On June 23, eastern youth releases both a new single and a retrospective DVD. The single, “Kyooseishiroku 0.6”, is the first new work from the band in a year and nine months.
The DVD, titled “Archives 1997-2002”, includes video clips from the band’s tenure on Toy’s Factory Records, plus a clip for “Izukohe” from the early indie album, Koritsu Moen no Hana. The DVD also includes a live performance of “Aosugiru Sora” on SpaceShower TV and a special video of “Donten to Omokage” made for Viewsic.
Bands that seem to write the same song over and over aren’t usually lauded for such a skill, but for eastern youth, that trait doesn’t come across as a liability.
The band’s U.S. debut, What Can You See from Your Place (original title, Soko kara Nani ga Mieru ka), at times sounds like variations on the same song.
Singer/guitarist Yoshino Hisashi follows a certain trajectory with his vocals — usually, whisper to a scream — while the long, fuzzy trill seems to be his favorite guitar effect.
Yoshino’s melodies, however, have a definite Japanese feel — it’s not too much of a stretch to imagine them stripped down and sung folk-style.
Still, there’s an inescapable feeling from track to track of “haven’t I heard this before?” And you have. Thing is, eastern youth pounds out performances that are pretty difficult to ignore.
However much I’m loathe to use the term, eastern youth is Japanese emo — loud and unshackled. The lung-busting abandon with which Yoshino sings is captivating in its own right.
In other words, who cares if the songs share too many similarities? It’s enough just to hear the band give it its all. Ganbatte, indeed.
All this doesn’t mean What Can You See from Your Place lacks stand-out tracks.
“Hakai Muzan Hachigatsu” feels more like Queens of the Stone Age in its unison precision. “Pocket kara Te wo Dasenaide Iru” shows a masterful command of the early-90s loud-soft aesthetic.
“Koe” wisely attempts to break the momentum by being the token slow song. And the entire last half of the album, with its shorter songs, balances the more long-winded first half.
Not as dischordant as Number Girl nor as eclectic as the Back Horn, eastern youth performs the same kind of unbridled, melodic rock.
What Can You See From Your Place aptly lives up to the underground acclaim eastern youth has built for itself in the States over the past few years.
Singer-songwriter Odani Misako has recruited members of eastern youth, Super Butter Dog and Number Girl for her latest project.
Billed as odani misakota-ta, the four-member band consists of Super Butter Dog keyboardist Ikeda Takafumi, ex-Number Girl/bloodthirsty butchers guitarist Tabuchi Hisako, eastern youth bassist Tomokazu Ninomiya and drummer Tamada Tomu, who’s performed in Nakamura Kazuyoshi’s band the 100s.
The band releases a mini-album, feather, on Oct. 29 with covers of Arai Yumi and the Pretenders. Because of each member’s existing commitments with their respective bands, live performances and other recordings will most likely be sporadic.
Earlier in 2003, Odani released a new album, night.