JAN 2006 UPDATE: ALTHOUGH THE SR LABEL IS
TAKING A BREAK FROM RELEASING ANYTHING OTHER THAN MY OWN 50HOLEHEAD RECORDINGS
(AND RELATED PROJECTS) FOR THE NEXT LITTLE WHILE, MOST PAST RELEASES ARE STILL
AVAILABLE AND WELL WORTH YOUR INVESTIGATION. PAYPAL NOW ACCEPTED (PAYMENTS TO
semiroarATgol.com). WELL-CONCEALED CASH IS GOOD TOO.
WE MAY GET BACK TO RELEASING OTHER THINGS AT SOME POINT SO IF YOU HAVE SOME RECORDED GEM THAT YOU THINK MIGHT HELP PUSH US TOWARDS MAKING THAT DECISION, FEEL FREE TO SEND IT ALONG TO:
SUGINAMI-KU, OGIKUBO, 3-39-7
TOKYO JAPAN 167-0051
Semi-Roar started as a cassette label in 1994 then became a CDR label around 1999 or so. Those first cassette releases (SR01 to SR19) have been re – released as CDRs. If you already have the cassette versions well hey! get them again on CDR for the luxury of skipping and repeating tracks and the slightly re-designed covers. Set to random playback they'll sound completely different anyway.
All releases, except where noted otherwise are $5 each (ppd), our regular "less than a beer at a pub in Tokyo" price. As with our cassettes of the past, everything's homemade. Covers are Xeroxed or handmade in some similar fashion, discs are white label no brand CDRs, spray painted with hand-stamped info, and the whole thing sits inside a soft transparent plastic sleeve. We never liked plastic cassette cases and we like plastic CD jewel cases even less. They'll still fit nicely in a jewel case though if that's where you wanna keep eem.
In case you didnft know: CDRs (CD-Recordable media) play exactly like regular CDs. We use high quality CDRs that can be played in any CD player.
Click on cover artwork below to view a larger image. After viewing return to this page with your browserfs back button.
Click on any of the LISTEN tags below to hear a track from the release. RealPlayer (now called RealOne Player) is needed to hear the audio files below. Go to http://www.real.com/ to download a free player if you donft already have one.
Note: In order for your RealOne player to stream the audio (instant playback without downloading the file) you may need to set its playback setting preference as follows:
1. Open your RealOne player (this can also be done in the older Realplayer, although the process may be slightly different).
2. In the menu at the top click on "Tools".
3. Click on gPreferencesh.
4. Under "Category" (on left side of window) and inside "Connection", click on "Playback settings".
5. Click the "Instant Playback" box within the open window and close.
The audio clips below should now playback instantly when clicked on.
5 live tracks from Cleveland, Ohiofs Derek DePrator. The former guitarist for Cobra Verde rips up Son House's Death Letter Blues in a way the White Stripes wish they only could. He does the same with his own self-penned tune, Blues 3 Different Ways. Then when you just thought "oh, I'm listening to a blues record", he whips out the loops for the Eno-esque "Art School Girls". Think Beck's diversity of styles and the acoustic stylings of John Fahey, mixed with Robert Fripp weirdness.
The result of an exact mathematical formula, here's another highly conceptual work by Argentinean band Reynols. A mesmerizing Top 45 from the Minecxio's liquid jukebox where the sound is slowly melting inside the center of Pythagoras' sacred geometry. Warning: This is not only a record but also a psychic energy battery that might bring you to the other side of the mirror. A whole hypnotic experience that can activate the Cosmic Rain. Not for beginners. gReynols claim their music to be the by-product of a psychic communion with every object they encounter- humans, pumpkins, rocks or discarded tape. As outlandish as it may seem, each Reynols album leaves the uncanny feeling that what they claim may in fact be true" says The Wire magazine (issue #204 Feb. 2001).
