Tuesday 13 April 2010

Japanese bands at SXSW

by liza

Finding new local acts to go see in Tokyo can be tough, at least for me, with the language barrier and being relatively new to the city. Popping into live houses randomly can be a bit like Russian roulette -- often a lot of fun but sometimes money gets thrown into a black pit of screeching Sex Pistol wannabe high schoolers.

So, English-language press on Japanese bands can be valuable to the linguistically challenged. I know it's a bit late, but the Japan Times had this article on Japanese bands at last month's South By Southwest festival in Austin. I thought I'd get the MySpace out for some investigating and hopefully try to catch someone interesting back in Tokyo.

The Okamoto's are featured in the article and you can definitely tell they worship The Ramones. I like their energy though and they seem like they'd be fun live. Shows coming up 4/18 at Shinjuku Loft, 5/13 Chiba Look and Shibuya O-Nest 6/13.

Red Bacteria Vacuum are a hardcore punk band and seem quite riot-grrl influenced and not cutesy. They're playing 4/24 at Shimokitazawa's Basement Bar with Bo-Peep, another punky all-female group (albeit more melodic) who said they played six times at SXSW.

The collective of psychedelic old-timers Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso UFO, whom the writer of the story said were awesome, are playing 5/14 at Goodman in Akihabara, and on 5/15 at Shinjuku Earthdom.

And finally, NPR's All Songs Considered talked about Camisama, who apparently made quite an impression with their "I am Hitler" ditty. A bit too art school and freaky for me but I imagine this twisted version of the White Stripes must have their fans. They're playing at Shinjuku Motion on 6/22.

I'm looking forward to seeing some new bands and always want recommendations!

Oh and on a different point -- what's up with "Japan Nite" at SXSW? I agree with Acid Mothers Temple on this... I don't like the idea of separating Japanese bands and condensing them into a stereotype for Japan geeks to worship; I think it hurts the bands' chances of being appreciated on their own merit. I'd like to see Japanese bands become successful in North America based on their music and live shows, not just because of their Japanese-ness. What do you think?

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