June 30, 2009

Glastonbury picts

Amazing set of pictures from last weekend festival of Glastonbury 2009 in England. The big mash attracted a whooping 190,000 people together to celebrate the festival sacred trinity SDR. Published into the The Big Picture of The Boston Globe.


June 29, 2009

The best 100 songs of all time? Who be the judge?


Being the festival it is, you're sure to find a load of Fuji Rock performers past and present making their way onto the list this year.

It's always interesting when a radio station or the like asks their listeners to name the best songs of all time. It depends on the demographic of their listeners as to what will be chosen, but when it comes to JJJ radio, well, their listeners will have a better chance of choosing something interesting than most. "Government Youth Network" Triple J support the music industry and promote the cause of Australian music a lot more than your average commercial network will do.

Their "Hottest 100" is a perennial favourite, counting down the top 100 new songs of each year as voted by their listenership. Aired at the peak of the Aussie summer on Australia Day (January 26th), it has become reason enough to invite all your mates around for a barby and a bunch of beers, and simply turn the radio on all day rather than selecting your own music. 2008s winner was Kings of Leon (who tore up the Green Stage of Fuji Rock in 2007), with Sex on Fire. They also held on to third place with Use Somebody.

This is the fifth Hottest 100 of All Time, the first taking place 20 years back in 1989. Joy Division's Love Will Tear Us Apart took out top spot that time, as it did again in 1990. It then placed second in 1991 behind Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit. Feeling that it could grow stale, the format was changed for the next installment, and voting has since been restricted to songs released in the calendar year prior. An extra "of all time" poll was taken for the 10th anniversary in 1998, where Smells Like Teen Spirit took it out again (Joy Division relegated to a lowly #16). This being the 20th anniversary, the original is returning again for a special mid year showing. Will history repeat?

Listen live through the week of July 7-10 as they count down #100-21 at the rate of 20 a day, and then catch the whole thing on Saturday the 11th and Sunday 12th as they start it all again for those of us who can't listen at work. Don't forget that Australia is an hour ahead of us in Japan at the moment.

Expect a definite Australian bias to the music, but in my opinion, that's not a bad thing at all. There a load of Aussie acts over the years that barely escaped the borders of our fair land. You never know, you might just find something you like!

Find Fuji Rock veteran John Butler's picks for top ten here.


Cinema Fuji screenings announced


Another thing to do on Friday and Saturday nights. Too much to choose from. Planet Groove in the Red Marquee, Palace of Wonder and all the variety it entails, and on Friday All Night Fuji to boot. And now the choice got even harder.

In deference to Jeff's love of Planet Japan's scheduling times, the festivities kick off at 24:00 on Friday night with Martin Scorses's 1997 dramatisation on the early life of the Dalai Lama, Kundun. Following up will be the latest installment (number 29!) of "kind-hearted vagabond" Tora-san's travels at 26:15 in Otoko wa Tsuraiyo: Hearts and Flowers for Tora-san. That's of course midnight and 2:15am respectively for those of us on Planet Earth.

Saturday sees UA take to the screen instead of the stage in the documentary / live performance KUKURU - UA live performance @ Yanbaru, once again at 24:00 / midnight. Filling out the night FRF 2009 pays homage to the one that started it all, with Woodttock: 3 Days of Peace and Music at 25:30 (1:30am).

If you haven't had the pleasure of Cinema Fuji before, head over to the screening area between the Green and White stages come midnight and have yourself a chilled out eve.

More information here.


50 things you never knew about Glastonbury


NME's got a cool piece on their site right now called "50 things you never knew about Glastonbury."

There are lots of interesting tidbits about the famed fest. It's kind of a pain that you have to load a new page to read each new thing (wish it was just one big list), but a good read nonetheless.

Lily Allen, who will perform two times at FRF '09, is mentioned twice:

"Keith Allen used to take his baby daughter, Lily, to Glastonbury to help him sell drugs. Keith confessed this in 2007: 'I didn't see what was wrong with taking little Lily along with me as a sales tool - rather like the homeless lads do with dogs.' "

"Lily Allen was just five weeks old when she attended her first ever Glastonbury Festival."

Check out the story here.
Loads of great photos from Glastonbury 2007 on Smashing Mag here.
Joe's review of Lily Allen's recent tour stop in Tokyo here.


* Photo by Miyuki "sam" Samata and used with permission of Smashing Mag

June 28, 2009

Strummerville Starting

Glastonbury concluded this weekend, and to many, the festival will always be connected with Joe Strummer, the late-great Clash front man and the leader of the Mescaleros. His presence ranges from a memorial stone laid in Glastonbury’s Green Fields to a campfire tended by Strummerville--organization which nurtures young musicians and continues Strummer’s “Yes We Can” attitude to important causes. The same organization makes an annual appearance at the Palace of Wonder bringing many of the same cast and characters. Here is a video from Day 1 of Glastonbury.

Of note this year is the auction off Clash drummer, Topper Headon’s beloved Mini Cooper. Headon says, "This car has been my pride and joy. I had it two-tone customised and it was the first car I drove when I got clean, so you can imagine I've been attached to it and have loved it a lot. Tickets are £10 each and the auction will be held July 13th with proceeds supporting Strummerville's work with up and coming bands.

Another Strummer legacy was a headlining slot at the festival for Bruce Springsteen. Strummer had a lot to do with this American icon, also known as “The Boss” breaking into the UK market. Take a look for yourselves. Or read the full Guardian article here.


As it would turn out, this letter inspired Glastonbury organizer Emily Eavis to do an 8-page proposal to persuade Springsteen to appear at the festival, something she not to have done for any other artist in the past. She says it was all for Joe, and many festival goers might agree…it was all very worth it.

//sean s.

June 27, 2009

Lilly Allen Commemorates Jacko at Glasto

The Telegraph is carrying a photo of Lilly Allen wearing a single white glove for her set at Glastonbury yesterday.

The paper also reports:

T-Shirts with Jackson-related slogans printed on them appeared on-site within hours of his death being confirmed.

One of the more cynical offerings read: "I was at Glasto when Jacko died."


June 26, 2009

Michael Jackson R.I.P.; Farah Fawcett too


The LA Times is reporting that Michael Jackson has died of a cardiac arrest at 50, the same day that another '70s icon, Farah Fawcett, has passed away.

-- Donald

June 25, 2009

aka Rhythm X, aka Dr. Octagon, aka Dr. Dooom, aka Mr. Gerbik

News flash: This ain't Fuji, but anyone who likes their hip-hop real and surreal, Kool Keith is in Tokyo tonight ...

For ANYTHING GOES vol.3 at Le Baron in Aoyama, VERBAL is presenting as a special guest Kool Keith. La Baron would be as good a location in Tokyo to witness ironic hip-hop excess at its best, and I have no idea what kind of crowd would make it out for Dr. Octagon, but must be worth checking. If someone makes it, please report.

-- Donald

Full listing of the eve:

Special Guest : KOOL KEITH

Special Guest DJ : Kutmasta Kurt

DJ's (A to Z) :
B!NGO aka DJ F.Y.S.


June 24, 2009

Saturday night's all right for fighting (with yourself)

This morning I chatted with George Porter Jr., the legendary bassist for New Orleans' original funksters The Meters. He'll be at Fuji with the latest incarnation of the group, The Funky Meters. I mentioned that a contemporary of his who also helped define funk in the 60s, Booker T, would be playing on a neighboring stage at approximately the same time.
"You're kidding?" he said in a tone that sounded less like pleasurable surprise and more like complete befuddlement.
"Yeah, I know what you mean," I responded. Who coordinated that?

Because let's face it. If you're somebody who digs the Funky Meters it goes without saying you probably also dig Booker T and would definitely want to see both. Since they're at adjacent stages--Field of Heaven and Orange Court--it's possible to jump back and forth between the two if they do happen to coincide. But it shouldn't be a choice you have to make.

However, things are worse. Over at the White Stage there's Public Enemy, the consummate old school hip-hop collective whose main main, Chuck D, relishes classic soul, funk and blues like no rapper on any planet. Now you've got three acts, all headlining their respective stages on Saturday night with potentially the same audience fighting an internal battle: Should I stay or should I go?

And on a personal level it gets downright dire, because Franz Ferdinand is headlining the Green Stage and I think their new album is one of the best of the year. And Dinosaur Jr. over at the Red Marquee? Don't get me started or I'll cry. The thing is, I made a list of the top ten acts I want to see this year, and five of them are playing at the same time.

Is there anybody else out there with a similar scheduling beef?


Down on the Farm with J

Dinosaur Jr releases new album today: Sounds like Dinosaur Jr. Great.

While other seminal indie bands from the late '80s/early '90s evolved — think Red Hot Chili Peppers or Soundgarden — Dinosaur Jr refined. I try not to get too romantic about bands, but there is something about the Boston band's quintessential slacker posture -- which made them seem to care little about whether fans cared -- that has led to a curious continuity and quality in their music. As All Music Guide succinctly said of their 2005 comeback, " 'Beyond' is not a breakthrough or reinvention, it's a consolidation of their strengths."

So depending on whether you like J Mascis's scruffy Neil Young attack, this is great or grating. I obviously go with with great — Mascis' guitar squalls make it feel like the sound is coming from five directions at once, and the reunited back up of Murph on drums and Lou Barlow on bass disappear in the perfect storm. You can listen to much of the latest album "Farm" on Dinosaur Jr's MySpace site (June 23 is the release date in the US and UK), and early reviews are consistently positive. (Download the single "I Want You to Know" from the band's own site.)

