor map.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

NEW RELEASE: "Hanazono" by Hyacca

Call And Response Records have a new mini-album out this month. The long-awaited second by Fukuoka's finest, Hyacca (百蚊). Going by the title of Hanazono (花園), it's tighter, faster, more aggressive, and every bit as awesome as their debut, also on Call And Response, Sashitai (刺したい).

Hanazono (CAR-93)
1. 34 DANCE
2. Olympic
4. Hair Nude
5. Charlie
8. Stress

Currently available at selected independent record shops:
Enban (Koenji)
Sunrain Records (Koenji)

Available nationwide October 1st either direct from our distributor Bridge inc. or through mainstream stores:
Tower Records

Monday, 7 September 2009

Fashion Crisis (September 2009)

It's that time of the month again and tonight (September 7th) sees the latest Fashion Crisis swing into view. Joining the usual crew will be Noriko behind the decks, and Koenji local Back in Tokyo on vocoder and electropop. The fun starts at the usual time and ends when it ends.

Date: September 7th 2009
Time: 7:30 P.M.
Place: Koenji Bar One
Cost: FREE
Live: Candles / Back in Tokio
DJs: Noriko / James Hadfield / Ian Martin

Edit (3:20 P.M.) : Just heard that Pepe from Candles is out of action with the lurgee, so Tessy is going to play a one-off set without her today.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Switched On! 2nd Anniversary (August 28th 2009)

The bimonthly Tokyo electro, new wave and dance music party Switched On! will have its second anniversary event at Kichijoji Fourth Floor on the 28th of August. As always, Call And Response's very own me will be there as a DJ, as will all manner of other, better, DJs and a handful of live acts.

Full event details here:

8/28 (Fri) Kichijoji Fourth Floor
8:00 P.M. - 5:00 A.M.
2000yen (including 1 drink)
* Members of the Switched On! mixi
community can get in for 2000yen (including 2 drinks)

Ian Martin (Call And Response Records)
Grant McGaheran (Abikyokan)
Katsumi Suzuki
Takayuki Tonegawa (Wicky Records)
Kovacs (Petit Mit)
higuma (bluebadge label, Free Design
Yajima (Coconuts Disk)
Mince (The Frap Frap Fraps)

analogy and digitalian




The Frap Frap Fraps

This event goes on for nine whole hours, so come prepared to dance your poor little feet off. Alternatively, just arrive late or leave early. It's all up to yourself.

Monday, 3 August 2009

Fashion Crisis (August 2009)

This month's Fashion Crisis is tonight (August 3rd), with the usual behind-the-scenes chaos and disorder. As usual, myself and Metropolis' own James Hadfield will DJ, and of course Candles will perform.

However, the lovely Puffy Shoes were forced into cancelling last week for certain reasons (get well soon, Azumi!) and a bit of a palaver ensued. Fortunately Fujiko More has agreed to step in at the last minute and perform in their place. One crisis over, another to begin, er, as it were. Then lastly, we have DJ extraordinaire Evil Penguin joining us to pound our listeners into submission with his genre-busting party tunes or whatever he's planning to play. In any case, it'll be worth it.

Date: August 3rd 2009
Time: 7:30 P.M.
Place: Koenji Bar One
Cost: FREE
Live: Candles / Fujiko More
DJs: Evil Penguin / James Hadfield / Ian Martin

Sunday, 2 August 2009

C.A.R. stuff reviewed on the Internets

On some random 5 A.M. Internet rambling I ran into some stuff about Hyacca (百蚊) on ZB's A-Z of J-Music, which compares them to Midori (ミドリ)and Toddle, neither of which are bands I'm sure I deem worthy to shine Hyacca's boots, but it would be churlish to suggest that there are absolutely no similarities.

Roam in Octave gushes about Hyacca as well, and also takes in Mir in an earlier post. To top things off, they describe C.A.R. as "a totally awesome record label that you should all support monetarily" (bold text mine), which just makes it all the more tragic that the site seems to have drifted into oblivion since January. Come back!

