Tag Archives: art

Cyborgs, Puppies, and Steak: Meet BakuBakuDokin

Tokyo is the definition of sensory overload. The smell of neon lights burning fist sized insects. The touch of a drunk salary man sleeping on you, while you suffer the long journey home on the last train. The taste of the convenience store, because that’s pretty much the only place in Japan that will take your debit card. If you are in need of the sights and sounds BakuBakuDokin (バクバクドキン) is an electronic hip hop duo that provides all that and more; maybe more than you would want.

Yui and Naoko, like most best friends, became close because Yui never brought her own book to Psych class. Their relationship soon expanded past the classroom and they ended up spending every waking second with one another listening to CDs in Yui’s brother’s room, having sleepovers at love hotels, or just people watching from said love hotels. It wasn’t long before Naoko and Yui combined their musical talents and formed BakuBakuDokin. Their first show was at an old folk’s home in Setagaya. Since then, BakuBakuDokin has become a darling of Tokyo’s underground music scene.

A BakuBakuDokin concert is close to a religious experience, if your religion was some sort of cult that worshipped aliens that sort of resemble a mix between puppies and frightening computer generated cyborgs. A song about how fun haircuts are is played in the same set as a song about alien invasions. The beats are consistently funky. High energy dance synths meet chilled rap rhythms. The videos playing on screen call you back to your favorite early 90’s cartoon, but only after they have come back from hell as shells of their former selves. They aren’t afraid to jump into the crowd, point at you, and make you dance by the pure force of their own grotesque cuteness. The only thing you know you are going to get out of a BakuBakuDokin concert is that you never know what you are going to get out of a BakuBakuDokin concert. That chaos however, is extremely polished, like a diamond in a minefield.

Some of BakuBakuDokin’s most notable works are actually collaborations with some of Japan’s biggest names. They have been sources of inspiration for big names in Japanese music production like hip-hop greats “RIP-SLYME” and “Towa-Tei.” As part of their early career they even appeared internationally in the very Japanese video game “Touch My Katamari” as guest vocalists. “I’ve known I wanted to work in music ever since I was a little girl.” It’s no surprise that Yui, who works on the music production side of the group, has had musical aspirations from a young age. Aside from producing for “BakuBakuDokin” she has also recently acted as a producer for the Idol group “Ebisu Private Middle School” (私立恵比寿中学) with the song “Chupacabra” on their new single. “I think we originally attracted fans that were interested in cute and fun songs, but I think lately the crowds we are getting are also becoming very interested in the technical side of our music as well.”

Check out one of their music videos here:

Japan far and wide is known for its outlandish commercials, brightly colored cartoons and sexual eccentricity but few people realize just how much of this is considered subculture against the very conservative mainstream culture of Japan. By the standards of Japanese society these qualities are not often seen or acknowledged in the day in the life of an average salaryman, housewife or student. In fact these subcultural qualities are seen as quite deviant by the mainstream. That’s what make BakuBakuDokin, and other bands like it, hard to swallow for many people in the East Asian country.

However that’s where BakuBakuDokin draws much of their creative strength and inspiration. When the traditional cultures and customs are so strongly held by a people, the counter-culture will have no choice but to become just as strong. Its two sides of the same coin that can’t be avoided, and that is where a huge percentage of great art is born from. Japan is interesting because people of other countries see the Japanese people through the counter culture lenses immediately and have to be taught about the mainstream. There are very few other countries, if any that have to deal with an image like that.

American underground music has become very much the mainstream. If you want to hear the top 20 hits, these days instead of going to the pop station, you find yourself turning into, the now ironically named, alternative stations. When an alternative choice becomes a mainstream choice what does that say for the culture that is consuming said media? Will we eventually be listening to the Taylor Swifts of the world instead of bands like “Passion Pit” to piss off our parents and rebel?

