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.