Mixed Tape Monday: J-Rock

Let’s take a trip to Tokyo this week and listen to my current favorite Japanese rock songs. Because sometimes you want to be a little emotionally rebellious and Japan delivers this and so much more. From emo, to indie, to shoe gaze they have got it all. So break out your black eyeliner, put on some skinny jeans, and let’s go!

One OK Rock – Deeper Deeper. Just slow your roll right there folks. This isn’t a dirty song. Get your mind outta the gutter! Be ready for mild screaming (they have a lot of feels, ok?) and instant teleportation back to the 2000s.

HaKU – Dye it White. I have absolutely no recollection of how I found this song but I need not know from whence it came to know it rocks. (I just noticed both videos contain floating metal spheres….is this a J-Rock motif?…further investigations will ensue….)

Mushroom Empire (きのこ帝国) – Tokyo (東京). As close friends and family will tell you I’m not a morning person. This song is for those days when my alarm goes off too early and the snooze button in the only way to quell my inner rage. That’s right, I rebel through extended naps. I know I’m hardcore.

Kana-Boon –ないものねだり. A quirky and fun song about petty arguments and the destabilization of love. It may fill you with an urge for bowl cuts and live musical accompaniment when you cook dinner.

凛として時雨 – Abnormalize. Congrats to all you keen-eared anime fans out there! This is indeed from Psycho-pass’s fantastic soundtrack. While I could have posted all their track. I witheld.

That’s it for this week! Did I miss the best J-rock band ever? Should I have put a Babymetal song up? Comment below!

Mix Tape Monday: Battle of the Bands

That’s right folks. This week its all about bands, bands, bands. So break out your guitars and dust off those garage band dreams cause we’re about to rock.

 

The KOXX – Trouble Maker. These South Korean guys seriously know how to rock a guitar solo plus the awesome kitsch of this video would make the Wyld Stallyns proud. They certainly deserve a post all of their own but I couldn’t make this list without including them. Rock out more with Oriental Girl and 12:00.

Ykiki Beat – Forever. I love this track and if you’re like me and playing it on repeat try listening to Young Life and Garden. When I take my next trip to Tokyo I know who I will be looking up!

340ml – Fairy Tales. Swing away in Mozambique with Moodswings and Australopithecus (ok I may have included the last one because it blatantly panders to my anthropology degree…so shoot me.)

Quest Pistols -Ты Так Красива. Oh, you thought that video was gonna be all rainbows and cuddles didn’t you? Ha! Gotcha. These Ukrainians rocking your socks? Listen to Я твой наркотик

Wir sind Helden – Nuir ein Wort. This song makes me feel like that spending a day exploring Berlin with them would be lovely. Like this? Try Denkmal and Gekommen Um Zu Bleiben.

WHOwho – Her. More music from South Korea (I had to control myself before I got carried away). If you dig their electric sound with a touch of funk check out Bye Bye and Down Below

Kabul Dreams – Sadae Man. Want to rock harder in Kabul? Well this group (aka the first postmodern rock band in Afghanistan) can help. Try Can You Fly? and  Shahab

Don’t see the band you love here? Comment below! What other bands from around the world should everyone know about? Oh….and party on dudes!

Shut Up Lets Go!

You know when you love something so much that you are afraid to tell other people about it because it’s so precious to you that you don’t want people to shatter it into a thousand pieces. But it’s so good that you have to share it because your love is too big to handle on your own and you just have to talk about it…or you might explode. Actually, you will definitely explode. No? Well, that’s how I feel about the Korean television series Shut Up, Let’s Go (aka Shut Up Flower Boy Band). I gotta spread the love.

Where to even begin? I started watching this show the first night I moved to Boston. What began as the innocent thought “Hey, I’ll start a new show before I go to bed” turned into me staying up all night with my head under my covers and my nose to my computer screen. Yep, that’s right. I watched all 16 episodes in one go. I’m not proud of it but my binge watching is a testament to this show’s power (and not just my TV habits).

So what is this amazingness about anyway? Well imagine The Outsiders set in modern day Korea with rock bands thrown into the mix and you’ll have an oversimplified idea of the plot. It’s a series that evokes the romance of punk rock and youthful rebellion without straying away from the rawness of growing up. This series has all the elements of your typical drama: rivalry, fame, rebellion, adversity, and romance. So I thought I had a pretty good handle on where things were going. But no. I was so wrong. This show consistently breaks the stereotypes that it presents (just wait until episode 3 and you’ll know what I mean). The writers are so self aware that they often use side character’s dialogue (I’m looking at you Jo Deo-mi) to contrast typical drama tropes with this grittier but perfectly poised plot.

Storyline aside (cause I can’t talk about it too much without major spoilers) the real driving force of the show is the friendship of our main characters. It is their chemistry that pervades the show and lends it its ineffably addicting aura. Their friendship feels both unaffected and sincere. And it had me completely invested from the start. I wanted to hang out with them! All the characters face real adversity and the show doesn’t give fairytale answers. In fact I have never finished a show and felt so completely satisfied with the ending. It is so spot on that it still boggles my mind. I don’t understand how they manage to address every character so well in just 16 episodes. Ahhh its perfect.

I also have to mention that the music in the show is killer. Most of the main actors are also musicians and it really adds depth to their performance (I’m sure all ye kpop fans are aware that L from INFINITE is an actor but several other actors are also members of lesser known indie bands). All of the songs had me jamming in my seat. Once I looked up the translation of Jaywalking’s lyrics I loved the song even more.

I could go on forever about this show: the complex subtle strength of Su Ah’s character, men being able to cry, how to deal with social convention, Sung Joon’s fabulous micro-expressions, growing up with dignity, the philosophical implications of being an artist… so just take my word for it before I blather on ad nauseam. Watch this now. (Find it on Hulu and Dramafever.) Please? Then we can start our own indie rock band and live lives of heartfelt music and friendship.

I call guitar!

Get. Set. GO!

 

What are you still doing here? Get thee to the internets! Oh, you’re still not convinced? Try this. Scroll down. Look into Kim Myungsoo’s eyes. Take some deep breaths. Let all that doubt and tension go…You will watch this…This is an excellent show…You want to watch this…There…That’s better.

Jedi Mind Tricks