Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Home Safe

Total Mileage: 1518.0

I drove home from New York City to Syracuse on Saturday afternoon. I guess the exhaustion must have finally caught up to me, because I fell asleep after dinner and didn't wake up until the following morning at 9AM, thirteen hours later.

I still owe you my final impressions of the tour, but for now, I'll leave you with an all inclusive slideshow of my tour photos in chronological order. You'll see shots of all the venues we played at as well as places and people we got to see along the way. Quite a few of my college friends and even my mom make appearances. We had a running joke that the trip was actually the "Ethan Green Reunion Tour".

I've long had the hunch that my existences in Japan and the US were mutually exclusive, but to see friends from both eras of my life cross paths was quite an experience. And it was all thanks to a Japanese rock band...

Enjoy!



Click here to view the full-quality slideshow.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Bon Voyage Bo-Peep!

Last night, we made it to Manhattan for the final leg of the tour. The venue was Arlene's Grocery, an awesome spot in the Village known for having some of the best music in town. Even with the midnight slot, Bo-Peep attracted a decent audience; next to AS220 in Providence, Arlene's had the second best attendance of the tour.

Without fail, the girls gave their all for every performance of the tour. Last night was no exception. I've seen them play their set six times this week and it has yet to wear on me. I'm already looking forward to seeing them take the stage back in Tokyo next month.

So what was it like managing a tour for a Japanese band? I'll save my debriefing for another time. All I can say for now is that musically, Bo-Peep is an incredible band that deserves a place in the American music scene. And personally, they are some of the best friends I have in Japan.

I saw the girls off to the their airport taxi this morning. All good things come to an end, but Bo-Peep will certainly be back to rock America again.

Apprx. mileage: 1250

Friday, November 19, 2010

Bo-Peep En Route: Boston and Milford

Sorry for the wait, we've just completed the longest leg of our tour; we jumped from Philly to Boston, and then back to Milford, CT. One more show in Manhattan tonight at Arlene's Grocery. It's been quite a haul and we are all pretty exhausted, but the girls haven't shown one ounce of fatigue in their playing. They've been giving it their all every night.

A Philly Cheese Steak was an appropriate meal before hitting the road to Boston on Tuesday.

The girls played a small show at O'Brien's Pub, a great local venue in Boston.


Last night, we did a show organized by Manic Productions at Daniel Street in Milford.


Last stop: Manhattan
Mileage: approx. 1160.3

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Bo-Peep En Route: Philadelphia

We packed up the car in Brooklyn and were off to Philadelphia by 2PM yesterday. We took a slight detour through Manhattan so we could ride over Williamsburg Bridge for one incredible view of the City.

We took our pleasant time driving and made it to Philadelphia by 5PM, giving us just enough time to walk around the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall before load-in. The girls knew way more that I expected about America's founding fathers.

Bo-Peep played at the Philadelphia Mausoleum of Contemporary Art, an aptly named art gallery that is housed in the remnants of a 19th century tombstone manufacturer's office. The facade of the building says it all.


One of the bands on the roster, Banned Books, was easily the most exciting and unique band Bo-Peep has shared the stage with on this tour so far. The group is a three-piece trio with the guitar doubling on keyboard. Both the bassist and guitarist used a plethora of noisy bugged-out electronic effects. The drummer had a minmal kit with just one cymbal, hi-hats, snare, and bass drum, but somehow he managed to make a thunderous cascade of noise like Keith Moon.


Bo-Peep took the stage sometime around 9:30. The crowd wasn't bad for a Monday night.



The bassist/guitarist in J. Fox, the first band on the roster of the evening, has a brother in Tokyo who is one of our good friends. He has a friend in Philadelphia who said we could sleep at his band's rehearsal studio.

This was the biggest surprise of the tour so far. We were expecting to crash in a small dirty warehouse with moldy couches. When we walked in, all five of us were blown away. The space turned out to be an enormous converted warehouse shared by 7 artists and musicians. It was something of an artists' collective slash hipster hang-out, complete with numerous lofts, a recording studio, and even a swing.


