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HALF JAPANESE

Half Japanese

Charmed Life

    THIS IS A RECORD STORE DAY 2019 EXCLUSIVE, LIMITED TO ONE PER PERSON.

    1000 only. Special art edition with extra LP of unheard material on Blue Vinyl. 30 years on Half Japanese’s ‘Charmed Life’ is reissued for Record Store Day. Less love and more monster, Half Japanese sound more realised and fully formed on their sixth studio album. Jad Fair had “become increasingly adept at funnelling his obsessions into songs charming, frank, comical and weird.” Marc Masters, Pitchfork. “As accessible as Half Japanese get” The Quietus // Track List 1 Said And Done 2 Penny In The Fountain 3 Evidence 4 Vietnam 5 Roman Candles 6 Love At First Sight 7 Snake Line 8 Bright Lights, Big City 9 Face Rake 10 Later In A Magazine 11 Red Dress 12 Trouble In The Water 13 Charmed Life 14 Day And Night 15 One Million Kisses 16 Miracles Happen Every Day 17 Terminator 18 I'll Change My Style 19 Fortunate 20 Real Cool Time 21 Poetic License

    Half Japanese

    Why Not?

      Half Japanese have returned to peel further layers from their onion. They have a new album that's a square further on in their unpredictable musical snakes and ladders board. ‘Why Not?’ is a magical thing – it’s Springsteen’s ‘Born To Run’ recorded in a cupboard, it’s an ode to love, it’s a Wire song with two duelling guitarists being Zappa on helium, it’s Parquet Courts in a tantrum, it’s The Crickets contorted into? and The Mysterians, it’s everywhere and nowhere, baby, it’s where it’s at. On ‘Why Not?’ nuances are mused, situations explained, questions asked.

      Outside, zombies and demons roam and everyday aliens emerge from spaceships: it’s a technicolor film transcribed by Jad Fair and friends John Sluggett, Gilles-Vincent Rieder, Mick Hobbs and Jason Willett, their faces at the cracked window of their subterranean habitat looking out at the real world. They’re on a high from their last release: “After all these years, his wiry voice still hits every song with a shock that’s equal parts joy buzzer and defibrillator, each barely in-key bleat alternating between laughable and life-affirming,” said Pitchfork of their last opus ‘Hear The Lion Roar’.

      To which All Music added that “after nearly 40 years of music-making, they're still creating some of the most engaging recordings of their lives, and that's truly something to believe in.” ‘Why Not?’ goes further. It’s an even more intense concoction, it’s further out there. It contains pieces of fluffy thought-provoking music, a bag of sentiments delivered with a real sense of wonderment at how the normal world revolves; all powered with heart and soul, some crunchy guitars, a cello and reverb set-to-kill infiltrating their storytelling. ‘Why’d They Do It?’ quizzes track 11. Because they can. 

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Barry says: Why not indeed?

      With Jad Fair at the helm for over four decades, the highly revered Half Japanese still remain “the ultimate expression of punk’s dictum that rock should be accessible to anyone who wanted to pick up an instrument and play” (AllMusic). Born out of the Fair brother’s lo-fi bedroom recordings of the mid-70’s, they reinvented rock music with their off-kilter view and popular outsider rock. Leading the lo-fi movement of the early 90s burgeoning indie rock scene, Half Japanese’s lasting influence and prolific output has seen them experiment with alternate tunings, chords and melody and in recent years they’ve produced more cohesive offerings. Wildly eccentric and humorous, the energetic ‘Hear The Lions Roar’ is an art rock record where Jad’s expertly thrown out lyrics remain optimistic and fresh alongside a fierce and compelling rhythm section. Featuring a cohort of past musicians from the 90’s, their dexterous instrumentation brings further depth to Jad’s songs. 

      FORMAT INFORMATION

      Coloured LP includes MP3 Download Code.

      Half Japanese is one of the most influential bands in rock history. Founded by brothers Jad & David Fair in 1975, the band is credited with pioneering the DIY and lo-fi movements and influencing everyone from Sonic Youth and Neutral Milk Hotel to Daniel Johnston and Kurt Cobain (who asked the band to open some of the dates on Nirvana’s In Utero tour.) Known for dismissing conventional music basics like melody, song structure and chords (and for Jad’s famous line “the only chord I know is the one that connects the guitar to the amp”), Half Japanese operated under the premise that rock music should be accessible to anyone who wanted to play.

      Perfect is a collection of songs that feature otherworldly sounds, chaotic rhythms, and weird time signatures, topped off with Jad’s brash vocals and oddball lyrics. Its tracks run the gamut from sweet love songs with overtly sincere lyrics to manic, almost abrasive tracks that seem to end before you can fully wrap your head around them. With Perfect, Half Japanese manages to combine elements of every genre imaginable into one strange, unpredictable, and undeniably-catchy package. 

      FORMAT INFORMATION

      Deluxe LP Info: Limited coloured vinyl for UK indie stores only.

      Half Japanese

      Volume 3 : 1990-1995

      Formed in the mid-70s, and setting the standard for post-punk ever since, Jad and David Fair and Half Japanese return with a new volume that finds us twenty years into their story. The 90s would see them under a new spotlight as Kurt Cobain used his celebrity to tell anyone that would listen about their greatness, and had the band tour with Nirvana. They would respond with three of the most wild and varied albums in their career.

