Music Articles

5 of the Most Awesome Bands you’ve probably never heard of! | Pt 1 Japanese Bands

In this year of 2017 where you can find out the latest news by clicking on your phone, download anything you want in an instant and experience different cultures in seconds, there are still a lot of Bands that people have never heard of from all over the world.

I’m not just talking about new bands that have suddenly popped out of nowhere, of course you would have never heard of them before if they started whilst you were having your afternoon tea. Actually I’m talking about groups that could have been together for nearly a decade or two, bands that might be super popular in their countries to the extent that it would be weird for natives not to have heard of them, however in the west (Europe and the USA) most people have never heard of them before.

To begin this chain of ‘Bands you’ve never heard of’ I’ll start with the kawaii country of Japan. Now Japan has a plethora of Bands that many may have never heard of before, but I am going to narrow the scope to look at some of the very popular bands in Japan that have been around for a decent amount of time that some people in the west are unlikely to have heard of.

Additionally this list may not have all the bands that fit the criteria of very popular and not well known in the west. I admit I haven’t heard of them all and can’t fit them all in a top 5 list, thus I would love it if people in the comments would tell me some of the Japanese bands they think are really popular and underrated in the west that I have missed out on in this post.

B’z 

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B’z is one of my favourite bands ever. They have an energetic sound that is reminiscent of the rock we get from some of the legends such as The Scorpions or Alice cooper. Every time I listen to them I admit I go a bit crazy.

According to Wikipedia they are ‘one of the best selling music artists in the world’. They have had ’46 consecutive no.1 singles, 25 no.1 albums and sold more than 100 million records’.

B’z was founded by Koshi Inaba and Tak Matsumoto in 1988 and they’re still playing strong, they’ve been around for a whooping 29 years. They have performed with bands such as Aerosmith and are in my opinion, legends. Now I’m sure that some people in the west must of heard of them but I’m putting them on this list because they are freaking awesome.

L’arc en Ciel

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L’arc en Ciel is one of my all time favourite bands. Hyde (the lead vocalist) is just gorgeous, his voice, his face, his soul I just love everything about him. They have this really unique psychedelic or soft rock indie sound.

They formed in 1991 when Tetsuya, bassist, recruited Hyde and then the miracle that is L’arc en Ciel began. Ken and Yukihiro joining later (replacing the original guitarist and drummer) and they’ve been going strong since. They have sold over 40 million records and were the first Japanese band to headline at Madison Square.

Janne Da Arc (1991-2007) / Acid Black Cherry (2007- Ongoing)

Janne Da Arc was formed in 1991 with the members Yasu, You, Ka-yu, Kiyo, and Shuji. They released 3 indie albums, 9 major label albums, 26 singles and 14 DVD’s, They have been on haitus since 2007 after their last album Heaven.

After that the lead vocalist Yasu created his own solo project called Acid Black Cherry.  He works with other artists from other bands and has created some of the most awesome albums and music ever. ABC, for need of a better word, are freaking awesome. Their music honestly gives me the chills and Yasu’s voice is just euphoric.

Mr. Children 

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Mr. Children are one of those bands that you can listen to when you’re feeling happy or melancholic. They can accommodate to your every mood with their soothing and uplifting rocky sound.

They formed in 1989 and have sold over 50 million records and have had over 30 consecutive no.1 singles, they are truly a brilliant band that you will love listening to.

Glay

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Formed in 1988, Glay have a very special rocky tone that I can never quite get used to and can put me in all kinds of moods. They were originally a Visual Kei band but over the years they’ve implemented so many other genres of music into their sound that they’ve drifted away a bit from the genre. Wikipedia isn’t really up to speed with how many records they’ve sold but at least we know that they have sold over 51 million since 2008.

And there we have it for ‘5 awesome bands you’ve probably never heard of’ Japan edition.

Thank you for reading! Stay tuned for the next edition which will be Chinese bands. 😉

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Flash Fiction, The adventures of Max

Max goes to the Park. pt 2. Meeting Mr. Ghost.