When Dinosaur Jr played Saturday on Fuji Rock's White Stage in 2005, it was great to hear them reunited and sounding as fresh as ever. This year pent up in the Red Marquee, the next chapter in the same book could see all hell break loose.

-- Donald

Goodbye Killers, Hello Weller


Replacing The Killers on Friday night is the "Modfather" himself, Mr. Paul Weller.

Obviously well known for his work with influential, legendary rockers The Jam and with The Style Council, Weller’s been no slouch as a solo musician. The 2009 British Male Solo Artist BRIT Award Winner (he beat out Ian Brown and Streets), Weller is on tour behind his ninth disc, last year’s 22 Dreams. He’ll play on Friday, July 24 on the Green Stage just prior to Oasis.

Weller played lead guitar and sang back up vocals on Oasis’ 1996 hit “Champagne Supernova.” Weller and Oasis were both on the same concert bill at V-Fest in Toronto last September and there were rumours that Weller was going to join the band for the song. An attack on Noel Gallagher during the show changed things and squashed any chance of the two performing together at that event. It’s highly unlikely anyone within the wonderfully chilled out confines of Naeba Ski Resort is going to try and take Noel out so perhaps the two acts will join forces on the Green Stage?

Japan has a big mod scene and seeing as how The Jam were at the forefront of the mod revival movement, Weller’s addition to this summer’s FRF is bound to make more than a few locals happy. Although it’ll likely be too hot (and possibly wet) to be dressed to the nines (although you never know with a festival crowd), keep your eyes peeled for packs of Vespa scooters in the parking lot outside the main gates.

2008 Mojo Outstanding Contribution to Music Award Winner - Paul Weller Acceptance Speech

Paul Weller's MySpace is here.
Paul Weller on Wikipedia here.
Photos of Paul Weller performing at Glastonbury '07 are here.


* Photo by Ryota Mori and used with permission of Smashing Mag

June 23, 2009

A little more EYE


Maybe the experience of watching the eclipse at see will inspire more than just sonic madness from EYE. Some may know that he is an artist as well, and currently has a show on in Tokyo.

Till July 18th at the magical, ARTROOM gallery in Ebisu (map) -- one of Tokyo's more music friendly exhibition spaces -- EYE will be holding "Art Coming Soon," a show of new work. The title comes from the world of music as well, as new albums are always spoken of as "coming soon" in promotional materials, so EYE is using the term to make one of those fantastic art world statements that you just got to nod your head at if you aren't willing to dive right in: As Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo curator Tomoko Yabumae explains it, "We cannot capture 'Art'. It must always be 'Coming Soon'." (She's right by the way. Use it to decide from now on if something is art. Really.) Besides the words -- get ready for it DJ Coglione -- what's the work itself? An image of birds and dragons that EYE has carved onto a blue car hood. If yr in Tokyo, go check it out -- magical, ARTROOM has that Fuji Rock spirit.

-- Donald

Image: magical, ARTROOM

Eye in the sky

Given his mercurial nature as a musician and human specimen, it's nearly impossible to predict what Boredoms/Vooredoms front man Eye Yamatsuka will "perform" for his Planet Groove set at the Red Marquee Friday night. But he will have just returned from a very unusual cruise that should prove inspiring for an artist of his peculiar temperament.

From July 20 to 23, the Boredoms, along with Gang Gang Dance, Goma, and bunch of DJs, will be on board a rented Russian ferry boat for what is being called "The Lucy in the Sky With Diamond Ring Tour." On July 22, the Saros 136 solar eclipse will take place, and the Boredoms mean to be performing as it unfolds. Apparently, the moon will cover the sun for six minutes and 39 seconds, which is pretty long, and the "umbra" of the eclipse will move over a path that lies between China and the Southern Pacific. The best viewing point will be somewhere off the southern coast of Japan, and the organizers (appropriately called Tokara The Sun & Moon Festival) plan to be right there when it happens. If it's cloudy, expect a gnashing of teeth that can be heard as far north as Sendai.

But this ain't just some hippie pile-on. It'll cost you ¥168,000, but that includes organic food (natch), a bed, and even an area where the kids can hang out if you actually have the wherewithal to bring your kids. My guess is that anyone with the financial wherewithal to make the trip can do anything he/she wants.



June 22, 2009

Immaculate Reception


So I was halfway through writing a post on Holy Fuck, but since Dom beat me to it, let me just recommend a great live session they did for Dublab last year.


Old Schoolers

The first time I saw Asakusa Jinta, I knew they were Fujirock material.

Click "continue reading" for more info and vids.

Not only are they perfect for FRF in general, they are an ideal band for the Palace of Wonder:

Traditional Japanese elements fused with punk ethos?


Loud and crazy horns and a cute/quirky female bandmate to get the punters chanting?


Incredible chops, and equal comfort onstage or on the street?


I wouldn't be surprised if these guys popped up somewhere for an unscheduled guerilla performance (the boardwalk comes to mind), but if not, make sure to check them out Sunday night at Palace of Wonder. They've honed their act everywhere from Austin to Sweden, and the Palace will be for the home crowd. Old school never sounded so cool.

Asakusa Jinta SITE
Asakusa Jinta MYSPACE


Introducing: Funeral Party


One of the late additions to the line-up is Funeral Party from East Los Angeles. Relative unknowns to many – they’ve only released a 3-song EP called “Bootleg”- the band are getting lots of attention and big time management as somebody must have figured out they sound a lot like that other youth dance party sensation, MGMT.

We all know how big MGMT has become, even shutting down other Bonaroo stages when they quote/unquote headlined the festival. But seriously, Funeral Party may be a more rocking version of dance-party music, aided in the studio by Mars Volta and touring in support of And You Will Know Us By Our Trail of Dead earlier this year. The latter, teaching this young band a lesson in how to destroy their instruments. This band is so green that don't have a proper music video, just a short promo with some background music to give you a little taste.

And you can check out their myspace

//sean s.

June 21, 2009

Holy fuck, it's Holy F!


I have a bit of a thing for bands whose names you can't say on the radio.

Or songs that you can't play. That's why I always listen to independent radio stations, because they do. Though the guys at Pitchfork don't agree with me. But apparently Canadians say "holy fuck" a lot. Jeff, Shawn, can you confirm?

But maybe that's why I hadn't heard much about Holy Fuck. I knew very little about this Canadian five piece, who formed in 2004, and seem to have had quite a transient membership in their five years. But once you get past the name, as noted in Pitchfork's review, it really ceases to matter. I mean, look at Echo And The Bunnymen... Never was there a worse named band with such great songs. But I digress.

These guys have been slotted into the Green Stage lineup early Sunday afternoon. I think they might be just what the doctor ordered. Producing nice electronica styled tracks with real instruments is their forte. Quickly becoming the darlings of the festival scene (NME put them in the top three performances o¥at Glastonbury in 2007), their unrehearsed sound is just the thing to chill out to and get you over your hangover, after you amble into the festival and grab something stodgy to eat.

Live performances are reportedly less structured than the tracks on their albums, and you should no doubt be prepared to see the band do just what they want. This probably means something a little more frenetic or darker than the tracks off their albums, or their Myspace. I can particularly see tracks like "The Pulse" blowing out into 10 minute or more pieces of craziness.

Get down there. I don't think these guys will disappoint.

Official site


"Holy F"

It's raining again...


You'll regret that you didn't bring wet weather gear along if it rains, but you won't regret that you did if it doesn't.

Looking out my window at the pouring rain made me think. Yes, rainy season is here. Though Fuji Rock is after the official rainy season's finish (or is it? Try to get a straight answer on that one!), it's guaranteed to rain at some point. I believe Dave Grohl put it best at FRF 2005, as the rain fell through the Foo Fighters set:

"We first played Fuji rock in 1997... It rained so hard they shut it down! We came back in 2000... It rained. I came here again in 2002 (with Queens of the Stone Age)... It rained. Now we're here again, and... It's fucking raining! Every time we come here, it fucking rains!"

So, what does that mean for you? Be ready for a wet one! Seb's already told you to get your gumboots ready, and sound advice that is. After four years I finally got myself a pair for Fuji Rock last year, and what sweet bliss that was. But you'd be well advised to take it a step or two further. Bring yourself a set of wet weather gear. The ones from the 100 yen shop are good enough to keep all but the most torrential of rains from soaking you through. If you're camping, make sure your tent is weather proof. Mine often enough aren't. Put your gear in zip lock bags to ward off the wetness, especially good for food and other perishables. Plenty of garbage bags are a good idea too, for your spare clothes, even if they're inside your backpack.

Remember that umbrellas aren't allowed at Fuji Rock, for obvious reasons. You don't want to be the guy in back.

The one thing I always forget is a cap, or something of the like to keep the rain out of your eyes. This is just as important as it is to shade the sun should the opposite happen. Even if you're tough enough to go through the whole festival hail, rain, or shine donning nothing more than a pair of shorts, don't forget head gear!


Bad Brains and The Gaslight Anthem Rock and Refresh You


The Gaslight Anthem and Bad Brains will draw large crowds of grooving bodies to the White Stage on Saturday, July 25. Many audience members will be seeking refreshment after what will hopefully be scorching sets from both. No doubt a cold The Gaslight Anthem Cream Soda or Bad Brains Rootz Beer would quench their thirst.

Jones Soda has joined with PunkRadioCast to create limited edition soda pop with artwork from bands such as Bad Brains, The Gaslight Anthem, and Less Than Jake (who played FRF in ’07 – live report here). The PunkRadioCast Variety Pack costs $15.95 (U.S.) plus shipping charges and can be ordered here.

