Saturday, November 9, 2013

Artist of the Day: Melt-Banana

It's always humbling to discover a band that's been around for decades, writing, recording and touring nonstop since 1993, all completely without your knowing.  Thankfully, I was lucky enough to be introduced to Melt-Banana in 2011, a mere 18 years into their prolific career, and I've been on board ever since.  My oddly non-musical friend (who generally prefers Danny Elfman movie scores to actual albums) unexpectedly popped in a rip of "Chain-Shot to Have Some Fun" off of 2007's Cell-Scape to my stereo, and I was blown away.  The style is somewhere between hardcore, punk and noise, with blistering electronic drums driving each track that are built upon layers of distortion and synth.  With only two members, one would expect a mostly thin sound, but the combination of Yasuko Onuki's frantic high-pitched delivery and Ichirou Agata's industrial, effects-driven guitar tone creates a soundscape like no other.

Currently, Melt-Banana is on tour in the States supporting the release of their new record, Fetch (a likely contender for my end-of-the-year list), and having attended the stop in Chapel Hill earlier this week, I could not recommend the Tokyo band more.  Agata always wears a surgical mask on stage, since performing his music makes him prone to nose bleeds, and if that's not a brutal enough incentive to dive into the noise, I don't know what is.


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