Love-o is short-o!

Uf!

That was something of a palate cleanser…

Spent yesterday mooching around the pubs and record spots of Bristol in the freezing cold of a bitter February day – think I’ll wait for the more forgiving afternoons of summer before I do that again. Picked up a lovely Ewan McGregor & Peggy Seeger record, though (memories of Sea Change, hearing her perform and asking an audience question – Coleser saying “I was convinced you were going to fuck that up”). Also got chatting to a slightly over-friendly and (by the end) very drunk feller in the pub about Gloucester Rugby and Syd Barrett. Lovely burger and drink with The Daughter, and swift trot along to the Fleece to see…

Otoboke Beaver, The Fleece

I’ve been unfeasibly excited about this for a while now, as previous OB posts (both of which I now realise have the same headline photo) will surely corroborate. I’m a great one for over-hyping and then when it comes down to it being underwhelmed in the face of the real thing, and so I half-wondered if actually they might not quite measure up. Support band Drinking Boys and Girls Choir from Korea were pretty good, (maybe a bit like what Otoboke Beaver were going to be like?), loud and enthusiastic certainly but my attention started to wander pretty quickly.

I needn’t have worried of course.

Wandering a little uncertainly onto stage a few minutes early, all four girls fiddled around with the equipment nervously for a full five minutes, like footballers waiting for the ad break to end. The invisible thumbs-up having been given, however, they sprang straight into a break-neck, raucous set of 21 songs (none of them past the three minute mark) in just over an hour onstage (although as Coleser pointed out afterwards, the pace they played at meant a Springsteen-style marathon was never on the cards).

It was crazy stuff, all four girls hurtling themselves uncontrollably through what I like to think was a feverishly foul-mouthed set – although I’m guessing here, all the girls’ English still being charmingly pigeon – they certainly left everything on the pitch (Coleser, again).

Disappointingly, most of the clips on YouTube of the band live, involve rows of people holding phones up (although, frankly I can understand the gawping) but there are these two cracking clips shot in Tokyo, but which were pretty much it, last night – “Love Is Short”:

 

and “Datsu hikage no onna” (with added “oyoyoyoyo”):

 

Turned out in cartoonish sixties-cut dresses, they looked like the Shangri-Las although this belied the Shock & Awe they were about to unleash. Singer Accorinrin shrieked her way prettily through the set slinking about centre-stage, energetically striking poses for each line she sang. At times she was almost demure, at others pretty disturbing, and always scarily beautiful. Drummer, Kahokiss, propelled the the whole shebang at unlikely and frankly unwise speeds and yet was still somehow able to provide backing vocals. (At one point, a new song was introduced as “one of our more fast songs” without any apparent irony and surely a weary, deep breath from the back of the stage…)

But if they were giving out medals for catastrophic disorderliness, guitarist Yoyoyoshie would have cleaned up – she was absolutely barking mad. Screaming “We are Otoboke Beaver!!!!!” between songs at throat-shredding volume and bounding about riffing furiously, yet also providing call and response vocals, she was comprehensively “on it” (and at the same time, completely “off it”) throughout. At one point she hurled herself backwards offstage into the mosh pit, without missing a note, surfing clumsily across a sea of hands. In a group of out-and-out nutters, she was head and shoulders the wildest. If you had only one straight jacket…

At one point, before ripping into “6 Day Working Week is a Pain”, Accorinrin announced that they had all quit their jobs to come on this tour (to huge cheers) which was the bare minimum I might have expected, to be frank, but was more surprising for the fact that they apparently live in a real world which involves having regular jobs – hats off to any and all previous employers, I say…

On the floor, there were scenes of unruliness and abandon which this old chap managed to avoid (a series of unflattering strains and spasms would surely have ensued…) – moshing, crowd surfing and general boisterousness to a level I’ve not seen for a while. The kids loved them.

I’ve got some recordings which are far from perfect but which give you a sense of pretty wild and deeply satisfying evening.

