Friction - '79 Live (Japan 1980)

"Friction is a late-'70s/early-'80s Japanese punk band formed by their bassist/singer/frontman ("Reck") who spent the better part of a year in NYC during the No Wave heyday. Like a lot of the better Japanese rock bands past and present, they took something great and tweaked it in another direction that still displays their love of the initial inspiration. There is a stripped down Contortions element to Friction (Sure enough, Reck played with Contortions and Teenage Jesus) but they are better described as a noir-ish, No Wave version of Crime. As recognizable as their influences may be, they are inarguably primal, energetic and seminal sounding, and the No Wave influence only informs their jaggedness and angular edge. In the end, these recordings capture the snarly-cool punk rock attitude as vividly as any reissue I've heard. It rocks." (Forced Exposure)

"When this excellent live album first surfaced a coupla years ago, I gots to admit it was a delightful revelation to me to experience Friction sounding as I imagine their leader Reck had originally intended. Indeed, with three decades and several oceans between us, and the dryness of their original studio sound herein replaced by the inevitable sonic spillage of a cheap concert recording, the catchiness of Friction’s racket finally made perfect sense, as Reck’s driving bass melded together with Chico Hige’s drums and Tsunematsu Masatoshi’s splashy-scratchy guitar to create a triple-headed post-punk behemoth. Heck, even Reck’s overly arch J. Rotten vocals now sounded less like Butler Rep’s dental drool and more like a genuine lead vocalist proposition, as really fucking catchy Japanglish choruses – admittedly often of barely more than a coupla duplicated words’ duration – emerged from the dungeonous gloop. But whereas the repeated vocals of songs such as ‘A-Gas’ (‘Gas mask, gas gas gas, gas tank, gas gas gas, anarchy’) and ‘Cycle Dance’ (‘Red light switch, black light switch, white light switch, switch, switch, switch, switch’) added little more than a glimpse of humanoid personality to Friction’s dislocated ‘Cloud 149’-meets-NO NEW YORK muse, elsewhere Reck’s still highly minimalist vocals contained choruses catchily hefty enough to corral momentarily some of the wild atonal funk tableaux into which they had been released." (via Head Heritage)

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