Sonically speaking, there’s an awful lot going on here. It's like a bowl of musical ramen.
For those not in the know (that’d be most of us) Masami Kawaguchi is a underground legend in Japan, playing with a string of bands (Miminikoto, Haino Keiji's Aihiyo) and touring the USA and Europe numerous times. He sings, plays guitar and occasionally holds down the bottom end on bass.
There is an Australian connection: Tokyo-based Masami toured and recorded with Penny Ikinger and Deniz Tek in Japan a few years ago. He plays guitar in Penny's latest album. His solo record, the quirky and earthy "The Mad Guitar Sings”, came out in Australia a year or more ago, and he played some solo shows.
An unlikely pairing or a reckless act of inspiration? The contrasts on this split LP couldn’t be more obvious, but somehow the partnership works brilliantly.
Fraudband is an Australian duo (drums and guitar) that plays stark and evocative instrumentals, while Donovan’s Brain is a long-running American collective with roots in psychedelic West Coast and paisley pop. This LP, which you can buy on either side of the Pacific, gives each a toehold in the other’s musical market. As is often the way in these digital times, the vinyl comes with a download code for six extra tracks, all of them as good as the 10 LP cuts.
Half the Fraudband contribution comes from a CD release called “Blinkered vision and blurred horizons”, the rest of which ended up on a Bevis Frond split album. The Donovan’s Brain stuff is drawn from a seemingly bottomless well of material, pieced together by leader Ron Sanchez.
Fuckin’ five bottle feedback and dronecrush alert. Among other things.
Melbourne band Fraudband are seriously determined to get your attention. “Many Ways in…” has a great cover, good packaging, and … ah, yeah. The songs. Five bottles, Barman, did I mention..?
“Many Ways in…” is a re-recording of Fraudband’s first two EPs, neither of which I knew existed until I saw the press release. More fool me. Loki Lockwood is the dread at the production controls because he mixed them live, loved them and put himself forward.
It’s a split 12” LP. Five tracks one side, one track on the other. Which is a great idea; two bands showcase themselves for half the price of the vinyl. Yes, it’s vinyl. More bands should do this.
Fraudband are a secretive bunch; you don’t really know their names, ages, or what their favourite colour is, whether they’re hipsters from Pillockville, young WTFs from the stale burbs or leathery old farts in those vile brown leather jackets which were so in among the more money than taste twats in 1986. Fraudband (brilliant name, I’m sure you’ll agree) want their music to speak to us.
In early May thieves broke into Dan Sullivan's Johnston Street recording studio in Melbourne and stole guitars, effects pedals and recording gear worth thousands of dollars.
Despite the best efforts of friends and fellow musicians, the equipment and gear has yet to be recovered, leaving Sullivan and James McCann personally and financially devastated.
The studio has recenty been used (for free) to record tracks for an upcoming Spencer P Jones tribute album.
On Sunday, 22 May members of the Melbourne music community will come together at The Tote in Melbourne to raise money to replace the missing gear. The event will feature performances from Kim Salmon, Garry Gray & the Sixth Circle, James McCann & the New Vindictives, Penny Ikinger, Midnight Scavengers, Fraudband, Los Dominados, Claire Birchall & the Phantom Hitchhikers, Jules Sheldon, Helen Ryder and Tex Napalm.
Come along and see some great music, while helping out some hard working members of the Melbourne music community in a time of need. Keep an eye on the Facebook event for playing times and to spread the word.