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Angels - s/t
CD-R (Tokyo, Japan)



-genki no ikouze
-macaroni
-tsuretetteyo
-10
-skylark
-akaza
-mokujiroku
-genki no ikouze
-skylark




Recorded 11/1981 & 12/1982
Cover photo by Jaroba
Angels: Hiromi Unakami, Yukio Hasegawa, Toru Kato, Yoshiro Yamauchi

Reviews:
(Ampersand Etcetera 7/2005) Another Japanese guitar/drum/bass trio and an archival explosion. 9 tracks - 5 recorded in the studio in 1982 and 4 live in 1981 - and like the Wonwons and Freedom From, some repeats (is this a new trend in disk-splitting?). Genki ni ikouze is a melodic propulsive punky piece with a catchy guitar line that is a little slower live but better recorded and with more guitar trills added to the line. Adding alto sax, Skylark has choppy but regular beat and with squeaky sax over the top which is much cleaner in the studio version - as is the guitars rhythm role emphasised by an additional guitarist. This track reminded me of the Laughing Clowns, particularly Ghost Beat, suggesting the jazz-rock style its coming from. Of the single version pieces: Akaza is more freeform and disjunct with some slurred-sung vocals; Macaroni is based on a lovely bass/drum rhythm with choppy sliding metallic guitar; Tsuretetteya again adds a second guitar giving strong rhythm and solo lead, and has a spacey feel with vocals deep in the mix; 10 has a sax within the mix of a driving open track that has some fine pumping sections; and then Mokujiroku where the bass/drums are the main component, but a couple of sung verses, a guitar passage and a big finish. An excellent jazz-rock album with a nice variety through it. - Jeremy Keens

(Vital Weekly no. 443) In the department of free rock we find Japanese Angels, a band with Hiromi Unakomi on guitar and sometimes guitar, Yukio Hasegawa on Bass and Yoshiro Yamauchi on drums. I am not sure if they still exist, as the recordings on this disc date from 1981 and 1982. I remember bands like Angels quite well, not Angels but rather their Dutch versions. Free rock playing, inspired by the No Wave from New York, sometimes with a James White like saxophone, all with a healthy dose of punk spirit. Some of the stuff here, reminded me of the recent re-issues by PD, but with a sound quality that is not as good. These recordings still sound covered with a bit of dust. But bringing back lots of nice memories and another evening in the vaults, searching for more of this. - Frans de Waard

(Aiding & Abetting no. 264) Perhaps most intriguing because of its age (this album was recorded in 1981 and 1982), this set of linear power trio musings is something close to sublime. Not for the sound, which is positively abysmal. The studio tracks sound like old school demos, and the live sound isn't much better than mediocre bootleg. Still, the ideas within these songs are exciting enough to overcome the extremely primitive production. Suffice it to say Hiromi Unakami's guitar spans the gap between Frank Zappa and Duane Denison, with a real post-rock kinda feel to it. The vocals are in Japanese (Angels are--or were--a Japanese outfit) and are gawdawful. alternately droning or simply moaning, they don't really do much for the music. But then, the sound is so bad that it's quite easy to simply tune them out as just more background noise. Pay attention to the music. Unakami's guitar is amazing, and the rest of the band is more than capable. One for the fetishists, I guess, but a real treat for me nonetheless. - Jon Worley

(Dead Angel 7/2005) When Public Eyesore started to seriously rock the house, I was hoping that head noise-tyrant Bryan Day would take advantage of his Japanese connections to bring more of the happening Japanese indie / avant scene to these shores. And he has -- more and more of the label's output is dedicated to documenting the works (studio and live) of Japanese bands such as this one. Do they bring the rock? They bring the rocks, in tiny li'l plastic cups filled with copious amounts of vodka and joy juice. This is a rockin' bunch of cats, built around the mad gyrations of snake-charmer guitarist Hiromi Unakami, devil bassist Yukio Hasegawa, and pogo drummer Yoshiro Yamauchi. Occasionally they convince their good pal Toru Kato to strap on a guitar and get up and warble along with them, but mainly it's all about the trio. The sad part is that I have no idea if the group even exists anymore; this is actually a reissue (or first issue of long-lost material) of stuff that was recorded back when I was still gaining my black belt in drunken hoodlum-fu, which was quite a while ago. The first five tracks were cut in a studio in Tokyo in December, 1982; the remaining four tracks here are from a live show in Tokyo in November, 1981. The scary part is that none of this sounds dated at all -- in fact, this is so fresh, so now, that I can fully understand why nobody back then had the balls (or brains) to put this out, because they did not understand about bringing the rock. But this does, and the Angels are (were?) swank motherfuckers and you should hear this. Swell, swell stuff. Perhaps if we're lucky PE will uncover more recordings from the madhouse and give us another dose of manic Angel-fu. - RKF

(Foxy Digitalis) Wow. This made my month. Truly mind swept, verging on inept psych leaning post punk from Japan… nothing could be better. Public Eyesore (a label I thought had disappeared some time ago) has to be commended for finding, never mind releasing these recordings. The disc itself, like many Japanese psych punk archival releases, is a mix of studio and live recordings. The studio stuff, dated circa 1981, is exclusively instrumental and flirts with similar funk/punk themes you'd find amongst the U.K. Gang of Four camp as well as any of the celebrated N.Y no wave crowd. At the same time the approach of Angels core trio (Hiromi Unakami, Yukio Hasegawa, & Yoshiro Yamauchi) doesn't veer too much from the overdriven freak aesthetics of the more drooled over Les Rallizes Denudes. The 4 live tracks from a 1982 Tokyo performance range from pre-apocalyptic art-punk to a more languid and dare I say drugged style of performance. I would guess that these recordings might be the result of some heavy indulgence in Flipper and their vices. The live set is a full on slow motion auto accident via nod out worthy of the Loose/Shatter seal of approval. Beg, borrow, or steal for this one. 9/10 -Chris Jacques


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