Unfortunately glass bottles are among the prohibited items (for good reasons) at Fuji Rock, so I’m assuming the bands won’t be bringing their flavours of soda pop with them. That’s too bad because as a root beer lover I definitely would have consumed a few Bad Brains Rootz Beers over the course of the weekend.

Feel free to comment below on what other FRF '09 bands should have their own branded beverages.


Weezer Will Help Make Fuji Rock Even Greener!


Weezer’s Sunday night Green Stage headlining slot could help strengthen all of the festival site's beautiful, lush plant life.

Apparently two American students did an experiment with plant seeds and music. They played Weezer and Eminem songs to see which helped the plants grow. The Weezer plants did much better than the Enimem ones. There’s an article about it here.

As Jeff mentioned in his post on Weezer, the band have played Summer Sonic several times in the past. If they had of been coming to Fuji instead just think about how much bigger and stronger the trees would be at the already stunning Naeba Ski Resort.

Weezer’s MySpace is here.


You Gotta Sleep At Some Point


While camping is the most cost-efficient option for accommodations at FRF, trying to find a tent amidst a sea of 15,000 or so campers, queuing for lukewarm showers, and sharing portable toilets all weekend long isn’t for all. For those still seeking a hotel, there’s an announcement about the waiting list for cancelled accommodations on the fest’s official English site.

“From June 17(Wed), the waiting list for the cancelled accommodation (including Naeba Prince and inns in Naeba/Asagai, Mitsumata/Tashiro, Sarugakyo areas) will operate for all accommodation types that are currently fully booked.”

The application period runs until Monday July 6 at 3:00 pm. For more details, visit here.

A draw will occur only if someone cancels earlier reservations. Winners will be contacted before July 14.

There is info and an application form in Japanese here.

English speakers can contact the Fuji Rock Festival Official Tour Centre through email at fujirock@jtbsun.co.jp

Good luck! If you are planning on spending more than one day with us at Fuji Rock (and you really should!) please ensure that you’ve got somewhere to sleep. You don’t want to land up like the people below that I photographed between the Oasis restaurant area and the Green Stage for Fuji Rock Express '06.


Dave wrote a story about the camping area for Fuji Rock Express '07. Check it out here.


Dachambo: Digital Hippies

Hey Japanophiles, help me out here. In Japanese, is Dachambo one of those contracted, composite words, one that happens to mean "big jam band"? It might as well be.

The six piece group returns to Fujirock for the third time since 2005 (not counting a solo set last year by percussionist Yao), because somebody's got to keep the folks happy in the Field of Heaven, right? But don't let the tie-dyes fool you into thinking that these guys are some lost Deadhead tribute tribe, because like many J-jam bands, Dachambo is hybrid electronica, mixing digeridoo, two drum kits and electronic machines that produce that most raver-friendly of psychedelic musics, psy-trance. So on one hand, they channel 70s guitar rock for power, while on the other high bpm trance beats for zooming dancability (check out the song "Lama (Radio Edit)" on Myspace). But hippies, fear not, they will also invariably morph the dance tracks into flying, meandering and chime-filled sessions of Space. If you need to come down easy on Sunday, this may be your band.

Ska ga Suki de-ska?

Ska punk was a commercially viable enterprise in Southern California during the 1990s, spearheaded by groups like No Doubt and Sublime, but boosters could be forgiven for not having any knowledge about genuine ska, since the SoCal variety was pretty much a genre unto itself. Consequently, when older ska acts came through town they found it hard to pick up musicians who could play the unadulterated kind. The Aggrolites, a quintet of local reggae musicians, formed in 2002 to fill this niche, and managed to find gigs backing classicists like Derrick Morgan, Prince Buster, and Culture's Joseph Hill. Then they decided they could do it, too.

Four albums in, the Aggrolites are pretty much the only homegrown reggae act in L.A., but the band, while still relying heavily on covers, has brought their own personalities to play, and their live shows are beholden to soul and funk almost as much as they are to reggae. Without a horn section, you probably have to try harder, but organist Roger Rivas does a great job of filling the void. There's no paucity of reggae and ska at this year's Fuji--the Aggrolites play after TheSkaFlames and before Easy Star All-Stars at the Field of Heaven on Sat.--but the harder style that the Aggrolites play is less in evidence, thus filling another void. In any case, don't expect any lovers rock.


More on Major Lazer

Following Sean article about Diplo new project with Major Lazer. An amazing cool video of the single 'hold the line' have just been release.

Cool vidéo du nouveau projet de Diplo aka Major Lazer sur le single 'hold the line'. Pour faire suite à l'article de Sean.


June 19, 2009

Crying Nut


Korean punksters Crying Nut are stars in their homeland, and virtually unknown anywhere else. They are as big domestically as any screaming punk band can expect to be. Their debut album became the best-selling indie release in Korean chart history, and after a blip when they fulfilled their national service obligations, they stormed back with contributions to various punk compilations and a tribute album entitled 'Smells like Nirvana'. It came in a scratch 'n' sniff case that released the odour of Kurt Cobain. No, it didn't.

Other releases include 'The Cow of OK Pasture' and '조선펑크', which translates as 'ROK the Casbah'. No, it doesn't. Or it might do. Who knows.

On top of the usual guitar-bass-drum setup, they've got Kim Insoo adding some melodies with his keyboard and accordion, which seems to elevate the band above the rabble of noiseniks that you'll find in any live house.

At Fuji they'll be rocking the Red Marquee. They're known for their high-tempo shows (what punk band isn't?), so it should be worth a sniff.

I can't work out if he's shouting 'Thatcher', 'shachou' or 'dachou' in the clip below:



FR Twitter Addicts


Look like the past months the entire web turned addict to Twitter. The new hip social network is picking up users at alarming rate and everyone suddenly have the urge to tell the world what they are doing… If you are bored to follow you friends to learn who’s having a coffee or who’s lonely at home, just point out your browser to our fellow Fuji Rock stars account and get to know the out and about of the Jet Set. From the very quiet Polysics to enthusiastic Diplo, many artists jumped into the little bird bandwagon.

A list of the official or fans feeds and French translation after the jump!

Depuis les derniers mois, tout le Web s’est mis à Twitter. Soudainement, tout le monde ressent le besoin de partager avec le monde ce qu’ils font à tout moment. Si vous êtes tanné du quotidien banal de vos amis, orienter votre navigateur Internet sur les Fuji Rock Stars pour apprendre tous sur les états d’âme de la jet set. Des timides Polysics à Diplo, très enthousiaste, plusieurs artistes ont joint les rangs du petit oiseau.

Cage The Elephant
Buraka Som Sistema
Jimmy Eat World
White Lies
Fall Out Boy
Franz Ferdinand
The Killers
Bad Brains
Cobra Starship
Trashcan Sinatras
Twisted Wheel
Towa Tei
Japanese Popstars
Maximo Park
The Disco Biscuits
Fake Blood
Giant Pussy Records


Diplo Doing It All!


Diplo (nee Wesley Prentz) is seemingly everywhere now and his two Fuji Rock appearances are just an example of the breakneck, late-night schedule. He's even been getting lots of attention, in of all places, the New Yorker with no fewer 3 write-ups. Read a definitive history of Diplo and his involvement in the baile funk here

Of course, there's method to this madness and it has to do with his newest release, Major Lazer, which came out on June 16th. Nearly every music mag (on-line and print) has covered it, but there’s no use reading these reviews which sound like Diplo pulling a fast one on the reviewers, making them look downright silly. Don’t believe me, just try to make sense of this review in Popmatters. And I’m reading this straight! If I’d been on the scotch or sucking down some smoke, my head would have been producing a major “Whaaaaa?”

Which leads me to my final point, this music is about booty shaking!!!!! And here, Diplo, pulls out his final trick. The dude’s a filmmaker! And his vibe has been traveling the film circuit from SXSW to Seattle. So, without further adieu, here is some of Diplo’s finest.

//sean s.

June 17, 2009

Are the stars out tonight?

"Our favorite rock star Kiyoshiro is now doing a solo tour of the stars through the Milky Way with his guitar and his bicyle." So wrote Smash president Masa Hidaka in a press release to announce the special tribute show to Kiyoshiro Imawano, the unofficial mayor of Fuji Rock who died two months ago.

Kiyoshiro will definitely pedal down from the stars to catch this tribute, which centers on his most recent back up band, Nice Middle with New Blue Day Horns. But it's the guests that will make it special: female vocalists Leyona, UA and Chara; Ulfuls frontman Tortoise Matsumoto; guitarists Char and Wilko Johnson; fellow folk god and all-round weird personality Shigeru Izumiya; Cro Magnons' vocalist Hiroto Komoto and guitarist Masatoshi Mashima; old RC Succession bandmate Reichi Nakaido; and super soul organist Booker T, who once toured behind Kiyoshiro in the 1990s with the MGs.

The party is set for the Green Stage on Saturday night before Franz Ferdinand. Let's hope it's a clear night so the stars in Alpha Centauri can join in on the fun.


The Killers Bailing on Another Fest?


As Phil previously mentioned in his "Breaking news" post, The Killers have canceled their appearance at this year's Fuji Rock.

The official comments from the band on FRF's site are: ""The Killers have been forced to cancel their appearance at this year's Fuji Rock Festival due to unforeseen circumstances. The band apologizes to their Japanese fans and hope to reschedule their shows in Japan soon."

