Four Things I Learned About Japan by Watching Music Videos
1) Most Forests Are Straight-Up Haunted
Osaka art-rock headliners Vampillia traffic in musical nightmare fuel. Somehow, that is not an insult. Like the best scary movies, their music oscillates between eerie calm and visceral energy, with metal-tinged breakdowns and unhinged spoken-word sections that keep listeners’ ears pricked for danger. The video for “Endless Summer” captures that vibe perfectly; it also makes a convincing argument against ever going outside again.
2) In Some Parts of Tokyo, the ‘90s Never Ended
Is there a Pavement CD permanently lodged in your car stereo? Do you still pretend Weezer broke up after Pinkerton? The ladies of Jungles understand you. The Tokyo four-piece (which includes all three members of the excellently named Red Bacteria Vacuum) lays down crunchy riffs and shout-along choruses that instantly redline any Buzz Bin nostalgia still lurking around your brain.
3) Sometimes, Bands Are Named After Moneyed Crustaceans
Behold the zarigani, a species of crayfish found in Japan’s northern provinces. Now, behold Zarigani$, a two-piece rock band that mixes the girl-group sweetness of Shonen Knife with the economical rage-outs of the White Stripes. What do they have in common? Each one is the coolest animal/band that starts with the letter Z (sorry, zebras and ZZ Top.)
4) There’s More To Life Than Mutant Children and Scary Forests
The final act on the bill is a band called Happy. Perhaps unsurprisingly, that is also the main adjective used to describe their music. Filled with sunny hooks and a positive message that will likely remind you of Len’s “Steal My Sunshine,” this is music to hacky-sack to. It would never be played in the vicinity of a haunted forest. We promise.
Japan Night comes to the Double Door on Tuesday, March 18, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased here.
Photo courtesy of the artist.
Tyler is a writer, storyteller, and musician from Chicago. His stories have appeared on stage at shows including Mortified, Story Club, and Lethal Poetry.