Anonymity, break-ups, close bouts with death, self-inflicted or accidental wounds, nights doused with alcohol and smoked up in packs of cigarettes. Whatever one might think of their music or their artistic merit, Brian King (guitar/vocals) and David Prowse (drums and Darth Vader), better known as Japandroids, are not one of those bands that followed an easy trail laid with roses.
Japandroids formed in the year 2000, at least in the mind of two then students from British Columbia, Canada; the band itself actually took shape in 2006, as the two members had by then dispensed with higher education. Influenced by the spirit of the American continent’s 1980s independent scene (hardcore punk, Minutemen, Husker Du, Fugazi et al), the band started booking their own shows and tours, self-producing their records (All Lies EP in 2007, Lullaby Death Jams EP in 2008; both can be found on the No Singles comp of 2010 on Polivinyl records), frequently rounding up friends to assist in the true spirit of a do-it-yourself life.
But the best laid plans don’t always work : Japandroids came close to splitting in 2008 and it is only through the persuasion of tiny independent Unfamiliar Records that Post-Nothing (2009, Polivinyl Records) saw the light of day. An album of visceral and brutally honest music and lyrics, a sort of testament to growing up and singing about it in a band with your best friend. Post-Nothing quickly garnered rave reviews, and, as such, might be a fine example of how the internet can now bring attention to a recording that almost never existed.
Two years of intensive touring and a couple of near-death experiences later, the band released Celebration Rock (2012, Polivinyl). Which sounds exactly like what it says on the tin : an anthem-filled celebration of an album, with debts to both the battery-acid pop of Husker Du and the bare naked emotion of a Bruce Springsteen. And as always, the live renditions of these songs turn into a Celebration of the travails and efforts of a band that are on stage not because they have to, but because they clearly want to and have the battle-scars to prove it.
The Noise Figures seem to follow the same high-energy path. George Nikas and Stamos Bambaris are prominent figures of the Greek wise indie folk scene and have played in several bands including Flakes, Zebra Tracks and Keyser SozeThey joined forces to create a new, darker sound and just released the Turn Off the Lights EP. They will set up their black music keys on An Club’s stage and corrupt us with their new garage blues stories.