The reissue of OXZ’s discography helps us to rediscovering forgotten parts of Japan’s underground music history.
In recent years (fortunately) there were a lot of reissues of either forgotten or, on the contrary, heavily sought after Japanese releases from the ’80s and one of the latest and most talked about of these is US label Captured Tracks‘ excellent reissue of the whole discography of a rather obscure ’80s all-girl band OXZ. Hailing from Osaka which already had a wild and vibrant underground scene at that time, they were active between 1981 and 1989, mixing various styles in their music. This makes it kind of difficult to categorize them, but they were mainly influenced by punk rock and they are usually associated with Japan’s new wave / post-punk scene which was at its peak in the mid- / late-’80s.
Titled Along Ago: 1981-1989 the release collects everything the band ever released and more: the CD version contains 19 tracks and includes all three of their EPs (originally released in ’84, ’85 and ’87), a song from a promo-only split EP from 1985, another one from the West Psychedelia 2 (1988) compilation and also three unreleased tunes. There is also a vinyl edition which comes with only 13 tracks, so it kind of misses the point of being a discography collection.
While OXZ was far from being a well known or especially great band of that era, as one of the first all-girl underground bands they are still an interesting (although far not as revolutionary as the promo text tries to suggest) part of Japan’s music history, that is now finally being rediscovered thanks to the label.
The label also did a very good job at getting the news about the reissue around which resulted in some online articles that help us to dig even deeper into history of the band and Osaka’s music scene at the time. There is an interview with the former members on Vice (just skip the part when the writer lists the otherwise great Guitar Wolf as an influential ’80s punk band, even though they weren’t even around then) and there is also a feature on Bandcamp Daily, which is also really excellent and well-researched (well, except for the first paragraph which is a bit of mess, dragging gender inequality into the picture for some reason and falsely calling the era’s Japanese underground an unwelcoming place for women).
Along Ago: 1981-1989
01.Fall In The Night
03.Life And Death
04.Touching My Heart
06.Be Run Down