Max sat on a swing as he watched Meme run up and down the abandoned park. He swayed, slowly, back and forth. Each move he made created a loud creaking noise that would give the most brave warriors the shivers. Kree-eee-eeek.

If it wasn’t for the fact that Max could see Meme running up and down the park he would have ran all the way back home. There was something really creepy about being at a Park in the middle of the night. It was definitely not something Max did often.

He had taken Meme for a walk this late because he’d forgotten to that afternoon, additionally he just wanted to go out and have some space, it was just Max and his Mother at home and sometimes it felt so suffocating he just had to leave. It’s a teenage thing.

Max sighed whilst shivering, why did he walk out tonight with no jacket. It was then that he felt a tap on his shoulder. “You alright kid, you look cold?”

Max jumped and fell off the swing crashing back-first on the wet grass below.

“Whoa didn’t mean to scare you, you alright?” The man speaking was very tall, so tall in fact that as Max dusted himself off and stood up he still had to strain his neck to look him in the eye, and Max was 6ft.

He looked like he was in his early twenties, he had his hair died purple and was wearing one of those orange jumpsuits that you only ever see people in videos during the 90’s wearing or criminals. He had all kinds of piercings on his ears, from scaffolding to his helix and all of his lobe was pierced. It was an impressive amount of metal hanging off of his ears that was for sure.

Max gulped, he’d never met this man before. Although his town wasn’t small it couldn’t be considered big either. It was because of this that Max’s town had a very low crime rate, since nothing ever exciting happened here nobody batted an eye if Max went out late since it was safe, however now it didn’t seem so safe. Max had never met this man before he was a complete stranger.

“Hey kid, I asked if you were alright?”

“Oh..” Max gulped. “Yes… yes yes I am.”

“Geez what are you stuttering for, I’m not scary, I’m not gonna bite your head off.” the man said with an exasperated expression on his face.

“I’m sorry…I didn’t mean to. I’ve just never met you before.”

“Whoa kid, this may be news for you but there are plenty of people you’ve never met before out there in the big wide world. You need to go out more. You must be an introvert or something.”

Max didn’t know how to respond. He was a serious introvert but hearing this stranger tell him that made him feel a bit mad.

Max didn’t have time to compose himself before the young man’s big but slender hand was extended out to him. “The name is Ghost, Mr.Ghost. Pleasure to meet you.”

Max paused surprised… “umm I’m Max”

I’ve always thought it would be cool to meet a ghost in the park. I’ve always wondered what a ghost would be like and rather than something freaky and invisible I thought what if they’re pretty normal? They’re just living out their own lives and what not. Perhaps people have no idea they’re ghosts and it’s just a casual nice person you meet once or twice and have a pleasant conversation with. Maybe it’s that small kid you saw walking across the street one time or something. I don’t know but that’s the thought process that made me think of Mr Ghost.

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Flash Fiction, The adventures of Max

Max goes to the Park. pt.1

The night is black. The stars are hiding, perhaps the moon is also sleeping, as the only source of light is the artificial kind.

The streetlights illuminate the neighbourhood in white.

It is that unusual time of night when an unsettling silence exists, the kind of silence where even nature itself is still. It is as if a witch has cast a spell on this unassuming neighbourhood.

Nothing stirs, or so we thought, actually there is something moving, something stirring. Is it an animal? A ghost? A witch? No. It’s a Max.

Max is holding the leash of his Pitbull named ‘Meme’. He walks in this unsettling silence. Every step he takes makes a loud clattering sound on the uneven concrete. His subtle breathing and the ‘hum hum hum’ tune he whistles juxtapose against this quiet setting.

Max looks left then right. “Hey Meme wanna run around the park?”

Meme looks at Max and pants. “Geez why are you so desperate. Fine I’ll let your run around the park. But only a little, got it.”

Meme continues looking up at Max and panting. Max can’t help but smile at Meme and lead her into the park.

“Oh it’s pretty creepy here at night, ain’t it?”

Meme pants.

“We’ll only stay a little.”

Meme nods and pants.

