by Joe Jamnitzky
Once again, it’s time to take a trip overseas to check out another Japanese band, the four piece all-girl rock group LAZYgunsBRISKY.
Having formed in 2006, shortly after the members graduated high school, it only took five months for them to record and release their first demo CD. Less than two years later, they already had their debut album out, and started to gather a lot of momentum via constant touring of the club circuit in Japan. They followed this up with more releases, including two mini-albums and two full lengths, as well as tours in Europe and Japan, before disbanding in 2012.
One of those mini-albums, 26 Times, would go on to be not only one of their best known releases (even earning a release in the USA on Good Charamel Records), but would also contain one of their best known tracks in the form of “Navy Star” (which can be viewed below).
Much like my previous article on Red Bacteria Vacuum, this is another Japanese band that forces us to rethink what we perceive music from that country to be. In this case, the music is straight-forward rock. No frills, nothing fancy, just thick basslines, simple guitar chords and solos, and vocals sung in English (albeit with a bit of a thick accent). Drawing equally off of 90s style alternative and the hard rock of the 60s-80s, the riffs and overall sound have a down and dirty feel to them, a very gritty edge, even containing hints of late 60s era punk (think Iggy and the Stooges) and garage rock. This is music that is almost never heard here anymore, unless an already known song is used in a movie or commercial, and it’s become pretty rare to find a full album’s worth of this type of material without checking around the indie-music scene. For it to come from Japan just makes it that much better, because it once again proves that the alternative and indie scenes we love so much are not necessarily dead at all; they’ve just taken up shop in a different part of the world.
While I also make it a point to try and not make a big deal of the gender of band members, I can’t help but be impressed by the band being an all-female group, if only because it’s become increasingly rare to find all-girl garage rock bands anymore, let alone ones with this level of ability. Tracks such as “Liar”, “Chicken Race”, and the truly excellent “Navy Star” show the level of energy, skill, and enjoyment that they are capable of, while for closing track “Abbey Road” they wisely slow things down a little so as to end things on a wistful note.
Again, the fact that they’re from Japan may deter some people. I ask you, though, to give this a chance. I have played “Navy Star” for many people I know who usually have no interest or knowledge of music from Japan, and they all end up loving the song and wanting to hear more. All it takes is one song, one listen, to open a person’s mind.
Do yourself a favor; take the three minutes to watch and listen to the video. I promise you won’t be disappointed. And even if you are, and it’s not your thing, at the very least you’ll have to admit to how good it actually is.