Without a doubt (at least in my sonically culture-rotted brain) the most kickin' ass band in Japan has got to be Thee Michelle Gun Elephant (or TMGE; available on WinKaMorMx Records, if you catch my drift). I first heard these guys a few months after arriving in Miyazaki in the spring of '98; it struck me that, all the time I had been here, I had no clue about any Japanese music (well, I guess I still don't, really). Anyway, being the cheap, pirating, cd-copying curse to the Recording Industry that I am, I decided to go to the cd rental shop around the corner from my place (if Japan is anything, it's *convenient* --hell, you can drink until 6am and then pick up a bottle of Jack, a pack of smokes, breakfast, and a porno mag at the 7/11 around the corner from your place on your way home). To be honest, I didn't like most of the stuff I heard (not hard and heavy enough), but from the opening notes of Gear Blues' opening track, West Cabaret Drive, I knew that TMGE was the real deal. Their sound is pretty easy to describe actually: imagine that the Stooges, MC5, and Dr. Feelgood are Japanese. OK? Now imagine that they all go to the beach for a night of wild debauchery unparalleled in the annals of rock history (use your imagination!); they wake up the next day with massive hangovers (these, probably only I can imagine) and in a really bad mood, and decide to form a garage supergroup that sometimes sings in English, sometimes in Japanese. There you have it! TMGE calls their sound "Monster R&B," and it is. Do yourself a favor and check them out.
Google (Japanese and English results)
Google (English only)
A review in Creem
Sabrina Heaven (Japanese)
An article on Big in Japan
Gear Blues and Bio
Friday, March 14, 2003
OK, I'm just getting this thing going, so I'll have to think about what I throw up (pun intended) here. On the laughably slim chance that someone actually reads this before I tell anyone about it, this space will likely be used by it's author (me) to talk about living in Japan, and about things I find interesting (like music and film) or incredibly boring (like reality TV shows and boy bands). Later....