Mere seconds after Melt-Banana started into its set, I get kicked in the face and am left with a busted nose. Still, I enjoyed the show.

The 12th birthday party on Sunday for Nagoya record shop File-Under Records featured Melt-Banana at the top of its bill, easily reigning supreme over the night. Ichiro Agata expertly ripped his guitar through the sludgy molten trenches of his vast pedal collection, while vocalist Yasuko Onuki dropped her rapid-fire spit-scream and added any missing elements of the band’s set (the group is now a duo) via a sampler.

Takehiko Yamada, the man behind File-Under Records, Knew Noise Recordings and the night’s bash, is often heralded as one of the underground-music kings of the city, championing acts such as Extruders, who are arguably Japan’s most definitive underground band.

Extruders were also on tonight’s roster, and their soft approach to post-punk left the crowd silent. A hoodie-wearing kid with a bowl cut standing next to me was actually in tears from the performance. Perfectly crafted ambient soundscapes engulfed Yohei Toriyama’s hushed vocals, while drummer Toru Iwashina’s minimalist snare and kick setup and guitarist Ryo Okada’s sweeping, and much of the time scattered, bits of noise and fuzz arranged it all into a sealike setting.

The intricate psyche-noise jams of ZZZ’s were also a nice surprise due to a loose element of chaos in their set.

At least I had an incredible night of music to reflect on while icing my broken face on the train ride home.

In line with COVID-19 guidelines, the government is strongly requesting that residents and visitors exercise caution if they choose to visit bars, restaurants, music venues and other public spaces.

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