Three Discs from Toyama

Yesterday was a public holiday, Showa Day, which is a holiday honouring the birth of the previous emperor. So, we had a day trip to Toyama city which is in the next prefecture. Our main goals were to go to an art gallery (I saw paintings by Picasso, Henri Matisse, and Jackson Pollock), go to a large shopping mall (there are none in our city), go wild in Costco, and of course visit the local Book Off. As luck would have it there was a 50% off all CDs priced under 500 yen discount going on, so I had a good hard look for stuff to get. Here is what I got…


Primal Scream – Vanishing Point
I wouldn’t say I am a Primal Scream fan, but when I came across I thought I may as well get it, especially as pickings were slim. Overall it is a decent album, but it still does not make me a fan.


Lauryn Hill – The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
There was a trolley full of CDs at the Book Off with a sign saying “All 108 yen”, so I picked through it. Apart from the first Punk-O-Rama CD the only other decent CD in there was this one, the rest were all terrible Japanese pop and rock bands. So, with a discount of 50% it was only 54 yen. I knew beforehand that this album is considered to be a landmark album in the hip-hop world, so I had to try it out. I haven’t listened to all of it yet, but what I have heard is just average.


Graham Coxon – Love Travels at Illegal Speeds
I was most pleased to find this as I like Graham Coxon lots. And this album does not disappoint, catchy guitar riffs and all rather upbeat and fun. By far the best CD I bought yesterday, I just wish I could have found more.

Music count 2018: 45

New Manics Old Peshay Digital Burial

For all three of these releases click on the cover image to be taken to a song.


Manic Street Preachers – Resistance is Futile
Yesterday was supposed to be an exciting day as a package with the new Manic Street Preachers album “Resistance Is Futile” was scheduled to arrive from Amazon. It didn’t turn up however, even though I use Amazon Prime which guarantees delivery the next day. A phone call to the courier company today revealed that the courier dude had taken the package to the next house, and the neighbours accepted it, signed for it, and even opened the box! Well, the opened box finally made it’s way here today and I have in front of me the nice new album from the Manics. I have not listened to it it, but have have heard the first single online, and it is typically excellent.

The cover photo was taken in 1881 by a German photographer by the name of Baron Raimund von Stillfried, and was of one of the last samurai.


Peshay – Miles From Home
While I was on my Drum ‘n Bass high last week I discovered this album and thought it would be worth a try. So, I bought it used on Amazon and it turned out to be a most astute purchase. It reminds me partly of DJ Food as well as Roni Size. Peshay is a British drum ‘n’ bass producer who has four albums out, with “Miles From Home” being his first, released in 1998. I shall collect more of his releases.


Burial – Young Death/Nightmarket
As I did a few blogs back, I decided to beef up my post a bit by buying something on Bandcamp, so I chose another Burial release. This one has two songs and is a bargain at only two pounds. A short listen to both tracks reveals yet another atmospheric and soothing Burial release.

Music count 2018: 42

A CD and Two Downloads Later…

I thought it was time for a website refresh, so I spent some time looking through all of the WordPress themes available and found this simple and clean one that suits me just fine. I then had some more fun putting the banner together. I’ll give a virtual chocolate fish to anyone who can name all of the people/ bands in the pictures.

As for music I have bought recently, I have only three to write about…


NOFX – Punk In Drublic
NOFX are a band I have heard several songs from thanks to my complete Punk-O-Rama collection, so when I came across this at Book Off I thought I may as well buy it. This is their first album, I always like to get first albums, so that was a bonus. I have not had a good listen yet, but a quick sampling of a couple of songs suggests it is not going to disappoint.


Symbl – Serenade EP
I was thinking to myself the other day that it would be good to add some more DnB (drum and bass) to the music collection, so I sallied forth over to Bandcamp and perused their fine selection of downloads. This EP suited my wallet, and has some excellent bass, not to mention drums, so I bought it without impunity. Take a listen for yourself if you so desire… I find it toe-tappingly good.


Deafheaven – Ordinary Corrupt Human Love album (pre-order)
This is a band that I got into very recently, and when I saw the video for a song from their next album, which is brilliant stuff, I had to return to Bandcamp to pre-order it. The song from aforementioned video is the only song available for download at the moment, with the rest being released on July 13th. But, even just the one song is worth the $8 I virtually plonked down for this. A warning though, it is probably not to everyone’s tastes, it is a bit noisy you see.

Music count 2018: 39

Ryuzo and the Seven Henchmen

This is a 2015 comedy/crime film directed by Takeshi “Beat” Kitano, and starring a few of the most well known actors from Japanese film and TV.

It is the story of Ryuzo, an ex-yakuza, and his ex-yakuza buddies getting the gang back together to fight a group of young gangsters who are ripping off old people. There are a few other elements to the story, but they don’t really mesh together, rather they are separate side stories which don’t really help the main plot.

Unfortunately the comedy is very corny and resorts to fart and toilet jokes quite a lot. It was also very inconsistent at times, and when Ryuzo had to walk through a red-light district dressed like this…

…I had written off the comedy part of the film.

I haven’t seen any other Kitano films, but he is well respected so I am sure he could have made a better film than this one. There were one or two laughs here and there, and the acting was fine but not great, but on the whole it is a film for the older Japanese generation who want to reminisce about the old days, which is fine but not my cup of green tea.

Kitano is a regular on TV here. He has his own prime TV show which is part “That”s Incredible”, game show, and comedy. It has been on air since 1997.

Date watched: April 21st
Score: 5/10
Film count 2018: 30

Chinatown

I first watched this film back in 2012, and I gave it a rapturous review back then, and adding it to my list of best films ever. So, it was my intention to watch this again someday, and so I did. And just as last time, I found it to be a most excellent film, just as good as I remembered.

Most of the excellent-ness is due to Jack Nicholson’s and Faye Dunaway’s acting, both were brilliant, almost as good as Humphrey and Bacall. It also felt a lot like a Humphrey crime noir film both in it’s intricate story and cinematography (except that it was in colour).

There were one or two very minor directing niggles from Roman Polanski (this was his last film in the U.S.), but it was well paced and always engaging.

Do yourself a favour and watch this again.

Date watched: April 18th
Score: 10/10
Film count 2018: 29

Sophie Scholl

This is German film based on a true story about three student resistance group members caught in Nazi Germany for distributing anti-Nazi leaflets.

It is gripping stuff from start to end and had superb performances, especially from the leading actress who unsurprisingly received the award for best actress at various European award ceremonies. Everything else about it was just as good, I can’t really think of any criticisms at all.

The court scene where Sophie, her brother, and a friend were tried was a fantastic scene, it showed just how twisted and sick the Nazis were. I was reading about the judge in that trial, and he was a seriously evil man who met his fate in the last year of the war when his courtroom was bombed, although it would have been preferable if he was himself tried in front of the allies after the war.

The very last scene was brief but utterly depressing and shocking, I wasn’t expecting it.

Sophie Scholl is now a national hero in Germany, and was voted as the fourth most important German of all time.

A hard film to watch, but worth it nonetheless.

Date watched: April 13th
Score: 9/10
Film count 2018: 28