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  • Japanese music equivalent

    Hey everyone,

    Here I am again with my particular questions about music. Last time, I was looking for remakes (in Japanese). Now, I would like to find "equivalents", or Japanese bands that sound like English-speaking music or even particular bands.

    I'm studying Japanese and music is really important to me, so I would like to still be able to enjoy it... in Japanese.

    Here are a few bands I like :

    System of a Down
    Alexisonfire
    Rage Against the Machine
    Weezer (Blue album)
    Fall Out Boy
    GreenDay
    NOFX
    Disturbed
    Rammstein (not American, but really good)
    Blink 182 (especially the first albums)
    Sum41
    Matthew Good (not always good, but some songs can blow your mind)

    ...and a lot more, but I kinda forgot, since it's been a while since I listened to music in English. As you can imagine, I'm not a Mr.Children/SMAP/Arashi kind of guy so only fast-paced punk/pop/rock. Heck, I'm even open to 80's music if it's catchy enough.

    What I found so far :

    Mongol800 : sometimes sounds like Greenday or (old) Blink 182. Unfortunately, there's a lot of "EngRish" lyrics, even complete sounds in "EngRish", so not very useful, as you can imagine.

    Maximum the Hormone : really really good, but unfortunately, even native Japanese speakers have a hard time understanding what they say... It's really unique, but let's say it is in the same category as System of a Down.

    凛として時雨 (Rintositegure) This band, in my opinion, is as good as English-speaking music. It's hard to describle, but there's some Silverchair and Alexisonfire in it. I know, I'm terrible at describing music, I hope you will be better at it than I am.

    Thank you!

    p.s. I already know about "Fist" and "The mad capsule markets", but much to my regret, they sing in English.

  • #2
    Originally posted by didz13 View Post
    I'm studying Japanese and music is really important to me, so I would like to still be able to enjoy it... in Japanese.
    Unfortunately you're really out of luck. Most of the power pop/melopunk/poprock bands that are of the Green Day/NoFX/Blink182/Simple Plan/New Found Glory variety tend to sing in English... they may have 2 or even 3 Japanese songs per album and the other 7-8 will have English lyrics.


    Now if you want Japanese bands singing English melodic punk (with occasional Japanese tracks), may I direct you to...

    Ellegarden (which is the band that brought me to Japan in the first place, they were and still are the kings of indie punk)
    The HIATUS (former Ellegarden vocalist Takeshi Hosomi's new band. Lotta Weezer in his music, and Mae as well)
    knotlamp (I work for them as an English supervisor)
    dustbox
    GOOD 4 NOTHING (often compared to Blink 182)
    HOT SQUALL
    TOO CLOSE TO SEE (they did a great cover album called Good Old Days but their english is really bad)
    TOTALFAT (fun, iffy English but I've shot them before)
    GLORY HILL (they're more popular than they deserve to be. Horrid English)
    OVER ARM THROW
    PINKLOOP
    Ken Yokohama/HI-STANDARD (HI-STANDARD gave birth to the melopunk scene here, Ken Yokohama as a solo act is way overrated)
    NORTHERN 19
    SECRET 7 LINE
    EGG BRAIN (Their vocalist is half-American but his grammar kinda sucks)
    coldrain (another Half vocalist but they're much more metal/screamo)


    Bands that mostly sing in Japanese (at least I think):

    Brahman (you might actually dig them)
    9mm Parabellum Bullet (no English, but they're FANTASTIC on CD or live)
    SABOTEN (really fun Osaka skapunk)
    Asian Kung-fu Generation (They had Third Eye Blind at their festival last year, and Ben Folds this year if that gives you an idea of sound. Big Weezer influence as well.)
    Scars Borough (former Ellegarden drummer Takahashi's new band. Chick vocalists)
    TsuShiMaMiRe (chick rock that spans a bajillion genres, they have a pretty big US following)


    I've seen most of these bands live once if not several times and done photography for many of them so I vouch for this list as kicking ___.

    Comment


    • #3
      Dokool, thank you so much for your reply. Too bad other people from this forum didn't care to share their findings.

      Of course, Japanese bands singing in English are what I want to stay away from the most, since well, it's in English, and their "Engrish" is often terrible and frustrating (for someone who cares about languages, anyway).

      I spend about 6 hours a week looking for good Japanese music: at Tower Records (where you can listen to a lot of samples for free), on Youtube, MySpace, friends' suggestions, etc. So as you can see, I am very dedicated to the cause!

