I’ve been getting some comments on my last.fm profile that I have some actual readers of this blog and that left me feeling guilty for not updating this thing more. Actually, I have a good reason as to why I couldn’t update The Gaijin Underground: I didn’t have the internet! But I finally moved in to a place of my own and I am free to write more updates!

Any way, it’s no secret that I love Kimura Kaela, and I am happy to announce that I managed to see her live at the Budokan. It was killer and I smooth talked my way into talking to her drummer. Of course, I wanted to meet Kaela, but talking to her drummer (Kashikura Takashi) was pretty badass in itself.

Yes!

Thanks for reading this little blog of mine. I’ll be sure to keep The Gaijin Underground updated with the latest live show information.

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キノコホテル

Hey! I’m still alive and I’m still writing this blog. I’ve got some good news for you all. I’m heading back to Japan in a few days and I hope that will allow me to interview up and coming bands and discover new acts to report to you. Right now I have dates for キノコホテル/kinocohotel from Tokyo. These four hot chicks play a unique blend of genres that is equal parts 60s psychedelic and 60s garage rock. I’m personally excited to go see them and I am definitely going to their January 12th show. Their first album, entitled マリアンヌの憂鬱, will be released on February 3rd, so get yourself a copy and support these girls!

Jan 9 2010 4:00P
CLUB CITTA 川崎市川崎区小川町1-26, 神奈川県
Jan 12 2010 7:00P
SHINJUKU LOFT 新宿
Feb 6 2010 7:00P
KYOTO,TAKUTAKU 京都市下京区富小路仏光寺下がる, 京都府
Feb 7 2010 7:00P
NAGOYA,TOKUZO 名古屋市今池, 愛知県
Feb 14 2010 7:00P
Club Que 世田谷区, 東京都
tera melos

Tera Melos display at Shibuya Tower Records

As I posted a long time ago, west coast math rockers are making their way to Japan this fall. I was off by a month, but I was still close enough, right? They are touring with LITE most of the way and also doing one show with Toe in Nagoya. If I were a betting bear, I’d put my money on that show being the most exciting one of their entire tour. Go check it out. They recently released a double cd in Japan containing their first two LPs that went unreleased until now in Japan.

Oct 25 2009 7:00P
Whoopee’s – KYOTO – Japan w/ Nuito Kyoto
Oct 26 2009 7:00P
CLUB QUATTRO – Osaka, Japan w/LITE Osaka
Oct 27 2009 7:00P
CLUB QUATTRO – Nagoya, Japan w/LITE & Toe Nagoya
Oct 28 2009 7:00P
CLUB QUATTRO – Tokyo, Japan w/LITE Tokyo
Oct 29 2009 7:00P
BIRDLAND – Sendai, Japan w/ Nuito Sendai
Oct 30 2009 7:00P
CLUB RIVERST- Niigato, Japan – w/Nuito Niigata
Oct 31 2009 7:00P
VAN VAN V4 – Kanazawa, Japan Kanazawa
Nov 1 2009 7:00P
FEVER – Tokyo, Japan w/ Nuito, Miscorner/c+llooqtortion, kuruucrew Tokyo

So tomorrow I’m going to California and again, I must apologize for the lack of updates, but before I go I wanted to at least leave you all with something.

Kimura Kaela’s new album entitled HOCUS POCUS will be released on the 24th of June.

Now I understand if you’re confused as to why I’m updating about a jpop idol on a blog about underground music, but I now have less than four hours to sleep and wake up and get ready for my flight and I have nothing else to write about so just bear with me on this post. Besides, she’s my guilty pleasure.

Sorry about the lack of updates. It’s that time of the year again where I must hit the books and start studying for finals. My apologies for not being able to update as frequently. More will come soon, I promise.