Semi-Roar asked the mysterious Argentinean Fernando to say a bit about the creation of this intoxicating guitar driven release. His report: gRecorded with a chubby JVC 2 tape deck stereo between '98 and '99. Instant multitracking in beautiful mono, freedom, love, honey. Live tracks recorded inside the normal box: concrete, marble and wood, sweating, smoking, inside a 2x2x6 space, sweating, more sweating, a J-195 Aiwa walkman with a stereo tie mic. Sing, hush, cry out, let it all spill out. A shoreline gold Fernandez Stratocaster, unplugged, then plugged and real loud (neighbors visited aprox. 12 times in 6 months). Had a lot of fun doing it. Actually, I think I got glow-in-the-dark for 2 years.h 16 tunes in all, this homemade opus marries Chinese water torture instrumental tracks with melodic cracked folk-grunge (think Neil Youngfs gSugar Mountainh with guitar embellishment by Thurston Moore). Enough electric pops, blips and buzzes to please the Benjamin Franklin in all of us. Features custom silk-screened covers!
SR27: RICK ROUND Clues From The Closet (ltd. 50 copies) $5
Some of you may know Rick Round as the editor/publisher of the just-outside-of Tokyo zine OOTSOMS. Like many zine creators he also bangs away on a guitar from time to time. Before moving up here to the Tokyo area he spent some time in Kyushu (Japan's Southern island) where he created the tunes for this recording, apparently on a 4 track in his closet! Nicely crafted, slightly weird pop tunes recorded using what was at hand at the time; a cheap guitar, a cheesy casio, a bit of bare as bones drum machine, and one chorus of young sweet voices from a local high school. A very warm and personal recording, you can actually hear Rick squeezing into that Kyushu closet at the beginning of some of these tracks. After listening to the last quite weird and spooky track you may wonder whether he actually got out.
SR26: TRACTOR CHAIN About Session (ltd. 50 copies) $5
Rough, raw, brash + beautiful. 5 Konishiki-weight tracks by a Tokyo 3 piece that make music light years away from the numbly boring Tokyo idol-pop scene. Recorded deep under the city in a Tokyo rehearsal studio, this is the exact opposite of what you'll hear when you turn on the radio or TV here in Tokyo. Distorted, industrial size no-flash guitar riffs just about to derail, vocals slightly out of reach, the whole crushing package lead along by a jackhammer precision bass and drum team. A bit like the Jesus Lizard. Makes your body go whup whup whup. Includes a cover of Red Krayola's "Madonna" done up in the special Tractor Chain way.
SR25: ENOLA GREY Here come the weak hits (ltd. 50 copies) $5
In the words of Enola Grey himself, this is a disc of "2 and a half years of 4 track experiments and pathos". 12 tracks recorded between 1997 and 1999 by the head of the Las Vegas based Recycled Carbon Recordings label. Fuzzy crackly drifting tunes that sound like lost transmissions from another world. Vocals are soft, distorted and personal, there's some strumming of an acoustic guitar, a friend plays drums, a keyboard is heard here and there......after that the picture gets hazy as the Enola Grey engineers have definitely had their way with the original tapes, subjecting them to all sorts of secret electronic experiments. Slightly spooky and abrasive, this is a bent and demented 4-track masterpiece that gurgles along like a slow moving brook. Quite wonderful.
SR24: 50HOLEHEAD The King Of Hiss (ltd. 50 copies) $5
10 more bedroom-recorded classics from the Tokyo King of Hiss. Originally released on cassette by the Chupa Verga label in Italy, this was recorded using the usual array of cheap electronic devices and zero yen budget. Tunes include "Horse Shit + Cows" (featuring 50HH's first appearance behind a drum kit), "Cleaner Than Before" (featuring 50HH's last appearance behind a drum kit...we hope) and "Ping Pong Attention Span" an up to date look at the mental state of the artist. Stumble along with 50holehead as he proves once again that the only thing needed for recording is a mic and a record button.