Max un-clips Meme’s leash, takes a ball from his pocket and throws it. Meme barks excitedly and runs after the ball in a frenzy.

 

 

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Flash Fiction, The adventures of Max

Grey Sky, Grey Smoke

colourcigaretteI walk out the convenience store holding the carton of milk and pack of cigarettes my Mum had screamed at me to buy first thing this morning. It’s Sunday, the sky is a pleasant grey which makes the dull buildings look more dull. It creates this sinister and noir atmosphere that I love. This is my favourite weather. There’s quite an icy breeze which crawls up my sleeves flirtatiously. I feel its chill and pull my collar higher up and my gloves tighter.

Just as I turn in the direction of home I see a bunch of kids loitering outside the store, I know them, they’re locals and some of them go to my sixth-form. I wonder whether I should say hello but I’m too lazy to start a conversation so I’m about to walk past them when one grabs me.

They grab my shoulders and turn me around to face them, “If it ain’t Max.” she says.

“Oooh is that Max.” they all start coming closer to me and I know there’s no escape. I just sigh.

“I heard you ditched Mr. Richards class on Friday, you are so bad ass.” says a girl, her name is Shelly. She’s wearing a real short skirt and crop top and I can’t help but wonder if she’s cold.

“There is no reason staying in a class when I don’t want to learn.” I reply.

There are looks of praise from the others.

“You must think your pretty hot stuff, always ditching, being late and not hanging out with no one. Why don’t you join our group?” says one guy, his name is Aaron, he’s putting on a friendly smile.

Join his group, he must be ridiculous. They were just a bunch of kids loitering around, trying to act cool, and getting into trouble. Hanging out with them sounded stupid.

“I’ve got better things to do.”

“Well then go screw yourself, you ain’t wanted.” he yells at me, I’ve probably offended him, his friends back him up and start glaring at me. All I can do is sigh. It’s not like I wanted to talk.

I ignore them and turn around, take a cigarette from my pocket, light it and watch as the smoke rises. Every time I light a cig I feel the wind pick up around me, it’s as if my soul will be stolen away. It feels kind off thrilling, having one in my hand. I wonder why my Mother smokes tons of these everyday, I don’t get it. I walk and watch as it burns and then I throw it to the ground. I smash it under my foot.

 

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Flash Fiction, The adventures of Max

Another day in Class.

Mr. Richards is grumbling about Politics. He’s talking about the judiciary and making the class take the same notes over and over again. It’s times like this that Max really wonders why he chose this subject. He thought it would be more exciting, like learning about Terrorism and Human rights or Regionalism, but apparently that is for the next year. This year they are learning about UK politics, which is enjoyable in its own way, but Max feels disengaged. It is so difficult, he just can’t wrap his mind around the subject whatsoever. It is nearly exam time and he still can’t remember how legislature went through parliament and still hasn’t done any of his notes or mind-maps.

‘Perhaps I should be listening in this lesson’, Max thought, but the moment he thought it the idea ran out his ear. There is no point, it is a lost cause, he’d just drop it or worse come to worse he’d drop school altogether and take an apprenticeship. Max is the type of person that doesn’t stress about education or the future. As far as he is concerned, grades, or the type of job he got didn’t dictate the quality of life he would have in the future.

Max looks out the window, watching the clouds pass, then Mr. Richards, noticing his lack of attention, says, “Mr. Malis can you tell me how a judge can retain their neutrality?”

Max can only stare at him blankly. “I don’t know sir, but I do know I need to go to the toilet, so I’ll be back in a bit.” Although Max says this he is really just planning on ditching the class. So he picks up his bag and stands up.

At his words other students begin laughing, chatting, saying “typical Max”, “always dozing off”, “lol”, “exams are soon he should get his act together” and “is he actually leaving?” At their words and Max’s actions Mr. Richards’ face goes redder and redder with anger, but before he can scream Max is already skipping out the classroom.

Max goes into the quiet corridors and begins walking down the stairs. He stretches, yawns, and starts his journey home.