Akimahenka

Don’t Light My Fire

Datsu hikage no onna

Introduce Me to your Family

Long Live the Beaver!

Ten thousand years I fall in love, one thousand years I fail in love

Having daubed red crosses on the windows and employed a manservant to shuffle awkwardly around the estate with a hand bell, we’ve crawled gingerly out from the covers this last day or so, scratching ourselves and feeling a little less groggy. We’ve been something of a sick house for the last seven days or missed pretty much all of the week between Christmas and New Year, which is a massive shame – I look forward to those seven lazy, loafe-some days almost as much as the feasting…

But here we are, on the brink of a another loveless decade.

I can’t be arsed to do a review of the year (let alone the decade), mainly because … well, I can’t be arsed, but also because, you’ve had enough of all of this malarkey by now, I’m sure…

For what it’s worth, I enjoyed the Modern English record (plus the various extras that have surfaced over the year); the Black Midi record was fine (but possibly not as great as their lean, haughty live set); also Amon Tobin’s Only Child Tyrant thing and Beak>’s last record (although I think that was last year).

Other than that the year has been soundtracked by a dizzying round of idiosyncratic nonsense from the Move, Sun Ra, Terry Riley and various Spanish artists (so pretty much like last year, then).

There was one lurid shaft of 2019 gold that has lit my way, though:

 

Proof that God still loves us…

Don’t-oh light-oh my fiyah!

I like to strike while the iron is hot.

No, really.

Which is why I’m putting to one side for a moment some recordings I made a fortnight ago at Sea Change to bring you this slice of anarchic fruitiness.

Otoboke Beaver

(To be fair, “putting to one side” might suggest that I had some choice in the matter – I suspect these ladies don’t do a lot of waiting in line…)

I had a good few credits to use up at eMusic last week, so I hoovered up a bunch of stuff I’d never heard of, which is rarely a mistake and often the absolute strength of my favourite music supplier. There’s some more Sun Ra, some Mingus I thought I’d try out, a bit of doomy German psyche.

Also this.

Otoboke Beaver is amongst other things the name of a “love hotel” in Osaka and also four feisty Japanese women who play it loud and stupid, belting out spikey guitar pieces perforated by the sort of babbling, screaming vocals that’d scare the sweet bejeesus out of most middle-aged, coffee-swilling hipsters.

Fortunately not this middle-aged, coffee-swilling hipster, though, ho no. In fact, I think I might be in love.

Watch this:

 

This is clearly loads of fun, from the pigeon-English through the feckless Batman riffs to the massive amounts of nutty energy running amok all over this video. This is a track from the Itekoma Hits record that eMusic has nudged my way – 14 noisy “songs” knocked out in under 30 minutes, all of them riotous, all of them banged out at a furious speed and volume (the dial will have read “breakneck”, I’d imagine). All of which belies the pink lipsticked, swinging London look the band has.

There’s a review of the record done by Pitchfork which is quite interesting and certainly worth a couple of minutes of your time to fill in a few of the gaps that I’ll not concern myself with here. I can’t help thinking they’re missing the point a little, though, when they attempt to provide “analysis” of lyrics and social importance – Otoboke Beaver are all about love of the lurid, the joy of oomph.

Extravagant swirls of punk and post punk guitar riffs reel around the air, drums are flattened lustily, bass strings are plucked to within an inch of their nylon lives and choruses are bawled out by all four with a punch that leaves you queasy. There’s occasional actual singing too, you know, light and shade and all that…

And then there’s the jaw-dropping, coffee-down-your-shirt craziness of the whole shebang. Without wishing to sleepwalk into cultural stereotyping, there are moments in this next video when it’s hard not to think of The Ring. “Bat-shit crazy” is a phrase I may well have been guilty of over-using on these pages but I wish I’d saved it…

 

I’ll get on with the Sea Change stuff now, I promise (but sometimes it’s just got to be done…)