Their FRF appearance was removed from the tour dates listed on their web site before organizers made the official announcement causing some fans to speculate beforehand that the show wasn't going to happen.

They, of course, were right. Looking at their tour dates now, their Lollapalooza date is also missing. Does this mean that they are pulling out of that festival too? Lollapalooza's site still lists them as playing so we'll have to wait and see.


June 16, 2009



Spanish leftists playing Fujirock? Does this mean there won't be any Basque bands this year?

Now first to describe the sound, Boikot is what the Clash might sound like if they mainly played Mediterranean weddings. It is the accordion that gives their music an "everybody dance" kind of edge, only you are not sure whether to swing your fellow concert-goers by the arm or pogo right into them.

Politically, they are hardcore leftists who toured following the Che Guevara's route through South America (so it is claimed) and named a trio of albums after Che in the late 1990s. Call them Latin European political punk, ska or whatever you have it, but you can rest assured they will light a fire under the ass of the Orange Court on Friday (July 24).

official site: http://www.boikot.com.es/index.html

photos by Taiki and Hanasasan (from somewhere in Europe):

Bad Year for other Asian Rock Fests

Maybe it's the economy. Maybe it's politics. As a rock and roll writer, I wouldn't know much about either of those, but what I do know is that Taiwan's Formoz Festival is canceled for 2009 and Korea's Pentaport Rock Festival has scaled back majorly on headliners, from Franz Ferdinand, the Strokes and Placibo last year to (get ready to Wikipedia) the Deftones, Lenka and Eskimo Joe (yes, those are international bands.) In recent years, both fests were held on the same weekend as Fujirock and sponged off some of the headliners. Things have changed big time.

Taiwan's Formoz started in 1995 under a different name, began bringing big international acts in 2001 (Yo La Tengo, Biohazard, Megadeth), and began cooperating with SMASH, Japan, the company behind FRF, a couple years later, over the years bringing Moby, Super Furry Animals, Mercury Rev and other bands to Taiwan.

Just before kicking off last summer, Formoz rather mysteriously announced that the festival was too much work for what their small staff and the economics of the festival could support, so they were canceling it once the 2008 event was over. The group behind Formoz also runs Taipei's top live house (The Wall), an indie band management company (ULoud Music), and promotes some of its own shows. Organizers said they would still be involved in bringing international acts, but not as a festival, so their story went. There is however widespread speculation that Formoz's demise also had something to do with Taiwan's 2008 presidential election. The political party with heavy links to Formoz organizers -- one year Taiwan's president Chen Shui-bian plugged the event at a press conference and even sat on stage to watch Japanese visual rockers Sex Machinegun -- lost the presidency. And where there are political friends, there is money. Formoz organizers have repeatedly denied this, but few are convinced.

In Korea, Pentaport was a big deal from its inaugural year of 2006, when it was already sharing artists with SMASH, Jp. According to the Korea Herald, the festival was a collaboration between two promoters, and apparently things have gone sour between them. The promoter with the SMASH, Jp. connect has now split off to start up the Jisan Valley Rock Festival. FRF09 headliners Oasis and Weezer will be there. Pentaport will also go ahead on the same July 24-26 weekend. All I can say about that is, I'd rather be in Naeba.


The Inspector Cluzo


Aside from the band's name, which denotes a certain sense of ironic identification with a Hollywood portrayal of a bumbling Frenchman, the band being French and all, they sure sound a heck of a lot like the Red Hot Chili Peppers circa Blood Sugar Sex Magic. But the weird thing is, how do you do funk without a bass player?

The Inspector Cluzo is in fact a duo, Laurent Lacrouts (drums/vocal) and Mathieu Jourdain (drums). Instead of socks on their dicks, they dress perhaps more appropriately for a Pink Panther movie, or at least Jourdain does, wearing a dapper suit-vest and tie on the kit. Lacrouts is a big fella with a beard. I actually ran into them briefly in south Taiwan at the beginning of April, where they'd played at Spring Scream music festival. They were standing outside a hotel, looking unshaven and ragged in striped beach shorts, like members of the French Resistance on vacation. "So you are zee Inspector Cluzo?" I said. "Yes, we are zee band," one of them muttered back. It seemed they were touring the world, with pre-FRF summer gigs, they informed me, including opening slots for Fishbone and Suicidal Tendencies. At FRF09, they'll fit right in in the Orange Court, an act that is a little bit retro and a little bit rock 'n roll. How they'll do it without a bass player though, I still have no idea.

To see what I mean, check out their music video for "Fuck the Bass Player." Apparently they're serious about this.



Any hardcore Fujirock fan knows that the Palace of Wonder is where it's at during the wee hours, and now that Smash UK is moving forward with a dedicated website, you can count on more coverage.

Many, many links, vids and more info after the jump.

Yes, the Palace of Wonder is THE party of Fujirock. From killer old-school DJs to death-defying acts of bravery/stupidity/masochism, POW is a carnival in the truest sense.

Read my profile on POW in the Japan Times .

It's impossible to find consensus on the highlight on each year's POW. Many thought 2008's was the Gogol Bordello performance, others think burlesque troupe, Murasaki Babydoll's performance and the Lords of Lightning were unforgettable. Others go way back to when Joe Strummer tended the fire. We wanna hear your stories, so add them in the comments.

A few clips from the past:

The Globe of Death from 2007:

Cheering on the punters:

In a James Brown groove:

Dawn on the swingset:

Palace of Wonder site HERE
The Speigeltent site HERE
Flickr set HERE



Guitar gods ain't what they used to be. In fact, Eric Clapton, who WAS God for many years, has become such a personable, avuncular mensch over the past two decades that you feel sort of cheap boosting his chops over his singing, which peaked on "Layla" anyway. Still, it seems only fitting that Robert Randolph, maybe the most acclaimed rock guitarist of the 00s except for Derek Trucks, plays steel guitar and learned it in the service of gospel, effectively putting God back in His musical place as inspiration rather than enabler.

By his second album in 2003, Randolph and his Family Band had made the full jump with both feet into the broader rock and funk arena, and the landing was true and hard. For sheer technical energy, it was difficult to beat. Even Randolph's hero, the late Stevie Ray Vaughan, couldn't touch it in terms of variety and expansiveness. And in concert, Randolph is a monster--his singing a full-throated gospel wail, and every bit as exciting as his playing. And he's a killer dancer, too. As trite as it may sound, Randolph really is the Hendrix of so-called "sacred steel," meaning his concerts are not just exciting, they're transcendent. It seems sort of a waste that he isn't playing on Sunday.



Hayley Sales

What is it about surfers that makes them turn out dreamy, melodious guitar twinkles? Or is it that people who produce that breezy rock are more likely to enjoy standing on a plank and having the ocean throw you onto the beach? Hayley Sales says on her Myspace page that she performs in the vein of Norah Jones, Ben Harper and Jack Johnson, but the latter one is the most obvious influence. And Donavon Frankenreiter.

Which means Hayley Sales is going to be absolutely perfect for Saturday afternoon in the Field of Heaven, with the sun blazing down and the people shaking off their second consecutive hangovers. And if it rains, the Field of H is always the best area in bad weather, thanks to its crowd of hippies who love everything mother nature can throw at them.

Like Bad Brains, Hayley hails from Washington DC. Unlike Bad Brains, her family fled the city when she was 3, and she grew up in Portland. Presumably if she hadn't, she'd be screaming in a punk band instead of strumming songs about farmers growing tomatoes and twittering about whistling.

According to Wikipedia, which is where I learn everything these days, Miles Davis used to come and perform in her dad's studio, she's interviewed the Dalai Lama, and she's palled around with Kris Novoselic. And she's only 22.

I'd stick her videos here, but Universal Music refuse to let people embed them. Brilliant move. Major labels once more showing their unease with this interweb piratey thing.




Lily at the Crystal Palace

Can there be any doubt that the hardest gig to catch at the fest will be Lily Allen in the Crystal Palace? She's gonna be the Gogol Bordello of 2009. The place is going to be heaving, and that's already my tip for show of the festival. Yeah, that's a ridiculous, meaningless, stupid prediction, but it will be.

I was listening to her latest album when I read the new line-up. What strikes me every time I listen is that it contains the best and worst lyrics I've heard in a long, long time. Compare and contrast:

From 'The Fear':

I want loads of clothes and fuckloads of diamonds
I heard people die while they are trying to find them

Life's about film stars and less about mothers
It's all about fast cars and passing each other
But it doesn't matter cause I'm packing plastic
and that's what makes my life so fucking fantastic

And from 'Him', about God:

Do you think he's any good at remembering people's names
Do you think he's ever taken smack or cocaine
I don't imagine he's ever been suicidal
His favourite band is Creedence Clearwater Revival

Probably the most obvious 'I just wrote it to rhyme' line ever sung.

Bizarrely, as I was searching for some lyrics online to cut and paste, I found this page that accurately transcribed the words to 'Back to the Start', except for an erroneous claim that the song ends with the line "Go back to the start.
fuk u kabul shit cunt crack whore thc wetwat." It doesn't. Not my version anyway.



Fuji Rock Fashion

Amazing Fuji Rock ad from Aigle boots, official sponsor of the festival. I know many Fujirockers have a weakness for those girls in muddy boots every summer. The text say in French... 'For the reintroduction of men in nature'

Thank for Tetris to tumblr it. The original image appeared in Magazine Figaro.


June 15, 2009

Guess who's back?


