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virus245 (2001) CD - $12.00

Here is the indie-rock legends' follow-up to 1997's out-of-print Bonehead. It features 17 songs (a few less on vinyl) and boats lots of cool original Jad Fair artwork.

Recorded in Toronto, Canada in 2000, Hello features the normal line-up with some additional help from Jason Willett. Quirked chord-digressed pop; cotton-candied love songs and geek-anthemic punk diatribes. Jad - I think I love you!! Hellllllooooo!!!!

"Hello" is quite an apt name for the new Half Japanese album considering it has been 4 years since their last album. But, it hasn't been a complete absence since their driving force and principle songwriter Jad Fair has released a dozen new albums in that time under different monikers or together with different bands, such as Jad Fair & Yo La Tengo, Adult Rodeo, Jad & Jason, Strobe, Jad & Kramer, and soon after this release we put out the excellent Jad Fair & Teenage Fanclub record!

Jad Fair is an international ambassador of rock'n'roll. He is constantly zipping around the world to Switzerland, Canada, Portugal, Scotland, Spain, where he records with friends. And his main band, Half Japanese - that he formed with his brother David over 20 years - is continually listed high in the "all time cult bands" charts and is touted internationally. There is even a documentary about the band well worth checking out entitled "The Band That Would Be King".

"Home" is an excellent mix of what Half Japanese are all about : eclectic indie-rock maliciously deviating from standard chord structures, nerd-punk diatribes, and beautiful love songs dripping in maple syrup.

The line-up this time features : John Sluggett - guitar, keyboards; Gilles Rieder - drums; Jason Willett - bass, guitar, keyboards; Rob Erickson - guitar, backing vocals; Dallas Good - guitar; Jad Fair - vocals, guitar. It was recorded in Toronto at Hallamusic by Nick Holmes.

The LP has a few less songs than the CD version due to time limitations. Artwork is original Jad Fair work. All of these songs are new and are exclusive to this album. (One song "temptation" is also on our recent compilation The Ecstasy Of The Agony)

Half Japanese
[Alternative Tentacles]
Rating: 7.0

Everybody needs an anthem, something to which you can pump your fist and shout. Something that makes you jump up and down, want to start a band, and scream at the top of your lungs. Something so mindlessly glorious that you can\'t help but think how kind and benign the world is because it\'s capable of producing such a work. A three-minute blurt of simple-minded, uni-directional rock-and-roll flameout. Happily, such an anthem doesn\'t have to remain constant. Your anthem of choice can change from moment to moment, year to year, mood to mood.
For the moment, \"Patty,\" from Hello, seems like a perfectly serviceable personal anthem. A heartfelt, plainspoken song about overwrought, decent, all-American lust for a person with the titular name, \"Patty\" overflows with riffs, keyboard twiddles and frantic, propulsive rhythms. It\'s direct, silly and noisy enough to ring from sea to shining sea as a pounding rock track utterly worthy of anthemhood.
Even better, Half Japanese aren\'t really the sort of band inclined to produce anthems in the first place. A rotating lineup of sidemen backing Jad and David Fair, these guys have been around for decades, authoring affable little garage-rock haiku. On the band\'s early records, much of this work was composed of twiddling guitars and Jad\'s nasal talk-sing. Most songs finished in little more than a minute, sounded largely improvised, and involved Frankenstein as a lyrical leitmotif. Virtually every song served as a poignant metaphor for personal and social disaffection, as Jad\'s narrators struggled against cowboys, monsters and his own crippling shyness. And in most of these pitched battles, he found himself on the losing side.
Frankenstein\'s still around, happily, but Hello distinctly falls into the more recent, relatively relaxed region of Half Japanese\'s discography. Backed by an able rhythm section, Jad goes it alone this time, pounding out developed, somewhat nuanced rock songs that never give up his musical adolescence\'s charming na´vetÚ and idiosyncrasy. Though the opener, \"All the Angels Said Go to Her,\" musters an almost-soulful groove, it still nicely complements Jad\'s loopy lyrical vision and the inimitable whine of his vocals. Not unlike something from his collaboration with Yo La Tengo, where he pieced together spoken-word narratives out of tabloid headlines, Fair sounds less agitated and better adjusted than on past works, instead writing (gasp!) an anxiety-free love song.
For a great one-two punch, the band follows the track with the awesome, aforementioned \"Patty,\" which continues the party in fine form. And \"Temptation\" seals the deal with a discordant scrawl reminiscent of Japanese discs past. In fact, most of Hello\'s length is composed of such pleasures-- wall-to-wall guitar fuzz backing up Fair\'s endearing little rambles.
Anyone following Half Japanese\'s albums over their long stay in the rock arena has to enjoy the project\'s increasing comfortableness with complexity and craft. Hello demonstrates this sophistication to terrific effect, letting Jad\'s charming quirks take flight with more complex backgrounds. It\'s the sort of development that deserves its own anthem. Good thing the boys were smart enough to write one.
- Pitchfork



1. "The Angel" (2:49)
2. "Patty" (2:35)
listen to "Patty"   MP3 (2.4 MB)
3. "Temptation" (2:19)
4. "Legend" (1:34)
5. "Mississippi" (3:48)
listen to "Mississippi"   MP3 (3.5 MB)
6. "No Doubt" (4:03)
7. "Ten A.M. Punk Rock" (2:10)
8. "Jump Into" (3:38)
listen to "Jump Into"   MP3 (3.3 MB)
9. "Red Sun" (2:08)
listen to "Red Sun"   MP3 (1.6 MB)
10. "Whatever" (4:04)
11. "Best Of The Best" (3:00)
listen to "Best Of The Best"   MP3 (2.8 MB)
12. "Summer Night" (3:55)
13. "Our Turn" (4:29)
14. "Starlight" (1:50)
15. "The Good Side" (1:52)
16. "Super-size It" (4:50)
17. "Happy Land" (4:51)

See more items by:
Jad Fair
Half Japanese
Teenage Fanclub & Jad Fair
Jason Willett

Half Japanese

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