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"Rock'n'Roll Summit"  V.A.  Release date: 2004  Label: Would Go Records

Japanese rock and roll is a weird and cultish scene, trapped in a parallel dimension in which all music stopped three days before the release of The Beatles' "Ticket To Ride", only starting again briefly in the 1970s to acknowledge the existence of The Ramones and then return to a blissful state of non-being once more. Hello The 5,6,7,8's, hello The Neatbeats, hello The Mods. Well, to be fair there are amusing pastiches of a slightly wider range of influences than that on this rather self-congratulatory compilation CD and to criticise this kind of retro rock and roll for being limited is a bit like criticising psychedelia for being, um, psychedelic. Laughin' Nose's "Get The Glory" is a yobbish take on Oi! punk and is therefore crap, but Robin's "Comes Out" rocks its heavy, simplistic drumming, minor chord thing effectively and Candy's "Kusottale" is a big dumb fist-pumping Kiss-style piece of enjoyable shit. Certainly this is all music that demands to be seen live in order to experience its full effectiveness, but perhaps the problem I have with all this stuff is more that they're just not ripping off the right freaky Nuggets type bands for my oh so sophisticated taste. Even so, the simplicity of so much of this music is irritatingly calculated and the way in which lone standout track "Go To Hell" by 54 Nude Honeys, with its jagged military guitars, messed up Shonen Knife rhythms and bitchy vocals, towers head and shoulders above the rest should stand as a telling reminder to the rest of them of the precious thrill of seeing a formula fucked with.

The costume-play in evidence on the accompanying DVD does very little to make bands like The Beatle Crusher and The Peppermint Jam any more endearing, and the large number of greasy quiffs on display is just plain wrong. In fact the overall sartorial inelegance of most of these bands as they wrap themselves in a picture postcard image of what they think a punk might once have looked like is a knife in the throat of everything that rock and roll should stand for. The bottom line is, and Guitar Wolf confirm this with a ragged "Kan-Nana Fever", that rock and roll bands should be COOL. I mean, you can hardly claim that the Rock'n'Roll Summit is about the fucking music, can you? It's about the influences and the image and the passion. And the influences suck and the image sucks and the passion is fake. Fuck off now and listen to The Kinks. Then listen to The Seeds, the Chocolate Watchband, The Creation, The Sorrows, The Shadows Of Knight, Patti Smith, Television, The Modern Lovers, The Troggs, Them, The Yardbirds. Now buy a suit and learn how to wear it. Pull your collar out, squeeze your feet into some Doc Martens. Next, get a soul, sling your guitar up high and make it go "Skrangg!!" That is the first lesson. -Ian Martin, Sep.04.04.

V.A. [Rock'n'Roll Summit] 2004 Rock'n'Roll Summit

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