09/03/12 - 0 Comments
One to Watch: Japandroids
Perhaps you haven’t yet heard of Japandroids. They haven’t necessarily lodged their way into the mainstream since their 2006 formation, but they are steadily building a mature audience in an inspiring David and Goliath fashion.
Before they were Japandroids, they were Brian King and David Prowse, two college students from Vancouver, British Columbia in Canada. At the time, Vancouver wasn’t hot on live shows, forcing King and Prowse to take matters into their own hands. An experiment with a more do-it-yourself method commenced. With no backing or signing from any label, big or small, the pair set off, securing their own performance venues, renting PA equipment, making their own backdrops and posters and leaving the rest to their friends.
They were finally able to record their debut album, Post-Nothing, on their own. However, without the support of a label, they didn’t see their group getting anywhere. King and Prowse decided that they would release the album, perform their last two shows at Pop Montreal and CMJ Music Marathon in New York City, and that would be the end of Japandroids. After hearing of their doubts, however, a small Canadian label, Unfamiliar Records, offered to sign them, despite their resolution to dissolve. No one is sure if it was the help of the label, or the band’s purest of musical talents, but Japandroids was instantly recognized.
Go-to music site Pitchfork loved their sound, which was neither punk nor rock nor indie, but a marriage of the three. The site helped skyrocket the amateur band to recognition, especially with publicizing their single, “Young Hearts Spark Fire,” which won their Best New Music award. This helped Japandroids reach audiences outside of their homeland of Canada.
Following the success of Post-Nothing, the duo signed with Polyvinyl Record Co. After touring throughout North America, Japandroids rarely received a negative review. It was almost like a revival of the punk-rock days, where the live performances were so energetic and lively that listening to a studio recording was out of the question. They gradually took hold of their audiences’ ears, minds and hearts.
Keeping up with their previous do-it-yourself method, Japandroids wanted to test out some new material before setting off to the recording studio once again. They joined forces with Bass Drum of Death in touring small, more intimate venues, rather than larger stadiums. They wanted to hear the crowds’ reaction to the new material, versus racing to release their sophomore album.
Celebration Rock was eventually released May 29, 2012 in Canada and June 5 internationally. Whether it was their hearty yells, demented drums or rebellious guitar riffs, they received critical acclaim. Spin Magazine even scored their album with a nine on their ten-point scale album rankings.
Where are Japandroids now? Touring and most likely resting before their next studio appearance. If we’re lucky enough, maybe we’ll hear some new material soon. Until then, we have linked some of our favorite Japandroid singles. Let us know which ones you like best and what you think of this brand new sound!