Acid Mothers Temple

Acid Mothers Temple

When I stepped into Hailey’s there were about 10 people waiting for Sonic Suicide Squad to take the stage at 10:30PM. Kawabata-san was at his MacBook with a cigarette in his hand. I was fidgeting with my bag as I was walking up, trying to compose myself and not sound like an idiot before the words “excuse me, is English ok?” jumped out of my mouth in Japanese. I asked him if it would be alright to interview him after the show, but before I knew it, we were already talking about their tour and the band and music in general. Acid Mothers Temple played for hours despite only playing 5 songs, and about half of the audience had gone home before they had left the stage (a phenomenon, that I would later learn, that has been with them since the start). After Kawabata-san finished tearing down the stage, he came up to me and apologized for making me wait. What followed was a seemingly brief but incredibly honest view of the Japanese live music scene from the mouth of a musician who has been active since the 1970s.

First off, I’d just like to know how busy you are. I’ve looked up your schedule and you’ve been touring the US and Canada all of April, you’ve got a Japanese tour with Acid Mothers Temple and The Cosmic Inferno in May, Acid Mothers Temple vs Kinski Japan Tour in the summer, Zappanale in Germany in August, not to mention you put out three new releases for this tour alone!

I don’t think I’m very busy, but everyone says that I am [pauses] actually, I think I am busy.

Did you have time to check out the Denton Jazz and Arts Festival?

No. Everyone asked us that, but we didn’t go. We always go to the record store as soon as we arrive in town. We don’t need a sound check, so we’re always at the record store until the show starts.

What kind of records does Kawabata Makoto look for?

Ethnic music: not African, but European, Asian, and Middle Eastern. Basically anything besides Asian Pacific stuff. I like folk records. I like Stravinsky as well. Recently I’ve been listening to country music. Not rock, though. I already play in a rock band, so I feel as though I don’t need to listen to rock records.

Speaking of records, what’s it like to make one? Every album has its own distinct style, does that come from different approaches to recording?

No, we’ve been doing it the same way. We first just record an improvised track and then I call up the other members and they overdub their part one-by-one. I like working in the studio. The atmosphere is different. It’s quieter than live shows.

And what about your song titles?

For us, song titles are just like band names; they have no meaning. English isn’t our language but we use English to have our listeners be able to imagine the songs by the titles. We usually take fantasy novels or whatever and parody them for our song titles.

You call yourself just an experimental rock band, but I see websites and magazines often describing Acid Mothers Temple as a psychedelic band. Do you take any influence from any specific psychedelic bands?

No, we’re not really influenced by that. You know, we don’t have any melody or cool riffs in our songs or anything like that. We just play. People just call us that. I was just a kid when that kind of music was popular.

In all of your years of touring, what’s it been like to meet with people from around the world.

For us, we really just only know venues, not people. It’s just venue to venue.

Kawabata Makoto

Kawabata Makoto

So how has this tour been going so far?

It’s been good. Sonic Suicide Squad are friends of ours. They brought everything for us to use on the tour (editor’s note: he’s referring to the backline).

That must be hard, not being able to use your own equipment.

Yeah, that’s why when I’m looking to tour, I ask bands what kind of backline they use and if it’s not good then we look for another band.

Even in Japan, bands often have to pay the live house not only just to play there, but to also use their equipment.

We don’t have to pay, but other bands do. Not just underground bands, but bands that play mainstream music have to pay. It’s because running a live house in Japan is expensive. You know space in Japan is expensive. Not only that, but the owner has to pay for their equipment and pay for repairing and replacing it. On top of that they have to pay their staff, so it gets expensive. They are also competing with other venues. There are many shows that happen on the same night in the city because there are so many live houses. So you sometimes have to pay $20 just to see some underground band.

So you don’t pay in order to play in Japan?

No, when I’m booking shows, I always ask if we have to pay to use their backline and if we do, then I call some other place to book a show.

What’s your audience like in Japan?

We don’t often play in Japan and not many people come see us play. You know the very first show we played was over four hours long. By the time we finished, everyone had gone home [laughs]. I don’t do any promotion or anything like that. In Japan, bands have to pay the magazine or whatever for interviews. I hate the mass media in Japan and refuse to give interviews for their magazines. I had a friend that did an interview one time and about a month later, they got a bill in the mail demanding them that they pay this amount of money for their interview. I also hate when they ask you to send them a copy of your cd for their reviews. If they want to write about it, they can buy a copy themselves and then write a bad review about it.

