This post originally appeared on the 10th Dentist blog on Monday, January 25th, 2021.
2020 was not the best year for tours, though it seems Japanese punk rockers M.A.Z.E. were able to make it under the wire, finishing the final American leg of their tour in early March. This 6 track EP is a muddied lo-fi romp of wobbly processed guitars that only features 1 d-beat (on ‘Typical Credit’). Raw and seemingly untouched in post, Tour Tape 2020 may appeal to certain garage-rock circles but never bows to Thee Oh Sees-level dry-as-dust monotony.
What leads to some internal conflict for this listener is the band’s ‘punk’ self-identity. They are far too interesting to be lumped in with current western ‘punk,’ a vapid term for commercialized, dummy-jock rock. Though in Japan it seems as if ‘punk’ is being explored and experienced, not worn and modeled. Which is the real ‘punk’? Is the true ‘punk’ the easily digestible, take-no-risks rock? Or the off-beat, entry-level-0 art form? Simply, it doesn’t matter. The grey swath of ‘punk rock’ sycophants and fetishists will continue to worship and make legend of a scene many people (including my parents) just lived.
Who should be rewarded are the simon-pure with vision built through craft. While the willing mousinauts may find new favorites in Japanese and other non-anglophonic punk scenes, Cro-Mags fans may have difficulty sitting through closing track ‘Pink Wall.’
For fans of: DEVO, Crack Cloud, The Fall