Japanese punk/hardcore band 2UP’s album Teenage Mondo Trash screams through sixteen songs in less than sixteen minutes, and because of this, comes off as brief pulses of chaotic noise followed by a few seconds of silence that are the track breaks. The best tracks, like “Sirloin”, take advantage of this, using silence within the track, delineating different thematic ideas separated by brief pauses: towards the end of the track, things come together, and you’re amazed that such a development can happen over the course of a minute. It’s caustic and chaotic music, not for the faint of heart—Be Your Own Pet made the real deal: spazzed-out, stressed-out, frenetic and unrelenting. The singer, Tetsunori Tawaraya, screams over the top in an incomprehensible screech—whether it’s Japanese, or English, or a mixture of both, who knows. His vocal style is shredded, as he interrupts a more conventional punk tenor with screeches of falsetto screaming in almost every 40-second burst of song. The production is raw to the point of non-existence, and the whole thing sounds authentically amateur. Still, it’s the longer tracks like “Torepan” that have more room to breathe, to expand a little into their ideas and, ultimately, offer the listener more. Experience Teenage Mondo Trash as a fifteen-minute onslaught the first time; the second, third and fourth, appreciate the rigorous craft that has produced complex polyrhythms and interesting structures within these micro-song forms.
// Notes from the Road
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