Friday, 17 July 2009

Telephone Club in Koenji (July 18th 2009)

After last weekend's show in Fukuoka, Call And Response's live showcase returns to Tokyo and its regular venue of Koenji Roots tomorrow. Hyacca (百蚊) will come over from Fukuoka and Mir will once again be playing alongside them. Also joining the bill at a C.A.R. event for the first time will be The Mornings, bringing their usual burst of unhinged energy, along with quirky indie four-piece Owllights, who first played at Telephone Club this February. Completing the live lineup will be cottonioo, an all-girl pop duo with a kind of eccentric new wave sound and a neat line in sweet melodies and fragile arrangements.

DJs will be myself, as usual, and James Hadfield of Metropolis.

Place: Koenji Roots
Date: July 18th 2009
Open: 18:00 Start: 18:30
Cost: 1,800 yen + 1 drink adv. / 2,300 + 1 drink door

■The Mornings
■Hyacca (百蚊)

■Ian Martin (Call And Response)
■James Hadfield

Friday, 10 July 2009

Telephone Club in Fukuoka (July 11th 2009)

Call And Response's live showcase event Telephone Club is taking its yearly trip to Fukuoka tomorrow to continue our association with this amazing punk rock city. Coming with us from Tokyo will be the dark and fragile Mir, and helping us sort things out at the Fukuoka end are the amazing Hyacca (百蚊).

Also on the bill are ruruxu/sinn (pronounced "luluu-shin" for reasons only they are party to), who played at the last Telephone Club at Koenji Roots in March; Chow Chow (蝶丁), a psychedelic/dub band featuring Ruu from Masadayomasa; and Meats, who are apparently a "Vietnamese music band from Fukuoka".

DJs will be my good self and Miyagawa Electric 808, and Game Centers will provide their VJ experience.

Place: Fukuoka Public Space Yojigen
Date: July 11th 2009
Open: 18:30 Start: 19:00
Cost: 1,800 yen + 1 drink
(500 yen student discount)

■Chow Chow (蝶丁)
■Hyacca (百蚊)

■Ian Martin (Call And Response)
■Miyagawa Electric 808

■Game Centers

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Last Night's Fashion Crisis

A brief autopsy of the party last night:

Candles were charming and elegant as usual, but Mana's sound was desperately low, so their 1990s J-Pop-ish singing came over like someone singing karaoke in their bedroom. Without having time for a soundcheck, there wasn't much that could be done about it though. Eiichi Kawai's DJ set seemed to include an inordinate amount of XTC and/or Andy Partridge solo stuff, and James Hadfield's set included the usual mix of absolutely everything in the known universe.

My own sets were pathetically predictable for anyone who knows what I'm like.

First set (7:30-7:55)
Hot Hot Hot!!! - The Cure
New Feeling - Talking Heads
The Modern Dance - Pere Ubu
Friction - Television
The Bridge - Clinic
French Disco - Stereolab

Second Set (10:05-10:30)
Ricky's Hand - Fad Gadget
Switch on Bach - Moderne
A Complete History Of Sexual Jealousy (Parts 17-24) - Momus
One More Chance - Pet Shop Boys
Kino - The Knife
Electricity - Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark

Third Set (Midnight-ish)
We Like Guys Named Luke - Mu
Ca Plane Pour Moi (Plastic Bertrand cover) - Sonic Youth
That's How I Escaped my Certain Fate - Mission of Burma
Surgeon's Girl - Wire
Map Ref 41°N 93°W (Wire cover) - My Bloody Valentine
Definitive Gaze - Magazine
So What - The Cure
Lachleute Nettmenschen - S.Y.P.H.
Getting Nowhere Fast - Girls at our Best
White Overalls - La Dusseldorf
Hero - Neu!
I Want More - Can

Monday, 6 July 2009

Fashion Crisis (July 2009)

Call And Response, in collaboration with technopop duo Candles and James Hadfield from Metropolis, has started a free monthly live and DJ party on the first Monday of every month, taking place at Koenji Bar One.

Today, July 6th, is the third such event, and the regular team will be joined by DJ Eiichi Kawai and by the electropop group Mana:

Date: July 6th 2009
Time: 7:30 P.M.
Place: Koenji Bar One
Cost: FREE
Live: Candles / Mana
DJs: Eiichi Kawai / James Hadfield / Ian Martin

Friday, 3 July 2009

Welcome to Call And Response Records

This is the first post on the new Call And Response Records blog. More information on our releases and events will be coming up soon. In the meantime, please check the Clear And Refreshing blog and the Call And Response Myspace for up to date information.