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Guitar Wolf 

Golden Black (Narnack)

The sheer longevity of "Japan's Greatest Rock-and-Roll Band" (18 years!) is amazing enough, but consider that most who pursue such cacophony usually burn out immediately.

For nearly two decades, Guitar Wolf has spewed a surprisingly consistent rock tornado mangled in that particularly Japanese way, all the while looking impossibly cool in jet-black pants and pompadours, yelping "lock and loll!!" as a call to battle. The track list for this best-of set was determined by online voting, making it the perfect intro for rookies and a godsend for fans, as much of this material is out of print, and you get a swank booklet with boss pics too.

Then there's the tribute CD, I Love Guitar Wolf Very Much. Spazz-masters Lightning Bolt start things off perfectly, leading to a cavalcade of Crampsy cutups (Fast Fourier, Autoramas), gutbucket garage blues (Porch Ghouls, Blues Explosion, Cato Salsa Experience), and bar-punk run-throughs (Hellsquad, Snuff). There's not as much white noise as expected, though Japanese deconstructos Total Dork oblige, while J Mascis and the Fog go psychedelic sky-riding. Most amazing of all is Japanese DayGlo duo Puffy Amiyumi, offering the best evidence that underneath all the caterwauling, Guitar Wolf has some snappy tunes indeed.

For the cynics, both releases were planned long before the tragic death in March of bassist Billy Wolf, aka Bass Wolf. R.I.P., Billy. And long live Guitar Wolf.

More by Eric Davidson

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