We finally got a good night's sleep. The ladies are doing their make-up now before we hit the road to Boston. We are playing at O'Brien's Pub at 9PM.

approximate mileage: 620

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Bo-Peep En Route: Brooklyn

I've got to run so I'm going to make this quick.

After Bo-Peep's incredible opening show in Providence, we jumped in the car to head to New York. We stopped at the Yale Bowl on the way to catch the end of a football game. The girls were excited to attend their very first tailgate party.


From there, we took off to New York City where we rendezvoused with some old friends. It was our only day off scheduled for the tour.

We had a few hours to spare in Brooklyn. Here is Take checking out a rack of guitar effects.

We played the Trash Bar in Brooklyn last night to an ecstatic audience. A good number of Japanese rock fans came by for the show.
Next stop: Philadelphia
Miles on the car: 526



Saturday, November 13, 2010

Bo-Peep En Route: Providence

Last night, Bo-Peep played the first show of their tour at AS220 in Providence.

Living in Japan for two years, I think I've forgotten how beautiful New England cities can be, especially in autumn. The fall foliage is incredible, even this late in the year. The girls were equally impressed. You don't see streets lined with fiery orange trees and classic 100-year old buildings in Tokyo.

AS220 is something of an art-gallery turned music venue slash bar & cafe. The location couldn't be better; the space is located right in downtown Providence. If I lived in this city, it would definitely be one of my hangouts.

Bo-Peep was third on the line-up in a benefit concert for Girls Rock Rhode Island, an organization dedicated to supporting young women who play rock music. Could it have been a better fit? The audience ate the band up. I saw looks of shock on many people's faces who were taken off their guard. Could a band from Japan rock this hard?

308 miles are on the car. Next stop: Brooklyn.
____


Picking the girls up at the Providence Amtrak station


AS220


Getting ready for the show

TOUR KICKS OFF TODAY!!

Ladies and Gentlemen!

"SUSHI BURNING! GEISHA BURNING! HANABI BURNING!"

Bo-Peep's November 2010 USA Tour kick's off today!

I'm currently at my place in Syracuse. In 5 minutes, I'll be on my way to Providence to pick the girls up for their first gig.

Friday, November 12
AS220, Providence, Rhode Island
Girls Rock Showcase
9PM
$10
http://as220.org/calendar.html


See you at the show!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Bo-Peep Tour Plugged By Japanamerica's Roland Kelts

Author, commentator, and lecturer Roland Kelts has plugged Bo-Peep's tour!

http://japanamerica.blogspot.com/2010/11/far-east-to-east-coast-bo-peeps-kawaii.html

Make sure you check out his book, Japanamerica.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Bo-Peep Written Up on Examiner.com

Check out this article hot off the press!


Thanks to Examiner.com and Justin Tedaldi for hyping Bo-Peep's tour. We hit the road this Friday!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

BO-PEEP: Japanese Press Release

"SUSHI BURNING! GEISHA BURNING! HANABI BURNING!"
「3ピース女性バンドBO-PEEP、3度目のアメリカツアーへ」

東京を拠点に活動するBO-PEEP(ボーピープ)が3度目のアメリカツアー(海外ツアーとしては6度目)を11/12より敢行する。今回は初のNYマンハッタンでのLiveを含む東海岸6都市公演。
福岡で結成されてから丸10年を迎える2010年は、3月に15本のアメリカ中西部ツアーを行なったばかりだが、NEW YORKやBOSTONの大学生たちからのラブコールに答えての急遽のツアー実現となった。
ステレオタイプな日本女子のイメージを完璧に覆すライブパフォーマンスで急激に話題になっているBO-PEEPが、配信サイトで人気の最新アルバム "VIBE" を引っさげ、人種と音楽のルツボNYでどんなパフォーマンスをするか、どんな反応を得るか。乞うご期待!

