Archive for February, 2014

Spending Loud Night

Posted in Uncategorized on February 26, 2014 by Tanner

Trying to breathe life into something so obviously dead. In my trying to make any sense of how or why I react to music in such visceral ways, I find nothing but boring insecurity.But I listen to Confuse all the same, and I hear total disregard. And that’s fucking great.

┬áConfuse is one of the hallowed names of Japanese hardcore. At least for me they were, growing up, alone in my room and blasting Spending Loud Nights. I was lucky to hear G.I.S.M., Systematic Death, Lip Cream and Gauze early on, but I was also a punk record hound, working hard spending money I didn’t have for the most dodgy demo, the most shitty bootleg. The originals of the records I adored were so far out of reach and so poorly distributed or just non-existent that I lived on used tapes and lp bootlegs off of Extreme Noise in Minneapolis, MN. Thankfully, this was somewhat before the internet and you could actually buy some of these records once and a while if you were in the right place, at the right time and somehow knew about them; this was before any record of any worth was snapped up by dickhead collectors who had just heard about them on a message board (Yes, capitalism is an ouroboros). But these bands became a part of my daily life early– so early in fact that most of the music seems part of my dna at this point. I still find myself wandering around my apartment murmuring “syphilitic vagina to pieces” while feeding my cat.

But Confuse, man, it didn’t really matter. None of the legacy, none of the catchy lyrics. Well, let’s be honest, for American monolinguals like me, the lyrics were not what attracted me to Japanese hardcore, and especially not to Confuse. It was that ground bone intensity, the nihilistic burn-it-all-to-the-groundness of their records. These dudes weren’t selling an idea of the apocalypse, they were sitting next to the volcano, palm trees swaying, and punching one another in the mai tais. I see dudes classifying them now as proto-noise, and I guess I would never have thought about it that way until now. In hindsight it makes sense — the pickled, sour, crash and burn and mindless glue-abetted repetition. Saki and cheap beer and distortion.

I’m sure the early Japanese noise gurus were at least aware of them in the early 80s. Confuse were so blatant, so much excited buckshot in a tin can. All their records sound as fucked up and full to the brim with red-eyed skree that even now they don’t seem dated, but far more prescient. It seems so bizarre, to hitch oneself to something of a time and place, to something that was fought so hard for and earned. I read an Maximum R and R article not too long ago that was a kind of meager aural history from of some the Confuse guys, (who are still around, still punk, still in it), and they were talking about how violent the scene was in the 80s– how they had to fight their way out of clubs, swinging potted plants, throwing beer glasses, acting Yakuza: Only death is real. The bands now seem all pretty meager in comparison. But that’s the scrapes. Fuck it, we’re all nuclear addicts.