Well, it wouldn't be Fuji Rock without them! Big Willie and his crew are part of the furniture in the Crystal Palace. In fact, I'm beginning to think that they come with the Spiegel tent, ready to start that show that's made them the talk of late night Fuji, tear after year...

I spoke to Willie at the end of last year's festival, and he told me that his team start asking him about, oh, November whether or not they're going to Fuji Rock next time around, and nag him until the contract is signed, sealed and delivered. The one year in recent memory that they missed out (2007), Willie reported that his band's faces were so long (and the whispers so loud) that he swore to never put himself through it again!

But don't expect to simply find these guys doing their thing late sunday night. I'm expecting to spot them doing their thing at least once a day somewhere about the festival, if years past are anything to go by. Maybe more. Don't expect too much prior warning either, these guys are just as likely to strut their stuff when someone has a hissy fit and refuses to fulfill their spot. more than possible with enough egos in town to create a black hole should the planets be out of alignment...

So expect that burlesque show that has made them the stuff of Fuji Rock legend. And the band? As I said earlier, I know they wouldn't miss it for all the burlesque in a smokey bar. Carolina and Dakota back for more? Well if they're not in attendance, it will be the crowd with the long faces!

BIg Willie's Burlesque official site
2008 FRF Report
Photo Report from 2008


Crystal Palace in 2006:

The only possible reason why I can't find a more recent vid is that when Big Willy, Dakota, and Carolina take to the stage, you ain't looking through that camera!

Photo by Yoshitaka, used with permission of FujiRock Express 2008.

I and I Live Long & Prosper

Thought this might be somewhat appropriate. The recent Star Trek re-tooling made me think of an old Boing Boing post with the above Spock/Bad Brains mashup. Mercy.

Click "Continue reading" for more vids & links

H.R. and company are probably not as nimble as they once were, and pining to see bands you idolized in your youth is such a setup for disappointment, but OH, how I've longed to see these songs live.

Here they are at their prime:

Over two decades have passed since this (check the date & year on the clip), but I'd be happy with half this energy.

Bad Brains SITE
The man: H.R.
The original Boing Boing post


Summer Sonic Spreading?


Nine Inch Nails, Linkin Park, and Mew will invade the Taipei area in early August with huge, arena sized shows. Meanwhile, Placebo and a host of smaller acts will band together for the newly inaugurated Music Terminals Festival. What do all these bands have in common? They are all performing at this year’s Summer Sonic.

Previously, Taipei audiences could expect1 or 2 Fuji Rock performers (Moby, Super Furry Animals, Lisa Loeb) to stop over at Taipei’s longer running Formoz Festival. However, Formoz went on a one-year hiatus due to construction work on the festival’s preferred venue – a children’s park in central Taipei- potentially opening the door for rival promoters.

Aside from sharing bands, Music Terminals is also mimicking the Summer Sonic layout, renting both a stadium and a nearby arena, albeit 45 minutes away from downtown Taipei, but just a short skip from the Taoyuan International Airport (hence the name of the festival). Of course the festival is not a complete copycat, organizers have even gone out of their way to say as much on their website. One programmer lives in Melbourne, explaining the inclusion of bands such as Frente, Mick Turner (Dirty 3), Cuba is Japan. And a ticket surcharge of roughly US$20 gives one the privilege of all-you-can-drink-beer throughout the festival!

Click here for more about Music Terminals

//sean s.

June 14, 2009

Breaking news

This just in...New acts and stuff announced! Robert Randolph Band on the Green Stage! Holy Fuck on the White Stage! (that's a band, not a comment) Dinosaur Jr. taking the top slot at the Red Marquee on Sat.! Lily Allen two times!!! And the Killers cancel!!! (stop cheering, you over there in the AC/DC T-shirt) Plus the full rosters for the Crystal Palace and Daydreaming, so you better get on line right now.

Also, Eye of the Boredoms/Vooredoms at the Red Marquee and Funeral Party.



The guys in Sakerock are oddballs indeed. Then again, few instrumental bands led by a trombonist make it anywhere, so why not play to your strengths?

I give them credit for playing tunes your grandfather could shimmy to and still keep it weird. One thing you don't see on the vids here is the constant banter between the band and the crowd. They look like gentlemen on this clip here:

But I've seen them get sweaty and wriggle out of those suits by encore. They'll probably play Friday afternoon at Field of Heaven, and I wouldn't be surprised if they show up elsewhere.

BONUS INFO: They've now broke into commercials, so far plugging one of my fave store in Japan, Tokyu Hands, where they package everything just so.

Sakerock site HERE
Sakerock WIKI (Japanese only)


King of Show

One of the few pop genres that has been almost totally unrepresented at Fuji Rock over the years is "visual-kei," that brand of pop metal peculiar to Japan that tends to favor androgynous style over anything having to do with music. So the inclusion of the popular 90s band Kinniku Shojotai (literally, "Muscle Girl Belt")--or Show King as they are commonly referred to by their fans--in the White Stage roster on Saturday might be met with puzzled expressions. But one has to take into consideration leader Kenji Otsuki's role in Japanese pop culture, which, despite that odd facial tattoo and the hair, is fairly didactic.

When Show King was in their prime, Otsuki was a ubiquitous TV talent, appearing on countless variety-talk shows, but rather than representing disaffected youth he was mostly talking to them, giveing advice, urging them to be nice to their elders, telling the guys to treat their girlfriends well, and making sure the girls weren't being sluts. Of course, his music was something else entirely--facetious, self-deprecating, totally absurd, and sometimes beside the point. I once saw him at Nakano Sun Plaza in the mid-90s and he was on stage for two hours and probably played only ten songs. The rest of the time he talked. He's written books and anchored magazine columns, but once Show King called it quits in 1999 (at least one member of the group, apparently, got tired of Otsuki's moonlighting) Otsuki virtually vanished.

Since reforming in 2006, the band has been Otsuki's main gig, and apparently they haven't lost their touch for the grand, ridiculous musical statement. They sold out Budokan last year. We're hoping that Otsuki will keep his mouth shut during their White Stage performance. The band is funny enough without all his jabbering, and they rock like monsters when given half a chance.



Old timeyguitar techno with System 7

I’ve written earlier how the 60’s era psychedelic band, Gong, was an early precursor to the techno scene. Those hanging around after Gong's Friday show at the Orange Court will see what I mean when Gong guitarist Steve Hillage hooks up with girlfriend Miquette Giraudy for a guitar-techno show called System 7. Click the vid for their show at Glastonbury two years ago.

Of course, they do things a little different, mixing electric guitar with some pretty heavy ambient, trance beats. Not many have tried this formula as it aint easy to pull off, but in Hillage’s mind its yet another form of defiance, and breaking musical boundaries.
System 7 will also be in Japan a few days ahead of their Fuji Rock appearance, taking part in the first Total Solar Eclipse Festival scheduled for Amami Island on Wednesday, July 22nd.

System 7 Website
System 7 Myspace

//sean s.

Introducing Ebony Bones


Her costumes take their cue from a box of crayons, and with a crazy backing band that is part Brazilian samba and London street carnival, Ebony Thomas (nee Ebony Bones) has been getting lots of attention this summer.

Seriously, folks, she's all over the map this summer playing different festivals almost every other day of the week. Of course, she aint blowing up alone, more like taking advantage of some serious cross pollination as she can sound a lot like Buraka Som Sistema or some of the projects that Diplo and MIA have worked on. You know the formula, handclaps, cowbells, head down, crazy arm flying around like a chicken hot step dance.

You gotta see this video, it even won a onedotzero award for best vid

more music is available on their trippy myspace site

//sean s.

June 13, 2009

"But I'm Not Tired Yet"


For those not completely knackered after 3.5 days of FRF fun, the details for the “Gan-Ban Night Special FRF ’09 After Party in Tokyo” (man, that’s a mouthful) have been announced.

Crookers, The Bloody Beetroots, and The Shoes will all perform and Basement Jaxx will do a DJ set as well. The event will take place on Monday, July 27 at 702 Warehouse. Tickets are 6,500 yen in advance and you’ve got to be over 20 years of age to attend. Things kick off at 10:00 p.m. so be primed for one more late night if you plan on hitting the event. Sleep is overrated anyway and you can get plenty of it on Tuesday, right?

Party deets can be checked out here.

Basement Jaxx’s MySpace site is here.
Crookers MySpace site is here.
The Bloody Beetroots MySpace site is here.
The Shoes MySpace site is here.


Trying to Keep Things G-Rated

Sorry ladies (and gents?).

Vocalist Paul Smith has taken extra precautions to ensure there will be no wardrobe malfunctions during Maximo Park’s Red Marquee peformance on July 26.

Fearing that his love of big jumps and scissors kicks would result in him, uh ..., "rocking out with his c#ck out," Smith employed a tailor to reinforce the material in his pants. Read about it here.

Now that we know things are going to be safe for the whole family to see, maybe someone can pull some strings and get Smith and his bandmates to swing by Kids Land for an intimate set.

Check out from Maximo Park's appearance at FRF '05 here and a live report here.
There's plenty more pics on Smashing Mag as well.


*Photo by izumikuma and used with the permission of Fuji Rock Express '05

ROVO's Inexplicable Drumming

Most famous for ex-Boredoms guitarist Seiichi Yamamoto and having two drummers, Rovo is instrumental experimental progressive/post rock.

I became interested in the group first through the cut "Horses", released in 1999 on the album Imago, their only record released in the U.S. Anyone interested in the outer reaches of the possibilities of trap-set drumming will find this one endlessly fascinating. These rhythms are nothing anyone else would be likely to imagine on their own. The track above, Spica, is a similar concept, but you gotta go listen to this snippet of Horses to get the full effect yourself. Heck, pay the 99 cents to buy the track. I never tire of it. It's almost like the two drummers are phasing each other, like a Steve Reich composition.