      Unfortunately, so far, I haven't found anything that blew my mind like 凛として時雨 (Rintosite sigure), I mean, to find something as good, if not better than American music was like finding the Holy Grail. Unfortunately, they only have three full albums, and of course, I bought them all and listen to them quite extensively.

      9mm Parabellum Bullet's music sounds good, but I can't get used to the voice. Is it just me, or do they all sound the same? Why is that? Do record labels ask them to all sound the same, so people won't be "shocked" or "lost"? That might be my major beef with Japanese rock : their voices don't rock!! They all sound like Mr. Children or one of those numerous boybands. Maybe It's just me... my Japanese friends don't seem to have any problem with that...

      Bands or singers I think have a different voice/sound (compared with J-pop/J-rock anyway)
      凛として時雨 (Rintosite sigure)
      Maximum the Hormone
      Mell
      Perfume/Capsule
      Tommy February6/Heavenly
      Utada Hikaru
      Aikawa Nanase
      Hamasaki Ayumi (her early stuff, anyway)

      So as you can see, I also tried other kinds of music. I tried what they call Visual Rock, like The Gazette, but again... the voice! Gosh, I even bough a J-Hip Hop (or J-reggae) album from 湘南乃風 (which, in the end, contained only 5 ok songs).

      So I am desperate to be able to listen to music in Japanese and I really try to keep an open mind. So if you guys still have some great music, whether it's rock, pop, rap, experimental; or even some great songs, since I know that sometimes, only one or two songs from a band are good, leave a post!

      Cheers
      Last edited by didz13; 2009-08-19, 11:05 AM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Bit slow on the response, aren't we ;-)

        Originally posted by didz13 View Post
        Dokool, thank you so much for your reply. Too bad other people from this forum didn't care to share their findings.
        That's because the vast majority of Westerners who live in Japan are prejudiced against Japanese music for whatever reason they have.

        Originally posted by didz13 View Post
        Of course, Japanese bands singing in English are what I want to stay away from the most, since well, it's in English, and their "Engrish" is often terrible and frustrating (for someone who cares about languages, anyway).
        I agree that the Engrish can be frustrating (I say this as someone who's been hired by a band to fix their English), but to disregard, say, BEAT CRUSADERS because of their Engrish lyrics is to do yourself and the band disservice and it's really quite elitist IMHO. I understand that you want to hear Japanese music but don't knock it 'cause it's in English.

        Rarely will you have a band like Ellegarden (or its spinoffs like the HIATUS or Nothing's Carved In Stone) with really good English lyrics (Takeshi Hosomi is fluent and NCIS's vocalist has to be judging from what I've heard). As far as bands like Northern19 or dustbox... yeah, the lyrics may be a bit hard to understand at times (or depending on the band at most times) but to hear them live is a much different (and much more fun) experience. And that's how most of their fans hear it, live. Quite frankly I enjoy bands with poor English and a fun sound who can put on a good show over anything that's come out of the US in the last few years.

        Originally posted by didz13 View Post
        I spend about 6 hours a week looking for good Japanese music: at Tower Records (where you can listen to a lot of samples for free), on Youtube, MySpace, friends' suggestions, etc. So as you can see, I am very dedicated to the cause!

        Unfortunately, so far, I haven't found anything that blew my mind like 凛として時雨 (Rintosite sigure), I mean, to find something as good, if not better than American music was like finding the Holy Grail. Unfortunately, they only have three full albums, and of course, I bought them all and listen to them quite extensively.
        Have you tried asking the staff at Tower Records? They tend to be pretty knowledgeable. Show them a 凛として時雨 CD and ask for suggestions for other stuff you might like.

        Originally posted by didz13 View Post
        9mm Parabellum Bullet's music sounds good, but I can't get used to the voice. Is it just me, or do they all sound the same? Why is that? Do record labels ask them to all sound the same, so people won't be "shocked" or "lost"? That might be my major beef with Japanese rock : their voices don't rock!! They all sound like Mr. Children or one of those numerous boybands. Maybe It's just me... my Japanese friends don't seem to have any problem with that...
        ...you're not listening to the right bands or you need to get your hearing checked because that's the first time I've ever heard anyone make a comment like that regarding 9mm. I can only speak for the melocore scene, but while a lot of bands are certainly trying to cash in on the sound that made Ellegarden popular there's a lot of variation within that.

        Originally posted by didz13 View Post
        Bands or singers I think have a different voice/sound (compared with J-pop/J-rock anyway)
        凛として時雨 (Rintosite sigure)
        Maximum the Hormone
        Mell
        Perfume/Capsule
        Tommy February6/Heavenly
        Utada Hikaru
        Aikawa Nanase
        Hamasaki Ayumi (her early stuff, anyway)
        The first half of your list is kinda negated by the second half. Perfume is very interesting in that they don't actually sing at their concerts which I feel is deceptive, but their producer has basically distilled the essence of 'catchiness' into a bottle and sprinkles it liberally on each track.

