We have wanted to this post for a long time and now at last we can ! ! ! Japanese girls are very active in all genres of rock, much more I think than girls in the west. We want to show you some of the great things Japanese girls are doing these days in rock – it is loud and little crazy maybe, but we think you will enjoy it!!!
Last time we introduced you to some Japanese girls from the pink, fluffy end of the spectrum. This week it’s girls with balls. Big, fat, hairy rocky balls ( figuratively speaking, not really, I think you have to go to Thailand for that sort of thing). Wild girls making wild music in a wild way. Girls, doing for themselves. Go, go gyaru !
Sakura – Tsu Shi Ma Mi Re – Yoi Tenpo Desu (A good tempo)
Tsu Shi Ma Mi Re are great band that challenges stereotypes of Japanese girls. They sing about the things that are important to girls like deserts and sex but also use the cheerful j-rock – punk style as a contrast to sing about more serious things like abortion also. This song is about exercise and is a popular song at thier live concerts where they use it to get the crowd to “exercise” with them by dancing ! ! !
Some great skronking noise here from an interesting band. As Sakura says their lyrics are ( so I am led to believe) rather “out there”. It’s a shame I can’t understand the words but the general impression, of barely contained mayhem is very appealing in a “riot grrrl” sort of a way.
Pairubu - Jun Togawa – Punk Mushi no Onna (Punk Insect Woman)
Crivens ! What a racket ! ( but in a good way). This is an extraordinary piece, “80s” style keyboard driven pseudo-classical backing that teeters on the edge of chaos and over the top…well…what do you call it ?
Almost certainly but what “singing” it strats off wild enough and gets even more off the wall. Jun certainly has a fine set of lungs and no mistake. Jun Togawa has been around on the scene since the 1980s and has sung with many combos. She eventually became well known for her…toilet adverts ! Such is life.
Jun Togawa is one of the most influential women of Japanese underground music scene. She has been performing for now 30 years since her 1982 debut she has consistently pushed at the boundaries and reject commercialisation. I really admire her a lot. This song is about changing into something new. She is challenging but rewarding and really creative ! ! ! (If we have a RR topic about changes there will be a race between Mr P and me to nominate this ! ! ! )
Sakura - Red Bacteria Vacuum – Horror Samba
Red Bacteria Vacuum are a really rocking metal and punk rock influenced trio which started in 1998. Kasan and Ranran have been together since the beginning but after the original drummer Akeming left the band, they have joked that they have had more drummers than the legendary Spinal Tap ! ! ! But since 2009 they have had current drummer Jasmin and now are actually going through their best period with a fantastic stage show that they perform at festivals and clubs and last year they supported Perfect Circle on tour in the USA. I think this year will be a great year for them ! ! !
Remind me a bit of L7 and that sort of “tough” girlie band. I wouldn’t like to meet this lot in a dark alley. Nice metallic/punk guitar on this one and I really like the “spooky chanting” bit in the middle.
They want to be my what ?
I have no idea what a “kaiba” is and Google is no help, I’ll assume it’s nothing too bad. I love this track but can tell you almost nothing about it, I got it from a compilation of Japanese bands. I love the way it’s nearly all played on one chord.Simple song, pounding drums, chanted vocals, that’s they way I like ‘em !
I do not know anything about this band also, but Kaiba means “achiever” in Japanese. I really liked this track with the surf influences and it has a home made feel to it which I really like. I wish I could find out more about them as they are really great fun ! ! !
Sakura - GO!GO!7188 – Umashikamono (Tasty Things)
Go!Go!7188 were formed in high school as an all girl band but they lost thier drummer and recruited a guy, but I still think they classify as girl rockers ! ! ! They have a great sound that is like garage but it is quite unusual and creative. In the last two years they have not been so active and have been concentrating on individual projects and guitarist Yuu and bass player Akko both released solo albums. They said last month they would have an indefinite break but I am sure the girls will continue to be active with their solo projects.
My favourite of the lot. I think I may have nominated their song about plums once. A slightly “lighter” sound than the other two perhaps. I find the vocals most interesting ( not being at all swayed by the lead singner being totally hot or anything , of course). Rather “operatic” in parts.However I must protest about her guitar. That looks like a Tele with a Bigsby fitted ! Sacrilege !
Pairubu – Softball – No Fall Back
If you’ve been paying attention over on the mothership you’ll have heard of Akiakane, well this is the pre-Akiakane band of Moe Suzuki and sound not dissimilar. Almost militaristic drumming, noisy and crude. I like it ! Unfortunately, as you will hear, they tacked on a “humorous” message from some Aussie dude after each track on this album. They are slightly amusing the first time but by the 10 play they grate so much you want to tear your own ears ( or his) off. Shame coz there’s some good tunes there.
Moe Suzuki is a peace activist and participates actively in promoting rights in China and Tibet. She is very well respected in Taiwan where she often plays in festivals and peace events. She is one of the only Japanese musicians- male or female – to address some of the hard topics of the Japanese experience in her songs, singing and writing about the occupation and the World War 2. Of course this is controversial and often misunderstood, but she is brave and committed and I admire her very much. I think the music rocks also ! ! !
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Well, phew ! What a crazy trip, man ! I hope you enjoyed the ride,pilgrims. The girls are certainly doing a good job in Japan these days ( and China , Korea and Taiwan too, of course). Things are changing, slowly, I think. No longer are girls expected to be blushing lotis flowers. They are being just what the gosh darn heck they like to be. Lock on, J-girls.
We wanted to pick bands that showed the variety and creativity of Japanese girl rock bands, and that we why we did not choose the obvious and most commercial ones like Scandal and Stereopony. It is frustrating that there are so many more girl bands we could not show, but we hope you can see that Japanese girls are really making a variety of rock music and are being really creative. We really hope you have enjoyed the post ! ! ! We had a lot of fun making it ! ! !