By some considerable margin my favourite 'thing' last year was Babymetal. I thought the combination of cheery-poppy-happy-happy meets brutal death metal was the weirdest thing to hit the headbanging scene in decades. That is until a cross-dressing Australian beef cake wrestler and two diminutive Japanese girls destroyed whatever remained of...
On a recent trip to San Francisco I had the pleasure of visiting a most intriguing cocktail bar run by a Mr Timothy Snookey, a veteran of the City's bar scene. Tim now runs the excellently styled Stookey's Club Moderne in...
Not be confused with the British band of the same name, this band have been making quite an impression internationally with their unique brand of hard rock.
I caught up with them recently and asked founding members HYDE and...
The Gazette's fandom in Japan is so intense that they caused part of the world's busiest station, Shinjuku, to be closed when they did an unannounced performance on the streets outside. Word got out minutes before they hit the stage, and the expected crowd of 250 turned into 7000 before the cops came and closed it down. This year the band celebrate their 13th anniversary and the release of an 8th studio album should see them move onto exciting things, including a possible return to the UK.
Salyu x Salyu
Super interesting band! And this song gives you a flavour of their eclectic style. Comprising singer Salyu and guitarist Cornelius, the band remind me at times of Stereolab's Dots and Loops phase. But you should totally make your own mind up; and if you're in Australia you can catch them on tour until January 31.
Scandal are a fairly conventional four piece but their songs are catchy and their image has made them style icons for girls across Japan. The band have already sold out some massive Japanese shows for their 2015 world tour and they play Islington Academy April 26.
According to Wikipedia Denpa is a musical thing in Japan that is "intentionally strange and catchy. Common features of denpa songs include intentionally off-key vocals, nonsensical lyrics and an over-the-top tune". Heaven help us, that's all I can say.
Maximum The Hormone
Any band writing songs that lurch from 'jolly pop' (my own genre, 'natch) to extreme metal in the space of two minutes is going to get my vote. 2015 should see the four piece build on their considerable 2014 successes in Japan and the USA, and I pray they play the UK as soon as possible.
Allegedly Babymetal have written a new song about bubblegum, which I suppose is natural considering their last single was about chocolate. Word on the street is that it involves drum 'n bass, adorable dance moves and heavy as f*ck guitars. And it's very very very catchy. This year is going to see Babymetal go mainstream, trust me.
Necroma (as they're also known) are a deeply unsettling combination of ultra-traditional Japanese folk music and grinding black metal. Not everyone's taste for sure, but if you like your music bleak, eerie and haunting then you should certainly give them a chance. New singles are promised over the next few months and if they keep producing this kind of creepy weirdness, I think they might go...
So 2014 comes to an end and another skull crushingly dull X-Factor winner tops the charts. Yay!
But leaving Nicki Minaj's dreadfully inept Anaconda and Avril Levigne's hilariously awful Hello Kitty! aside, it's actually been a great year for music and some genuinely enjoyable songs have sailed its waves....