        Originally posted by didz13 View Post
        So as you can see, I also tried other kinds of music. I tried what they call Visual Rock, like The Gazette, but again... the voice! Gosh, I even bough a J-Hip Hop (or J-reggae) album from 湘南乃風 (which, in the end, contained only 5 ok songs).

        So I am desperate to be able to listen to music in Japanese and I really try to keep an open mind. So if you guys still have some great music, whether it's rock, pop, rap, experimental; or even some great songs, since I know that sometimes, only one or two songs from a band are good, leave a post!

        VK all sounds the same, that's pretty much expected. Some J-Hip Hop is actually pretty good, this one chubby dude w/ a fauxhawk called WISE did a collab with BEAT CRUSADERS that was mildly entertaining.



        Here's some more suggestions that I apparently didn't mention in my original post.

        -B-DASH (a weird strain of melopunk; they sing in Japanese as well as 'アドリブ語' which started when the vocalist just made up stuff in the recording booth)
        -10-FEET (reggae-inspired melopunk, they sing in Japanese and English)
        -The Cherry Coke$ (Irish punk by a 7-piece Japanese band. They toured w/ Flogging Molly last year in the US)
        -Dragon Ash (just google them, much more hip-hop inspired but I think they sing mostly in Japanese)
        -RIZE (punk/rock, in Japanese and English)
        -BIGMAMA (violin rock and they sing in Japanese w/ some English sprinkled in, incredibly powerful live shows)
        -RADWIMPS (same kinda vein as Ellegarden except they've been around for longer and are a bit more poppy, I think they sing a decent amount of Japanese)

        If you just want Japanese songs I could throw together a playlist for you for you, but I want to state that you should really should give Ellegarden a chance if you haven't already, and the HIATUS as well.
        Last edited by dokool; 2009-08-19, 03:47 PM.

        Comment


        • #5
          Guitar Wolf.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by dokool View Post
            That's because the vast majority of Westerners who live in Japan are prejudiced against Japanese music for whatever reason they have.
            Nah, the reason why nobody cares is that most Japanese bands are just carbon copies of either other Japanese bands or of some foreign band. I'm not saying that this is not the case in the West too, but unfortunately most Japanese bands are just plain boring, and they go all the way to copy the boring again and again. Just look at your recommendation list... Dragon Ash for christs sake.... You must be joking.

            edit: Forgot to mention that every band uses only the two guitar sounds that seem to be available in the market. B-Oring.
            Last edited by Trichophyton-in-my-pants; 2009-08-19, 09:01 PM.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Trichophyton-in-my-pants View Post
              Nah, the reason why nobody cares is that most Japanese bands are just carbon copies of either other Japanese bands or of some foreign band. I'm not saying that this is not the case in the West too, but unfortunately most Japanese bands are just plain boring, and they go all the way to copy the boring again and again. Just look at your recommendation list... Dragon Ash for christs sake.... You must be joking.

              I should have put in a note; I do not personally endorse Dragon Ash, I'm just trying to give the guy suggestions for Japanese-language music. Mostly everything else I recommended to him I can personally endorse, though.

              Comment


              • #8
                Thee Michelle Gun Elephant- no longer rockin' together but they had several albums and most of their lyrics are in Japanese. There are sometimes chorus parts or phrases that are English, as well as song titles, but that IS Japanese rock style, like it or not.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Asian Kung Gu Generation

                  銀杏BOYZ

                  Ulfuls (funk)

                  長渕 剛 (folk songs)

                  Doping Panda

                  Beat Crusaders

                  check this bands out.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    The Back Horn are excellent.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      last.fm has been my best source for finding J-music I like.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        And the winner is...

                        Guys, thank you so much for your replies!

                        “to disregard, say, BEAT CRUSADERS because of their Engrish lyrics is to do yourself and the band disservice and it's really quite elitist IMHO. I understand that you want to hear Japanese music but don't knock it 'cause it's in English.”

                        As I mentioned on my first post, I found some awesome Japanese bands singing in English (Fist, AoA, …) but being on a “Japanese diet”, the whole point is to stay away from entertainment in English, and posting in an English forum is actually my last resort, since I did ask a Tower Record’s staff about other bands that could sound like 凛として時雨 but after getting an unsatisfying answer (he didn’t seem to know that band much, and only pointed out Maximum the Hormone (that I already knew) and quickly gave up on me.

