I often take great comfort from the contents of the e-mails which come in with the submission of a guest ICA in that the authors often say that the piece has been some time in the making and it has taken an eternity to finalise.

It’s not just me then……

I first thought about a Urusei Yatsura ICA at least three years ago. About 18 months ago, I started scribbling some things down but then realised I had to pick up more than what I had in the collection to make it credible. I’ve now picked up all three albums and most of the singles, often via Discogs, and there’s no doubt that the first draft would have been lacking.

Oh, and there’s also the fact that my good mate Aldo is a work colleague of Elaine Graham, one of the band-members, and so I feel a wee bit of added pressure as I’m sure he’ll share the contents of this with her.

A very brief bio, adapted from wiki with some additional facts:-

Urusei Yatsura formed in Glasgow in 1993. Founding members Fergus Lawrie and Graham Kemp met whilst attending the University of Glasgow. They recruited Elaine Graham as bassist, and the line-up was completed with the subsequent addition of Elaine’s brother, Ian Graham, on drums.

They took their band name from the manga Urusei Yatsura, written by Rumiko Takahashi, and contributed their first recording, “Guitars Are Boring”, to a compilation album released by the locally based Kazoo Club. This record in turn brought them to the attention of John Peel, who brought them in to do a session in 1994. They would go on to record 4 Peel Sessions in total, as well as appearing on the Evening Session for Steve Lamacq.

Over the years they released three albums: We Are Urusei Yatsura (1996), Slain By Urusei Yatsura (1998) and Everybody Loves Urusei Yatsura (2000). Albums in America and Japan were released under the name of Yatsura for legal reasons. There were also around a dozen commercially available singles, mostly on Che, a London-based indie label. Urusei Yatsura split in June 2001, but three of the members would resurface in 2009 as Project A-Ko with a really good collection of tunes on the album Yoyodyne.

You’ll hear for yourself, but the best (lazy) comparisons for Urusei Yatsura are Pavement, Dinosaur Jr. and Sonic Youth. As someone else has said elsewhere on t’internet, the sonic attacks of their songs were like three-minute bolts of lightning, and likewise, their debut album, snapped and crackled in a time where everything Brit-popped.

Here’s your ICA.  I’ve taken the liberty of expanding it to 12 tracks as most of the songs are around the three-minute mark and the normal 10 songs would have been a bit skimpy.

Side A

1. Siamese (single, 1995)

The debut 45 for Che records, an edited version of which would be the opening track on the debut album released the following year. The lyrics set out something of a band manifesto, with the cry of ‘Fuck the system, fuck the system” being followed by the chorus of “Burning down, burning down your soul, we are Yatsura” over a tune that belts along at excessive speed and with intense energy. Oh and then there’s the kicker of the final verse

Modern jet-set pop underground
No more media corporate kowtow
Water pistols taste like plastic
Teenage nightmare hippy children
Take a stand, make a plan
Form a gang, a lo-fi band

Simply thrilling, honeys.

2. Hello Tiger (single, 1998)

The closest the band ever got to commercial success came with this blistering piece of pop, reaching #40 in the singles chart in February 1998. If only the Top of The Pop producers had seen fit to have them on the show that week, who knows what would have happened if the band had been able to reach out to an audience beyond the Evening Session and John Peel?

3. Strategic Hamlets (single, 1997)

The single was released in February 1997, later also appearing as the third track on the 1998 album Slain by Urusei Yatsura, following directly on from Hello Tiger. It’s always been one of my favourite one-two punches on any of the albums I have sitting on the shelves or in the cupboard, and it just makes perfect sense to have the ICA do likewise.

Surely the catchiest anti-war song ever written? You’ll be singing the na-na-na bits to yourself all day long once you’ve heard it….and surely I’m not alone in thinking this would make a great alternative piece of background music for the famous scene in Apocalypse Now where the helicopters attack the defenseless villagers?

