Let’s hear it for Snuffy Smile for continuing their tradition of connecting two cool Japanese and American bands. I love this series. This one’s a double up of pop-leaning political punk. Shotwell: I often try to think of what Fifteen would sound like if they didn’t musically suck so hard and weren’t so lead-pipey/car bomby with the lefty lyrics. Shotwell answers that question. It’s “resisting dominant culture” dirty pop, recorded in a garage that the Buzzcocks could have used, with this cool hummy, buzzy quality to the recording. I know it’s a stretch, but imagine if Smogtown moved away from the beach and started singing about property rights. They’ve got kick, hooks, and heart. Neat shit. Zero Fast sound like they’re from Gainesville or early-’80s Minnesota, not Japan. They perform a compelling synthesis of what’s great about early Replacements, Jam, Husker Du, and Radon. They’re not all that flashy, but certainly strong as shit at making songs’ melodies and rhythm weave together, and they sound better with each listen. I always love the translations of Japanese bands. The standout on this one is: “There’s a park by bayside in my town where I used to go. Now, it’s covered with new buildings and a million bullshits.” Two bands I knew dick about when I woke up today and now very much enjoy.
–todd (Snuffy Smile)