Here’s a great video featuring all kinds of random Japanese people on the street singing along to Weezer’s Can’t Stop Partying. It’s a very catchy tune to begin with and this little video makes it all the more fun.
It’s always interesting to see what celebrities’ impressions of Japan are during their short visits. I always get a kick out of Johnny Depp whenever he does media appearances. Great fun. But check out this video that Taylor Swift posted on her site. She actually visits Australia first, but in the second part of the video you can see her in Japan.
As always, foreigners tend to get a kick out of some of the more interesting signs around Japan, and Taylor is no exception. Read the rest of this entry »
This is a pretty amazing little animation. It’s actually a music video from Denki Groove, but the story conveyed through the pictures almost distracts you too much from the music. In any case, it’s really fascinating to watch especially if you’re a guitar player.
It just goes to show that hard-core guitarists the world over share certain things in common. Have a look at the video and let us know what you think in the comments. Don’t blink, or you’ll miss it! Read the rest of this entry »
B’z (ビーズ, Bīzu?) is a Japanese hard rock duo comprised of Tak Matsumoto (松本 孝弘, Matsumoto Takahiro?, composition, guitar) and Koshi Inaba (稲葉 浩志 Inaba Kōshi, lyrics, vocals).
Since their inception, they have sold more than 75 million records in Japan alone. Under the recommendation of Steve Vai, B’z were the first artists from Asia to have their handprints and signatures put up in the Hollywood’s RockWalk.
Marié Christina Digby (pronounced /mæɹi’eɪ ‘dɪgbi/ Ma-ree-AY Dig-Bee) (born April 16, 1983) is an American singer-songwriter, guitarist and pianist. She is best known for her acoustic cover version of Rihanna’s No. 1 hit “Umbrella”, which attracted attention on YouTube in 2007. The song was subsequently played on the radio station STAR 98.7, was featured on the third season opening episode of the MTV show The Hills, and peaked at #10 on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart. Digby performed the song on the late night talk show Last Call with Carson Daly on August 2, 2007.
Digby’s first official single, “Say It Again”, was released to radio stations on January 18, 2008. Her debut album, Unfold, was released on April 8, 2008.
Marié is half Japanese and half Irish-American and is incredibly talented with a nice pretty face to go with. Strumming on her guitar belting out familiar pop tunes in her own version made her the popular starlet that she is today. SHe is certain not just another pretty face, an unconventional artist to watch out for. :)
OOIOO is perhaps the best known side project of Japanese rockers Boredoms. An all-female group founded by Boredoms drummer (and sometimes trumpeter and vocalist) Yoshimi P-We, OOIOO shares much of the musical style of the better-known Boredoms.
I have posted about Boredom before and this is like a side project for them. So far so good, their popularity has been gaining and their songs are not bad at all :) And the girls are pretty attractive too! :P
Melt-Banana is a Japanese noise rock band that was founded in 1992 by friends attending Tokyo University of Foreign Studies. These friends were Onuki Yasuko (also known as Yasuko O. or just Yako), Agata Ichirou, Rika mm’ and later on Toshiaki Sudoh (more widely known as simply Sudoh).
Melt-Banana have released eight full-length albums and 23 EPs (primarily split releases with other bands, most of which were compiled onto one disc in 2005). In 1997, they created their own recording company, A-Zap (formerly Iguana Coax), and re-issued most of all their early albums. During this time, drummer Toshiaki Sudoh quit. Since then, the band has had different drummers helping for tours and recordings. They do massive U.S. and U.K. tours yearly and do smaller Japanese tours (the reason for this, according to them, is that travelling in Japan is quite expensive). Most recently, Melt-Banana recorded the song “Hair-Cat (Cause the Wolf Is a Cat!)” for Perfect Hair Forever on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim lineup. The new album, Bambi’s Dilemma, was released on April 24, 2007.
Melt-Banana’s music falls under what many call “noise rock” . The term refers to music that blends rock, noise music, and other genres. Agata plays highly unorthodox guitar with extended techniques. For instance, he overlaps two different guitar riffs, simulates lasers and sirens, and has an impressive arsenal of effects, almost all made through his guitar and large amount of effects pedals.