4. Louche 33 (single and from Everybody Loves Urusei Yatsura, 2000)

The final album sees the guitars toned down very slightly and the vocals/harmonies brought more to the fore. I’ll be honest, when I first heard this, I was sure that Pavement were back recording again, as Fergus Lawrie certainly seems to be channeling his inner Stephen Malkmus, not to mention some great backing vocals and guitar work.  Or maybe it’s just me…….

5. Nobody Knows We’re Stars (from the Yon Kyoku Iri EP, 1999)

It’s worth mentioning at this juncture that the band were with Che from 1993-1998, before releasing Yon Kyoku, a one-off EP in 1999 for Beggars Banquet, with the final album and two singles coming out on Oni Records, which might well have been their own label as I can’t find anyone else having anything released via that imprint. The melancholic title of this track has an equally melancholic tune to match. Urusei Yatsura were not one-trick ponies.

6. Kernel (single, 1995)

Having opened this ICA with the debut Che single, I’m closing it off with its wonderfully low-fi follow-up that would be later re-recorded in a slightly beefier form for the debut album the following year. It’s chorus of “I don’t wanna be like everyone, I don’t wanna be like anyone” is one that the Manchester racist surely wishes he had come with back in his heyday.

Side B

1. Glo Starz (form Slain by Urusei Yatsura, 1998)

The opening track on the album, whose initial notes via the drumkit always make me think I’m about to hear Fun Boy Three‘s take on Our Lips Are Sealed; but just as I anticipate the synthetic strings, there’s this violent burst of guitars which put a smile on my face as I realise I’ve been caught out again…and then there’s a riff that Thurston Moore would be incredibly proud of. The use of the phrase ‘so shut the fuck up’ is surely the only reason that this wasn’t released as a single.

2. Phasers on Stun (single, 1996)

Released as a single in August 1996, having first been heard on We Are Urusei Yatsura where it segued straight into another song called Sola Kola. The edited version is another great burst of energy, packing loads into its two-minute duration.

3. Eastern Youth (from Everybody Loves Urusei Yatsura, 2000)

A change of tempo and feel with a song that I only knew from the final album but have since learned, from researching a bit to knit together the words to accompany the ICA, that it was the band’s final single in March 2001 just before they called it a day.

4. Kewpies Like Watermelons (single, 1996)

Offered here is the version issued as a 7″ single in April 1996. The opening couple of seconds, which sound as if they have been sampled from an arcade game, or perhaps more likely from one of the episodes of the popular manga TV series after which the band had taken its name weren’t included on the LP version when it came out the following month. Click here if, like me, you had no idea what a kewpie is……

5. Fake Fur (single, June 1997)

I make no apologies whatsoever for the number of singles which have made the cut for the ICA. The band and Che records must have been shaking their heads in disbelief as one tremendous release after another failed to have the impact it should have. This one stalled at #58.

6. Thank You (from Everybody Loves Urusei Yatsura, 2000)

“This is the last song, This is the last song I will ever sing you”

The only way this ICA could ever possibly close. The title of this song and indeed the album maybe give you an indication of how the band members were ollectively tired of working their backsides off for next to no reward. In a parallel universe, they are superstars who sell out stadia year after year after year.


I finished this up and realised that, even with it being extended to 12 tracks, there were loads that should’ve but didn’t make the cut. I was also determined to give the near-hit a second airing.

A. Hello Tiger (Peel Session)

The single was released on 7″ vinyl as well as 2xCDs, one of which offered up three tracks from a John Peel session, broadcast on 14 August 1997.

B. Silver Krest (one side of a double single with The Delgados, 1996)

It’s no real surprise to find that the band had their followers in Japan. This was first recorded and released in October 1996 as one side of a double-single 7″ (on red vinyl) with The Delgados as part of the Stolen Ecstasy series on the Tokyo-based 100 Guitar Mania Records. It was later re-recorded and issued as the b-side to Fake Fur the following year.

C. Plastic Ashtray (single, 1996)

Another of the classic early singles. There were four in all – Siamese, Kernel, and Kewpies Like Watermelon made the ICA and it would have been criminal not to share this with you. All of them, or versions of them can be found on the debut album We Are Urusei Yatsura.

