11 February 2009

Blast from the Past (part two) - Urusei Yatsura

'Urusei Yatsura came together in the summer of 1993 when Graham Kemp met Fergus Lawrie while both were studying at Glasgow University, and where they bonded over their shared love of the Velvet Underground and Galaxy 500. Each persuaded the other to join an imaginary band, which, with the drink fuelled recruitment of bass player Elaine Graham became a reality. Revelling in a spirit of awkwardness the band decide to call themselves after an obscure Japanese comic Urusei Yatsura, the translation of which changes depending on who you ask and how it's been written. The band prefer "Noisy Stars". The three ricocheted around the Glasgow gigging circuit until they managed to coerce Elaine's younger brother into banging the drums for an impromptu set one night. Seven years later, the line-up remains the same.

Late in 1994 they made their first outing on vinyl by contributing a live recording of the song "Guitars are Boring" to a compilation released by the Kazoo Club (based in Glasgow's notorious 13th Note). This recording, along with their fanzine "Kitten Frenzy" brought the band to the attention of John Peel and a session followed, preceded by a six track maxi single "All Hail Urusei Yatsura". With the proceeds of the Peel session the band released a split single on their own Modern Independent Records label, "Pampered Adolescent", which they followed up with releases by some of their favourite Glasgow contemporaries. Although being in charge of their own record label was a dream shared by all of the band, lack of finances and an opportunity to work with London based Che Records persuaded them to shelve their label and fanzine for the time being and concentrate on recording for the London based label'

Back in 1996, when I had just started going to gigs i found myself at many a show by Urusei Yatsura, singing along to songs about Kweepies liking Watermelons and the like. I think i still have my old t-shirt kicking about somewhere (actually I know i do, it's just not a pretty site when I wear it). Anyway, enough about me, UY's debut album, 'We Are Urusei Yatsura' is one of those records that i had forgotten about until i recently stumbled upon their new incarnation, 'Project A-ko', which made me revisit this record which I played continuously back in the day (god I hate that phrase). It's filled with spiky little pop gems, that remind me of being young and being arsed to jump about like a dafty doon the front. if you haven't heard of them before then give them a listen, here's hoping the 'A-ko still have that sprightly youthful fun sound as this is a more than welcome return.

Try it
Projekt A-ko

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