feat: ZAZEN BOYS, group_inou, Charan-Po-Rantan, Praha Depart
May 18 Toronto @ The Rivoli
May 19 Toronto @ The Rivoli
May 21 Montreal @ Divan Orange
May 23 Vancouver @ The Waldorf Hotel
Next Music from Tokyo is a non-profit cross-Canada tour showcasing the best independent and underground music from Japan. Volume 2 was named concert of the year by the Montreal Mirror in 2010. Volume 3 included a sold-out show at the Rivoli which made BlogTO’s list of Toronto’s best concerts in 2011.
Volume 4 boasts the best line-up yet headlined by one of the most critically acclaimed and important bands in Japan: ZAZEN BOYS
“Taking one band to the top of the Japanese indie rock world makes you noteworthy. Starting all over and doing it again makes you Mukai Shutoku.” – keikaku.net
ZAZEN BOYS is the current band of legendary singer/guitarist Mukai Shutoku. Despite resembling a bespectacled librarian, Mukai is an indie rock god in Japan. Mukai’s former band Number Girl is renowned as one of the most important and influential bands in Japanese rock history. Whereas, Number Girl followed a progressive yet straight forward alt-rock sound akin to Sonic Youth and the Pixies, ZAZEN BOYS is the vehicle for pushing the boundaries of Mukai’s creative and experimental genius. ZAZEN BOYS’ intricate math rock delves unpredictably into electronica, Buddhist hymns, spoken word, blues and Japanese folk. Mukai assembled some of the most talented musicians in Japan to play alongside him and ZAZEN BOYS’ passionate live performances are characterized by a high level of improvisation and an almost unrivalled degree of musical skill.
group_inou is a duo comprised of producer Imai and emcee CP. Imai deconstructs chip tune, hip hop, kraut rock and noise to create strikingly fresh dance instrumentals that seem to come straight out of an 80’s video game. CP ‘s vocals flow with an absurdly broad range in style of playful rapping, singing and occasional screaming. group_inou has shared the stage with Battles, OWEN, deerhoof, Gang Gang Dance, Why?, Locust, nisennenmondai and Melt Banana and have more than held their own. In fact, group_inou’s live performances are legendary for their wild intensity with Imai flailing over the mixing board like an electrocuted squid and CP rapping and singing either within the audience or while crowdsurfing directly above them. group_inou are just as comfortable performing at tiny, cramped venues as they are performing in front of tens of thousands at major festivals such as Fuji Rock and Rising Sun. While group_inou’s groundbreaking music sounds just fine on CD their true brilliance is best appreciated in a live setting.
Charan-Po-Rantan consists of two beautiful sisters: Momo (18yo) on vocals and Koharu (23yo) on accordion/chorus. Koharu says she was born playing the accordion which made labour and delivery quite painful for her mother. All kidding aside, Koharu Matsunaga is an internationally acclaimed accordion player having won numerous competitions. She was National Grand Champion in 2009 and represented Japan at the International Finals of the V-Accordion festival in Rome, Italy. Almost as formidable as her prowess on accordion is Koharu’s razor sharp wit. Koharu’s story-telling and comedic banter during emcee breaks is frequently the highlight of Charan-Po-Rantan’s shows.
Momo’s trademark is to belt out classic and original folk/gypsy tunes while hugging a plush doll pig under her arm. But despite her young age and extremely adorable appearance Momo-chan shines on-stage with the expertise and composure of a veteran cabaret chanteuse. As a duo, Charan-Po-Rantan can captivate any audience with their soulful, quirky charm. However, when backed by their supremely talented support band CANCAN BALKAN, Charan-Po-Rantan’s already potent stage performance is exalted to an awe-inspiring level. Bizarre and campy but oozing with elite musical talent, Charan-Po-Rantan & CANCAN BALKAN’s unique Japanese twist on Klezmer and gypsy/folk songs is guaranteed to elicit cheers from anyone with an open mind and appreciation for good music. CANCAN BALKAN will be accompanying Charan-Po-Rantan on the NMFT tour.
Praha Depart’s music is a fusion of psychedelic rock, metal and shoegaze with a tribal/folk beat. Something the Japan Times describes as “irrepressibly danceable gypsy punk.” The instrumentation and female vocals ebb and flow between darkly serene to ferocious crescendos of emotion and noise. Jumpei’s intricate and powerful drumming forms the backbone. An infectious tribal beat peppered with thunderous fills and improvised solos. Tsukasa layers on simple guitar melodies accentuated with brilliant phrasing, spine shivering effects and lightning speed riffs. Lastly, Mai attacks the low end on bass while using her voice to demonstrate the full spectrum of her emotions with soothing whispers, playful shrills, ear shattering war-cries and bloodcurdling screams. Already revered in Tokyo’s underground, Praha Depart ventured to the US in 2011 playing multiple shows in New York and Philadelphia followed by a European tour with 11 shows in Slovenia, France, Spain, Netherlands and Germany. Praha Depart’s music is soulful, unpretentious and overflowing with emotion and raw power.Next Music From Tokyo Official Website – http://nextmusicfromtokyo.com