In our seemingly endless trek around the globe to find out what people are shaking and popping fingers to, here is a sample from last years Inazuma Festival in Shiga Prefecture on September 16, 2017 featuring Japanese Alternative/Indie band The Oral Cigarettes.
Calling them Alternative/Indie might be a bit of a stretch – but their popularity with Japanese audiences is no fluke. Together since 2010, Oral Cigarettes have released five albums along with several singles and an ep. Known primarily on their home turf, they’ve been attempting to broaden horizons recently by touring Asia and performing in Singapore. According to various press reports, they would like to crack the English speaking market, but as is often the case, the language barrier can be problematic, as opposed to other Japanese groups, i.e.,Yellow Magic Orchestra – most all the Shubiya-kei bands (which don’t really sing very much, but which are basically instrumental), unless your lyrics are in English and your vocals show no trace of an accent, you have a shot. Sadly, that’s the problem with much mainstream media and even the College stations are reluctant to play overseas/native language bands, unless it’s part of a program that deals specifically in that genre. It’s been a problem with most overseas bands since the 1960s and I think it shortchanges people from a unique listening experience.
As for Oral Cigarettes, there is precious little information on the band – a very short bio and reviews. Here is what Wikipedia has to say about them:
The Oral Cigarettes, stylized as THE ORAL CIGARETTES is a four member Japanese alternative rock band from Nara Prefecture formed in July, 2010. The band signed to A-Sketch in 2012 and have currently released two independent albums, three studio albums, one extended play, eight single albums and one demo album. They are best known for performing the opening theme song of the anime Noragami Aragoto, “Kyōran Hey Kids!!”.
So that’s pretty much it as far as information goes – I am sure there are fanzines and articles from some of the larger Japanese publications, but I haven’t run across them yet. Suffice to just give the band a listen – listen past the language barrier and jump into the energy and their inventiveness. Not expecting everyone to love them, but this is what the rest of the world is listening to these days – and being aware brings everyone that much closer.
Good idea, no?