A personal music review by Beth.
To be truthful, this journey of discovery was completely unexpected. Some years ago as a person who still owned mixtapes, I decided to go through them.
On one I discovered a Japanese band that with saavy use of the internet I found were called The Blue Hearts.
That was just the beginning and that is where we will begin.
**The Blue Hearts** – One of the more famous Japanese punk bands that were prevalent from 1985 – 1995. Their songs ranged from fun and punchy hits like Linda Linda or Kiss Shite Hoshii to a myriad of rock ballads. Sadly about the only band on the list not still active today. Well…not exactly…
**The Cro Magnons** – A few lineup changes, band name changes, and solo albums later former Blue Hearts Mashima Masotoshi (guitar) and Hiroto Kohmoto (vocals, harmonica) returned to the stage again with their same energy and riffs. This time adding a new drummer and bassist that keep the chemistry alive to this day. To be fair to my title, they did do an anime theme once, but I’ve been on team I don’t care how long lockdown is I’m not watching Naruto. That said, Totsugekki Rock is a decent tune. Their most recent single is the more bluesy punk Bo Chile.
**The Black Comet Club Band** – Masuru Kobayashi (bass) balances playing with The Cro Magnons and this band. I haven’t listened to a lot of their songs but the ones I have are solid. Maybe has the rock snarl turned up a notch.
**Ken Yokoyama** This guy has played high energy punk and sometimes ska for quite some time now. His record label Pizza of Death was name dropped on an Abroad In Japan video recently. He’s recorded a few nice covers, so we can let his music speak for itself.
**Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra **- Probably one of the best ska/jazz bands you can find in literally the world today. Formed back in 1988, they often invite guest singers, sometimes from other countries. This one is just their own singer.
**The Ulfuls** – Maybe a little more pop rock and roll but always a good time. Hailing from Osaka back in 1992, they aren’t as active these days, this is most recent track I can find from five years ago. They are another group of quality veteran musicians.
**The Neatbeats** – Do you like The Beatles? I mean do you like the early Beatles? Remember Chuck Berry and Jerry Lee Lewis? If so then you need to do yourself a favour and start listening to The Neatbeats. The retro-rock outfit formed back in 1997, and they have got that ground covered for you.
**The Collectors** – Formed back in the late 80s, they are considered a mod rock band. Also another exception to the anime rule, the performed the theme songs to several anime series, including Dragon Ball Super. I mainly know them because of their recent anthem to lost live show fans released during the height of the coronavirus lockdown. Also because Mashima Masotoshi has a guest appearance in the video of the song!
So that’s my journey, now I wish I had a greater budget to invest in overseas shipping, perhaps a good overseas album agreement for the most of them!
Till then the best to do is enjoy them where you can.
ROCK AND ROLL LET’S GO!
We thank Beth for her contributions to Beyond Senpai.