*2009年にSouth By South Westに出演したときのJohn Pareles氏寄稿THE NEW YORK TIMESの記事の和訳:

長年多くのロックのライブを経験してきて、日本は面白く可笑しいが、すぐに違和感がなくなるようなバンドを多く輩出していることがわかった。もし私がSXSWのスケジュールを見間違えていなかったら、東京から来た3人の女性ハードロックバンド、BO-PEEPを見る事はなかっただろう。運がよかった。BO-PEEPの荒々しく効果的なリフは、それがぶっきらぼうなワンコードの力強い乱打だろうと、調和しないメタルのラインだとしても、パンクのように鳴り響かせていても、冗談めいた所などなかった。
ボーカルはヨーコ・オノ風の震え声で英語だったとは思うが、何を言っているのか理解はできなかった。しかし、それは問題では無い。BO-PEEPはどんなアメリカやイギリスのサイケデリックなバンドや激しいバンドと並んでも負け劣りしない、そしてそうあるべきだ。

*Tour Schedule:

Friday, November 12
AS220, Providence, Rhode Island

Sunday, November 14
The Trash Bar, Brooklyn, New York

Monday, November 15th
Philadelphia Mausoleum of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tuesday, November 16th
O'briens Pub, Boston, Massachusetts

Wednesday, November 17th
Daniel Street Club, Milford, Connecticut

Thursday, November 18th
Arlene's Grocery, Manhattan, New York


Official Page:
http://bo-peep3.com/
Myspace:
http://www.myspace.com/bopeepjapan
Japanese management: 3rd Stone From The Sun Corp.
http://www.3rdstones.com/

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Japanese Band Bo-Peep Tours the Northeast US

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Japanese Band Bo-Peep Tours the Northeast US

Tokyo, Japan – November 1st, 2010 – Bo-Peep, one of Tokyo’s hottest rock bands, has recently finalized the schedule for their upcoming Northeast US Tour.

The band will play 6 dates in mid-November in New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, Milford, and Providence. This will be the band’s third US tour after appearing at Austin’s prestigious South By Southwest festival both this year and last.

Well known in Tokyo for their ferociously intense music and lean visceral show, Bo-Peep is an all female trio that epitomizes the excitement of the Japanese rock scene. As described by one journalist, “Bo-Peep is harder than a hurricane and louder than bombs.”

The band is earnestly looking forward to sharing their own breed of Japanese-influenced hard rock with new audiences and die-hard fans in the USA.

Official Page:
http://bo-peep3.com/
Myspace:
http://www.myspace.com/bopeepjapan

Tour Schedule:
Friday, November 12
AS220, Providence, Rhode Island

Sunday, November 14
The Trash Bar, Brooklyn, New York

Monday, November 15th
Philadelphia Mausoleum of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tuesday, November 16th
O'briens Pub, Boston, Massachusetts

Wednesday, November 17th
Daniel Street Club, Milford, Connecticut

Thursday, November 18th
Arlene's Grocery, Manhattan, New York

For all press inquiries and general questions, please contact:

Ethan Green, Tour Manager
ethan@tokyowerewolf.com

Sunday, October 31, 2010

BO-PEEP: November 2010 USA Tour

BO-PEEP has announced their November 2010 USA Tour! Guess what!!?! I'm their tour manager! Come on down and join us for one of our rambunctious shows! We are going to rock the Northeast US hardcore Japanese style!

Friday, November 12
AS220, Providence, Rhode Island
Girls Rock Showcase
9PM
$10

Sunday, November 14
The Trash Bar, Brooklyn, New York
11PM
$6

Monday, November 15th
Danger! Danger! Gallery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
8PM

Tuesday, November 16th
O'briens Pub, Allston, Massachusetts
8:30PM
$7

Wednesday, November 17th
Daniel Street Club, Milford, Connecticut
8PM
$8
http://manicproductions.org/

Thursday, November 18th
Arlene's Grocery, Manhattan, New York
12AM (technically Friday morning)
$8

Monday, October 25, 2010

Rock in China

The New York Times posted a cool video about emerging rock festivals in China. With 100 festivals and counting, maybe they will one day rival Japan's festival scene. Check it out:

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Bo-Peep: 10th Anniversary Show

This past Saturday night, Bo-Peep celebrated their 10th anniversary with a special live show featuring bands and musicians who have stuck by their side and supported them all these years.

