Aug 10, 2009

Diggin' In The Crates "15 Years Before I Discovered Whiteberry" Edition

In more ways than one, this week's edition was worth the wait...

Artist: The Street Sliders
Album: Tenshi Tachi
Label: Epic/Sony
Vinyl: Standard black vinyl

In 1986, while I was slogging it out as a bassist in a semi-crappy Top 40 band (Hey, it was my only source of income at the time), I was also engaging in some pen-pal correspondence with a few people via the pen-pal listings in Smash Hits magazine. One Christmas, a Japanese pen-pal I had for awhile sent me a package containing a rather kawaii teddy bear (which I probably still have somewhere) and three home-recorded cassettes; she also saw fit to slip pictures of the bands and hand-written track listings on either side of the j-cards. I still have the cassettes, but I can only recall one of the two other artists she sent (The Mods). The third was these guys:

This tape - recorded directly from her own vinyl copy - was the first one I popped into my stereo, probably because it was the first one on the stack. The song represented above, "Boys Jump the Midnight", is the album's opening track. I was hooked for the next 45 minutes - great post-punk rock that blurs the fine line between The Clash's London Calling and The Rolling Stones' Tattoo You - and remained hooked for years. And that musical comparison is probably a bit closer to the Stones in many places, especially in many of the guitar parts and on the two tracks where lead guitarist Kohei Tsuchiya takes over for primary vocalist/guitarist Kiroaki Murakoshi and sings very Keith Richards-esque vocals.

Unfortunately, it would be several years - perhaps close to two decades - before I would have a more tactile copy of the album on CD, by which time I had already starting to keep some poor shipping department guy at CDJapan busy with orders for Morning Musume, Whiteberry, Yui Horie, Koda Kumi, etc. I did a somewhat random search one day for The Street Sliders, found that all of their albums were still in print on CD, and immediately looked for and nailed a copy of Tenshi Tachi. (I recall putting songs from the album on mix CD's back then in my pre-MiniDisc and iPod days, so that would mean that I had gotten my CD copy around 2003).

Fast forward to this year. While I was on my writing hiatus last month and working on the manuscript for Here Is The Wonderland, I was playing the album on my iPod via my speaker dock, and decided to take a quick break and see if I could find a vinyl copy of my own in order to enhance my collection and nourish my turntable. I went to the same site that I had acquired my Sayuri Ishikawa mid-70's best-of album from, discovered a near mint copy of the album (inside and out, complete with lyric insert and photo book) - never let it be said that the Japanese don't love their vinyl! Before two minutes had passed, I bought myself what I figured would be an early birthday present.

No such luck. By the time my actual birthday rolled around, my precious copy of this album arrived at US Customs at JFK in New York (isn't package tracking wonderful?), and sat there for three fucking weeks, wondering if it was ever going to make its way to the TGML/So Hot She Shits Fire/My Sweet Meetan/YODC East Coast home office.

It'a arrival day? This morning. Was there a leftover Homeland Security directive from the Bush Administration that President Obama's people missed that said, "Al Queda terrorists may be disguised as Japanese rock albums of at least 20 years vintage?" In all my years of ordering music and whatnot from Japan, I have never had ANYTHING held up in customs. Ever. My original pen-pal-generated cassette of this album made it through with no problems. My CD made it through with no problems. Finally getting a vinyl copy after 23 years? Not so easy...

Rather than piss and moan further about that, it would probably be better to share a couple of more videos from the album: "Back to Back", heard here in its 12" remix version...

And "Angel Duster":

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