For those of you who can’t be bothered to read a link, this Slate article addresses the following:
Some of the bands they mention are King Brothers, Syrup 16g, the Pillows, the Miceteeth, NICO touches the walls, etc. I’ve checked most of the bands in the article out on youtube, and you can find some interesting stuff.
So what I’d like to know from our Japanese/Japan Dopers is simple: Which Japanese bands that sing in English should not be missed?
As a matter of fact, as a corollary, which Japanese bands that sing in Japanese should be on every Dopers’ radar screen?
Puffy does a lot of English songs, particularly lately. Sometimes they’re English versions of their Japanese songs - although not always with lyrics translating the original*, sometimes original. They also have a very good cover of Jellyfish’s Joining a Fanclub (their producer was in Jellyfish). Sometimes the same album will have both English and Japanese versions of the same tune - 59 has both the English and Japanese versions of the Teen Titans theme, Nice has both Planet Tokyo and Red Swing, and Spike has both Violet and Love So Pure.
The most fun version of this is Invisible Tomorrow, which has two English versions - So Long Zero and Friends Forever. (I assume So Long Zero was considered a bit too…mature for Hi Hi Puffy Ami Yumi.)
Shonen Knife has been mentioned.
For Japanese artists who don’t do a lot in English that you really should listen to:
The Brilliant Green has a couple songs fully in English (I Never Dreamed being my favourite), but performed predominantly in Japanese. Tomoko’s two solo personas (Tommy February6 and Tommy Heavenly6) are also worth hearing, with the same note.
HALCALI’s lyrics are typical of J-Pop - mostly Japanese, with bits of English mixed in. And they’re a MUST LISTEN, IMO.
Well, let’s see, the 5,6,7,8’s have the ubiquitous Woo Hoo song that one ofthe phone companies is flogging fairly constantly, they also cover Guitar Date which is AWESOME!
If you haven’t hear Electric Eel Shock’s Rock and Roll can rescue the world, you need to find this song. All the joy and optimism of Rock, with a little tongue in cheek name dropping. Plus, it really does rock.
Guitar Wolf is a must hear for Garge Rock fans. The albums don’t touch the live show, but the guitarist recently died, so you may be ou of luck there. I’m not sure if they will be releasing anymore albums. Too bad, they were an incredible thing to see live.
I MIGHT be mistaken, because my only exposure to this is secondhand, from my teenaged daughter, but there’s a band called Seatbelts I think is Japanese. They did some of the music for Cowboy Bebop, including a song I really like called Ask DNA.
Shonen Knife’s covers - Daydream Believer, Top of the World, I Wanna Be Sedated and Cherry Bomb, particularly - are a good place to start. Punk Animals, I Am A Cat, Mosquitos, Tower of the Sun, Catnip Dream, Blue Oyster Cult, Buttercup (I’m a Supergirl), Flying Jelly Attack and Tortoise Brand Pot Cleaner Theme are other favourites of mine.
For Puffy… All the ones I mentioned in my previous post are good, Boogie Woogie no 5, K2G, Su-i Su-i and Sui Sui (two version of the same song, back to back on Spike), Asia no Junshin/Pure Asia (I prefer the sound of the Japanese lyrics, but the pure silliness is clearer in English), and Your Love is a Drug would be other suggestions. Oh, and Hi Hi (the theme from Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi) is really damn catchy, too.
I think, for the purposes of this article, “English-singing bands” must = “bands that throw in a few fairly random English phrases per album”.
as for the OP, hehe, I think a couple of songs off the (~50/50 English/Japanese) Teriyaki Boyz’ Beef or Chicken album are pretty can’t-miss. If nothing else, you must hear “Takeover” and “Celebrity Deathmatch”. Sheer fun.
also, I’ll echo someone else’s Seatbelts recommendation. I don’t know that they’re actually a band outside the context of the Cowboy Bebop soundtrack(s), but my god, they made some damn good music for that.
I helped bring Swinging Popsicle stateside last year, and they’ve steadily grown on me. They’re on the pop-rock spectrum and sing a bit in English. “Change” is a good one, though “Snow Ism” and “I Just Wanna Kiss You” are popular and have English hooks. (My favorite is probably “Cinema ni”, but it’s is in Japanese so it doesn’t exactly count.)
They’ll be playing another con in June, so you could even see them live. They were great and well-received here, and that was with an American drummer they had never played with or even met before!