SR23: WARSER GATE Look Me in Your Eye (ltd. 75 copies) $5
This is Warser Gate's second release on Semi-Roar and in the words of the band themselves this is more "twisted pop 4 track recordings". All recordings by this band are done in their warehouse recording space and these 10 tracks have been culled from their extensive archives. Dates of recording are a little sketchy (WG records at least 10 tracks a week!) but the band is pretty sure that these were recorded between 1995-97. gThey make a fabulous racket and youfll be kicking yourself for not having picked up on them in a few yearsf timeh says the influential Ptolemaic Terrascope zine (issue #22).
SR22: Architectural Digressions: 4 homebound tapers from 4
homemade labels (ltd. 500 copies-SR's portion: 125 copies) <<<ONLY $2!>>>
4 way label split CD (this is a CD release, not CDR) featuring Atomic Crash (Generic/Eleet tapes), Enola Grey (Recycled Carbon Recordings), 50holehead (Semi-Roar) and Mike Landucci (Black Bean and Placenta). 25 tracks of home baked lo-fi goodies by the head honchos of 4 different homemade labels.
SR21: Lo-watt? So-what! A Semi-Roar Selection '94 - '99
(ltd. 100 copies) <<<ONLY $2!>>>
A smorgasbord of Semi - Roar delights. Have a taste of everything and then order something else for desert! Features killer off-kilter tracks from our first 20 releases. Perfect for DJs, perfect for house parties, perfect for those of you whofve been up and down this page trying to decide which CD to take a chance on. Start here where hi-lites of the whole SR shibang have been conveniently compiled on one shiny disc.
SR20: REYNOLS Loh Fenser Patagonia (ltd. 50 copies) <<<<SOLD OUT>>>>
The Reynols are from Argentina and this is Semi - Roar's most raucous offering as well as one of our best sellers. Seems The Reynols have a bit of a world wide underground buzz going. Psychic melodic noise music would best describe this I suppose. Miguel Tomasin is the focal point of the band and apparently the one that the other members draw their energy/inspiration from. Miguel has Down's syndrome and in the words of Courtis, one of the band's 2 guitarists, "can seriously be considered as a messiah of non conventional states of mind and consciousness". I think you'll know what he's talking about when you listen to this release. Definitely in a time and space all it's own and performed by what must be one of the most unique bands on this planet. gReynols dirges through close to a dozen parabolic fuzz-grinds like a team of first-time cataract surgeonsh says Bananafish magazine (issue #14).
The following CDRs were originally released on cassette and are specially priced at $3 each, except where otherwise noted.
SR19: LEE WHALEN Ravine Songs (ltd.
100 copies) <<<<SOLD OUT>>>>
Lo-fi country emo core? Nah, actually this is closer to just straight from the heart singing and song writing at its best. Classic actually. This has been compared to Catpower, K.d. Lang and Patsy Cline and there's a definite rustic vibe to it. Features a bonus track that was not on the cassette. Title is taken from the last two tracks which were recorded straight into a creaky boombox while sitting next to a ravine somewhere in Canada. Can you hear the birds?
ONQ Naso Nudo (ltd. 50 copies) $5
Italian master of sonic surprise. Spooky skittery guitar + vocal tunes that will fly you to the moon and back. A darker, eerier Durutti Column? Onq's tapes are starting to appear on all sorts of small labels; you can also find some of his latest work at MP3.com. Have a listen to this and you'll see why.
SR17: WARSER GATE Sleepwalk. Driving. Conspiracy. (ltd. 50
copies) <<<<SOLD OUT>>>>
Semi - Roar is just one of the zillions of small labels world - wide that has had the pleasure of releasing something by this prolific English band. These guys record 10 songs every Thursday. Here's 7 to get you started. 4 track recordings of angst set to psychedelic pop. Guitars on the verge of collapse. One of John Peel's favorite bands. Spin magazine gave them the thumbs up (how that reviewer snuck into the corporate office is anyone's guess).