The Tokyo Pinsalocks, who are gearing up for their upcoming album release, played a set featuring their new material.

Hisayo...
Reiko...
Nao...
At this point, I don't think I can count the number of times I've seen Bo-Peep live, but this time around, Mika's smile was the brightest I've ever seen. The positive vibes in the room must have caused the band to kick it up a notch.
For each song, Bo-Peep featured a line-up of different guest bass players. Hisayo, Arie from Vola and the Oriental Machine, and Hime, Bo-Peep's original bassist, all played numbers. In the end, Take, the group's current master of the 4-stringed axe, closed the set with her characteristic energy. The power was alive.

Chatmonchy and Electric Eel Shock

I'm a week behind on posts. My apologies.

On Tuesday last week, I swung by Shelter in Shimokitazawa to check out a double bill featuring two incredible Japanese bands, Chatmonchy and Electric Eel Shock.

Chatmonchy is one of the hottest modern rock acts in Japan. Walk into Tower Records, HMV, or any other major record store, and you will find their latest albums prominently displayed. Their 2009 album release, Kokuhaku, with it's incredible range of moods and sounds, is one of my favorite Japanese rock albums. I've been eager to see the band live for some time.

Chatmonchy's appeal is their seamless blend of cuteness (in the girlish/feminine sense) and intensity (in the guitar driven rock 'n' roll sense). The band is an all female trio featuring Kumiko Takahashi on drums, Akko Fukuoka on bass, and Eriko Hashimoto on guitar and lead vocals.

Eriko's shimmering vocals are soft in tone and reach a high register; in some sense, she sounds like a grown woman with a girl's voice. Her soft-spoken persona was even more evident on stage. Her stature was shorter than I imagined and her youthfulness (all the members of the band are in their mid-twenties) was quite evident. Between numbers, she talked to the audience in a shy, almost hesitant manner. This was in stark contrast to the depth and maturity of the band's songs.

Bassist Akko embodies the band's rock 'n' roll personality. Like Akko from GO!GO!7188, she displays a true performers spirit, hoping up and down the stage during the band's more intense numbers. When I met her at Ruby Room a few months back, she was frank, upfront, and not the least bit shy.

Check out the video for Sekai ga Owaru Yoru (The Night the World Ends)
My personal favorite song, Kaze Fukeba Koi
This one is also pretty cool. Renai Spirits (Love Spirits)

Electric Eel Shock is another story all-together. The first time I saw them at Shelter was actually back in early 2009 when the band opened for Bo-Peep. Eel Shock's blend of in-your-face indy rock and heavy metal definitely turned the heat up a notch after Chatmonchy. The band is aggressive and almost rude. In Chili-Pepper's fashion, the drummer plays naked with nothing but a tube sock covering his extremities. During their classic number, "Bastard" the band wasn't shy about accusing each and every audience member of bastardry. Check out the videos to see what I mean.

Metal Man
Bastard

It was an awesome night and I think it will be quite a while before I see such a diverse and talented line-up of bands share one stage.
___

Here is a photo of Eel Shock that I snapped at Shelter a year and a half ago.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

DJ Open Mic - Be-Wave in Shinjuku

When I first landed in Tokyo, I was religiously attending the Ruby Room's Tuesday night open mic. Via Ruby Room, I've crossed paths with incredible musicians, awesome bands, and many wonderful people who have become by closest friends in Japan.

This time around, I want to plug a new open-mic-style event in Shinjuku, Thursday People at the venue Be-Wave. Thursday People is organized by my DJ friend Michiya Hisano and is an open mic of sorts for DJ's. Perhaps "Open Tables" would be a more appropriate name. Anyone can bring their records and CD's and DJ for thirty minutes. It's an awesome place to try your hands DJing, plug your own events around town, and see where the music nuts are planning their next big bashes.

