Strange Boutique (December 2013 Appendix): Five bands to watch in 2014

The other thing The Japan Times and I try to do every year is pick up five new or newish bands to watch over the forthcoming year, and this year there are five that I’m genuinely very excited about. Read my comments on the bands on The Japan Times’ web site here, and have a listen below:

1. DYGL — Really so hard to write about this band. They headlined my label’s anniversary party this autumn and they drove people crazy. I tend to go for edgy, arty, angular postpunk bands, but sometimes I just want something full of beauty and passion. I also like how the central riff of this song is the same as the theme from Twin Peaks.DYGL: Let’s Get Into Your Car

2. Sayuu — I’ve written about them on this site a couple of times this year. I first heard about them from Naoki from Tacobonds in January when he said there’s this very “Ian-type” new band that I should check out. He was right.Sayuu: Nakunaranai

3. Hearsays — I’ve never seen this band, but they’re one that my friends in Fukuoka couldn’t stop going on about this year. Similar genre to DYGL but very different atmosphere. I mention The Blind in the JT piece, and I think it might be my song of the year.

4. group A — Anything that sounds as much like Throbbing Gristle as this lot do is always going to be worth listening to, but it was after speaking to them and hearing about how they approach their music that it really started to come together for me.

5. Compact Club — I’m crazy about early 80s Japanese new wave and postpunk, and this group combine into one band almost everything I like from that period, plus their live shows are really fun. I’ve always liked Polysics fine but never really loved them because they were always too clean and polished, they look like craftsmen doing a job, but (and I know this is heresy for a lot of their fans) for all their spazzing about, there seems so little genuine energy to it. Compact Club aren’t as good musicians, but they’re plenty good enough, and they feel right to me in a way Polysics never have.Compact Club: Roommate

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “Strange Boutique (December 2013 Appendix): Five bands to watch in 2014

  1. alison

    this list is fabulous! can you tell me where i can find show listings? i’m going to be in tokyo for a few weeks, and would love to hear any of these bands. thanks.

  2. That Hearsays track is great! Looking forward to seeing your top 20 from 2013

  3. Hey ! happy to discover your blog. I’ve been into japanese underground for 2 years only now (I’m french), and I’m mad with bands like Group A, Miila and the Geeks or Yolz in the Sky. But I’m mostly hardcore fan of Polysics (I don’t think they are too polished, are they ? This is just a concept).
    Compact Club seems very good indeed.

    • Thanks for the comment and glad you’re finding stuff you enjoy. As far as Polysics are concerned, I like them and I’m not saying they don’t put a lot of energy into their performances, but in the end they’re a professional band and everything that happens is all pretty much scripted. I don’t think that’s a bad thing (it’s true of pretty much any band on a major label), but I’m always attracted to stuff that’s a bit dirtier. Obviously lots of people feel differently to me, so it’s usually a good idea to filter for that bias when reading my stuff.

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