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Still a Sigure Virgin?

Ling Tosite Sigure (凛として時雨) just seemed to creep up on me in January. Now one of my favourite bands, they are, I’m convinced, Japan’s best rock group since Supercar. Their music is fast-paced and aggressive; songs that may sound like a wall of noise at first, but that make sense (melodically) on subsequent loops through. That’s why I described it as if they crept up on me; I was listening to them at work one afternoon, the dots suddenly connected and now, I’m head over heels.

Going by YouTube views alone, their most popular song is JPOP Xfile, a single from 2009. The cool thing about this song is that it’s a fine showcase for their style; the rapid-fire drumming, the seemingly random way the song progresses at first, the sudden changes of pace and the way the vocals switch between highly pitched and slow to an absolutely belting chorus. Of course, the constant switching between the male and female vocalists is delightful, and that they thoroughly torture their guitars, too.

Like many of their other songs, JPOP Xfile will only start to make sense half way through. Although it may sound like random, disconnected noise at first, as soon as the second half begins, a structure asserts itself. I’m not a fan of progressive rock, or even post-rock, really, so I love that they craft songs with choruses, and that they end in less than 5 minutes. I suppose my punk roots are showing there. I love hard and fast music, but it’s not just that, their songs are full of energy, and one gets a strong sense of life from almost every one.

Their latest 2 albums (out of 4 so far) are fantastic. Despite the constant plays in my car since the middle of January (a sure-fire way to kill lesser bands,) Just a Moment (2009) and Still a Sigure Virgin? (2010) still aren’t tiring for me. A rare feat indeed. Even after dozens of plays, they remain fresh, and I’m now at the point where I just need to tell you about them. I know this probably all sounds like hyperbole, but yeah, if you want to shut me up, just listen to them, would you?

Comments

Martin says:

Sold! I like thos two tunes a lot. The first one reminds me a bit of mudy on the 昨晩, only with vocals and without the weird time signatures: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7o7_OXsvu7E There’s still the same boundless sense of energy though. The second is a bit more like a more energetic Hologram or My Dead Girlfriend…which is a good thing! I’m a sucker for dueted vocals like this…amazing to see how the guitarist gets his falsetto up to the same pitch as the female bass player AND avoids sounding all shrill. Great stuff.

I also recommend Mass of the Fermenting Dregs (ignore the weird name; they only called themselves that because it was English and sounded cool), very lo-fi and shoegazey; or Acidman for a refreshing mix of fast-paced soulful rock fused with funky jazziness…but I’m assuming you’ve already heard of them.

What’s frustrating for me is that the Jrock scene is so full of good bands but it’s really hard for overseas listeners to even hear them. Guess I’ll have to do some more lurking on last FM then!

bateszi says:

Yeah, I know how you feel, Martin. I think I found out about LTS through a ‘best of’ list on zbsatozofjmusic.com, so stumbling over them was a fairly random thing, but man, I’m really glad I found them! I figured you’d like them, too, especially for the crazy guitar-ness :) (Honestly, I’m at a loss for technical terms to describe music; I need to remember words like ‘falsetto’!)

As for your recommendations, I’ve never heard of any of them, so I’m well up for giving them a listen! Thanks for the info.

Krozam says:

Hmm… Not bad. One of the singers in the live video has an annoying voice, but the other song is pretty good. It’s amazing how much good music is produced in Japan. As far as pop-music goes, I almost solely listen to Japanese music. And they have many good rock-bands too. And then they have a number of really great composers: Kajiura Yuki, Uematsu Nobuo, Takanashi Yasuharu and Akiko Shikata, just to mention a few.

It’s all quite light music, though. When I want metal, listen to Finnish, Swedish or German music. There are exceptions, of course: Attack Haus is a band whose songs I’d really love to get my hands on, but apart from the possibility of ordering CD’s from Japan, there are only four songs I’ve found.

bateszi says:

I was trying to place where I’d heard that Attack Haus song; it’s from Otogi Zoshi! I got a major nostalgia kick from that, thanks! As for European metal, it’s too hard for me, really. I like hard music, but I also like nice voices and melodies, but a lot of the harder European stuff is too difficult for me to fathom :)

Krozam says:

I don’t listen to death metal or anything. I like my melodies, and good singer voices, too. :P Nightwish and Within Temptation are great melodic metal bands. Even my harder stuff always has clear melodies: Sentenced and Drowning Pool for example. Nightwish and Sentenced are Finnish, Within Temptation is from the Netherlands and Drowning Pool is from the US.

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