Rocky and the Sweden


Rocky and the Sweden City Baby Attacked By Buds LP

I nearly forgot about Tokyo’s premiere punk weed enthusiasts, which isn’t actually that weird considering their last release came out 20 years ago! It may be my jaded attitude to approaching new releases, or my ignorance of the Japanese hardcore world these days but somehow I was not expecting this to slay as hard as it does. Truly impressive, furious and powerful shit that immediately earns a spot on the shelf next to my favorite CRUDE and FORWARD releases. ROCKY AND THE SWEDEN has a unique penchant for incorporating their passion for ganja into both their aesthetic and demands for freedom and liberation. Some might think this is cheesy but I’d argue that their authenticity is undeniable given how long this theme has endured, along with consistent quality of output. For me it’s all about the aural impact and the great songs, jackhammering drums and searing guitar leads that somehow conjure feelings of hope, where there honestly are none these days. This limited US pressing was intended for a 2020 US tour (that obviously didn’t happen) and, like toilet paper and PS5s, was panic-bought and is already going for inflated prices, so enjoy it anyway you can!

Rocky and the Sweden City Baby Attacked by Buds LP

Latest release from ROCKY AND THE SWEDEN from Tokyo—Japanese hardcore scene veterans that have been around for quite some time with ex-members of BASTARD, SYSTEMATIC DEATH, and VIVISICK. With song titles like “Green Riot,” “Mary-Go-Round,” and “Weed Weed Weed,” ROCKY AND THE SWEDEN really show their  appreciation for weed. It’s still not quite legal in Japan but glad to see they’ve yet to get in trouble for constant dedication to the ganja for the past 20 years. ROCKY AND THE SWEDEN also impresses us with how fast and aggressive they sound despite consuming such a mellow substance. 420 hardcore bands with a similar approach include REAL REGGAE, another counterpart from Japan that sung about smoking weed. From the title of this record, you might imagine something in the stoner rock realm (along with some G.B.H. reference) but turns out to be a great Japanese hardcore punk record. In terms of sketchiness, their chosen expression is reminiscent of older MRR articles about how it was illegal to be a punk band in certain countries. Most people typically would want to play in a jam band or stoner rock but these guys remind us to not judge anything by its cover. This shows us a new possibility of smoking weed where not only you can play slow and groovy but you can also play aggressively and fast. City Baby Attacked by Buds sounds more like they’re on speed or methamphetamine than smoking weed—basically the DEATH SIDE style Japanese approach with epic, dramatic riffage and NWOBHM-influenced guitar leads. ROCKY AND THE SWEDEN continue to fight for their freedom of smoking weed not only by “burning spirits” approach but by “burning buds” with the same spirit. Great colorful artwork done by Masato Okano of NYC.