Here is the Werewolf spinning a set on Thursday two weeks ago:

More details
7:00-24:00 every Thursday, entrance is free!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Japanese Virtual Girlfriends

In case you get lonely this summer...

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Vinyl from the Vault: What Time is It?

Jackpot.

I kid you not, I've been on the prowl for this record since April. What Time is It?, The Time's second album, was released in 1982. After scouring through bin after bin in shop after shop, two copies of this record turned up at Recofan in Shibuya.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Sunshine Through the Rain - 尾瀬 (Oze)

An ancient Japanese legend states that mythical foxes, the Kitsune, hold their wedding ceremonies during sunshowers. Thus begins Sunshine Through the Rain, the first sequence from Akira Kurosawa's film Dreams, a collection of vignettes supposedly based on the director's actual dreams.

The story begins with a mother warning her young son against venturing into the woods on the day of a sunshower. The boy willfully disobeys his mother and walks deep into the nearby cedar forest where he happens upon a fox-wedding...


A week ago on Friday night, I boarded the nightbus for Oze, a national park deep in the heart of Honshu, the main island of Japan. The bus arrived in the pitch-black wilderness around 4AM. When the first rays of sun began to break through the mountain peaks, we began our hike up the trail.
DSCN3048
By mid-morning, we had made it over the first hill into the central area of the park, a spectacular marshland surrounded by broad green mountains. The trail consisted of two rows of flat wooden planks that led hikers safely over the soft muddy ground beside tufts of grasses, half-wilt flowers, and groves of trees.
DSCN3051
Along the path, one was subjected to many small wonders: spiderwebs, a myriad of colorful flower petals, and vistas overlooking the wide expanse of the marsh.

Kurosawa's Sunshine Through the Rain weighed heavily on my mind throughout the morning and afternoon. Sparse and beautiful birdsongs could be heard at every curve along the trail. The subtle energy and beauty of the songs seemed to mimic the haunting, hollow flute music of the Kitsune Procession.

In the final sequence of Sunshine Through the Rain, the young boy walks through a lush mountain valley in search of the Kitsune in order to beg them for forgiveness. He has viewed their secret ritual and they are furious. Abandoned by his own family, the boy walks through a flower strewn valley towards a mountain range far off in the distance. The scene is so reminiscent of the sweeping landscape throughout Oze. Many years ago, could Kurosawa himself have witnessed this place with his own eyes?
DSCN3054

___


A link to the full-size slideshow
Part I of Sunshine Through the Rain

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Smashing Pumpkins

Tuesday evening after work, I jumped the train to Shinkiba and made my way to the venue Studio Coast just in time to catch the Smashing Pumpkins.

Wait, can I say that again? I went to see the Smashing Pumpkins.

Whatever your thoughts are of musicians doing their own tribute tours, this was a chance to see Billy Corgan, one of modern rock's most unique and influential artists, live and in action.

While the Pumpkins didn't try too hard to preserve their lineup (Corgan was the only original member on stage), they certainly took pains to recreate the famous Pumpkin's guitar sound. The whole venue was awash with deep distortion, squeeling feedback, and soaring harmonics. I found myself completely lost in their classic songs.

Before nearly getting my ass beaten by an oversized Japanese security guard, I managed to snap three photos with my SLR. Here is the best one, proof of Corgan...

Classic Songs On the Set List:
Ava Adore
Today
Tonight, Tonight
Bullet With Butterfly Wings
1979
Cherub Rock

Classic Songs that the Werewolf wanted to hear:
Quiet
Rocket
Disarm
Soma
Geek USA
Here Is No Why
Zero
Porcelina Of The Vast Oceans
Tales Of A Scotched Earth
X.Y.U.
Hello Kitty Kat
Frail and Bedazzled
Pissant
Perfect

