Howard Nishioka – Street Songs


If I had to distill the essence of this album down to one word, I would go with Maelstrom. If I’ve got two words to work with then it’s Shit Storm. Howard Nishioka, who plays electric and acoustic guitar and bass guitar (and vocals on a couple songs), sounds like a man tearing holes in the atmosphere to get at those bright stars shimmering above his secluded Hawaiian compound deep in the woods.

In truth, I don’t know if he really recorded this out in the trees but that’s how I imagine it. On the other hand, he called the record “Street Sounds” and the colors bordering the rather incongruous street scene could cause one to mistake this for a reggae record, instead of the uncompromising fried improvised pyschedelic folk masterpiece that it is. Maybe the disconnect between the cover and the music are what kept most psych afficianados off the scent for nearly 30 years (the album was released privately by Nishioka in relatively small numbers in 1979).

As ferocious and chaotic as this record gets at points, there’s also an underlying calmness and gentleness and some mellower tracks that balance things out nicely. Howard is joined on two long songs by drummer Byron Kitkowsky  (who compliments Howard’s shambolic style expertly),  and recording engineer Richard Kon contributes washboard and shouts. On the back cover, one finds a concise summation of Nishioka’s approach to sound (and life?): “Screw Limitations!!!”

Carnivourous Dogaramus
Ladies Of The Seventh House
Maria
Odyseas Over Seas

80 Comments

  • THE FIRST SONG SOUNDS LIKE THE BLUR SONG. “WOO HOOH.”

  • yup, that’s song 2 right off the bat.. I think accusations of plagiarism would be stretching it though

  • I ran into this a couple of months ago and almost passed it up due to the uninspiring cover. From the first notes you can tell it’s going to be a winner. Unbelievable record through and through.

  • Has anyone heard the fuckin’ flyin’ a-heads record (swiss cheese back)? Nishioka plays guitar on that too but I’ve never seen it

  • the fuckin’ flyin’ a-heads 7″ blows this lp away

  • I enjoy this best after I snort Ajax.

  • Absolutely insane. One of the best discoveries of 08.

  • Hi,
    I recently found a bunch of these and am selling for $25 ea. plus shipping. Please contact me jon@brokenrecords.com if interested.

  • jon – your e-mail address doesn’t seem to be working. please drop me a line. best, jack

  • Jon,
    Please email me as well. I am interested in purchasing a copy.

    Thanks,

    -Ben

    bpbridwell@hotmail.com

  • Hi Jon,

    I would also be interested in purchasing a copy.

    Thanks.

    Cozmic Ed
    KPSU Radio Portland, Oregon

  • Hahaha! I’m pretty sure dude is yanking your chains.

  • Has anyone heard back from Jon yet?

  • If anyone is interested in buying a copy of this album from someone who ACTUALLY has them then contact Friends Of Sound in Austin or myself, at kidinquisitive at gmail dot com.

  • SO DID ANYONE END UP PAYING $25 FOR THIS EXTENDED SOUNDCHECK?

  • You can get 1/6 of a copy for $25. If you’re interested let me know and I’ll sharpen my pizza cutter.

  • Yerbamansa and Whitemare:
    in the San Diego magazine UGLY THINGS nr.19
    of summer 1999, I made a report and interview
    with the Fuckin´Flyin´A-Heads ,with the help of singer Eric “Sep” Ishii (R.I.P.) and also
    Howard Nishioka (who sung on the B-side of their 1980 single,”Watching T.V.”)
    Howard mentioned the “Street Songs” album, aswell.
    The FFA 7″ is really mind-blowing!

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