I have found in my experience that Japan also has had similar transformations over the years. Idol music used to be considered music exclusively for a certain subculture who enjoyed obsessing over girls they would never ever in a million years get a chance to date. However those same groups that were once marketed towards a core audience of freaks and weirdoes can only be found performing on stage in your grandmother’s living room. So you have to wonder if bands like BakuBakuDokin will ever be accepted by your grandmother. Surely it’s a strange thought to have now, but in a number of decades you will be the grandparent.

BakuBakuDokin is a band that ranks performance as highly in importance as the music, and it shows. You can tell from their music videos that they aren’t only musicians but artists with a strong sense of what makes Tokyo and the humans that inhabit it unique. As for now they are continuing to be the freaky band you haven’t heard of yet, and I recommend you check them out in their freaky prime before they start getting airtime on the soft rock stations and lose their streetcred, as we all eventually will. If you have a penchant for girls in pajamas and dog masks rapping about how delicious steak is, there isn’t a band better suited for you than BakuBakuDokin; your guides through the beautiful glittering hell that is Tokyo.

More on these babes can be found at their spooky website: http://bakubakudokin.com/

Our guest blawger, Wolfgang is a hella gay senior at UW, currently lost in space and time (a side effect of living in Tokyo). He spends most of his time listening to noises, turning his jeans in cut-offs and looking at his blog and thinking that he should really write something at some point. The sad sad, excuse for a blog can be found at discowolf.svbtle.com. It’s about Japan and feelings.

A Night at Neumos: Giraffage Concert Review

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This last week I hopped on a bus and headed to Capitol Hill to see Giraffage play at Neumos. I had seen Giraffage once before when he played a free show at UC Berkeley, and even with a pathetic sound system he still rocked it.

I had never been to Neumos before, but I was happy with the layout. It was a small enough venue to provide an intimate concert experience while still being large enough for everyone to have room to dance.There was a fairly large balcony area for those who were 21 or older in addition to the large area of floorspace for all ages to dance.

We arrived hella early, I’m not sure why, but when we got there the very first opener was still on. He was a short kid who refused to put his hat fully on his head named DJ HoJo. He was not bad I suppose; we only saw about ten minutes of his set so its hard to assess his talent. He played mainly electronic, bass heavy PLUR music. For those who are unaware what PLUR is, it’s basically just a thing that raver kids say, although in reality it stands for Peace, Love, Unity, and Respect. PLUR music can be defined by artists such as Porter Robinson and Zeds Dead.

When DJ HoJo got off the stage, Spazzkid came on, looking very hipster with his thick-rimmed glasses and perfectly sculpted manbun (please make this trend stop people). Spazzkid’s set consisted mainly of somewhat slow, dancey electro stuff. I wasn’t a huge fan of this set mainly because most of the songs he played were hard to dance to. There was usually no steady rhythm with which you could move to. Additionally, about halfway through his set he turned into some sort of radio host. He said distracting stuff into the microphone between each song. “New shit,” “Shout out to Porter Robinson,” “Shout out to Ta-Ku,” “New stuff right here.” I swear he must have sent a shout out to each least seven different artists. He did do some random singing that I found went well with the tracks he was playing and was fairly entertaining. However, all in all, I was not heartbroken to see him leave the stage.

Then Giraffage took the stage. He was humble as hell, speaking really quietly into the microphone: “hi guys….” pause for applause, “my name is Giraffage” another pause for applause, “I’m gonna play some music for you” and then he got into it. I, as well as many others in the crowd, was very happy to hear him play a lot of his older tracks, most of which were off of the “Comfort” album. Thankfully he did not follow in Spazzkid’s footsteps and blurt random crap into the microphone; he let the music do the talking. His set had enough groovy songs to get people dancing, only ever interrupted by build ups and drops. He played a couple of really old EDM tracks that were popular like seven years ago. I wasn’t super into this but I guess other people were. I have to admit that the bass was definitely not loud enough on the speakers, or perhaps the treble was too loud, but either way there were some sounds that were just too abrasive and some drops that just didn’t slap hard enough.