SR16: 50HOLEHEAD At Home With 50holehead (ltd. 50 copies) $5
Tascam 246 action at its hissiest best. 50hhfs most ambitious release, this is 21 selections of home brewed mic - close warbling for your evening listening pleasure. Spend the night at home with 50hh as he shuffles about his Tokyo squat, manipulating his machines to produce the bips and beeps that are his life. Goes good with red wine-lots of it!
gExperimental lo-fi at itfs best, strangeness and newness, therefs loads of twists and turnscsome of the sounds and songs on this are fresher and even more perfect than the million dollar stuff. I just love all the bits and bobs thrown in, an echo here, a sound effect, a piece of advert stolen, fucking cracking stuff.h says Cream of The Crop zine.
SR15: THE LUSH MANSIONS Again! (ltd. 50 copies) $5
More Hi - Liki, more music. 8 tunes recorded in 2 blurry nights. A more "produced" lushness compared to the first release due to a larger budget for cans of Hi - Liki, luxury of 4 - track recorder and a comfy couch. Distorted guitar pop? Flying Saucer Attack meets Neil Youngless on the back of a Sparklehorse? Would Frank Sinatra approve? We don't know! Features a bonus track and never before seen pics of the "band".
Koji, bass player for the now retired Tokyo band gGreen Tea For Aliensh goes solo with a 4 - track when suddenly faced with loads of time due to unexpected unemployment situation. Spacecornfs creative method goes something like this: Line up a few bottles of cold Sapporo beer, wait for inspiration to hit, then whack away at a junk yard supplyfs worth of electrical musical instruments when it does. If therefs any wine in the house, he starts singing. This method works amazingly well. Jack up the volume of say, gSinjuku Tavern Menfs Harmonyh and youfll swear that youfre at the dog tail end of a sake blessed night of harmony and good times at any Tokyo izakaya.
gcthe slurs the chants, the pissed up people....wild in and out guitar picks and patternsc.sung in Japanese with background pops comes peeps of guitar experimented and logged into a catchy form. The simplicity of the ideas is always so much better, so much music gets lost in the void of waiting to get on the radioh says Cream Of The Crop zine in its unique writing style.
On this, the Lush Mansions second release, the two lushes have simply taken the original tape from the first session and pulled it this way and that, reworking it into something completely different. Lazy? Damn right, but the results manage to rise above the method. Think of big old comfy armchairs with protruding springs being pushed from one end of a room to the other. Now think of yourself sitting buck naked in one with a good supply of Hi-Liki in one hand and a bullhorn for announcements in the other. Yes, that laid back Tokyo vibe captured on tape.
AUDIO TRACK COMING SOON
2 amps, 2 guitars, 4 cans of Hi-Liki elixir + 2 hours in a Tokyo rehearsal studio = that mysterious fine line. Old grizzled Aerosmith fans will be delighted to hear the superb opening tune gMy Name is Steven Tylerh which examines Stevenfs friendship with Joe as well as his daughter Livfs body. Elton John and Mick Jagger are name dropped as well. gAccomplished Musicianh is an in depth look at the mansionfs themselves. Performed before an appreciative audience of none, this is honest rawkin roll played the way God intended it to be played: with a pick.
Originally limited to 20 copies that disappeared like nobodyfs business. This CDR re-release (also limited to 20 copies) is well, gone like nobodyfs business - again! It seems that some people just canft get enough of this sort of foul smelly sonic soot. Fans of this release will be happy to know that the Semi-Roar staff is once again cruising junk yards and gomi heaps for crap sounds worthy of vol.2. Stay tuned.
King of the armchair crooners and armed with a Ukulele. Lo-Fi Daddy was already past the age of 60 when he first pushed the record button. The recordings on this tape date from the 70fs but feature renditions of popular tunes from the 30fs and 40fs. Lo-Fi Daddy recorded straight to a mono one track cassette recorder on what must have been one of the very first home cassette recorders ever made available. Recorded at his seaside, one room apartment-cum-art studio (LF Daddyfs real gig was oil painting) these recordings demonstrate that itfs never too late to push the recording button. We stand and salute this pioneering lo-fier.