They've been morphing and evolving since then, to my ears losing some distinctiveness, like a shmear of fast and frenetic electronica/world music, meant more to be felt in some way than really carefully listened to. Here's a live rendition of Nuou, from 2008:

Here's Sino, from 2001, something a bit more mellow, with it's own brand of strange and unpredictable percussion:

Home Page


Shawn's Smashing Mag review of 2005 show at Liquid Room


June 12, 2009

Pop Anonymous


Few musicians can claim a career trajectory like UA, Japan's favorite anti-diva.

Links, Vids and more info after the jump.

Yes UA (nee' Kaori Shima) will bring her band and bizarre antics back to Fujirock, and this time to the main arena, the Green Stage. Originally packaged by her label as a "talento," UA quickly broke out of the pop star mold (compare this with this and you'll see what I mean). I love her voice and have seen her perform half a dozen times, but I'll admit that her musical predilections changed so often that I never knew what to expect. My favorite UA album flirts with dub, but then the following year her live show was a combination of lounge tunes and free jazz. She can craft knowing and intelligent pop music, and her voice lends itself well to R&B, but then onstage she may try an improvised scat-cum-wail for far too long over a bass solo. And then who could forget her regular appearances on NHK children's programming weekday mornings?

I kid you not:

Regardless of her eccentricities, I still try to catch her act sometimes to see what she's exploring now. Frequently, it's worth it. One thing you can count on is UA surrounding herself with great musicians. Her backup band usually includes piano, brass and horns, and friends like Asa Chang from Ska Paradise Orchestra and electric violinist, Katsui Yuji from Rovo drop into her sessions. Where will she go this time around? Only she knows.

Interview in the Japan Times
My kids sing along to this one

Top photo by Hoya, courtesy of Smashing Mag


Rookie Info


Sounds, profiles, web sites and MySpace info for all 15 acts for the this year's Rookie A Go-Go stage have been uploaded here.

In other news, there are apparently more than 24 hours in a Japanese day...

...those in Japan can catch a FRF 2009 television preview on TV Asahi tomorrow (June 13) at 26:25.

The program will review the artists for this year's line-up and viewers will have the opportunity to call in and book tickets for the festival while the show is being aired.

I've never found it hard to understand the subtle nuances of time, but things are different here on Planet Japan.

What they really mean is 2:25am on June 14. Talk about prime time...


Thumbnail photo of Bo-peep © 2007, Masuya Hoya. Used with permission of Fuji Rock Express.

Heavy Petting


Fujirock vets, Brahman have gone through a variety of phases over their 15 years, but one thing you can expect at their Green Stage performance this year will be mobs of groupies. Will their hard-core punk transform into acoustic ballads?

Vids and more info after the jump.

The Ibaragi quartet have had some success abroad, and as their music has bleed outward so have other influences seeped in. Anyone who has heard the Irish-tinged Overground Acoustic Underground knows what I'm talking about.

But according to a recent Japan Times article, it seems that Brahman will now be covering...themselves. I guess after 15 years they're ready to re-tool older songs, and I'm guessing all of their hardcore fans might enjoy this, but for the casual listener, this means the new versions must stand up by themselves. Their brand of skater punk/proto-Emo is not my cup of Darjeeling, but since they're bookended by like-minded acts Jimmy Eat World and Fallout Boy, maybe they'll show the melodic and self-referential Americans a thing or two about J-rock.

Or maybe they'll play an acoustic version of this (god I hope not):

Brahman site HERE
The Japan Times article HERE
The real meaning of Brahman HERE


PODCAST: Bob Log III interview, Part 2

Put Your Shit on My Leg. Photo: www.craigfergusonimages.com

Here's the second part of the interview: Podcast part 2
(There's actually no need to listen to these in order)

More photos of the gig after the break.





photos: www.craigfergusonimages.com

There are actually a ton more great photos from this and an earlier Bob Log III gig in Taipei. You can check them out on Craig Ferguson's web site, the Facebook album for the Urban Nomad Film Fest (add as a friend first), or a series on Smashing Mag by our very own Hanasasan. Woo-yeah!


PODCAST: Bob Log III interview, Part I

Boob Scotch. Photo: www.craigfergusonimages.com

Bob Log III might not be at FRF09, but as a festival alumnus and a one-man guitar party, he'll always have a place in my heart. Tuesday, June 9 he played a gig in Taipei, and the next afternoon I caught up with him for this interview before he got too drunk and wandered off to the sauna. This interview is in two parts and will also air on Radio Taiwan International, but I'd like to offer it up here as what is possibly this blog's first ever podcast. (BTW, if there is some way to have this streaming, let me know.)

Podcast: Part 1


June 11, 2009

The Japanese Popstars


Don’t be afraid! The Japanese Popstars are not a supergroup of egomaniacal AVEX and Johnny’s artists headed by Ayu, Koda Kumi, and the KinKi Kids doing some sort of perverse “We Are The World” benefit for starving nailists.

The “Jappy Pops” are an electronica (or, according to them, "post techno stadium rave") outfit from Derry, Northern Ireland. They’ll be getting the party going at the Sunday Session in the red Marquee, sandwiched between Tim Healey and Sonny J. Also known as Jap Pops, Popstars or The Japstars don't do anything new, groundbreaking or high on intellect - but then again, this is electro. Their only job is to get butts wigglin’ and pretend that they are musicians--and there is no doubt they will do that.

It will be interesting to be at the big red barn just to see the reaction of those expecting something literal. The Japanese Popstars. In Japan. Such wit. Such irony.

Here is their horror movie-licious PV for “Facemelter”:

Japstars on MySpace:

Oh yeah, in true Japanese popstar fashion, they have have their own product line: a brand of Nike trainers called JAPSTARS 01:



June 10, 2009

Cobra Starship


I like bands who don't take themselves too seriously.

Their website CobraCam.TV starts out currently with some "found" footage from Nate's birthday, and continues through nine more episodes of backstage frivolousness, ads for the latest and greatest products the band is spruiking, various mockumentaries, and gratuitous shots of Victoria. Good stuff.

But what would you expect from a band who formed when their head honcho Gabe Saporta was bitten by a cobra while meditating in the desert, and subsequently told by said cobra to teach hipsters not to take themselves so seriously and tell emo kids to stop being pussies. All this to ensure the cobra's life purpose of ensuring that mankind went out in style. I like him already.

Twisted tracks, and even more twisted covers (try Hollaback Boy on for size) ensued. The first release Snakes On A Plane (Bring It) (for the Samuel L Jackson film of the same name) featured a cameo by same day Fuji Rock stage buddy Fall Out Boy's Pete Wentz, and went stratospheric. Two albums quickly followed, and the single Guilty Pleasure spawned its own dance. More recently Good Girls Go Bad and Pete Wentz Is The Only Reason We're Famous have been released off the forthcoming Hot Mess, due for release a scant couple of weeks after the party finishes at Fuji Rock, indicating some of the great synth pop that is maybe what they're not famous for... With the Fall Out Boy connection extending to Patrick Stump as well as Pete Wentz, I wouldn't expect these guys spend the whole of their set unaccompanied!

Interview with Ryland Blackington and Alex Suarez


This is a taste of their live show, as at Bamboozle last month. If you're afraid of a little obscenity, don't push the button.

Get ready to enjoy your guilty pleasure and learn the moves before you find yourself left behind in the crowd.

June 9, 2009

Expect new stuff from Simian Mobile Disco


Two years ago, the English duo of DJ rocked the Red Marquee. This summer the two James are back in Japan for Fuji Rock and you better be prepared to dance non-stop if you come over watch them. The band from London might also bring along few surprises and give the chances to our fellow Fujirockers the chance to ear few of their new tracks.

Back in 2007, Simian Mobile Disco first album Attack Sustain Release was a major hit on the dance charts. Since then, they did some mix compilations here and their and few remix for artist such as Air, CSS, The Kills, Peaches and the Rapture. Recently, the band announced the release of their second album due on middle of August. The album is said to feature collaboration with different artists such as Beth Ditto, Gruff Rhys from Super Furry Animals, Chris Keating and Alexis Taylor from Hot Chip. Some tracks are already started to appear on some online blog with video of "Synthesise" and "10000 Horses Can't Be Wrong" and more recently the single Audacity of Huge. Enjoy bellow will waiting for their big night at Red Marquee.

listen to new track, thx to Welike it Indie

“Audacity Of Huge (Naum Gabo remix)”

“Audacity Of Huge”

You want more info about Simian? Read their interview with Uh Oh Disco or with Pitchfrok.


Dregs Preview


As part of their "World Is Yours" tour, Mass Of The Fermenting Dregs will be playing at Shimokitazawa Shelter this Thursday night...

If you haven't seen them before, or just want to get a taste of what you'll be missing if you don't make it to The Red Marquee stage on the Sunday evening of the Fuji Rock Festival - get to Shimokita on Thursday night (June 11). WARNING: Ticket Pia, Lawson's and E Plus are sold out, so you must go through Shelter. Call them or use their website (Japanese).

Also, an English interview with the band recently out in the Japan Times is here.

