Thursday, September 30, 2010

About A Book

Well, 3 books; it's a trilogy. The Hunger Games is a science-fiction novel written by Suzanne Collins. My brother got this book for Christmas last year, and I proceeded to steal it from him and read it myself, because that's what brothers do. It didn't take long before I was reading a chapter a night, then three chapters a night... Due to exponential growth, I finished reading it in three days, despite saying "I'm gonna pace myself with this one" not 48 hours earlier. Needless to say, I greatly enjoyed
the book.

Youthful Discontent

The screaming dissatisfaction of the Japanese youth is echoed in my favorite Japanese punk band, Eastern Youth. For over 20 years now, Eastern Youth has been crafting punk rock songs with their unique brand of poetic energy. They have surprisingly complex songs for only being a 3-piece, and my favorite part is that bassist Tomokazu Ninomiya often uses a fretless bass. Punk bands often have a lot of emphasis on super fast, loud bass playing, but the fretless bass really gives Eastern Youth a unique sound. Singer/guitarist Hisashi Yoshino's lyrics are very poetic in nature, as you may be able to gather from this song, and he's almost as snazzy of a dresser as he is a guitar player. I don't think he's changed his glasses in the 20 years they've been around. Or grown any hair for that matter. He really is a character, but a lovable character. Eastern Youth are truly legends of our time.

Grats Kaguyahime on 100 hours of sleeplessness!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Avenge The Universe With Bullets!

The double feature for today is about two very different bands: 9mm Parabellum Bullet, and Avenger In Sci-fi.

I know a lot of people may have already heard of 9mmPB, but I can't help but post them. Such a badass, versatile post-hardcore band, and I use "post-hardcore" lightly, because these guys can shred. They can turn something lame like a beach rock song, into something fist-pumpingly awesome. I fucking love these guys, and so does Japan, because they put on an amazing show every single time. If they ever tour within range of me, I will drive my shitty car until it runs out of gas, and then walk the rest of the way.

That's how you'll feel when listening to / watching a video by this electro-shoegaze-j-rock band. It's an almost hilarious sound, but so god damn catchy at the same time. This is actually one of their milder videos, but I love this song.


In Japan, Mouse Traps You! (With Awesome Music)

Black business suits and lightning fast hands.

Music Video:


Do you like pianos? Well good, because that's pretty much all Mouse On The Keys has for you. Plus some drums. Does that sound kinda lame? Well, it's not. In fact, it's some of the most awesome music I've ever heard. Mouse On The Keys is a jazz/post-rock trio consisting of some keyboards and a very very good drummer. They carry enough energy in their songs to make you sweat, but can break into some ambient moments that can give chills. They do incorporate some horns and other instruments into their songs from time to time as well. The band is on a small label that was created by none other than toe, which I posted previously.

These are some classy mice.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

To Bury What's Below


Miaou is lovely in all forms and functions.

I should have written a little more here.  In my opinion, Miaou is a pretty standard instrumental post-rock band. There's nothing very complex or different about them. However, when they come together and write music, there's just something about it that enters your brain and takes you somewhere else. I'm not saying that they don't spend a lot of time on their music, in fact quite the opposite. I think they spend an ample amount of time trying to create beauty within simplicity. Trying to make something that sounds simple, and yet beautiful enough to keep the listener's attention.. well, that's an incredible talent, and Miaou has it. You can draw some parallels between Miaou and other post-rock bands like Explosions In The Sky, but I think Miaou does everything they do, except better. What I like the most about Miaou is their use of synths in some of their songs. The song Hello World, for example, takes what at first sounds like some sort of techno synth melody, and turns it into an brilliantly mellow song.

They're the cat's Miaou.

heh heh heh

Stare Any Harder And I'll Turn To Stone

Ok, so these are shitty lyrics that I might use to write a shitty song with.


Go on into the bright night
Hanging stars and streetlights
Surround in the moon light
Carry on

And I know you what you feel
Sensations bring you pain
Sensations that aren't real

And I know you what you need
An escape from the nightmares
The hate, the lies and greed
So I'll carry you

A calm, lonely shade
And my heart beats so loud
But signs and roads don't care
It wont disturb their crowd

Go on into the bright night
Hanging stars and streetlights
Surround in the moon light
Carry on

And I know you what you need
An escape from the fighting
I can see your battered knees
So I'll carry you

On into the bright night
Dormant lamps and porch lights
Surround in the moon light
Carry on

Heavy Ogres

Today's double feature includes two not very similar bands, but two of my absolute favorites nonetheless: LITE, and OGRE YOU ASSHOLE.

LITE is another instrumental math/post-rock band, similar to the rega band I posted earlier. The difference between the two is that LITE gets much heavier into the post-rock and ambient side of thigs, which makes them really unique. They've also taken a step in a slightly different direction with their recent album Illuminate, incorporating a myriad of percussion instruments and synths into their songs. Everything to love about LITE is still there, the power dual guitar combo is still the main drive of their sound. Their songs communicate so well for a band with no singer, especially in this song.

