We’re pleased to have teamed up with the fantastic writers over at music website The 405. With a shared passion for discovering new music, they’ll be making the most of the Last.fm Hype Chart by doing a weekly exploration of the latest rising artists, based on the scrobbles of Last.fm music lovers. So without further ado, it’s over to The 405′s Larry Day:
We love finding new music at The 405. It’s pretty much the main thing that gets us out of bed in the morning (that and breakfast). However, sometimes it’s a bit of a slog to trawl through the Internet’s vast offerings – if only there was an easier way. That’s where Last.fm comes in. They’ve got some brilliant, intuitive Hype Charts, allowing you to search by genre or region (or both) for the sounds making waves at any given moment. Here’s some of the treasures we found from those charts. This week in our trend-hunt, we scrutinised Japan’s rising post-punk artists.
The Post-Punk Chart In Japan
New wave-cum-post-punk threesome Lillies and Remains, presumably yoinking they’re nom de guerre from the track ‘Of Lillies & Remains’ by ’80s genre vets Bauhaus, released an EP (Lost) not one week ago – which probably explains their recent spike in activity over on Last.fm. Noisey described them as having “post-punk down to a science”, and indeed, their razor sharp salvo of angles and Bloc Party-isms, as well as Interpol-scented nuances, imply a strong bond with the style. ‘Moralist S.S.’, as morbidly dark as any Spandau Ballet or Joy Division (their monikers, obviously – ‘Gold’ can hardly be described as dark), is equal measures poppy and butcher’s cleaver brutal.
Fusing the experimental pop-post-punk and disco tendencies of Scottish legends Orange Juice with the sleek pop breathiness of ’90s pop, Akai Ko-en (translation: Red Park) use sweet melodies and brash guitars, often concurrently, to ensnare you. It’s not all doom’n’gloom like many genre legends who lean towards gothic realms, like, say The Cure, and Akai Ko-en instead vie for a more cheerful disposition. They’ve got interesting dance moves too. ‘Interesting’ here means ‘wonderfully shambolic and/or crap’.
Apparently favourites of NYC’s art rock and post-punk scenes in the early ’80s, Japan-formed outfit Plastics (who ceased many moons ago, forming a spray of other acts popular in Japan) have historically been likened to the frenetic B-52’s and Devo. There is a marvellously camp chaos to be found in ‘Top Secret Man’, stuffed with yowls and surf-rock axes, so maybe those comparisons ring true.
Inspired by Television, indie myths (for that is essentially what Lawrence & Co. boil down to these days), are gen-u-ine enigmas, spinning elusivity and shadows from 1979-1989. Though they never reached popularity’s zenith, the Birmingham band cultivated and currently maintain a cult following, and claim to have released ten albums and ten singles in ten years. The band worked with Cocteau Twins‘ Elizabeth Fraser on ‘Primitive Painters’, arguably their biggest ‘hit’. It’s a jangle-fest of shoegaze guitars, swimming in distant pedalboard FX, and entwined vocal strands. Although a vaguely psychedelic six-minute opus, it managed to reach the top of the independent singles chart in 1985.
Fun fact: my parents apparently named me after the singer from Felt.
An ever-changing act from the ’80s, The Willard have traipsed through gothic rock, indie and post-punk in their lifespan. While perhaps far-removed from their original line-up, they’re still truckin’, frantic guitars in tow. ‘Jolly Roger’ is laced with reverb, hardcore punk basslines and thrashtacular percussion. It’s kinda… jolly… compared to much post-punk, and like Akai Ko-en, they prefer to inject a lightheartedness and humour into their sonic blend, rather than drowning in tears. The Willard are by far more like J-rock than any other mention on this list.