For those not in Tokyo, here are the rest of their dates for the tour. Hopefully you can check 'em out in your 'hood:

Mass Of The Fermenting Dregs
“World Is Yours” Tour 2009

6/8 Sendai Macana
w/ Low IQ & The Beat Breaker

6/11 Shimokitazawa Shelter
w/ special guest

6/16 Kanazawa VanVan V4
w/ guest TBA

6/18 Niigata Junk Box Mini
w/ Sparta Locals

6/21 Sapporo Spiritual Lounge
w/ Fluke, Dry As Dust

6/26 Kyoto Taku Taku
w/ Electric Eel Shock


June 8, 2009

Sunny Day Service


There should be lots of twenty and thirty something girls hanging around Field of Heaven on Sunday afternoon to see the reformed Sunny Day Service play it’s trademark unpretentious, lost-in-the-70s guitar pop. It’s funny: I have met so many Japanese girls who happen to be into bands like Mogwai and My Bloody Valentine and Sonic Youth that just can’t get enough of Sunny Day Service. Maybe this is what you need to listen to after a few hours of being morose, like coming up music, instead of coming down.

When they first released material, Sunny Day Service were riding the coattails of bands from the Shibuy-kei camp. They played Tokyo pop a la Flipper’s Guitar (of which, Keigo Oyamada would go on to become Cornelius) and Pizzicato Five, and originally were criticized for sounding too much like the latter and not nearly as inventive as the former. While the Shibuya-kei scene was hardly a bastion of originality itself--ripping off ‘60s hipster lounge beats, Serge Gainsbourg, and bossa nova tunes--it seems to have been just what the doctor ordered for a few years after the bubble burst in Japan: frivolous, innocuous and consumable. From ‘95 onwards, Sunny Day Service released a full length album every year.

The guys in Sunny Day Service (mainly singer, guitarist and songwriter Keiichi Sokabe) gradually stripped their sound down, and apart from some Hammond organ riffs, segued into a meat and potatoes folk rock band, this time taking their cue from bands like The Happy End.

And here is the erstwhile group slurping and promoting noodles, while all around them at the time, grunge was imploding:

In 1999 they toured with another band re-assembling at this year's festival, Trashcan Sinatras.

The group formally disbanded in 2000 on the last night of their Love Album tour at LiquidRoom Shinjuku. Main man Keiichi Sokabe has continued releasing solo material as the The Keiichi Sokabe Band.

If the weather is nice, being up at Field Of Heaven and sipping a few cold beers while Sunny Day Service takes us back to Shibuya circa 1996 could be a good way to nurse your Palace Of Wonder hangover.


Clap your hands for an encore


Who’s touring this summer is a straightforward formula according to the UK’s Guardian who describes it as: Proximity of latest album release + ( Current Popularity x Number of Hits) + Band Willingness. Fuji performers amongst the Guardian’s top 10 list of busy bands this summer include: Franz Ferdinand and Lily Allen (both with 21 gigs), Kaiser Chiefs (18), and the Killers (17).

With this in mind, it comes as a complete shock that Clap Your Hands Say Yeah were added to the Fuji Rock line-up. Not only do they not have a new record in the pipeline, they even went so far as to cancel a much publicized recording session back in January of this year.

Being quirky is nothing new for this band, after all, they have been billed as one of the first indie bands to gain popularity through the internet. This is sort of true, or at least half-true, and though their 2 previous albums have been self-released, their website still sorta sucks, just a simple blog-like thing with updates about the band, and numerous side-projects involving band members.

But what could one expect from a band formed by a group of friends from Connecticut College. The band’s fame did not come from hype machines driven by major labels, but by bloggers who posted their MP3s and the strength of their eponymous debut.

That said, the reason they are coming back is probably because they rocked the Red Marquee in 2007. While lacking some of the buzz surrounding many of the Brit-Pop acts at the festival, they still managed to pack the joint and knock out some bangers such as a Neil Young cover of “Helpless” that drew out a few cell phones and DV cams. I was there and it rocked, and I swear, it sounds a lot like this version on youtube.

Also, they have a new song out "Statues", which can be downloaded for free on their official website. But I warn you, it aint totally instant gratification cuz they send a link to your email account and then you can get it.

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah photographed at Shibuya Club Quattro (24th Jan '06) by Smashing Mag. Photos by keco

//sean s.

June 5, 2009

Lily Allen Coming to Fuji Rock

Smashing Mag's got photos up from Lily Allen's gig last night in Osaka. According to the site, during her show she said that she'll be playing Fuji Rock this summer.

Her MySpace site confirms this and lists her as appearing at the event on July 24.

The following message from Miss Allen has been posted on her MySpace:

"I'm playing the Fuji Rock Festival on Friday 24th July. If you were only to go to one festival in the world, here are my thoughts on Fuji:

'...Hands down the best festival in the world. It's just really beautiful, set-up in the mountains. But it takes fucking hours to get there - like seven hours by car. But it's beautiful how they do it up with twinkling lights everywhere.' "

Allen performed at FRF in 2007 in the Red Marquee. There are photos and a live review of her set on Fuji Rock Express. If her MySpace is to be believed, and I can think of no reason why it shouldn't be, she'll be moving up to the Green Stage this year.


*Photo by Takumi Nakajima and used with permission of Smashing Mag

Hey Ho, Let's Go


One day left to reserve your pre-booked tickets for Fuji Rock Festival 2009. Regular ticket sales start tomorrow, 6 June 2009.


Until the end of today (June 5) you can register for pre-booked tickets for this year's festival, but that's probably much easier for those in Japan than those overseas. Doing this will guarantee you a ticket, regardless of whether you can drag your lazy ass away from the PS3 to walk down to your usual ticket seller and plonk down the dosh or not.

I, and all Fujirockers, advise you to get your tickets sooner, rather than later.

Pre-booking will close on June 5 (Fri). Please secure your 1-day ticket early to avoid disappointment. They are limited to 10,000 per day.

To buy tix from outside of Japan, you should go here.

Or, you should convince your friends/family/colleagues/partners-in-crime/aunt's-brother-in-law's-girlfriend's-mistress to round one up for you here.

Shawn's previous post has a little more info.

Failing that, there's always the scalpers - but do you really want to spend all that time, money, and energy to get up to Naeba and deal with yakuza prices?

You really don't want to be kicking yourself later.


Game on!


Photos from Fuji Rock Festival 2008, © Jeff Richards

Between Revolutions

In praise of the in-between periods in rock and pop history

It feels like one of those periods right now.

Seems like rock hasn't had an explosive movement or scene since NYC/London skinny jeans in early 2000. In comparison, right now feels a little like what 97-2000 was to grunge and alternative rock. I swear I even read the "2008 was a slow year for music" pronouncement from several music mags, but I can't remember which.

And it hasn't just happened to the hipsters. There are legions of unnecessarily quiet pre-teens and teens right now with little to scream at. But then again, will anything ever again compare with the H-bomb that was Britney, Xtina, Backstreets, N'Sync, etc.? Miley feels like a postscript to all that, and she already seems to be on the wane.

Will there be another explosive indie and/or rock music 'scene' someplace, or has the internet rendered scenes much harder to ignite by finally completely delocalizing music and consistently meeting the need for new things so that pressure cannot build up? This is after all what happened with Nirvana in 92. Will there even be another incarnation of 'rock' music, or is the genre slowly getting calcified, like jazz, into something the kids aren't going to bother transforming anymore?

What about all the poor hipster douchebags on college campuses and in gentrified neighborhoods around the world? What are they feeling superior about now? Kickball leagues?

Of course, a movement can provide a spark of energy and purpose, but it's the artists that have to drive that with every single performance, and there's plenty of innovative artists making their best work right now. Which was the point of the Slate article anyway.


Altan Urag


Mongolian force to be reckoned with

I've never listened to any "Traditional Mongolian" music before, so decided I'd better have a listen to a few of Altan Urag's tracks before I found myself in the same room as them. Not knowing what to expect, I was immediately caught off guard by a sound that was much more rock styled than I was expecting. It turns out their first album Foal's Been Born was the more traditional style folk music and the second Made in Altan Urag is, in their own words, folk rock.

Some of the music from the first reminds me of tracks off the KLF's Chill Out album, tracks I thought were influenced by native American music. It would appear my radar was well off. This bunch of music college friends hit the big time (well as big time as they've hit so far) when they did the music for the Oscar nominated film Mongol, a biography of Genghis Khan's rise to power. Their name means literally "the Khan's kin."

All I can say is this: don't piss 'em off.



Traditional folk:

Folk rock off the 2nd:

June 4, 2009

Yukihiro Takahashi live


Yukihiro Takahashi is playing an early Fuji Rock warm-up this Saturday at Shibuya's Ax. It ain't cheap: ¥7,350, but you get a drink with that, so order a glass of Krug Clos Ambonnay.

Meanwhile, check out his Myspace, expecially the 'I like the Wright Brothers' which has the wonderful lyric I like the Wright Brothers/But no airplanes. It also explains where Lemon Jelly went.



Obscure Japanese artistes


Let’s face it, if you read this blog. There is good chance you are a gaijin how doesn’t have a clue about half of the local artists performer on the lineup. However, Japan have some very cool artists that are well worth discovering and Fuji Rock provide you a great opportunity to do so… I personally believe that THE Japanese band not to miss this year is Polysics. I’ve seen them live before and they are sick and cool. However I already wrote an article about it so I’m not going to get back on the orange suit kids.