D. No.1 Cheesecake (from Slain by Urusei Yatsura)

Where other groups will demand that you put your hands in the air and move to the music, our heroes make the request that you dance to the cheesecake. And why wouldn’t you??



So I glance at this single in a box in a shop in Glasgow. £2.50 for a split effort between a band called The Blisters and occasional TVV favourites Urusei Yatsura. Never heard of the main band and certainly not that sure if I’ve ever heard this particular track by Urusei Yatsura. Oh it’s on red vinyl…..but £2.50?? What if it’s a total dud??? Do I really want to waste my cash.

You’ll know that those last two sentences never even entered into my head when I saw this piece of vinyl. I’m a saddo for things like this…..there’s quite a few bits of vinyl sitting in the cupboard gathering dust just because I took a punt for a few bob in the hope it might make something interesting for the blog only to discover that it’s just not very good.

Now clearly this bit of vinyl has some merit otherwise I wouldn’t be sitting here typing these words. So without any further ado, here’s that track by the band featured on TVV a few times before:-

mp3 : Urusei Yatsura – Pampered Adolescent

This was actually one of the band’s very earliest releases coming just a few months after their debut mini-LP All Hail Urusei Yatsura that was released in January 1995. It’s a little bit less polished than the material that would later emerge on Che Records from late 96 through to mid 98 when they just about became famous, but still well worth a listen. Indeed they themselves probably realised that as well as they would go on to re-record it and make it available as an extra track on the 1997 single Fake Fur. So it was a song that I should have known…..but I can’t just rhyme off every b-side in the collection. (Maybe when I was younger I could but that’s being nearly 50 for you….)

mp3 : Urusei Yatsura – Pampered Adolescent (later version)

Very reminiscent of Pavement dontcha think??

But what of the other side. This mysterious mob called The Blisters. On first listen… sounds awfully familiar…the spiky guitars and that voice…..awfully like one of the most successful bands to come out of Glasgow in the 21st Century. But this is some eight years earlier…so it can’t possibly be. Let’s hit wiki…..

Fuck me.

Alex Kapranos (born Alexander Paul Kapranos Huntley, 20 March 1972 in Almondsbury, Gloucestershire) is a UK based musician who is the lead singer and the guitarist of the Glasgow band Franz Ferdinand. From the early 1990s, he was a fixture of the Glasgow music scene, running live nights at the 13th Note, most notably The Kazoo Club. While working as a chef, bartender, lecturer in IT at the city’s Anniesland College, and other various jobs, he played in some of Glasgow’s popular bands, including The Blisters (later known as The Karelia), long-standing ska stalwarts The Amphetameanies, Quinn (now known as A Band Called Quinn) and The Yummy Fur. He is also known to have contributed to Urusei Yatsura and Lungleg recordings.

And sure enough this track was composed by A Huntley and The Blisters:-

mp3 : The Blisters – A Dull Thought In Itself

Now I know it’s not a hugely valuable piece of plastic in itself, but the fact it’s one of the earliest recordings by someone who many years later became incredibly famous makes it well worth the £2.50 that I handed over…..

Happy Listening.




Glasgow’s very own Urusei Yatsura are one of those bands who really should have been far more famous than they turned out to be. They were largely an out and out pop band with a sound that was influenced by so many others….Sonic Youth in terms of the guitars….a hint of Pavement in respect of weird lyrics…..glam-rock as evidenced by the Glitter Band style chants……the buzz and feedback of the Jesus & Mary Chain…..and the delights and harmonies of Teenage Fanclub…and yet, they somehow always semed to make distinctive records.

They were particularly productive between 1994 and early 1998, but then problems linked to their record label, Che Trading, going bust had led to a near two-year hiatus just as they were really getting a head of steam. Well, just the other day and much to my surprise, I came across a mint copy of their comeback record from late 1999, released on Beggars Banquet, in a second-hand shop.

