Just like watching a movie without drinking beer, I can’t cook without listening to music. Strange but true. Anyway. At work we have a yearly thing where all the teachers bring in a meal for the rest of the staff to devour (or criticize), and I decided to do a fairly simple tofu stir-fry. It’s fairly simple but throw in some lime juice, pine nuts and cayenne pepper and the result is pretty tasty. I think it went down well with everyone else and people seemed genuinely interested in veganism when they asked what that ‘weird looking stuff is’ (the tofu).
Anyway, whilst rustling this number up I decided to stick to a purely Japanese playlist. With regards to heavy music, I’ve stuck closely to bands from the West; only in the past couple of years have I scratched the surface of the Japanese scene and I have been blown away by the diversity, originality and well, you know, the ferocity of the bands. First couple of records I gave a spin to whilst cutting up the vegetables were Crow’s ‘Bloody Tear’ and Gauze’s ‘Fuckheads’ LP. I particularly love the Crow album – raging but catchy hardcore. When the album has a poster that features one of the members of the band looking like a crusty punk but holding a bunch of flowers and wearing a Darkthrone shirt, you know you’re in for a good time. I did stick a tape on that I got recently, Funeral Moth’s first release (a side project of the Japanese DM band Coffins), but I wasn’t much in the mood for doom.
One name that often comes up with regards to Japan and metal is Sigh. They are (excuse the typically English phrase) completely bonkers, having varied wildly throughout their career with regards to genres. I love their black metal stuff the best; can’t quite get into the acclaimed ‘Hail Horror Hail’ album, but I do really like the ‘Scorn Defeat’ LP so I gave that a spin. I’m not surprised that Euronymous signed them up for his record label; there is a rehearsal room tape of Venom covers, and their version of ‘The 7 gates of Hell’ basically contains everything that I love in metal – it’s sloppily played but full of expression.
Finally (phew!), I had to have a listen to the enigmatic 80’s band Zouo. The only thing I’ll say about this band is that they are probably one of the best punk/hardcore bands that I have ever heard, had some kind of evil crust sound going on and listed their prime influences as Discharge and Black Sabbath. Discharge and Black Sabbath. Wow. I was joined by Maggie when they came on the stereo, (her being East London’s toughest dog-punk) and we had a little pogo. Strange but true. PeteF.