Here are some of other artists I will look forward to see and the reasons you too should come along…

Chara at White Stage on Monday
Well let’s be honest here. Even tough Chara is already past the 40s she’s still a very attractive lady with one of the sweetest voice of the hi-pitched/whispering child niche of J-Pop music (maybe only challenged by Yuki in this very popular local market). She’s also an accomplished artist being singer, songwriter, musician and actress. Her music style often borrows from other genre incorporating exotic sounds such as African-American funk or Trip-Hop electronic beats. But the main reason why you guys don’t want to miss her is because she benefit from a genuine cult of followers, mostly composed of cute and eccentric girls that recognize themselves in her creativity. No doubt, when she hit the White Stage it will be a nice place to make friends.

De De Mouse at White Stage On Sunday

The Tokyo based electronic musician is not so well known yet having debuted his career a mere 4 years ago and released his first album in 2007. His sound his very close to 8bits soundtrack of video games or the kind of music you had expect into the generic of Japanese anime. But he don’t keep himself in the over simplified cliché of retro NES rhythms but embrace also much more complex melodies. He recently had some songs remixed by the respected local house DJ Shinichi Osawa know for his participation to Mondo Grosso or remixes of celebrities such as Felix da Housecat and Digitalism. I also had the chance to see De De Mouse perform live at Shibuya Womb last winter and the show was a pure moment of joy.


Lord of the Dance vs Naked Wizard


If you love music festivals and haven't seen this one yet, then check it: a crazy with dude get little overwhelmed by the party decide to pull out a SMAP and get his cloths off. Just one minor problem this time, the scene is from last edition of Coachella Festival in California and the cops don’t take it lightly when the unfortunate nudist refuses to dress up.

*WARNING although the main actor is specially under-equipped to impress, the video is somewhat NSFW. A censure version with a huge black dot covering the offending bits and pieces is available after the jump.

Naked Wizard Tased By Reality from Tracy Anderson on Vimeo.

Japan being one of the coolest places on earth, I’m sure most of the security guys will never get that far with a problematic partygoers at Fuji Rock. However lets remind the Naked Wizard lesson. Just to make sure, better keep your best behavior at the festival and beware of the big US army guys if they ask you to hide your privates.


June 3, 2009

Cage The Elephant


A couple of small town brothers from the American south get rebellious, form a rock band, escape their Pentecostal upbringing, go to England, booze and carouse, go to model swapping parties, and screw and snort their way around the London music scene–-and no, it’s not Kings Of Leon. Plus I made that last bit up (about the models and the screwing and the snorting) but the first part is true.

Cage The Elephant is a five piece rock band from Bowling Green, Kentucky, home of a GM assembly plant, the Corvette Museum, Fruit Of The Loom, and not much else. They scored a Billboard single last year with the slide-blues-rock styled “Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked.” Think Loser-era Beck wanting to be a rock n’ roll star with G-Love and Special Sauce. For a whole album.

The brothers Shultz–-Matt on vocals and Brad on guitar–-formed the group out of high school in 2005. They were raised in a small apartment by their hippie-stylin’, Jesus-lovin’, livin-off-the-land parents on a secret, stolen diet of Hendrix and Dylan. I don’t know where all the “funk” descriptions come from in all the reviews I read, but guaranteed Coglione will have a fit when he reads that stuff. I mean bouncy–yes, infectious–yes, groovy–yes, but this ain’t no George Clinton and/or Bootsy. I think Cage The Elephant is gonna be one of those love ‘em or hate ‘em bands, but I already know I’m going to try and check them out so I can make up my own mind. Just like Kings Of Leon.

Their official web site is here, but if you have a slow internet connection, don’t bother. It’s heavy on the see-and-do fingerpainting so it takes ages to load. For more instant gratification, check their Myspace site here.

If you listen to their self-titled album and you like it so much you gotta buy it, well then click on the pretty picture.



Lord of the Dance

If you love music festivals and haven't seen this one yet, then checkit: crazy white dude's funky chicken impression reaps rewards - a classic music fest moment (really picks up round the 1:00 mark). The forces is strong in this one...


June 2, 2009

A Solid Mix of New and Old Faces ...


On top of the artists announced for Rookie A Go-Go a few days ago, FRF has also added 14 new acts to the lineup and revealed where each will play.

Here's the latest additions to FRF '09:

Yukihiro Takahashi
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
De De Mouse
Craze & Klever
Mari Nakamura
Esne Beltza
Altan Urag
DJ Tasaka
The Birthday

Although, several of the bands above have played in Naeba on multiple occasions, most interesting to me is the return of The Birthday. Jeff's post last summer about them and Primal Scream performing in top slots on both Saturday and Sunday night at FRF '08 was one of the most commented entries in the history of this blog. I thought The Birthday did fantastic on White Stage and hope to catch them again this summer during their Green Stage appearance.

You can check out who is playing when and where here.

You can find the MySpace sites for all the performers at this year's fest listed here.

* Photo by Tsuyoshi Ikegami and used with permission of Fuji Rock Express '08

June 1, 2009

Return of the Doves

If you’ve been reading this blog, you will know perfectly well what "Mancunian Lad Rock" is and how this category could be used to describe the Doves. So tied to this genre is the band that they’ve even recorded a version of “Blue Moon” for the Manchester City football club.

The band came of age in early 2000, a time when the previous decade’s “shoegaze” movement was nearing its end with the break-up of mega-selling bands, My Bloody Valentine and Ride. Given this environment, they were careful to use effect pedals, especially echo and reverb, also reigning in 13 minute musical voyages into tight 5-minute tunes. Also, lyrics mattered, though the mood could still be somber.

The formula was successful from the beginning as their debut was nominated for a Mercury Award and their second album “The Last Broadcast” went to the top of UK charts, and follow up “Some Cities” proved reliable radio fodder. Unfortunately, this was when the band ran out of steam as Doves fans would have to wait another 5 years for their next release with “Kingdom of Rust” released in April of 2009, with a subsequent world tour to follow, allowing Fuji Rock audiences to see a well rested, and quite accomplished band by the time Doves roll around.

Band Website

//sean s.

photos by Hanasan for Smashing Mag

Flying the flannel


Sounding a lot like my favorite Minneapolis bands, Soul Asylum and The Replacements, Japan's Comeback My Daughters are well worth checking out. Another laurel in their cap is their much loved record label, Pizza of Death.

Formed in 1997, the band is led by vocalist/guitarist Kazuhide Takamoto whose rough hewn, nicotine sotted voice croons heartbreaking tunes. He gives the band emotional pitch and focus, just enough weight for their dueling guitars.

Like their Minnesotan counterparts, they also have a reckless abandon when it comes to fashion, most of the time performing in baggy white V-neck t-shirts and worn-out flannels. The music is tuneful, touching, and sometimes just pure rawking fun. It would also make a Midwestern slacker proud with song titles like “Bored Rigid,” and “Bite Me.”

Just press play on this video below, believe me, it's worth it.

Band Website
Their totally cool label

//sean s.

Once A Fujirocker, Always A Fujirocker

A former member of our very hardworking (and dare I say quite handsome … well Jeff and Dom at least) Fuji Rock E-team has written an article about Fuji Rock and Summer Sonic for the May edition of Thirsty.

Michael Lara worked as part of the Fuji Rock Express E-team in 2003 and 2004. He also contributed reviews and interviews to our much beloved sister site, Smashing Mag, for several years. Lara is now the Tokyo Bureau Chief at Thirsty. “Clash Of The Titans: Fuji Rock and Summer Sonic” is the first of three stories related to the two famed fests that he’ll be writing for the publication. Check out the piece here.


* Photo by Sean Scanlan and used with permission of Fuji Rock Express ‘07

Overflowing With Talent

Like the most-excellent Mass of the Fermenting Dregs (check out Jeff’s post on the gals here), this summer will see Tokyo’s A Flood of Circle making the jump from Rookie A Go-Go to one of Fuji’s more prominent live spaces.

Formed in 2006, A Flood of Circle made their FRF debut on 2007’s Rookie A Go-Go stage where they showcased cuts from the eponymous EP they had released two weeks prior. In 2008 they issued their second EP, Melody of Muddy Water, and an eight-song live disc entitled “Before the Flood Three.”

With their fan base continuing to grow, the quartet decided it was time to craft a proper, full-length album and subsequently unveiled “Buffalo Soul” this past April. The record’s dozen well-crafted cuts mix elements of blues and classic rock with modern day alt-rock. The strength of “Buffalo Soul” coupled with the group’s previous FRF experience should make it quite easy for them to keep the large number of enthusiastic spectators that are likely to gather to see them entertained at this year’s fest.

A Flood of Circle are currently touring Japan in support of “Buffalo Soul.” Their gigs are listed here for those hoping to catch them before Fuji Rock.

A Flood of Circle’s MySpace site is here.
Check out a review of “Buffalo Soul” from The Japan Times here.
Smashing Mag's got a ton of live photos of the band dating back to 2007 here.


*Photo by Miyuki "Sam" Samata and used with permission of Smashing Mag

Gagaku-a-go-go: Harp on Mouth Sextet

Here's something to divide the masses:

Jeff wrote about the line-up for Rookie-a-Go-Go, and as usual I'd never heard of any of them. And as usual, I checked out only the ones with the goofy names.

The clips are from the Harp on Mouth Sextet, who base their music on gagaku, the traditional and obscure Japanese court music. I saw a real gagaku show this year for the first time, with dancers dressed as flamboyant demons. I wrote that it sounded like the death throes of a bagpipe. This lot have added a touch of electroni to their sound, and taken out the bagpipeness. Definitely more listenable. In the right place at the right time, this could be great.

On a side note, though they're rookies here, they have been going at least 6 years based on their Youtube clips.

And finally, here's some proper gagaku:



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