Acid Mothers Temple and The Melting Paraiso U.F.O. used to be much bigger, what prompted the change down to just four members?

We originally used to be much bigger but it became too expensive to travel with so many members. Not only for transportation, but finding a place to sleep with so many people was too hard.

Has the bad economy affected the band in any way?

For us, it’s not about America or Japan. We’re dropouts so we have no idea.

And finally, is there any last thoughts you want to leave us with?

Enjoy your life. You know, we have a saying. “Do as you like, don’t do what you don’t like.”

Thank you very much for you time.

Thank you.

We talked about other things as well: The Japanese countryside, ryokans, a new live house in Kochi, running a record label etc.

Liberated Stain

Liberated Stain

I was first introduced to Liberated Stain by a friend of mine a few months ago and was totally blown away. They just put out a new album entitled The Moment of Truth just weeks ago so get yourself a copy and go to a show.

May 3 2009 6:30P
OITA OITA, 大分県
May 4 2009 6:30P
KURUME West Point SAGA, 佐賀県
May 5 2009 6:30P
FUKUOKA graf FUKUOKA, 福岡県
May 10 2009 6:30P
YOKKAICHI CLUB CHAOS YOKKAICHI, 三重県
May 16 2009 6:30P
OSAKA SHINKAGURA SHINAIBASHI, 大阪府
May 17 2009 6:30P
KOUBE MERSY BEAT KOBE, 兵庫県
Jun 13 2009 6:30P
YOKKAICHI SUBWAY BAR YOKKAICHI, 三重県
Jun 27 2009 6:30P
NAGOYA CLUB ZION NAGOYA, 愛知県
Jul 18 2009 6:30P
NIIGATA CLUB RIVERST NIIGATA, 新潟県
Aug 8 2009 6:30P
MATSUSAKA M’AXA MATSUSAKA, 三重県
Aug 20 2009 8:00P
YOKAICHI CLUB CHAOS YOKKAICHI, 三重県
Aug 22 2009 8:00P
KAGAMIHARA BRAVO KAGAMIHARA, 岐阜県
Sep 9 2009 8:00P
KYOTO WHOOPIE’S KYOTO, 京都府

highered-girl

highered-girl

highered-girl is a boy-girl duo from Tokyo that makes some pretty sweet indie rock. No, I hate using that term. These kids just rock. That’s all I’m going to say besides that it would benefit you to go see them. On the 22nd, they are playing with toddle (ex-Number Girl) and EMILE at Unique Rock 03.

Apr 30 2009 6:30P
Shinjyuku URGA 新宿区歌舞伎町, 東京都
May 5 2009 6:00P
Akihabara CLUB GOODMAN 千代田区神田, 東京都
May 22 2009 6:30P
Shimokitazawa BASEMENTBAR 世田谷区北沢, 東京都
Jun 12 2009 6:30P
Sangenjyaya HEAVEN’S DOOR 東京都
Jun 25 2009 7:00P
Shimokitazawa BASEMENTBAR 世田谷区北沢, 東京都
Water Fai

Water Fai

I wanted to repost that Water Fai‘s tour has started and they already played a show in Kyoto. Double check the dates and places and get to a show. My friend uploaded this clip of them playing when he saw them play in Tokyo last year. Thanks for the video.
Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Water Fai ● Kaiyon on Vimeo“, posted with vodpod

Shugo Tokumaru

Shugo Tokumaru

So how did the experimental folk singer-songwriter Shugo Tokumaru sell out all of May but not April or June? Well I don’t know, maybe the May shows are cheaper. I can’t say I’m too surprised, though. After all, his 2008 release, Exit, was on multiple “top albums of 2008” lists. Deservedly so, I might add. Catch these shows before they get sold out too!

Apr 26 2009 1:00P
ARABAKI ROCK FEST 09 Miyagi, Japan
Jun 25 2009 7:00P
Ebisu LIQUIDROOM
Tokyo, Japan