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Half Japanese ‎–Volume One: 1981-1985 3lp


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Triple vinyl set

On their early recordings up to their epic-scale debut album 1/2 Gentlemen/Not Beasts, Half Japanese were a noisy and chaotic art punk act featuring the brothers Jad and David Fair. However when it was proven that there were folks willing to distribute their work to the public, Half Japanese’s vision became more expansive. In 1981, they expanded from a duo to a sextet, complete with drums, guitars, and saxophones, and remarkably enough, while the band sounded bigger and a bit more like a conventional rock group, the results were even noisier and more chaotic than before (and in many respects just as minimal). Volume One: 1981-1985 is a collection that brings together the first three albums from Half Japanese’s era as a bona fide rock band (or as close to one as they were willing to go), 1981’s Loud, 1984’s Our Solar System, and 1985’s Sing No Evil. The aesthetic thinking seems quite consistent throughout these three albums, and they cohere very well if you’re inclined to listen to them in a single, nearly two-hour sitting, though there are subtle but real differences between them. Loud is the craziest and most freewheeling set here, as the sax players and percussionists run roughshod over the bare frameworks of the melodies, while Our Solar System reveals a slightly tighter focus and an approach to the horns that suggests free jazz rather than proto-Stooges noisemaking. And Sing No Evil sounds tight and swaggering by this group’s yardstick, with the drumming a bit more precise and the brass players honking with soulful conviction as Jad Fair’s vocals reveal a new strength and confidence (and the funky percussion jam on the title cut was something they never could have accomplished just two years before). Of course, Jad has always been Half Japanese’s focal point and power source, and if his singing shapes up a bit with each album, his frenetic world-view remains the same as the overstimulated geek visionary grumbles about school, ponders the world around him, and obsesses frequently about women of all shapes, sizes, and outlooks. With 1987’s Music to Strip By, David Fair would leave Half Japanese and the group would pursue a more refined take on Jad’s music, so the three albums on Volume One document a very specific period of the group’s development; this is where Half Japanese first developed a signature sound and their unmistakable lyrical voice, and though they would make better records with time, this music is crucial in their history and development.

Track list:
1. My Concentration, Oh No
2. 2 Hearts = 1
3. If My Father Answers, Don’t Say Nothing
4. Scientific Devices
5. Gift
6. Dumb Animals
7. Popular
8. I Know How It Feels. Bad
9. Perfume
10. New Brides Of Frankenstein
11. Forget You
12. Loud/Louder/Loudest
13. Spy
14. No Danger
15. Love Lasts Forever (Sometimes)
16. Nurse
17. Only Dancing
18. Bad To Your Best Friend
19. Baby Wants Music
20. High School Tonight
21. Dance When I Say Dance
22. Girl Athletes
23. Because I Love You
24. Danger Danger Rachel Lang
25. E.S.P.
26. Classical Music
27. You’re Gonna Miss Me
28. Little Girls Have To Be Home Early
29. Too Much Adrenalin
30. Fire To Burn
31. Rhonda
32. Electricity Respect
33. Knocked Down On The Dancefloor
34. European Son
35. There’s A Girl
36. Hall Of The Mountain King/Louie Louie
37. Young Hearts Break
38. Did You Miss Me
39. Thing With A Hook
40. Firecracker Firecracker
41. On The One Hand
42. Too Bad About Elizabeth
43. Dearest Darling
44. Sing No Evil
45. Double Trouble
46. Rub Every Muscle
47. Nicole Told Me
48. Tell Me I’m Wrong
49. Acupuncture
50. I Have A Secret
51. House Of Voodoo
52. Ball And Chain

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Fire Records

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