If you only watch one music video tonight, make it “Bright” by 東京酒吐座 (aka Tokyo Shoegazer). The song comes from the 2011 album Crystallize.
As much as I would like to say that Tokyo shoegazer is an indie-folk band from Lincoln, Nebraska, they’re not. You’ll never guess where they’re from or what kind of music they play.
The other day, when I featured a song by the Tokyo shoegaze band Burrrn, a reader suggested that I check out the band called Tokyo Shoegazer. He was correct in guessing that I would like them very much.
The band formed in 2010 on a lark. It was supposed to be a one-off for a friend’s birthday party, but they’re still going three years later. They released one album in 2011, then they contributed two songs (“Only Shallow” and “I Only Said”) to the all-Japanese tribute to My Bloody Valentine‘s legendary Loveless The tribute is oh-so-cleverly called Yellow Loveless.
Earlier this year, they released a new album.
Although the band is called Tokyo Shoegazer, I always like to look for a literal translation or a bad one when I see a band’s native language. For example, I know that the Norwegian word for avalanche is snøskred. To this end, I tried several different free online translators and the most common translation of
“東京酒吐座” is “Tokyo sake sit spin”. I wouldn’t imagine that there’s a character set for “shoegaze”, so I guess “sake sit spin” is the closest thing. Sure. Or maybe the free translation programs are just bad. Either way, it’s kind of entertaining.
The only other thing that I know about Tokyo Shoegazer is that they’re sort of a “supergroup”. The members used to be or still are in other Tokyo bands.
I haven’t downloaded the album yet because I’m trying to avoid shopping in the iTunes store. Unfortunately, it seems like the only legal way to get it without spending about $200. I’ve listened to a few songs, though, and I’ve seen this video. Oh. This video.
I love it. Love it. Love it. What’s not to like about a music video where parts of it are shot from a cat’s POV? And the bits when everything is a bit blurry and shot through a blue or purple filter. I love that, and it’s totally MBV-esque. And the bits where one of the guitar players is comically surrounded by about a billion effects pedals. And, oh, the intentional blurriness caused by doing something wacky with the aperture or the exposure. It’s cool and ’90s.
I love how there are moments of sheer noise and moments of dead quiet. Some of the “sheer noise” bits remind me of the brilliant Slowdive song When the Sun Hits. But louder.
Then there’s the other thing about it. About two-thirds through the video, the footage from the cat’s journey is run backwards at about 2x speed (with some extra bits added for the reverse voyage) until she ends up back where she started. In a way, it’s reminiscent of the Cibo Matto video for “Sugar Water”. A split screen with two different girls. One side going forward in time and the other going backward. The two girls have an unfortunate meeting in the middle, the sides of the screen flip, and each girl’s progress goes in the opposite direction until they’re back where they started, but on the other side of the screen. Pretty innovative. Here is that Cibo Matto video, if you’re interested.
Like I said, you can get Crystallize from the iTunes store or you can pay a lot to get a physical copy from amazon. Maybe I’ll find another way.
Thanks again to reader Paul for the suggestion.