Here are some of their videos.
Song title: Free the Bee
Song Title: Shield for your eyes, a beast in the well
My first encounter with this band was in Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill Volume 1. They were doing a rendition of an oldies. It wasn’t bad. This all girl band wore dresses that looked like the costume of Liz Hurley in Austin Powers I, at the end when they were suppose to be eaten by mutated seabass courtesy of Dr. Evil :P
Anyway, The 220.127.116.11’s are a female, three-piece, Japanese rock and roll band, whose music is reminiscent of American surf music and garage rock. Each member is from Tokyo, Japan. The group have so named themselves because they play music reminiscent of 1950s, ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s rock. They frequently cover songs from American rock and roll records.
The 18.104.22.168’s first started performing as a quartet in Tokyo and were recruiting many guest performers during their Australian tour, once even recruiting a male member, “Eddie”. They first officially became a trio in 1992 before touring Australia.
The 22.214.171.124’s recently became known in the West after their appearance in Kill Bill Vol. 1, in which they performed “I Walk Like Jayne Mansfield”, “I’m Blue” and “Woo Hoo” in a Tokyo club, “The House Of Blue Leaves”. On the Special Bonus Features of the Kill Bill Volume 1 DVD, one of the specials features a live performance which shows the 126.96.36.199’s singing “I Walk Like Jayne Mansfield” and “I’m Blue” during filming of the movie. The 188.8.131.52’s song “The Barracuda” is featured in The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift Soundtrack.
They also became renowned for the use of their cover of The Rock-A-Teens song “Woo Hoo” in advertisements for Carling lager and Vonage VoIP service in 2004. The song reached #28 on the UK Singles Chart in 2004. The follow-up song was “I’m Blue”, but that only reached #71 on the same chart a few months later.
The 184.108.40.206’s also tour in numerous countries including China, Australia, the United States, and their native Japan.
As you can see, this Japanese rock all-girl band is very international :)
MONO is a post-rock group from Tokyo, Japan that formed in late 1999/early 2000 and has since become a highly influential band in the Japanese underground and post-rock communities.
Work on MONO was started in January of 2000 by guitarist Takaakira Goto. Working by himself, Goto completed most of MONO’s demo tracks, partly influenced by guitarist Loren Connors. By late 1999 Goto was searching for band members, the first of which to join up with him was fellow guitarist and long time friend Yoda. Soon afterwards the guitarist duo linked up with bassist Tamaki and drummer Yasunori Takada and MONO was formed. On small-time label Forty-4, the newly coalesced quartet released a 4 track EP entitled Hey, You. Following Hey, You MONO put together its first full length album in 2001, Under the Pipal Tree on the prominent label Tzadik. During this album’s time in the recording studio the attacks of September 11th took place. This was to have a deep affect on MONO’s later work. Under the Pipal Tree, along with the EP, introduced MONO’s style which is focused on layered guitar melodies. All of MONO’s songs are entirely instrumental, and Strings and pianos are also prominently featured in several songs. This album was met by generally good reviews but despite its bold sound was referred to by Goto in a 2006 interview with Phil McMullen as a “very, very young album”, just the beginning for the development of the band’s sound. Many critics agree with that statement and for the most part they have given MONO’s following three releases better reviews each time.
In 2003 MONO finished its next album: One Step More and You Die. The album takes on a much darker tone than its predecessor, perhaps because MONO’s members were still affected by September 11th. Music critics largely see this album as much more matured than Under the Pipal Tree, and of a more unique sound. Touring at this time, however, was not quite so fruitful. MONO made an abbreviated tour following the One Step More’s release with performances in parts of New York and Sweden. The length of the tour and the behavior of some of the American crowds, who Goto said in the McMullan interview were “always talking a lot and drinking beers and making a lot of noise” left the band somewhat unsatisfied.
