Streaming is taking over the world of music with the notion of music ownership becoming and more marginal, whether that be CDs, the resurgent vinyl or that brief pocket of time where the super-hipster reclaimed the cassette. Reports claim that the day of digital music downloads is past its peak. Well, we disagree, at least if you dig past that top layer of the mainstream and head into the world of the independent artist. Within that world, one website provides a shop for those artists to flourish within and a network for adventurous music fans to discover the fresh and the wonderful and that is Bandcamp. In celebration of this, I will be looking into the very depths of this wonderful website once a week – under the guise of pick of the geek – to find the most interesting acts the platform has to offer.
Before I get into the meat of the article, I feel a word of warning is in order: the bands included will be both politically and sonically abrasive, covering genres as wide and diverse as drone, noise rock, experimental folk, death metal, conscious hip hop and the many waves that have been birthed from synth wave (i.e. horror synth) and more. Now, without any further delay lets jump into all that Bandcamp has to offer.
Japan has a history of producing abrasive bands with big noises coming from small packages, you need to look no further than the slick rock of BabyMetal. There’s more to it than that though, it can be dated back to the bands that emerged from the weirdest of weird avant-garde supergroups [the] boredoms, or Mariko Goto and the once in a lifetime jazz punk of Midori. From more contemporary stock there is Otoboke Beaver, self-described as a “Japanese girls ‘knockout or pound cake’ band” – Quite.
Their style is a common one in Japanese rock bands but it’s no less impressive when it’s done well, Otoboke are a thrashy noisy punk garage band that fuses together melody, discordance, and playfulness into a god almighty din. For those who are averse to the more sonically confrontational edges of modern rock will find little beyond a headache, for those who are versed this is harking back to the more discordant early records from Ty Segall only fronted by four Japanese ladies who are playing like each song is there last. You can probably throw a bit of 80s hardcore punk in there too. Enough from me, though, listen to the songs below – form an opinion for yourself.
Japan hasn’t really taken to the concept of digital music as a legitimate option, they still opt for discs and psychical objects – crazy, eh? That makes the fact that there is a compilation of their earlier records and two short, snappy EPs an added delight. Japanese bands on Bandcamp are largely focused on the poppier end of the spectrum, alternative titans and a few synth waves figureheads providing some variation to that status quo. Even without looking through those Japanese bands, the style of Otoboke Beaver as a singular non geo-tagged entity is a rarity on the site making this a find to truly savour. And to top it all off, the best part is they are touring the UK in May.