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Sitar in Inokashira Park

Today after sunset, I took a stroll through Kichijoji's Inokashira Park. It was a warm and beautiful summer evening. While leisurely walking across the bridge that connects both sides of the pond, I happened upon a young Japanese man playing the sitar.
video
He told me that he studied with a guru in Rajistan, India.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

DJing in Shindaita

I did a half-hour DJ set at Fever in Shindaita this past evening. Here I am cueing up Jesse Johnson.
Earlier today, I was at Enoshima Beach with some friends enjoying the summer vibes. I've never seen so much eye-candy concentrated in one place. It was as if every beautiful girl in Shibuya packed up, donned a bikini, and went out to get some sun.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Scenes from Thailand

Here are two collections of pictures of Thailand, duly divided into the country's good and bad sides.

First is Thailand's beautiful side. The first few photos are urban scenes from Bangkok followed by major temples and palaces in the capitol city. Next are the ruins of Ayutthaya followed by the beautiful beaches of Pattaya.

Click here for the Hi-Res version.

And of course next is Thailand's dark side. This slideshow contains a mix of photos from red-light areas in Bangkok and Pattaya.

Click here for the Hi-Res version.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Bangkok Dangerous

Similar to the hotspots in Tokyo, downtown Bangkok is a mecca of hyper-consumerism. The futuristic BTS above-ground train line runs through the heart of the city, whisking well-dressed passengers to glass-walled offices and multi-storied shopping malls. The Siam Paragon mall seems even more done-up than the nicest complexes in Shibuya and Roppongi. Escalators carry shoppers through the central atrium to floors loaded with luxury brand-name shops: Ferragamo, Versace, Chanel, and there is even a Lamborghini dealership on the fourth floor.

But Bangkok also as a dark side, an underworld of poverty, street hustlers, drugs, sleaze, and prostitution. The visibility of sex-tourism in the city is staggering. After the sun goes down, prostitutes can be seen virtually everywhere throughout the city, often side by side with foreign clients. The various red-light districts are absolutely packed with strip clubs, bars, and girls working the streets.

But this is only the easily observed outer layer of Bangkok's underbelly. I found myself wondering what must lie beneath the surface, the unseen corridors and alleyways where establishments cater to local Thai clients and rich connoisseurs with skeletons in the closet.

The first area I explored briefly was Soi Cowboy, one of Bangkok's signature red-light districts. The history of the area goes back to the 1970's when an American ex-pat opened the first bar on the street. The legend goes that he always wore a cowboy hat, thus giving the district its nickname.

If you've ever wondered about the etymology of the term "red-light district", you should walk down Soi Cowboy. The dim street is completely inundated in deep pink neon lighting and the seedy atmosphere is pervasive. Girls from various clubs line the streets wearing tanktops, stiletto heals, and hoochie shorts.
IMG_7036
The area is mainly geared towards foreign customers. They say that Thai men aren't even allowed in some clubs unless they are escorted by a foreigner.

Outside Bangkok, things aren't much different. I spent two days traveling around the beaches of Pattaya, a city two hours southeast of the capital. Walking up and down the main beach, I saw women caked in makeup everywhere. Those who were alone often called to me when I walked by. The others were generally chatting with late middle-aged foreign men.

By night, Pattaya also descends into debauchery. The famous red-light district in town is called Walking Street, and it is not too different from Soi Cowboy minus the fact that it is significantly larger. Roaming the grounds were various touts carrying price lists of the services offered by their establishments. Outside the clubs were bar girls in various tantalizing costumes, trying to pick up passerbys. Some were obviously underage. These two girls were happy to pose for my camera.
IMG_7093

Passing another bar, these girls called to me and held up this sign.

IMG_7092

Flattering, I know.

Entertainment for men, or exploitation of poor women? A bustling nightlife scene, or a morally debased spectacle? The plethora of dualities leaves me with mixed feelings. I'm back in Tokyo now, yet even Japan in all of its kinkiness feels utterly normal in comparison.
____

More scenes from Soi Cowboy...
IMG_7043

IMG_7050

IMG_7040
And scenes from Walking Street...
IMG_7089

IMG_7091

IMG_7076

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Major Label Debut: Disclosed

In late March, I somewhat facetiously remarked that I had made my major label debut with a major rock band, but was bound by a non-disclosure agreement and couldn't reveal any details.