                        “...you're not listening to the right bands or you need to get your hearing checked because that's the first time I've ever heard anyone make a comment like that regarding 9mm.”

                        Well, that’s where we’ll keep disagreeing on I’m afraid, and as I mentioned, that is the major turn-off I have with Japanese music. What I wanted to say was, whether a band is classified as pop, rock, punk or even visual to some extend, the singer’s voice is always the same “average Japanese adult male” voice. I think visual is even worse on that, and that is too bad, because some of the songs from that category I listened to started really well, great hardcore guitar riffs, great beat,… until the singer started his thing and spoilt it all.

                        “The first half of your list is kinda negated by the second half.”
                        I’m not sure to understand what you mean by that. My point with putting Perfume/Capsule (and note how I put both bands together since the songs are all made by the same guy and some songs sound really similar) and Tommy February6 was only to show that I was open to listen to other kinds of music, not only punk rock. I am far from being an elitist or snob who spits on commercial or popular music. What I will ignore though, is bad or boring music. And that is the whole point of this post.

                        “Nah, the reason why nobody cares is that most Japanese bands are just carbon copies of either other Japanese bands or of some foreign band. I'm not saying that this is not the case in the West too, but unfortunately most Japanese bands are just plain boring, and they go all the way to copy the boring again and again.”

                        I unfortunately agree with Trichophyton, though I still hope to find music that will blow my mind, and that I why I decided to post on this forum. One thing though, I would be MORE that happy to find "carbon copies of foreign bands" (see my other post).

                        Though I don’t do it, I do understand most of my Japanese friends, who just go to Tsutaya, rent a CD for a few hundred yen, go home and copy it… And I wonder if that might not be the source of the problem : the ridiculous price of Japanese CDs. And also the fact that some artists manage to release 3 or 4 albums a year! How can an artist be creative at this rate?

                        And the winner is:

                        And I think I found a winner : Rize. I listened to some of their songs on Youtube and it seemed pretty good. Then I ended up buying most of their albums at Book Off. There’s a lot of (not so bad) English, but at least the voice is cool and the guitar riffs are aggressive. My favorite song : Pink Spider. It reminds me of Filter (if anyone knows this band) or Econoline Crush. Or maybe I'm just crazy...

                        p.s. Dokool, I am more than interested in your playlist, if it doesn’t ask for too much effort from your part. My request: it needs to be fast, to rock, a bit negative, and as little Engrish as possible.

                        p.p.s. I'm sorry, I don't know how to do the "quote" thing...

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by didz13 View Post
                          p.p.s. I'm sorry, I don't know how to do the "quote" thing...
                          You hit the "quote" button under the post you wanna quote. Not very difficult.

                          The 'second negates the first' is basically how the first half of your list is a lot of unconventional (relatively) rock sounds, but I would consider Utada Hikaru and Ayumi Hamasaki to be representative of soulless J-Pop

                          I can give you <i>plenty</i> of fast, rocking stuff, but again the problem is that there will be English sprinkled throughout. Most rocking bands tend to do a lot of English and then one or two Japanese songs per album...


                          For some reason here's a few bands/artists worth hunting with female vocals:
                          -Kimura Kaela(木村カエラ)
                          -GO!GO! 7188
                          -Superfly (although I think she sings in English...)
                          -SOFTBALL/Akiakane (SOFTBALL was a legendary political girl punk band, they broke up in 2003 or so, the vocalist founded Akiakane which just broke up in August)



                          If you like RIZE, they just played a show tonight at Shinkiba Studio Coast w/ Pay Money To My Pain, so I think you might dig them.

                          You should also try the telephones, they're pretty awesome. And... hmm. Polysics? They're basically a Japanese Devo; might not be your thing but hell.

                          RADWIMPS? Not really hard at all, though, poppy NFG-esque stuff but fun.


                          Honestly, though, if you really want to stick to Japanese songs, you're just going to have to find the one or two Japanese tracks that most Engrish-singing bands have and rip those.

                          And if you want my playlist, go back to Tower and find the special edition of Rockin' On In Japan that covered Rock In Japan Festival 2009. Copy down the band names. Go hunting.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by didz13 View Post
                            Disturbed
                            Rammstein (not American, but really good)
                            Blink 182 (especially the first albums)
                            Sum41
                            My word! Not American and they're still good? It's a revelation!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by originaloli View Post
                              My word! Not American and they're still good? It's a revelation!
                              Haha... you know that's not what I meant. Actually, three of the bands on the list are actually Canadian, not American. I just thought I had said "American music" in the previous paragraph.

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