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Asian Kung-Fu Generation has been around for over a decade, and we’re a little late to the party (having just discovered them this year). But oh well, better late than never!
AKFG is a Japanese outfit that has, since the late nineties, pulled together their beloved alternarock/power punk/indie influences for an earnest, energy-charged, brightly commercial blend of rockage. In the States, that bio would make a band Jimmy Eat World or Weezer. But the Japanese version is somehow more novel than that–a little less intentionally aloof, perhaps. And this is why the original songs, for whatever formulas they boast, do not suffer for their earnest. Rather, they seem kind of straightforward and sturdy, yet kinda sleek–like a well-fitted puffer vest from Patagonia. This is also why AKFG can cover an Oasis song and not lose all their street cred.
But why settle for cover songs? Enjoy the video for last year’s new single, “Shinseiki No Love Song”–which has less power chords than former hits and stands out from the pack. When you’re done, find out what we fell in love with by watching my favorite track from ’05, “Blue Train.”
Look at these adorable ladies:
Aren’t they sweet? They’re Nisenenmondai (which apparently means “Year 2000 Problem,” remember that?), a veteran Japanese trio that has been playing a sick blend of lo-fi/wall-of-sound/punk/noise/distortion rock for a decade. The music is, all at once: cerebral, playful, aggressive, daunting, methodical, modern, mathematical, organic impulsive, deliberate, visceral and new. Hunh.
In short, Nissenmondai sounds (IMHO) like this:
Filed under: Adorable, Asian Ladies Rock, Awesome Japanese Bands, Denim Art, Distortion Rock, Don't Be Fooled By That Cute Facade, Hokusai, Hybrids, Japanese Bands, Ladies Who Rock, Lo-Fi Sounds, Nisennenmondai, Pleasant Cacophony, Pretty Ladies, Punk, Veterans, Year 200 Problem
I’ll be honest. For about three weeks, when not busy playing Beatles Rock Band*, I’ve been dusting off old and also sorta-oldish punk albums, to give them a good spin–providing a soundtrack for the month’s chaos and all of my nervous holiday energy.
“Punk” coming out of my speakers can mean a lot of things–sometimes the herky jerk of Bad Brains or Black Flag, sometimes a fun romp with the Ramones, Fugazi if I’m feeling fresh, Stooges if I’m not. And… okay. I’ve also been indulging my Orange County roots with bad 90′s power punk that will go unnamed to preserve my innocence.
What I’d not even thought to entertain, at least until this week, were all of the fun Japanese punk bands that I meant to fall in love with twenty years ago but didn’t because I was in elementary school without an Internet connection. Take, for example, The Predators, who I’m listening to right now (via MySpace recommendation by Japanese alt-veterans, The Pillows).
Filed under: Awesome Japanese Bands, Bad Brains, Black Flag, Chaos, Fugazi, Japan, Japanese Bands, Memory Lane, Nostalgia, Nostalgiasian, Orange County, Punk Rock, Punk's Not Dead, Punks, Soundtracks, The Clash, The Holidays, The Predators, The Ramones, The Stooges