Tessendorico, Tantan to Tantan, Girls Pancakes

Continuing my notes on some of the Tokyo indie bands who will appear at the Call And Response New Year party on January 22nd, here are some short descriptions of three more of the bands who are going to perform.

Tessendorico are a postpunk quartet with a percussive twin-drum setup and a neat line in scratchy, dance-orientated Gang of Four/Contortions type angular punk-funk. They emerged out of the similar sounding Chewz a little over a year ago and they continue to organize the semi-regular Future Music event, bringing together similar artpunk spirits from around Japan.

Tessendorico: Chika Song

A minor but interesting point about Tessendorico is that they’re a rare band in Japan with a lone female guitarist. Japanese indie is pretty good at giving boys and girls something closer than usual to equal status, with plenty of female sound engineers, lots of excellent bassists and drummers, and some outstanding female-dominated bands – overall I’d hazard a guess at a ratio of something like 70/30 male/female which is a lot better than you seem to find in, for example, the UK. Obviously all-girl bands and a lot of female-fronted bands have female guitarists, but you rarely see girls like Mayumi Sekiguchi just lurking in the corner, cutting awkward shapes on guitar in male dominated bands. Part of it might be the opportunities for customization of sound through multiple effects pedals lending itself to the still largely male tendency towards tech-geekery (I remember before a gig once seeing a guitarist arrive at the venue, then casually sit down, take out a portable soldering iron and start customizing his guitar just for fun while he waited for his soundcheck), but I’m open to other explanations.

Tessendorico: Demo

Tantan to Tantan are a band I must confess to knowing rather less about other than that they are a young, Stooges-influenced garage punk band, so I’ll just direct you to their Myspace (their only web presence at this time) where you can hear a couple of rough and ready demo tracks (I recommend Shocker).

Girls Pancakes: Crash

Girls Pancakes are what Time Out Tokyo describes as an “unashamedly twee” Tokyo indiepop group. More than “unashamed”, they wear the label proudly, with guitarist Sumire Taya a founder of all-girl DJ collective Twee Grrrls Club and owner of ultra-indie clothing/accessories/record shop Violet & Claire. The above video of Girl Pancakes covering The Primitives’ Crash is a bit old as they have now brought in Makoto from Smilelove, but it gives a good picture of the kind of fragile, indie melodicism you can expect from them.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Tessendorico, Tantan to Tantan, Girls Pancakes

  1. miffy

    First time I ever notice Twee Grrrls Club was on that Merpeople’s Ikenai Rouge Magic. Seems like an indie icon in Tokyo. An overview and biography of the venue will be cool

  2. Twee Grrrls Club is just the name of a DJ team and their fanzine and I’m not even sure how much longer it will exist for since all the individual members seem so occupied with their solo projects and various other events. The club featured in the Merpeoples video is Shibuya Echo, which is the venue run by Nisennenmondai’s overseas tour manager. The shop featured at the beginning of the video is Violet & Claire, which is Sumire’s shop, and about half of the Twee Grrrls appear in the video though (Sumire is the DJ, and Moe and Yuppa, a.k.a. Love And Hates and dancing).

    • miffy

      :O
      I got it all wrong
      Seriously though, your explanation on how everybody is inter connected was super cool

      • OK, I was worried my explanation might be a bit boring and meta. There’s actually more: Moe is also the singer and leader of Miila and The Geeks, whose drummer Kaoru Ajima is the bongo player in the Merpeoples song and video. Yuppa also sometimes releases under the name Hazel Nuts Chocolate, a.k.a. HNC, and she was a guest vocal on Plus-tech Squeeze Box’s album “Cartooom!” as well as capsule’s single “Idol Fancy”. It’s a bit misleading to say Merpeoples and Twee Grrrls Club are part of the same scene though, I think. They’re friends but they rarely appear together at events and almost never go to each other’s shows as guests. The hookup with the “Ikenai Rouge Magic” video seems to make a connection that isn’t really that strong or relevant in real life. Certainly it was to a great extent just a bunch of friends helping each other out, but maybe also a bit of marketing play there, I suspect.

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