His set ended after about an hour, and then after leaving the stage momentarily, he was summoned by the crowd for an encore, which he utilized to play his Janet Jackson remix of “Someone to Call My Lover”. This is my favorite Giraffage track so naturally I was pretty stoked when he played it. After the song ended he received another well-deserved round of applause and the show was over. I enjoyed myself, and it seemed that other people did as well. I would see him again if given the chance.


Harrison MacDonald

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Check out more music and news from Rainy Dawg Radio @ RainyDawg.org!

Help Wanted: COHO’s IndieGoGo for a Debut EP

Aww look at these cuties! All I wanna do is give ‘em my hard-earned wages

It’s been three years since COHO entered Seattle’s music scene. Since then, they’ve been performing at venues around the city to make ends meet, try out new music, and show off their chops. Of course, this can only last so long before an audience member asks, “where can I buy your music?”

The hard and fast truth of the music industry is that, without money to record, there is no music to buy! This is where fans (both new and old) can help! Yesterday, the band (formerly known as the Coho Mountain String Ticklers) kicked off an IndieGoGo campaign to raise money for their debut EP.

Check out the promo video below (caution – peak cuteness levels await):

Want to help? Contribute and earn perks on the IndieGoGo Campaign page!

Besides the simple satisfaction that comes from helping six Seattle-ites make their dreams come true, your contributions will also earn you a collection of the following gifts:

  • Free downloads
  • A signed CD
  • Free tickets, t-shirts, and physical copy of the EP

In addition to these perks, there are some cooler (and cuter) perks like…

  • A (homemade) wood-burned coaster
  • A date with a band member
  • An invitation to the listening party
  • A song about YOU
  • A private show!

I have been following this band since one of their first shows and I am so happy to see them ready to record something that we can enjoy. As both a faithful listener to folk music and member of the Seattle music community, I believe in the power of music from the heart.

COHO’s music is a part of our community and they deserve all the support they can get. “Success for us is not in dollar signs or in playing prestigious venues; rather, it is defined by whether people can listen to our music and feel it,” the band states on their IndieGoGo page. “That is what we hope for, and that is the purpose of this campaign.”

Check out the band’s website, facebook, youtube, etc. and spread the love! You never know when you’ll be in the same position, needing help to make the art that this world needs to hear/see/etc.

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DJ Desman

Tech N9ne: Aw Yeah? (InterVENTion)

My hometown hero Tech N9ne, the rap god from Kansas City, unleashed his new single, “Aw Yeah? (interVENTion),” which serves as the intro to his upcoming album, Special Effects, due out on May 5. The new album follows up 2014’s Strangeulation, which debuted atop the indie and rap charts, and in the Top 5 on the Billboard 200. 

Until now, Tech N9ne has never released an intro to his album as a single because he prefers to leave the audience guessing about the overall direction of the project. He made his first-ever exception to that rule with “Aw Yeah? (interVENTion)“ because, according to Tech, “the world needs to hear this.” 

It’s easy to understand that sense of urgency when you hear his bars, which touch upon pressing issues like inequality as well as Tech’s irritation with his musical peers. 

The song is opened with low, rumbling whispers that will eventually propel you into an opera/beat ensemble as Tech starts to rap. Check it out.

I’m a long-time Tech fan, but I really love this single because not only does it sound great, but its lyrics also differ from a lot of the other rap and hip hop in the music industry today. I like that Tech chose to write about different social problems that aren’t traditionally addressed in the entertainment industry, such as the events in Ferguson, Staten Island, Libya, Benghazi, Syria, Nigeria and Australia. Tech’s not holding back.

Also, in the middle of the single Tech mentions Jamaican rapper Zuse. Reportedly, Zuse is accompanying Tech on his Special Effects tour, along with artists Chris Webby, King 810 and label mates Krizz Kaliko and MURS.