      Continuing their Fire deluxe reissues of the entire Half Japanese catalogue, Volume Three: 1990-1995 is the third of four volumes containing three LPs/CDs. This next set of Half Japanese LPs begins with 1990’s explosively, noisy and chaotic (sometimes improvised) ‘We Are They Who Ache With Amorous Love’ featuring their cover of the Them garage rock classic “Gloria” and two tracks “Titanic" and "Hand Without a Body” that were co-written with the like-minded Daniel Johnston. Two years later the notably more delicate and, dare we say, jangly, ‘Fire In The Sky’ (1992) arrived at a pivotal time for the group when they gained notable recognition from the likes of Sonic Youth, Nirvana, Teenage Fanclub and Yo La Tengo (whose Ira Kaplan guests on the record).

      This highly anticipated third installation closes the trio with 1995’s ‘Hot’ which became MTVs album of the week on release, with Michael Goldbery writing “Hot, mixes Sonic Youth-style noise, Stooges primitivism and ’60s pop with excellent results. “Lucky Ones” is a simply charming number (“A good thing just got better/ As better as better can be”) reminiscent of Jonathan Richman, while “Drum Straight” is dose of feedback drenched skonk and “Vampire” rocks hard liken the Sonic’s “Bull In The Heather.” Fire’s colossal Half Japanese series began last year with the Record Store Day exclusive of ‘Half Gentleman/Not Beasts’, this set contains the records in their original form with extras that later appeared on CD formats available. It will also include original artwork from Jad Fair and liner notes by Half Japanese hall of famer Mark David Jickling. “Cutting straight to the gut. Jad’s phrasing matches surging sentiments, creating a counterpoint to the spot-on music. When they grind out a groove half-rhythmic/half-blank cadences, the woozy disconnect is oddly compelling” Pitchfork’s Best New Reissue (Volume 2: 1987-1989)

      “An impressive and well-assembled study of one of this band's more interesting periods” - All Music.

      “This should also lay to rest any questions about the importance of Half Japanese. Without them, we wouldn’t have the primitive pop of Beat Happening nor the id-bearing beauty of Daniel Johnston” - Paste Magazine. 

      Announcing "Overjoyed", the first album in 13 years from legendary punk band Half Japanese. One of the most influential bands of all time, Jad Fair and Half Japanese spearheaded the DIY and Lo-Fi movements, influencing countless bands such as Sonic Youth, Neutral Milk Hotel, Daniel Johnston, and perhaps most notably, Kurt Cobain (who ranked Half Japanese amongst his top 50 favorites, had them open the "In Utero" tour, and was wearing their t-shirt when he died). Without exaggeration, Half Japanese is one of the most important bands in the history of music. "Overjoyed" was recorded and produced by John Dieterich of Deerhoof, and ranks amongst the best albums of the band's catalogue.

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Darryl says: After 13 years away, Half Japanese return to the scene with 'Overjoyed'. And they prove themselves to be as vital as ever, melodic indie-punk that keeps them ahead of the pack.

      Fire records followed up the deluxe reissue of Half Japanese’s first album ‘Half Gentlemen Not Beasts’ for last year’s Record Store Day with another deluxe reissue. The first of 4 volumes containing 3 vinyl LPs of the next set of Half Japanese albums is now also available on a 3CD package.

      This first volume starts with 1981’s ‘Loud’ and also includes ‘Our Solar System’ and ‘Sing No Evil’ to bring them through to 1985. New artwork from Jad Fair adorns the outer sleeve, which also contains a booklet with liner notes by Jad and David. Half Japanese were formed in 1974 by brothers Jad and David Fair. Despite being lifelong music obsessives, their approach to the craft of writing and the art of performing was utterly unique. Heavily inspired by Jackson Pollock, Half Japanese were always more of an art project than a musical journey. More important than technical ability, was enthusiasm and a thirst for creation. They eschewed traditional ways of playing to explore different tunings, allowing them to coax new sounds from their instruments. Their first release, a seven inch, EP called Calling All Girls was more of an art project than a business venture, with nine songs, a poster with inserts and a printed cover. They never really expected it to sell, but much to their surprise distributors quickly gobbled up all 500 copies, so they rushed to repress 500 more and began making plans for a second record. It was well and truly a calling card.

      Fire Records continues their Half Japanese reissue campaign by bringing you the next three albums in the set, collected as Half Japanese: 1981-1985. In recording the follow-up, entitled appropriately as Loud, the band came into their classic line-up. Consisting of Jad and David Fair, as well as two Saxophonists; John Dreyfuss and Lana Zabko, and guitarist Mark Jickling, with Rick Dreyfuss on drums. Creating a barrage of enthusiasm and manic energy around rock and roll teen anthems and free jazz skronk, the band were well on their way to carving out a unique legacy. Our Solar System would bring further joys as they continue to focus on simple themes of love and romance and dancing with girls amongst the experimental noises sneaking out in the music, creating a soundtrack for a sock hop in an alternate universe. The album also featured covers of Buddy Holly, The Velvet Underground, Chuck Berry and Roky Erickson.

      Their approach to covers is explained by David Fair: “We have covered many songs but never with the idea in mind of having it sound like the original. In fact, we often took only the words and made no effort, whatsoever, to recreate the melody.” On Sing No Evil, Half Japanese truly came into their own, with their DIY roots blending with free jazz touches to create a raucous indie rock classic. Containing songs like "Firecracker Firecracker" that remain set highlights even today, the band had established a voice like no other. This would be the last record with David in the core line-up, and all of the early records bear his powerful arty and experimental streak. Where would the future take Half Japanese with Jad at the helm? You will have to wait for Half Japanese: 1987-1989 to see.

      FORMAT INFORMATION

      3xLtd LP Info: Just found one of these!


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