Consisting of 2 x 7″ singles (on white vinyl no less), I am delighted to bring you the Yon Kyoku EP:-

mp3 : Urusei Yatsura – Kaytronika
mp3 : Urusei Yatsura – Still Exploding
mp3 : Urusei Yatsura – Nobody Knows We’re Stars
mp3 : Urusei Yatsura – Mother of the MBK

To all the acts that I mentioned in the pre-amble, I think I’ll now add Jimi Hendrix, as the first few seconds of Kaytronika remind me an awful lot of his Foxy Lady….

It’s a great wee EP – Still Exploding is akin to the sort of songs that the band had been turning out a couple of years earlier, but tracks 3 and 4 are a bit different and indeed unexpected. Nobody Knows We’re Stars is the bitter and melancholic sort of lyric and tune I’d expect from Luke Haines, while Mother of the MBK, with a slow build up to something approaching a wall of noise, is along the lines of what would emerge a few years later in the sounds of The Twilight Sad……



Tomorrow will revisit an old post from June 2009, the closing line of which sent a shiver down my spine in connection with one of the main new stories to emerge in 2017.



I like to think that most of the bands/singers featured on this blog are reasonably well known, as that saves me giving a detailed explanation of who they are (or were, in the event there’s been a break-up). As for today’s lot – well I’m sure the name at least might be familiar to many UK (and Japanese) readers, but less so to my friends across on the other side of the Atlantic. So here’s a little bio of Uruesi Yatsura.

It was back in 1994 that Fergus Lawrie, Graham Kemp, Ian Graham and Elaine Graham decided to form a band. They named it after a hugely popular Japanese comic book – one that has been given its own TV series and video game. The translation from Japanese into English seemingly is not straightforward….the band prefer it to mean ‘Noisy Stars’, but you have to admit that Urusei Yatsura is a far cooler name than Noisy Stars.

Anyway, the band started gigging at loads of small Glasgow venues and quickly gained a reputation for churning out loud guitar-driven short bursts of pop that had more than a hint of Sonic Youth about them.

Like so many others, their fame increased thanks to the support and patronage of John Peel, and following the inevitable session, they grabbed themselves a record deal with indie label Che Records. Between 1995 and 1998, they released eight singles and two albums before Che Records folded after an unfortunate tie-up with Warners went sour.

The fact that Che Records had gone under led to the band disappearing from view for the best part of two years, and it was very late on in 1999 before an EP came out on the Beggars Banquet label, and then in 2000, it was announced the band was setting up its own label in the shape of Oni Records. Two singles and one LP was all that emerged over the next 18 months before they called it a day.

As careers go, it was pretty reasonable. Over the course of 7 years, there were three LPs, the best part of a dozen 45s/EPs and a handful of other releases on compilation LPs as well as a one-off 45 with one Urusei Yatsura track b/w a track by The Delgados. They toured extensively, either as headliners or as main support to the likes of Garbage and Super Furry Animals.

In terms of commercial success, just the one single cracked the charts – it hit #40 for one week in February 1998.

But these words and stats don’t do real justice to Urusei Yatsura. They were largely an out and out pop band with a sound that was influenced by so many others but yet somehow seemed distinctive. I’ve already mentioned Sonic Youth in terms of the guitars….but there was also a hint of Pavement in respect of weird lyrics…there was glam-rock as evidenced by the Glitter Band style chants….there was the buzz and feedback of the Jesus & Mary Chain…..and still they could sound as melodic and delightful as Teenage Fanclub. And at a time when Glasgow was being dominated by the whimsy of the likes of Belle and Sebastian, it was great to have your ears occasionally assaulted…
Having given them such a great build-up, I hope you do find these tracks to your satisfaction:-

mp3 : Urusei Yatsura – Hello Tiger (Peel Session)
mp3 : Uruesi Yatsura – Kewpies Like Watermelons
mp3 : Urusei Yatsura – Phasers On Stun
mp3 : Urusei Yatsura – Strategic Hamlets

If you like what you hear, you can probably track down the back catalogue on e-bay. I particularly recommend the 1998 LP, Slain by Urusei Yatsura.