"All my Technicians who have been patiently waiting for this, get ready for your minds to be blown! We made some dreams come true on this album. You WILL NOT be disappointed. It’s a beautiful thing.” -Tech N9ne

Watch for Tech’s Special Effects to drop in early May, and keep your eyes peeled for his upcoming tour dates.


nilorap

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Check out more music and news from Rainy Dawg Radio @ RainyDawg.org!

Jarryd James – “Do You Remember”

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Almost a month ago, Jarryd James (broody-looking guy in above photo) released his debut single, “Do You Remember”, confirming his status as an artist to keep an eye out for in the near future. 

The track is a lovely mixture of genres–a little bit indie, a little bit electronic, a dash of folk. James, who is from Brisbane and is currently opening for Angus & Julia Stone on their Australian tour, reminds me a lot of James Blake and James Vincent McMorrow. Vocally and lyrically, he is definitely on par with both. 

That falsetto. 

The gentle riff that begins this song is catchy and calming, and James’ breathy, soulful voice on top of the deep, rhythmic percussion that kicks in is enough to make anyone feel at peace. I dare you not to sing along when the chorus rolls around for the second time.

It seems unfair to be left hanging after such a great debut, but I strongly suggest following Jarryd James on Soundcloud and/or Twitter to stay posted on what’s to come–if this single is any indication, it’s going to be unreal. 

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malz

New artist sparks my heart: JUNGLE FIRES

In this dreary period of somber winter nights, I’ve felt a little melancholy. I’m pining for sunshine, for sweet summertime nights, for nights around the campfire drinking some lemonade. I’m pining for the days of cool relaxation and no stress. Mostly, I’m pining for cool, fresh new music, and I think I found it.

So… we should meet JUNGLE FIRES.

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A New York based duo composed of artists Menashé David Israel & Kéren Or-Tayar, JUNGLE FIRES is a brand new artist that puts indie pop and indie soul on the map. With beautiful piano harmonies,some chill electric guitar, and soulful vocals, their debut album Bliss Point is sure to take center
stage.

It’s a six-track album with its number one track creating
the perfect interest into their record. Brilliant song, “Nothing Can Be
Changed,” JUNGLE FIRES builds this track up softly, quietly, but very, very
clean. Kéren, one of the artists in the duo, dominates in terms of vocals with Menashé
backseating it. However, the two harmonize well, and Kéren’s voice is beautiful
as she rolls on with excellent control. This track is full of acoustic
harmonies and some nice piano melodies that hints to me of some jazz
influences. This song sounds cool and all, right? Yet, I think what makes it
excellent is its free-flowing rhythm and very distinct lack of catchy “boppiness.”
This is no Alex & Sierra piano pop duo in which you take hold of the
predictable chorus and happily sing along. The melody in this track takes turns
you wouldn’t expect, but the artists do it very masterfully with soft vocals
and strong instrumentals reminiscent of instrumentalist artist Explosions in the Sky. Ending the first
track with some echoing whistles, I got the campfire, classy soul vibe and I
felt tranquil.

I’m not going to spoil the entire album for you, as you should
take a listen for it yourself. But, we definitely need to talk about my favorite
track off this new record, “It’s Okay.” There are so many reasons I love this
track. It’s a little more fast-paced, and we hear more of Menashé’s vocals and
it’s great. But more than that, the two did something awesome, and added horns into
this track. The trumpet that’s going on gives this Middle Eastern/Spanish vibe,
and it creates this song as jazz, soul, and pop all in one. I think what I love
most of about this track is its ethnic reminiscence and its musical diversity.
They have soft vocals, and they have good vocals, but I could definitely see the two going off in this direction that is
very acoustic guitar pop, very cookie cutter radio style. And the fact they are
doing their completely own sound makes me very happy.