Undaunted, MONO moved on to a new project, which was one directly in response to the aftermath of September 11th. This album was titled New York Soundtracks and was done in collaboration with several important members of the New York experimental scene such as DJ Olive, Jackie-O Motherfucker, and Loren Connors (a guitarist that Goto has respected for years). New York Soundtracks consists of remixes of all of One Step More and You Die’s tracks. Following Sountracks MONO embarked on the production of their next album, Walking Cloud and Deep Red Sky, Flag Fluttered and the Sun Shined which was released on October 5th, 2004. There is much backstory to this album, especially behind one of its songs A Thousands Paper Cranes. The inspiration comes from Goto’s inner searching about what defines the Japanese as a people. The first thing that came to his mind was the fact that Japan is the only country to have been on the receiving end of an atomic bomb. To help ease the intense feelings still surrounding the event in Japan Goto suggested that the Japanese “should be expressing more hope” and embrace their culture. And “The paper cranes story is a very very typical piece of Japanese culture”. The story to which he refers is formally called Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes in which a young girl, Sadako, attempts purge the leukemia from her body by appeasing the gods through folding a thousand folded paper cranes. Following the release of this album, which received even more critical acclaim than the one preceding it, MONO began a lengthy tour which was much more satisfying than the previous one.
MONO’s next solo musical escapade was with their intense, yet optimistic 2006 album You Are There which was released on June 24th. However prior to this critically acclaimed and highly successful album, MONO collaborated with renowned Japanese post-rock band World’s End Girlfriend (the solo project of Katsuhiko Maeda). This collaboration, titled Palmless Prayer / Mass Murder Refrain was released in 2005 and was met with rave reviews. Ian Mathers of Stylus Magazine praised the album as “the single most magnificent piece of music” he’d heard all year. Palmless Prayer / Mass Murder Refrain makes much use of string instruments such as the violin and the cello but also features an instrument with prominent usage in MONO’s music, the guitar. You Are There met similar success and is seen by many as their most powerful album. Since its release MONO departed on a six month long tour, drawing faithful crowds all over the world to their melodies. Currently the band is gearing up for a North American tour in the upcoming spring of 2007.
A four boys’ band caught my attention with the name GLAY, it’s just one letter away from…being happy. Anyway, this band originiates from Hokkaido, the land of awesome creamy seafood noodles. Yumz. GLAY primarily composes songs in the rock and pop genres, but they have also composed songs using elements of different styles such as reggae and gospel. Although virtually unknown outside Asia, they are one of the most successful bands in Japan.
Apparently the name Glay was a deliberate mispelling for Gray….uhm…it’s no different from how trying to be witty can turn out to be either silly, funny or even ridiculous – esp with names :P
“We know it’s not how you spell the color in English, but it’s our way of being different.” – GLAY (Time Magazine, March 9, 1998)
Yes well, R and L are often mispronounced by Asians especially Japanese, Koreans and Chinese who are not english native speakers.
The band was formed in 1988 by TAKURO and TERU. HISASHI joined shortly after, when his band ARI broke up. The band became popular in their hometown. In 1990, when the members gratuated from highschool, they headed down to Tokyo to try and push their career even further.
However, things were difficult in Tokyo. The band performed for very small audiences, sometimes for only one person. They had to work very hard to be able to keep themselves and the band. It was not until JIRO joined the band, in 1992, that things started to change.
In 1993, YOSHIKI watched one of their performances and signed them under his label, EXTASY RECORDS. Since then, they’ve been very successful, doing remarkable events like the GLAY EXPO’s (they’ve done three editions so far), which always gather hundreds of thousands of people, releasing many #1 hits, million selling singles and albums and breaking some records.
I’m sorry, i just have to share that i couldn’t stop laughing reading “Glay Expo” for some reason….ROFL. Just for the record, I have nothing against homosexuals, my very good friend is gay and I LOVE HIM TO BITS. Okay back to GLAY.
Anyway, I thought maybe their videos and songs will amend things that their name commands, here’s some to share:
I have to admit, they’re pretty good and not gay like the cookie cutter boybands/girlbands that America is generating these days. Their music is mostly a cross between alternative and rock – sounds like AFI/POD/Japanese culture all combined…bravo!