VARIOUS ARTISTS: Secret Recipe from the Far East: CD

I think this as less a comp and more like six 7”s from Japanese bands. This was compiled by Hideo (of the acutely missed Sweet JAP and now of Birthday Suits) and honcho of Nice and Neat, with the expressed concern that it’s been harder and harder for fantastic underground Japanese bands get heard in the States. Not one to bitch on the sidelines, Hideo put six bands together that don’t sound like one another (but makes sense they’d all be on the same bill), gets it all sounding great, and keeps it cost effective. Psychotic Reaction: Firestarter by way of Armed Forces-era Elvis Costello with synthesizers that makes short forays into Lost Sounds territory. Prambath: If Hello Kitty had a band, this’d be it. I’m not being completely facetious. The ladies who sing in Prambath are chirpy, which takes a little getting used to, but the music and undeniably good: weird-but-somehow-works mix of Cocksparrer (classic pub rock) meets the Vapors (classic new wave). Hey, the Japanese perfected the heated toilet seat. Shit like mixing two unmixable genres is all in a day’s work for ‘em. Nylon: They’re all ladies wearing school outfits and sound like Thug Murder (raspy voices that sound like they could never come out of someone who weighs around a hundred pounds and doesn’t hit five feet), backed by a rockabilly rhythm section. Kinda like a tougher 5,6,7,8s. Don Flames: Began like kindred spirits of Teengenerate until they hit the psyche pedal, lose me for a bit, then go back to rockin’. Their second track, “Groovin’” hits it right; like what the Turbo AC’s have been trying at for such a long time and not quite nailing as effectively. The Nailclippers: Hand-clapping, Merseybeat-informed power pop that, when it slows down, it shimmers and when it speeds up, jumps up on the coffee table and shakes its ass. Teenage Confidential: makes one more case that ninety-eight percent of American pop punks should just stop dicking around and quit, because the genre’s now been taken over, made better, and has become virtually untouchable by the Japanese. Great comp.

 –todd (Nice and Neat)