Japanese women show Canada how to really rock.
Next Music from Tokyo (NMFT) is an annual tour that introduces Canadians to the most creative and skilled bands from Japan’s indie and underground music scenes. The tour began in 2010 and brings a different group of Japanese bands to Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver each year. Female musicians in rock bands are more prominent in Japan than any other country in the world and this is reflected in the lineup for NMFT vol. 13.
MASS OF THE FERMENTING DREGS (MOTFD) will become the first band to make a third appear- ance on the NMFT tour. Formed in 2002 by three girls from Kobe, MOTFD performs a blend of post-punk that combines beautifully melancholic vocals with ferociously powerful instrumentation. The anomaly of such a huge, powerful sound coming from an all-female band drew MOTFD a large underground following and allowed the group to become an important inspiration for bands such as tricot and paranoid void. After a series of lineup changes including a five-year hiatus, founding bassist/vocalist and leader Natsuko Miyamoto remains the only female and original member. However, MOTFD sounds better than ever and hot off the heels of the band’s first album in eight years, these local legends are dying to perform a slew of new songs for their Canadian fans.
paranoid void is a female math rock band from Osaka. Inspired by MOTFD, paranoid void began by playing music that was loud, fast and heavy. However, the last three years have seen paranoid void delving into math rock with more challenging compositions involving odd time signatures and dextrous instrumentation. paranoid void represents the perfect storm of beauty, power, soul and technical skill.
Elephant Gym is another math rock band but with a more chill and relaxing tone. Its music is intricate and challenging but has more melody and pop sensibility than is usual for math rock. Female bassist Tif and her skilled bass playing is the focal point of the band’s music and the origin behind the band’s name (Elephant = bass, Gym = gymnastics and skill). Hailing from Taiwan, Elephant Gym is also the first non-Japanese band to participate in NMFT.
otori is a four-piece band with a truly unique style that incorporates no-wave, hardcore-punk, krautrock and noise. In 2015, otori rocked Toronto with a legendary performance at the now-defunct Soybomb and this year the band is back to perform new songs from its upcoming album.
UlulU is an all-female trio with a garage rock revival sound similar to the Strokes and Arctic Monkeys. Its music is soulful, bluesy and unpretentious with occasional bursts of power.
With a long track record of sold-out shows, NMFT is proof that music played with energy and passion transcends language barriers and can be appreciated by audiences anywhere. The Toronto shows will be held on Oct. 5 at the Rivoli and Oct. 6 at Lee’s Palace. Detailed information can be found on the tour website: nextmusicfromtokyo.com.