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Flash Fiction, The adventures of Max

A small mistake.

imagesThe wind blows in my face. It’s quite strong. When I say strong I mean really, really strong. It pushes my eyes open and my mouth wide. I find myself unable to walk forward so I hold onto a large streetlight for dear life. Where did this wind come from, it’s abnormal? As I gaze around it looks like I am the only one affected. A cat leisurely walks past me down the small country road. I see small leaves from a willow-o-wisp tree flutter over my head. How is that even possible when there is such a heavy wind?

Suddenly the wind grabs my feet, picks me up,  and it feels as if I am being pulled by a herculean force. Before I know it my hands can’t bear the strain, and I let go. Now I am being flung into the air. I try to grab hold of something, anything, but the wind rips me away.  Soon the houses look like miniature figurines. The farms and lush hills look like specks of green on a canvas.

I go up an up, until the Earth itself is the size of a round ball that I could pick up and chew. I’m in space, yet unlike the stories I’ve heard my eyeballs aren’t bleeding out of their sockets, I’m not freezing to death, and it feels like I can still breathe.

I travel higher and higher, the higher I go the faster the wind pushes me. I can’t even enjoy the beautiful view of the stars and their solar systems flashing past. It isn’t until there is darkness all around, not a star in sight, does it finally stop. I drop, letting out a shriek more high pitched than a veteran soprano at the Royal opera house.

Just as I feel like I’ll be dropped endlessly a man catches me. Or rather I fall on him, landing into his outstretched arms. He’s holding me bridal style. By the way he’s also naked, which is obviously not the weirdest thing out of all of this, but still pretty weird.

“Who are you?” he asks.

“Who am I?”

“Don’t answer a question with a question!” He yells, “What is your name, your birthday and your favourite colour?”

“Huh!?”

“Hurry up, I’m busy.”

“My name is Max Malis, my birthday is October the 31st, my favourite colour is….ummm….grey, I guess.”

“Well isn’t that stupid.”

“Huh!”

“Grey isn’t a colour it’s a shade, dumbass.” His rude reply stuns me into silence.

“Oiii!” he screams into the darkness, “You idiot, you picked up the wrong soul. I’m waiting for a Ray. Take this one back.”

After he finishes yelling he winks at me. “Sorry for all the hassle, just a small mistake. We’ll see each other another time. Bye.”

He tosses me and then I am being blown away again, except this time the wind is taking me down, down and down. We’re going back so fast I black out.

I open my eyes, I find myself in my bedroom, tucked in bed. It’s as if I never put on my uniform and left the house.

“Wake up! Wake up! Wake up!” It’s my Mother. She’s standing over me with an annoyed look on her face.

“It’s 9’o’ clock Max, don’t you have school today.” She’s holding the clock to my face, and when I see it, I scream.

Shit.

 

 

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Flash Fiction

Missing you.

I stare at the lake of ice. I feel my heart tighten. Memories of the past flooding back to me. When you would stare into my eyes, when we would hold hands, and we would glide together. Heaven itself would play a blissful tune as we danced. Our warm breathe would journey out into the freezing air intertwining together as we embraced. I remember our eyes being so close that with just the simplest of movements our lips would have been touching. Your soft lips, your doe eyes, your love. I miss all of it. I miss every part of it.

Now I am old.

I stare at this lake of ice with my thin cigarette, the only breathe intertwining with mine now, is its smoke. I inhale and exhale, inhale and exhale. Hopefully my lungs blacken some more. Perhaps if I continue smoking hundreds of these I’ll get to see you. Then in Heaven we could be dancing on ice together. I could smoke thousands of these cigarettes a day if it means seeing you again.

Now I hear laughter.

I stare at a young couple, holding each other as they step on the ice, their laughter and smiles make the bitter dawn feel warm. They’re so passionate that I feel like I’m in summer. The man kisses the woman, their woollen hats knocking against each other. She loses her balance and they both tumble on the ice. They roll on the surface hugging each other. I can’t help but see you as her, and myself as him. Unable to bear more, I turn and pull Yappy’s leash and make a solitary walk back home.

My heart aches.

 

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