The Stalin - Trash (Cover Artwork)

The Stalin

Trash (1981)

political records

The Stalin were one of Japans’ first and finest Hardcore Punk bands. Other acts at the time were cult favorites G.I.S.M. and Gauze. What makes The Stalin stand out was the sense of purity in their music. They weren’t what you would call a professional sounding band, but then again, what early Punk bands were? Instead, they were youthful sounding with tons of frantic energy, scrappy yet decent musicianship, and an awesome front man in Michiro Endo.

The band named themselves after Joseph Stalin because according to Endo, “He is very hated by most people in Japan, so it is very good for our image." The music they made was pretty much a reaction to the stiff class system of Japanese culture at the time. In the face of all those suits, this music was a punch to the gut.

Trash is the band’s debut LP following their early EP Stalinism. Side-A are studio recordings while Side-B are live tracks. Some of the songs go back a couple years to when Endo’s first band, Jieitai existed. The music is quite good for early Punk rock. The band seemed to crossbreed between traditional 80’s Hardcore and a bit of Post-Punk, so not everything is samey sounding. What stands out the most here are the live tracks on side two. This band could definitely put on a good performance and the energy given off by Endo is infecting. In addition, some of the songs sound an awful like early Ramones!

If you jam the early stuff of say, T.S.O.L., Black Flag, and The Dead Kennedy’s then this should fit your boat.

The inspiration of Punk music spread to all nations all over, and what was so great about Punk is how it allowed regular folks to say, “Hey, we can do that to!” and thus form bands of their own. That notion still lingers on with many that came before and those still to come. Japan seems to always bring their own unique approach to world music and The Stalin were an early example of outsider music that was slowly creeping in.

If you want to see the band go even further into more absurdity, check of the classic Japanese Cyberpunk film Burst City. The band are guest stars in a futuristic Japan where teenage biker gangs rebel through music and anarchy while the government tries to control through brutality and dystopian Fascism. Hmm… sounds sorta familiar doesn’t it?

Dig it.