We’ve got a ton of new music to get to in this episode including brand new stuff from Light Bringer, 9mm Parabellum Bullet, and Tsushimamire. And if you’ve written in with requests, consider this your episode. A few fan favorite bands are in store for you.
What’s this!? Another episode? Sure enough. Consider this my apology for being a bit slow with new episodes as of late. I hope that after episode 35, you’re still in the mood for a ton of new Japanese music. We’ll hear from Noanowa, Negoto, and The Band Apart.
But what I’m really excited about is a Q&A session with akai SKY, a J-Rock band from right here in the United States. We’ll also hear three tracks from akai Sky in our third set. Then we’ll end the show with three tracks hand-picked by akai Sky—and they picked some great ones. Stick around!
New tracks from Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, May’n and Kiyoshi Sugo round out the playlist for this, the 35th episode of Nihongaku Radio. Of course I’ve got a few other surprises in store as well. Buck Tick’s waiting for you in the featured artist set. And if you’re reading this the day it was published, you may be able to hear Nihongaku Radio streaming via Colectivo Bunka Radio.
The best decision I made during SXSW music this year was heading to a couple of the Korean music showcases. Make no mistake that my first, truest love as and will always be the zany, whacked-out music of Japan, but Korea represented pretty damn hard during SXSW. In this episode we’ll hear from two Korean acts that I was lucky enough to see live. Get ready for an earful of Galaxy Express and Guckkasten.
On stage, a woman is dying. Struck by invisible opponents, she gasps. Knees hit the floor. Her body falls back onto her legs and in another moment, she is motionless on the floor. A crystallizing silence hangs in the air. Despite the hundreds of audience members in attendance not even the whisper of a breath can be heard.
An acoustic guitar begins it’s rhythmic beat once more. She cries out, still alive. A shamisen joins in, producing those plucked tones unmistakably Japanese in origin. Her hands clasp an invisible rope and, wrist-over-wrist, pull her back from darkness. A shakuhachi flute, airy and piercing, strains the tension further as she stands. The woman turns. Her hands reach for a sword which she slowly unsheathes revealing a blood-stained blade inside.
“Hya!” The guitarist shouts and Hell breaks at his word. The instruments delve into a violent frenzy crying like devils with each strum, each pluck and breath. But devils are nothing to the woman striking with her blade, paying death upon those who betrayed her.
The performance is called “The Ogre of the Cherry Tree” and with it, a band called Kao=S opened the 18th annual Japan Nite, a Japanese music showcase held as part of the South by Southwest Music Conference in Austin, TX.
Continue reading ‘Japan Nite 2013: SXSW’s Annual Japanese Music Showcase Hints At a Bright Future For J Music Fans’
Americana music brings to mind a beckoning road that never ceases or mountainous visions filtered through Appalachian nostalgia—ideas born from the land, from the mountains and plains. But in the hands of Pirates Canoe, a mandolin and a fiddle, even an acoustic guitar, spin tales intrinsically marine. Beneath the surface nautical trappings of the band’s name and penchant for putting eye-patched scallywags on their EP covers, this trio of roots musicians (who often play as a six-piece with bass, drums and steel guitar) is hiding something sad and also beautiful, like rain on gray expanses of ocean.
Pirates Canoe’s core members, Sara Kohno on mandolin, Reika Hunt on guitar and Kanako Keyaki on Irish fiddle, journeyed across the sea for the annual Japan Nite showcase during SXSW and the subsequent tour that took them to a few more North American cities like Chicago and San Francisco. While in Austin, the band played a handful of other gigs at Austin city hall and a even an East Austin dive bar known as The Grackle.
The room is sweltering enough to drive one out to face the afternoon Texas Sun and the decor is little more than a few string of Christmas lights, but none of The Grackle’s patrons seem to mind as long as the drinks keep flowing. Earlier in the afternoon, The Beards, a self-described novelty band comprising four bearded blokes from Australia who pound keytars and offer up bluesy odes to facial hair, packed the house. Quite a departure from the mandolin strums and silken three-part harmonies of Pirates Canoe. But the band won the crowd from the start, opening with a cover of the B-52s “Love Shack” transformed from a ‘90s party track to something more sincere.
I caught up with the band outside The Grackle where Peelander-Z’s free day show “Peelander-Fest” blared punk into the afternoon. Between guitarist Reika’s excellent English (picked up from a childhood in Arkansas) and my broken Japanese, we pieced together the band’s thoughts on the major American tour, new album plans and the importance of ships.
Japan Nite, the annual tradition of shipping a bunch of great Japanese artists to SXSW in Austin, TX and a subsequent tour in a few major North American cities, is upon us. Thanks to the lovely Audrey Kimura of Benten Records and the various bands currently en route to SXSW, we’ve got a special Japan Nite edition of this, the 33rd episode of Nihongaku Radio. Let’s listen!
The color-coded members of Peelander-Z, are well known for their on-stage antics where music often takes a back seat to fighting giant monsters or rolling band mates at pins in a game of “human bowling.” Their theatric flare also appears in form of video messages announcing band member departures. First, there was Peelander Blue who split in 2008 to rule Planet Peelander as its king. Then there was Peelander Red just last year, who called it quits to take a full-time position at “Ninja High School.” Peelander Green filled in for blue on drums, but Red’s position as bassist remains unfilled.
Or does it?
Greetings from the crushing black oblivion of influenza. I’ve been sucking down Emergen-C and decongestant as though my life depended on it—because it did! Somehow I’ve survived and built up enough strength to bring a new episode of Nihongaku Radio to you.
Continue reading ‘Nihongaku Radio Episode 32: What’s Up, People!?’
We’re barely two weeks into 2013 and things are already starting to get interesting. Boom Boom Satellites has released two new albums (one is a remix album). Dir en Grey is on the cusp of a new album. Matter of fact, most of the bands I dig are gearing up for new releases. We’ll hear some of that new music in this episode.