No one does it quite like this indie post-punk quartet OGRE YOU ASSHOLE. Yes, their name is OGRE YOU ASSHOLE, referring to Ogre from Revenge of the Nerds. The funny thing is, no one in the band had even heard of the movie when they decided to make it their name. The story is that the drummer, Arata Nishi, a big fan of Modest Mouse, happened upon a drunk Eric Judy (bassist of Modest Mouse) after a show earlier that night. Nishi asked the drunken bass player to please give Nishi's band a name. Judy replied "I can't", and then just wrote "OGRE YOU ASSHOLE" on Nishi's arm. Pretty awesome way to get a name, and you can definitely hear the Modest Mouse influence in their music. The quirky but poppy guitar riffs and awkward vocals make OYA really fun to listen to, and give them a distinct sound.

Now it's time to jam.

Rega! Rega! Rega!

It's time to get your groove on with one of today's Japanese bands: Rega!

These guys are so incredibly fun to listen to. Rega is an instrumental progressive math/post-rock group that carves their sound out of stone. Everything is so precise and calculated, but it doesn't drag the sound down at all, because there is a multitude of sound influence bursting from their songs. Everything from groove rock to techno can be heard in their music, and you'll bob your head to it regardless. This video is really neat too. I wish I could get a Rega iPhone ap... Or an iPhone for that matter.

Groovin magic.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Bloodthirsty Girls and Number Butchers

These two bands are two of the most highly revered bands ever to come out of Japan, and no conversation about Japanese music should be without them! Call them punk, or post-punk, alt rock, indie, or whatever you wish, but I prefer to call Number Girl and Bloodthirsty Butchers simply "AWESOME".

First up is Number Girl - 透明少女.
I love this song and video to death; everything about it is perfect to me. The video, the lyrics, the guitar driven energy, and of course Shutoku Mukai's lovable voice. Number Girl draws their influence from bands like The Ramones, The Pixies, Sonic Youth, and Husker Du. Their songwriting throughout their album School Girl Distortional Addict, which includes this song, is insanely good. If any aspect of Number Girl were less than perfect, they would just be another punk band in the sea of never-ending punk bands. They do what they do, and they do it well, and that's what makes them shine.

And now on to Bloodthirsty Butchers - Jack Nicolson.

Please forgive the sound quality on this video. It's a little rough, but this is by far their best video (and it being animated gives me a reason to group these two songs together in one post). Just from the opening guitar riff, you can feel the desperation in this song.  You may not be able to understand the vocals (like me), but you really get a sense of the story they are trying to tell. The first time I heard the vocals, I was reminded of the American punk band The Bouncing Souls. While much more upbeat than BB, they have a few songs that just ooze with the same level of depression and desperation that BB does, and the tones of their respective vocals are really similar in my opinion. Bloodthirsty Butchers is another band that excels in songwriting, exemplified really well in this song, and also in their album Kocorono. This song makes me feel like a badass.

Let's dance.

Get Your Toes Wet

I need some sort of daily activity, or just something to write about, so I think I'm going to post and review some of my favorite Japanese music groups. Today I'll just say a few words about my favorite of them all, toe.

Toe is one of those bands that can catch people off guard with just how different they are, while being the same as everyone else at the same time. Drums, drums, drums. Yes, toe's drummer Kashikura Takashi is one of the most talented and fun to listen to drummers in the post-rock genre. Their songs tend to invoke a sense of nostalgia and relaxation, but the dynamics of their song structures give you so much to listen to. Being an instrumental 4-piece, they face the challenge of overcoming your boredom, and they do it phenomenally.

This particular song, C, you'll hear the brilliance of Kashikura Takashi come rolling out with an interesting set tom clicks. I think it's one of the coolest sounding drum beats I've ever heard. From there on it's clean guitars and good vibes. They have an almost jam-band element to them, in that they never really repeat a bar, especially on drums, and they improvise quite a lot. This song was filmed for their first DVD entitled RGB, and it is a joy to watch if you enjoy this sort of music.

Please listen warmly, and enjoy.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Gaijin 4koma

That's right.
Brought to you by MSPaint.
And my hand.

New Songaroo

Might as well try out this embedded song player from tindeck. It's still in its beta stages apparently, so it might be a disaster. Or my song could be a disaster.

Many disasters may occur, simultaneously.


The Musicness

So, as an avid procrastinator and all around lazy guy, I spend my time doing a whole lot of nothing. However, during a few shining moments of motivation, I enjoy playing guitar and writing crude MIDI songs using tabbing programs. They're rough on the ears for many, but it doesn't bother me. I'm not looking to make a career out of plugging in numbers, I just want to pass the time.

Listen if you want.

Natsume on Tindeck

The artist name "M.M.M.M" means Midi Metal Making Man. Stupid, I know, but it makes my songs seem more appetizing.