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Happy 41st birthday (yesterday) to my friend and bespectacled Wonder Twin Matt Sharp, frontman of the most spectacular band ever to rock a Moog. Many folks don’t know that the Virginian Rentals founder and former Weezer bassist was actually born in Thailand, which is perhaps where he picked up his jungle Asian ‘tude and Hardass Asian anal retentiveness.
After many years of hibernasian, Sharp and Co. recently released Songs About Time!!, an epic audio/visual compendium that includes 42 fresh tracks and 52 black-and-white short films (directed by the brilliant David Leamy) that were documented and released weekly in real-time over the course of one recording year. Well, it’s about time.
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.”