Tokyo trio mashes electronica, post-punk and krautrock into a collage of odd, inventive and hypnotic rock music.
Why (short): A latter-day classic of Japan’s shibuya-kei musical movement, Buffalo Daughter’s New Rock revels in creativity but never loses sight of a rock-solid foundation of classic punk energy – always feeling both readily accessible and aggressively experimental.
Why (long): It can be incredibly difficult for a band to balance eclecticism with consistency – particularly if that band, like Tokyo’s Buffalo Daughter, boasts a jagged, collage-based aesthetic. But, from the outset, New Rock strikes that perfect balance and never wavers.
Over the course of the album, Buffalo Daughter will play with shades of sixties folk, acid-techno, drum’n’bass, jazz, distorted punk riffery, krautrock repetition and avant-garde radio collage. But, it never feels inorganic or forced. Somehow, it all fits comfortably within Buffalo Daughter’s anything-goes, post-modern junkyard aesthetic. In fact, it’s actually quite poppy.
In the tradition of Buffalo Daughter contemporaries like Custard or Le Tigre, ‘Socks, Drugs and Rock’n’roll’ offers a laidback, deadpan rock pastiche that feels both poetic and silly. The eight-minute ‘Super Blooper’ rides a lo-fi rhythm across a hypnotic sprawl of chiming guitars, orchestra strings, analog synthesis and spoken-word samples. The vocoder-led acoustic folk of closer ‘Jellyfish Blues’ feels like a Flaming Lips cut. Instrumental ‘Sky High’ is just a relentless parade of ideas and melodies.
The result is an album that feels genuinely inspired. At every turn, something equally delightful and unforeseen leaps into view – albeit something that will inevitably somehow feel totally consistent with Buffalo Daughter’s colourfully skewed reality. Throughout, there’s a feeling of propulsion and enthusiasm. It’s a colourful, joyous, angular piece of work. Listen to it.
Recommended If You Like: Le Tigre, Regurgitator, Spiderbait, Happyland, They Might Be Giants, Primal Scream
Where To Hear It: Spotify
Where To Buy It: iTunes
Fun Fact: When I interviewed Japanese noise artist KK Null, he told me that Japanese language and culture doesn’t differentiate noise from music like western language and culture – incidental environmental noise is considered as musical as composed songs are noisy, so to speak. Ever since, I’ve looked at Japanese music differently.
I feel Buffalo Daughter’s eclecticism and use of electronics is a really interesting example to consider, in that regard. They don’t use electronics in rock music the way many western rock artists do (who, typically but not exclusively, use programmed and musically composed electronics as opposed to non-musical noise textures and samples). Something to think about.
Okay, that ought to catch us up to schedule. Everything should be back on task next week. Apologies again for the delay. Depression ain’t a friend to punctuality.