The true story isn't quite as sexy, but it was still a cool experience for me. While recording their latest album Go!!GO!GO!Go!!, the management and members of GO!GO!7188 were looking to round up a group of people to record the shout chorus for the opening track. I've done a little bit of work with the management in the past, so they called me in on active duty to join in on the fun.

I've been playing music all my life and have a bit of experience playing drums at major recording studios in New York City, but I have never seen a recording studio quite as gargantuan as the one GO!GO! was using. The huge control room alone was only a third the size of the soundstage.
The small group of us gathered around a few microphones, were given instructions, and then were directed by bassist Akko to shout as loud as we could. "GO!...GO!GO!GO!...GO!...GO!GO!GO!" The engineers then multiplied our tiny ensemble to make us sound more like a screaming arena audience.

Go!!GO!GO!Go!! was released about a month ago on June 2nd and is available at major record stores throughout Japan.
When you get your hands on the album, flip to the back of the sleeve...
And take a closer look at the 'Special Thanks to' part...

In all seriousness though, Go!!GO!GO!Go!! is a great album that shows a bit of a departure from the band's previous release, Antenna.  For one, Yuu's guitar work on the album is noticeably more intense. But keeping with the band's signature style, there is still a lot of catchy songwriting and vocal interplay between Akko and Yuu.

My personal favorite song on the album is track 12, "Kyou no Uta" (Song for Today). The verse contains a little melodic interplay with a stereotypical asian melody that is followed by an exciting anthemic chorus. Another highlight of the album is the fourth track, "Saigo no Bansan" (The Last Supper). The song contains characteristcally GO!GO! style punk and ska guitarwork. Thrown in the middle of the song is an incredibly powerful and well placed guitar breakdown that gets me jumping everytime.

Finally, check out the video for "Mayakashi no Sekai" (Fake World) which is available via youtube. I think this song combines various elements that I've been trying to describe when I write about this band,
 mainly the group's quirky sense of melody, intense guitarwork, and energetic stage presence. And like the previous two songs, the listener is again treated to an anthemic chorus and aggressive guitar breakdown.

Check it out:

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Bo-Peep meets James Brown

Yesterday evening at Shibuya's Duo Exchange, the Japanese television channel NHK World hosted and filmed a live music event showcasing new talent in Tokyo. Four reputable underground Japanese groups were on the roster: visual-glam band Doubt, viciously named ska group Doberman, funk outfit Osaka Monaurail, and of course, my favorite ladies on the Tokyo scene, Bo-Peep.

The program is scheduled to be broadcasted overseas on NHK World on the final four Mondays in August. In Japan, the program will be available via the NHK World iPhone application.

Bo-Peep- having recently released their new album Vibe- have been in overdrive lately. Their album release party last week at Super Deluxe was probably the most intense set I've ever seen the girls do. Last night, in an effort to show off their Japaneseness to their intended foreign audience, the girls all donned yukatas, which are basically summer kimonos. I'm looking forward to seeing how the cameras catch their characteristic energy.

Taking the stage after Bo-Peep was the throwback funk ensemble Osaka Monaurail. The group is a classic funk tribute band led by lead singer and organist Ryo Nakata, who takes on the personality of James Brown when on stage. Down to the stiff full bodied dance moves, husky voice, and full suit, Nakata's James Brown was totally spot on. The whole crowd, including Bo-Peep and crew, were simply grooving.

And if the group wasn't authentic enough, they even had personalized 45s for sale at their merchandise desk. The inner vinyl junky in me had to pick up a few for posterity.

Tribute band or not, I love funk and soul, and Osaka Monaurail had it going on. I'll definitely be checking them out again.

Stay tuned in August for a link to the feature broadcast on NHK World.
_____
Osaka Monaural's webpage: click here

And a cool music video via youtube: