One could find this catchy little alt-rock number off monokuro's recently released album "CLASSIC". When watching this video, I can't really help but be reminded of (the pillows') Sawao Yamanaka's side-project THE PREDATORS. Stylistically speaking, both in terms of music and even visually, there are definitely some comparisons to be made. Makes sense, seeing as how monokuro is signed onto Sawao's DELICIOUS LABEL. Sawao was also responsible for producing monokuro's new album. Oh well, take it as you will and feel free to check them out if you like.

Let's see, yesterday was pretty eventful. Ended up going to Akihabara with Griffin and picking up a brand spankin' new DSi and a few games to go along with it. I ended up going with Ouendan 2 and the very necessary Kanji Sono Mama Rakubiki Jiten. Also had the chance to go to Mos Burger for the first time ever. At the time, they were promoting donut burgers. Yeah, weird I know. But, nonetheless, it was pretty delicious (albeit expensive as hell). Griffin decided to head back after that, and I ended up heading into Shibuya to do some extra research at Tower Records (AWESOME, right?) for a paper I have to write (and am currently procrastinating on) for my Japanese Popular Culture class. After spending about an hour or so there, I made my way over to Ebisu LIQUIDROOM for NO EVIL NIGHT.

I have to say NO EVIL NIGHT was pretty damn awesome and a great way to end the day. Firstly, I was pleasantly surprised by the set-up of LIQUIDROOM. The actual space itself was a bit bigger than O-NEST, but not up to the same size as STUDIO COAST so it still felt pretty cozy. MASS OF THE FERMENTING DREGS opened the show with about an hour-long set. Kicking it off with "She is inside,He is outside", the band pretty much went through most of the songs off both their self-titled and "WORLD IS YOURS". One thing I want to mention about this band is that bassist/vocalist Natsuko Miyamoto really looked like a Japanese Karen O (of Yeah Yeah Yeahs) at times, except with the demeanor of a cute Japanese schoolgirl. My only complaint at all about their performance was that the back half of the audience was pretty dead, which is a trend I'm starting to notice with more indie bands here.

Headliners MO'SOME TONEBENDER headed out about 10 mins after MOTFD finished up. Opening the show with "TIGER" (SO AWESOME), quickly followed by "You are Rock'n Roll" and "Unhappy New Age", it was pretty awesome and the entire crowd was definitely into it. The overall swagger that MO'SOME had the entire show definitely added to the fun factor. The band did break up the action with a couple slower songs, but, to be terribly honest, all they ended up doing was breaking up the pace of the show. All in all, it was a pretty fun experience though. Overall, I do have to say that it was one of the louder shows I've been to here though.

Alright, back to that paper that I should be writing.



Pride of the 1989 Marines

[PV] the pillows - 1989

Newest song from the famous Japanese power-pop/alternative-rock band the pillows set to be released in their upcoming compilation album "Rock stock & too smoking the pillows" in June. As some pillows fans have been quick to say, I have to agree that this probably has to be one of the best songs that the band has released the past few years. You can really feel the emotion in this song, especially as it comes to a close. The touching animated story that was created for the PV is such a great compliment to the song as well. Definitely looking forward to seeing them here in Japan next month when they hold their 20th anniversary tour.

Whoa, the last week has gone by pretty fast. Haven't really done too much. I did end up going to a Chiba Lotte Marine baseball game yesterday with a couple of friends. It was pretty fun. For me anyways, probably not so much for Marines fans as their team lost in pretty terrible fashion to the Saitama Seibu Lions (18-0 in their home stadium, ouch...) much to the disappointment of Griffin who had bet me 20 yen that they could score at least one point by the end of the game. Fun times either way, and it was interesting to see a Japanese baseball game after going to a few in America. There was an awesome fireworks show during the 5th inning, I think, and the cheering sections in particular were definitely very entertaining to watch.

Well, don't have too much planned in the near future. I will be going on the IES program trip to Okinawa in about a week and a half. Probably gonna try and pick up a new DS before the trip as I've been holding off on getting it for a while, and it'll be useful to have as a kanji dictionary and obviously the games. Ooh, I also got that MO'SOME TONEBENDER/MASS OF THE FERMENTING DREGS show at Ebisu LIQUIDROOM coming up next week, which should be hella fun. Yay.



Cloudy Skies on the Sound Festival

[PV] DOES - Donten (+ Shura + Subterranean Baby Blues)

The three-piece hard-rock/blues-rock band DOES is featured in this PV/live compilation that was put together on YouTube. The first song, "Donten" (which can be translated to "Cloudy Skies"), serves as a pretty good example of the type of music they generally put out. Almost minimalist in nature, the band serves up ridiculously simple yet catchy rock ballads, depending largely on the vocal stylings of vocalist/guitarist Ujihara Wataru to pull listeners in. I almost want to make comparisons to Nirvana in that regard. So depending on your opinion of the vocals, it will probably be very hit or miss. Also, before anybody bothers to point it out, yes, DOES has become pretty famous for their contributions to the hit anime Gintama.

Okay, time to go into my experience with the highly-anticipated Hibiki Rock Festival 2009 last Wednesday. I have to say for my first actual rock festival, it went pretty well. I also have to say that it went pretty differently than the other shows I've been to so far. The first difference, obviously, was the fact that it rained most of the day, which kinda sucked. It was also packed as the concert sold out (which prevented one of my friends from coming along unfortunately). It was weird seeing STUDIO COAST set up the way it was with food stands, a make-shift second stage outside, and all the people milling about. But, overall, it was definitely a blast.

I got to watch the entire set of te', THE BACK HORN, SPARTA LOCALS, and POLYSICS. Also caught a bit of sleepy.ab on the second stage. POLYSICS was definitely the highlight of the night, as the band always manages to bring out the energy in the crowd. They also manage to always bring out hardcore POLYSICS fans who cosplay in homemade POLYSICS outfits and start mini-mosh pits through a ring-around-the-rosey type move. Needless to say, it was really fun to take part in that. My only complaint was that the bands had way too short sets (~45mins or anywhere from 5-6 songs). I know this is probably because the event was only 6 hours long for 12 bands. But, it still left me wanting more by the end of it, even though I was exhausted.

Also, ended up spending tons of money. A warning for people going to lives in Japan, band t-shirts/merch are usually really expensive. I bought a POLYSICS tee, a SPARTA LOCALS tee, and a 9mm Parabellum Bullet baseball tee, which led to me spending around $70. I know I can justify it in my head, by saying I wouldn't have any other chance of getting those shirts without spending even more on shipping and what not. Either way, not spending that much on band merch again anytime soon...I hope.



Perfect Garden of AMAZINGNESS

[PV] People In The Box - Kanpekina Niwa

A song from People In The Box's latest mini-album "Bird Hotel", "Kanpekina Niwa" or "Perfect Garden" is an ironic choice for this post. (Details for that coming later.) I was able to get my hands on the album People In The Box released before this one, "Frog Queen", and, judging from that, I have to say that this song is very similar to their other works. Overall, People In the Box generally manage to find a suitable balance between creating a sound pleasant to the ear and a sound that can be interesting from a musical standpoint.

Now onto the irony. Just got back from the trip to Ashinoko Camp Mura. If you don't see the connection between a perfect garden and my trip, just Google image search it and you'll see what I mean. The area around the camp is just amazing to witness. The trip to and from the campsite was a bit long (~3 hours), but it just as amazing as the campsite itself as we got to ride a freakin gondola over the mountains and get the most amazing view of Mt. Fuji. I really have to stop saying amazing now, but that's how fun the trip was. Did I mention that the campsite was right next to a lake(?) and that there were "pirate ships" doing cruises?

Unfortunately, I didn't get to go on said pirate ship because I headed back a little earlier than the others on the trip. The reason for this was so that I could catch the VELTPUNCH/condor44 show in Shibuya. One of my classmates from IES, Brian, managed to catch the show with me, and I have to say a lot of things about the show caught me off guard:
1. In smaller venues, the bands strut in and out the main entrance like it's no big deal. I guess it's because they are more unknown. Either that or Japanese people are really good at holding in their rabid fan behavior.
2. The crowd was even deader than the band apart show. Me and a few others were the only people really getting into it when VELTPUNCH was playing. And even then it was only collective head-bobbing and/or slight movement.
3. VELTPUNCH played for only about an hour. And I didn't stay for condor44 due to my nonchalant feelings towards them and my desire to get back to the dorm at a reasonable time.
4. I totally forgot that there was a drink ticket charge. Thankfully, I didn't put my change pouch in the coinlocker at the time. But, I ended up looking like a concert noob. Awesome. [/sarcasm]
5. VELTPUNCH's Hidenori Naganuma (vocals/guitar) pulled an awesome stage antic move on the last song. ("Your corolla" for interested VELTPUNCH fans.) First, he jumped into the crowd. Then, he jammed out for a bit. Then, he handed his Stratocaster to a random fan who proceeded to jam out on it while Naganuma did his vocals for a good portion. Then, Naganuma took his guitar back and played the rest of the song up until the outro in the crowd. All I have to say is amazing.

Really looking forward to the rest of Golden Week now. Firefly + Serenity marathon with friends, reviewing my Japanese, maybe meeting up with Sabbanban, and, last but certainly not least, going to Hibiki Rock Festival. FUN.