4 track, 8 track + off track. Stunningly unstable. Tweetings + twitterings from the Tokyo master of lo-fi cooking. 50hh once again holes up in his tiny apartment and becomes one with his 4-track machine and electronic devices. The Runt side begins with the guitar driven eMarch of 50holeheadf, a dramatic mini opera that tells the story of the 50holehead march. Next up is gWheezer thingh an Oklahoma sounding composition that demonstrates that soft pillows and a good book canft help a relationship gone wrong. The Runt side poses a lot of questions and the Runtier side provides the answers.
gH-bonefs guitar playing is oddly competent, frequently lampooning and often properly sloppy. A lot of frayed ends but the overall effect is very satisfying because the sum of the parts exactly fits the intent of the whole. Reminds me of other DIY characters like Mike Hanley, Heather Perkins, Schlafengarten, Ham Sandwich, etc.h says Camera Obscura zine (issue #50). And this from Auto reverse zine: gWhen samplers replace guitars and loops replace guitar solos, this is the new punk rock.h
Split 7h (our one and only) with superb USA label Black Bean and Placenta. Japanese Daigaku students meet American citizens. 2 songs each and remember, this will not fit in your CD player. Youfll need an old fashioned turntable to coax the sounds out of these grooves.
Green Tea For Aliens first and last release (this is a CD release, not CDR). Over a 5-year period GTFA managed to play almost every basement dive in Tokyo. One day the bandfs official engineer Shinji offered them a sweet deal: a full day in a top class studio for free. All the band had to do was supply the tape. That 24-track tape (of which 16 tracks were used) was then mixed down to the bandfs 8 track and a couple of guitar overdubs and vocal harmonies added during a sweltering week in August. This CD is the result. Pretty straightforward indie rock.
Tin Indian only managed this one recording before leader Kirk disappeared to Thailand, but for a while they were an exciting part of the Gaijin/Japanese hybrid band scene here in Tokyo. Recorded on drummer Charliefs 4-track at Penta in Kichijoji, a notoriously boroboro Tokyo rehearsal space, legend has it that the recording budget was in fact, the beer budget and that leader Kirk played the whole 6 hour session with a guide mic taped to his forehead, later overdubbing the actual vocals in the bathroom of his apartment using a cheap karaoke mic. Although a little tinny sounding in places, this tape still manages to capture the raw energy of this Tokyo gpowerh trio.
Johnnyfs gone but the legend lives on. Guitar god Johnny and I met for the first time in a tiny punk club in Asagaya, Tokyo. Although I couldnft make out anything he had to say because of the punk rock din, through determined hand motions and a little pantomime, it was obvious that he had a 4-track recorded 60-minute TDK tape to offer. A week later The Dead Camelfs tape was sitting in my mailbox with a note saying that I should offer it to the world. Here ya go.
Apparently the tunes collected here were lost for years and then rediscovered floating in a bottle off the coast of Papua New Guinea. The liner notes also say that they were originally recorded using seashells + monkey intestines. Hm. Not sure about that, but this is one primitive sounding collection of spooky blips and bleeps. Highlights include gFurtoothh, gBlack skullh and gAll along the garbage canh. Scratchy, fuzzy instrumental concoctions.
gSemi-Roar is on itfs way to becoming the Far East Shrimper and this tape is another reason why you should check out this tiny label. Very crude recordings that really sound like they were recorded on a desert island. I say that the desert island is a metaphor for the cramped apartments in Tokyo and this is the soundtrack to a gaijin losing his mind while imagining that the walls are closing in. A desire for tranquility in the biggest metropolis in the world. Wonderful.h says Exile Osaka zine (issue #5).
Yes, sad but true, this cassette is not being re-released on CD-R. Why? Because all tracks and more were later released as SR-06 (CD release). Go straight to that release to hear what the GTFA experience was all about.
The tape that started it all. 11 strangely un-hummable tunes hot-wired on Tokyo tatami. 50holeheadfs sister still claims that this is her favorite 50hh release. Could this be because she has a song named after her on side one? The first 50-copy cassette run of this release is long, long gone. This CDR re-release gives the uninitiated the chance to hear what they missed.