Smoldering Blues Rock And Smoky Eyes
Name: Akabane Vulgars On Strong Bypass
Where They’re From: Tokyo, Japan
When They Started: 2005
Genre: goth-tinged punk blues
Most Similar: The Gossip, The Suzan, Thee Michelle Gun Elephant
Sounds Like: Desperate youth/bloodthirsty babes
Sometimes it seems like all the raw, brilliant Japanese rock bands have been around forever. There’s nothing wrong with that. Guitar Wolf will still liquefy your eyeballs live. It’s just that you want to see that torch get passed eventually and you don’t want to hear, “oh, we all like electronic music now.” Happily, the lengthily named Akabane Vulgars on Strong Bypass have got hold of that rock ‘n’ roll torch and they are waving it around in threatening manner.
The reckless power trio formed in 2005 when the members were in high school. Bassist/vocalist Miki Uchizono recruited her sister Yumi to sing and play guitar and her classmate Kei Sofue to be the drummer. As of this posting, they have only the 2010 EP Burn It, Burn. Girl, You Burn It, a couple of seven inches and a SXSW only compilation in their discography. Compared to the many established acts that have been around for a couple of decades, these ladies just happened.
Punk blues is a decent descriptor for their sound, but their actual profile is closer to rockabilly with that ever-winning combination of dark, hooky and dirty. Thickening this hearty soup is a backbone of wooden roller coaster-style pop punk (They love Green Day!) and some subtle-yet-distinct J-rock melodic elements. In a way, they show how awesome psychobilly could have been if only the wrong people hadn’t thought of it first.
(For real though, have you seen Fuckyeahpsychobillygirls.tumblr.com? What if all those beautiful people listened to bands with more than one chord progression between them?) Instead of hot-pink pompadours, here you get color co-ordinated vintage outfits. (Kind of a Sleater-Kinney meets Marissa Paternoster rock power suit thing.) Style points never hurt.
After attacking SXSW this year, they’re headed back to the States presently for tour dates and some recording. Rejoice and watch for a oak-solid debut full-length before too long.