Monday, June 28, 2010


I think the line-up for June's Bad Noise, the Ruby Room's monthly rock event, was the best yet. Check out this slideshow that I whipped up. In order of appearance:

1. Puffy Shoes
2. Tance Boy
3. Jovo

Stay tuned for a review. For now, I have to head to work.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Who is my Boss?

When it comes to advertising, the Japanese love Darth Vader. A few months back, this ad was hanging everywhere throughout Tokyo.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Beat Motors

This past Friday evening, I was invited to see Sony Smaller Recordings artist, The Beat Motors. They were playing a sold-out show at Shimokitazawa Shelter.

The Beat Motors are an up-and-coming band on the indy circuit in Japan. A while back, I remember asking Akko from GO!GO!7188 which new bands she had her eye on, and the Beat Motors was the first group she mentioned.

The Beat Motors' music is pretty easy to describe. They are a riff oriented hard rock band, going for a 70's underground vibe. Their music is awash with heavily distorted guitar riffs, guitar solos, and a touch of bluesy harmonica. No glitz, no glam, just a bunch of skinny guys in tight jeans rocking out like back in the day. I wouldn't say that the Beat Motors is the most original band on the scene in Japan, but their live show was definitely a lot of fun. I'm looking forward to checking out their latest album release, 素晴らしいね, (Subarashi ne, Wonderful, right).

A few photos from Friday night's show... The place was so packed that it was hard to get a good angle.

Here is the promotional video for their recent single, Jet Sensei.

Definitely take a look at their website. There are links to more music videos as well as their myspace page where you can here some tracks.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sunset Drive and Prague in the News

A few cool articles from the local music press this past week...

My friend and old college classmate Sarah Cortina published an article on Prague this past week in Metropolis. It's in English so check it out here.

Also, my close friends Toshi, Alastair, and Shinta from Sunset Drive got a full page interview in Club Juice, one of the best free music mags in circulation in Tokyo. For those who can read the good ole' Nihongo, click here.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

GO!GO!GO!...till 6AM

This next bit isn't really much of an article, really just a few musings about getting the chance to hang out with a band that I really respect. After Rogue Wave last Tuesday, a few of us managed to party the night away straight till 6AM. It was one of those excellent nights spent in great company where sleep deprivation the following day is almost a pleasure. In any case, read on if you are interested...

I've seen GO!GO!7188 on stage multiple times, greeted them backstage, listened to and pondered over their music, and have even done a little business with their manager. But at Rogue Wave last week, I was afforded a rare opportunity to spend some personal time with the group and learn a little bit more about their individual personalities and musical ambitions.

Onstage and offstage, the members of GO!GO! have virtually the same personas. Drummer Turkey, who actually goes by Turkey in real life, can be the clown of the group. As the only guy, he is often singled out by the other two. To break the ice with me, he facetiously told me that I looked like Antonio Banderas (a statement without one ounce of truth.) Drums and percussion is also my background, so we had an interesting conversation about musical influences. When I asked him about his favorite group, he didn't hesitate to mention the Foo Fighters. Turkey and I spoke in Japanese, but he was keen to share with me the vulgar English he had learned from a mutual friend.

Yuu, the guitarist and songwriter, is somewhat shy and reticent in person and on stage. When she makes an announcement to the audience, there is always a slight quaver in her voice. But all of this is in direct contrast to her guitar playing. She always strums a Fender Telecaster and she can totally wail. It's quite a sight to see her jump up on the center platform on stage and take a solo. She is bursting with guitar talent and musical skill. In person, she is reserved, but through her music, you can tell that she is a passionate and intense person.

Of the three, bassist and lyricist Akko is the most charismatic and forward. As a performer she is electrifying, bouncing all over the stage hammering out her bass lines. She knows how to prep the audience. I once saw her walk to the middle of the stage and address the audience at the top of her lungs without a microphone. Her raw voice had as much weight as the PA. Personally, she is also the most direct, the type of person who will lunge right at you with a handshake.

I asked her a bit about her history with the group. I was surprised to learn that she began bass at 17 and formed GO!GO! when she was 18. A one-year turn around from being an average high school girl to a member of one of the premier bands in Japan... I think she was born for the stage.

Kinoco Hotel finished their set around 11PM and the afterparty for the event began around midnight. We all sat around drinking and chatting till 2AM or so. From there, a few of us, including Akko, songwriter Natccu, and GO!GO!'s manager headed off to a bar Shimokitazawa. We didn't leave until 6AM. It was definitely an awesome night.