Monday, 25 January 2016

It Came From Japan #7

A shoegaze special! Yep, we Brits invented shoegaze in the late 80s, but in the last decade or so the sound of loud, feedback-fuelled guitars with whimsical vocals has swept across the world. And none more so than in Japan where a swathe of really decent shoegaze bands are making some marvellous noises.

At the heavier end of the spectrum is the wonderfully named Cruyff In The Bedroom. Yes, that's Cruyff after Dutch football legend Johan Cruyff. They're from the trendy Shimokitazawa area of Tokyo and run their own label Only Feedback. To date they have released a half-dozen EPs (most of which have football-themed sleeves) and five full-length albums. Ukiyogunjou is the title track of their fourth LP released in 2010.

Another band with a great name is Plastic Girl In Closet. A hugely prolific trio, they have more of the ethereal Lush/Slowdive/Pale Saints shoegaze sound. They are signed to Only Feedback and have released an impressive six albums, a six-track EP and a live DVD since 2010. I've chosen the glorious Rabbit House from their second album, 2011's 'Cocoro'. Bliss.

Compared to their aforementioned compatriots, Civic are relative newcomers to the scene. They have just the one album so far and their chief dynamic seems to be the call and response vocals of Yasuhiro Hachisuka and Mari Miyata. They could barely play a note when they formed in 2004, but have patiently carved a niche for themselves, filling the void between the heaviness of Cryff and the lighter sounds of Plastic Girl. They also have a standing drummer, which is always a good thing. I love their song Tensai, but I've gone for Toilet Paper as it has a better title and rather entertaining video.

Yes, shoegaze is on the rise once more. Ride are back together, Lush have announced some live shows and an EP, Swervedriver released a very decent album last year - what next? A Chapterhouse comeback? A new Curve album? God forbid a Moose reunion??? Nah - let's leave it to the Japanese for the time being; they seem to have got it nailed.

(For the record, I know very little about the bands I've featured today, but I'm sure there's plenty of info about them all out there if you care to search around t'internet for it. You may have to brush up on your Japanese though...)



  1. I salute any band who has a song called Toilet Paper.

    EDIT: Oh and their album is called Toilet Monster.

  2. The UK has some decent new shoegaze bands younghusband,forest and echo lake to name three. Ride sound pretty terrible these days and I think two of chapterhouse are still making music firmly entrenched in the ambient market.