From wiki:-

Urusei Yatsura (うる星やつら) is a comedic manga series written and illustrated by Rumiko Takahashi and serialized in Weekly Shōnen Sunday from 1978 to 1987. Its 374 individual chapters were published in 34 tankōbon volumes. It is the story of Ataru Moroboshi, and the alien Lum, who believes she is Ataru’s wife after he accidentally proposes to her. The series makes heavy use of Japanese mythology, culture and puns. The series was adapted into an anime TV series produced by Kitty Films and broadcast on Fuji Television affiliates from 1981 to 1986 with 195 episodes. Eleven OVAs and six theatrical movies followed, and the series was released on VHS, Laserdisc, DVD, and Blu-ray Disc in Japan.

(oops wrong extract!!!)

Urusei Yatsura were a Glaswegian alternative rock, indie rock band.

Founding members Fergus Lawrie and Graham Kemp met in the summer of 1993, whilst attending the University of Glasgow. They recruited Elaine Graham as bassist, and the line-up was completed with the subsequent addition of Elaine’s brother, Ian Graham, on drums. They took their band name from the manga Urusei Yatsura, written by Rumiko Takahashi, and contributed their first recording, Guitars Are Boring, to a compilation album released by the Kazoo Club. This was based in Glasgow, and run at one point by the future Franz Ferdinand singer Alex Kapranos. This record in turn brought them to the attention of the BBC Radio DJ John Peel, who brought them in to do a session.

Over the years they released three albums: We Are Urusei Yatsura (1996), Slain By Urusei Yatsura (1998) and Everybody Loves Urusei Yatsura (2000). Albums in America and Japan were released under the name of Yatsura for legal reasons. The band had one Top 40 hit single, 1997’s “Hello Tiger”, which reached #40 in the UK Singles Chart. Other singles released by the band include “Strategic Hamlets” and “Slain By Elf”.

Urusei Yatsura split in June 2001, leaving Kemp to work on solo material and the other band members to form Projekt A-ko. In 2011, Lawrie formed the three piece band Angel of Everyone Murder with Sarah Glass and Lea Cummings on bass, and released a self-titled double album on Kovorox Sound. The release featured six drone compositions of 15-20 minutes each, made with self modified guitars he called HALO guitars. In 2012, Angel of Everyone Murder 2 was released.

I’ve a number of their releases in the collection. I thought however, it would be just as well sharing the one that so nearly got them fame. Released on 2 x CD singles, it’s a belter of a 45 with equally enjoyable b-sides (and there’s no doubt Alex Kapranos and the rest of Franz Ferdinand were paying attention) while the two other songs from the Peel Session occasionally hint at a slightly more expirimental side of the band:-

mp3 : Urusei Yatsura – Hello Tiger
mp3 : Urusei Yatsura – Vanilla Starlet
mp3 : Urusei Yatsura – Vent Axia
mp3 : Urusei Yatsura – Hello Tiger (Peel Session)
mp3 : Urusei Yatsura – Dice, Nae Dice (Peel Session)
mp3 : Urusei Yatsura – Everybody Hang Out (Peel Session)



Keeping It Peel - October 25th


and in particular:-

mp3 : Arab Strap – The First Big Peel Thing (Peel Session)
mp3 : Billy Bragg – Lover’s Town (Peel Session)
mp3 : Cinerama – Groovejet (If This Ain’t Love) (Peel Session)
mp3 : The Delgados – No Danger (Peel Session)
mp3 : Half Man Half Biscuit – Mr Cave’s A Window Cleaner Now (Peel Session)
mp3 : Madness _ Bed & Breakfast Man (Peel Session)
mp3 : The Smiths – Rusholme Ruffians (Peel Session)
mp3 : T.Rex – Ride A White Swan (Peel Session)
mp3 : Urusei Yatsura – Hello Tiger (Peel Session)
mp3 : Wire – I Am The Fly (Peel Session)