4220 - Tokyo Beef (self released)
This one’s by a bunch of blokes from Burleigh Heads, an idyllic spot in the most southern coastal reaches of sub-tropical Queensland where the weather’s warm, the beer’s cold and the attitude is either laid-back or laid-off and under-employed.
If Tokyo Beef’s EP doesn’t quite reek of coconut oil on a frying Burleigh Heads sunbather’s back at the height of a summer afternoon, its sound would sit perfectly well in the beer garden of the town’s famous pub after the sun’s gone down. The band doesn't mind flying the flag for its home turf either - the title’s a reference to their postcode.
The Angels, Radio Birdman, AC/DC and the Rifles all get name-checked in the bio. I reckon the OIls could do with a call-out too, and although the attack of Graeme and Punk on guitars isn’t as frantic, I’ll bet they’re part of their collective listening history. Tokyo Beef have their roots in Oz Rock and I have no beef (ouch) with that.
Tokyo Beef is one of that endangered species, The Local Band. Identifiable by their plumage (usually T-shirts bearing the colours of a local watering hole or football club - Up The Bears!) and best viewed playing on the floor of a sticky carpet pubs. They used to be the people a booker would call to support the latest big touring act that was passing through. Those big touring acts don’t come through as often these days and you have to look harder to find The Local Band.
What’s it sound like? As you might expect from a band named after a local gastronomic outlet’s speciality (whale burgers still being big in Japan) it’s meaty guitars with lots of riffs to crunch down on. It was recorded in a day and sounds more finished than you’d expect. These boys can sure play.
Opener “It Ain’t Weak To Speak” is a message song delivered with bustling guitars, a droll Lovelock-esque vocal and the intention of chasing the black dog of depression away. “Idiot Box” takes a stab at mindless TV and if that theme’s been done to death then the chunky guitar-work will satisfy just fine.
“Presidents” is a blue collar rocker with roots firmly planted in Detroit, Michigan. The Great Lakes can’t match Burleigh for surf (or sharks) but this would go down just fine in any Midwestern rock bar out that way that hasn’t surrendered to techno. “Living It Up” raises the Rock Action bar even higher with its sustained guitar attack and whoah-oh back-up vocals and is the pick of the litter for mine.
If you’re a regular I-94 Bar patron, Tokyo Beef will probably be your kettle of fish. Hit up the band on Facebook for a copy.