The rest of the album is pretty fantastic for a debut. Their
October 2014 single, “Hold,” is a track that is a bit more folk based, but has a bit
more traditional harmony with Kéren leading the vocals. I like it though, and I’m
glad they put in the record. “Open Eyes” is beautiful as Menashé softly almost
whispers “Shouting as loud as a siren of war/ Just to desperately reach to your
world” over the hints of tambourine, violin, and guitar. “Best of Me” ends the record
on a fantastically high note, with a much more pop vibe, and I’m not complaining.
These guys know what they’re doing.

Agh, have I converted you yet? Hopefully, enough for you to
listen to their album here:

http://junglefires.com/releases

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Get it now while it’s hot.

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Ariana Rivera

Rad Report: An Ethereal Night at the ECT with Moses Sumney

After local artists Crater and Shaprece rocked out with their high energy and expressive vibes, Moses Sumney assumed his position in front of the audience at the Ethnic Cultural Center on Wednesday, January 28th. Just his very presence sent ethereal sensations throughout the venue, creating a kind of piercing silence that is only heardwhen crowds of people are in complete and utter awe of whatever it is they find
themselves collectively part of. “There’s gonna be a lot of surprises tonight,
for both of us,” Moses Sumney said with a laugh as he grabbed the mic and
started to test the waters on the stage. His sly remarks gave the impression that
he may have been a tad nervous, but the moment he started playing music it
became clear that nerves were most certainly not a factor in his phenomenal
performance. Although I might not have plastic wings like Moses Sumney (as
heard in his song “Plastic”), I felt myself float as he began to experiment
with his inspiring soul/folk sounds.

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These
sounds began to develop into loops of his voice, overlapping each other—resulting
in a trancelike, overwhelming foundation for the musical journey he was
beginning to create for the audience. I’ve never been to another show where I
felt like I was watching art being created in front of my eyes and ears, but
Moses Sumney really achieved that with the techniques he used to create his
beautiful compositions. Aside from the use of a guitar, the only other
instrument Moses used on stage was his voice and his looping tool to create a
unique experience unlike any other that I’ve felt at a live show. Each
individual noise coming out of his mouth and guitar somehow developed into
beautiful songs that surrounded the audience in an unearthly bubble that popped
in each audience member’s mind.

His
opening song—“Dwell in the Dark”—was one of his more upbeat folky songs that
created liveliness throughout the ECT. This and his next song, “Man on the Moon,”
set the tone for the rest of the night as being a soulful and unique one on the
UW campus. As this song came to an end, he held one high note and began looping
his voice into a really interesting mix of sounds. The tones in this mixture
became almost anxiety-inducing in the best possible way—causing listeners to
feel a bit uncomfortable in their seats as they felt the growing sublime energy
swallow and capture their senses. The Ethnic Cultural Center turned into a cave
of creation, full of reverberating sounds including beat boxing, clapping, and
intonations of Moses Sumney’s heavenly voice (as can be seen and heard below).

He later went into playing one of
my favorite songs of the night—“Worth It”—and joked about it being written
about tuition increases (hehe, thanks for keeping a positive attitude about
tuition rises, Mr. Sumney). The biggest crowd pleaser of the night definitely
came when Moses began playing “Plastic,” one of his most played songs on his Soundcloud. He eased into playing this mellow and sexy tune while receiving cheering
from the entire audience to continue his outstanding work. There was one point
during the song that he began to actually whisper, almost teasing listeners to
beg for more of his smooth voice.

Throughout
the night, I felt myself become emotionally controlled by the powerful hold
that the music had over me; however, the saddest part came when Moses Sumney’s
music had to stop. As he exited with a standing ovation (no surprise there), I
found myself wishing for an encore more than I had ever in my entire life. Unfortunately
there was no encore, but I did get a chance to briefly speak with Moses after
the show and get a picture with this up and coming legend.

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Incase you weren’t able to come
around this time to experience this one-of-a-kind musician; I strongly recommend
you check him out the next time he’s in Seattle (which lucky for you is on
February 17th at Neumos)! You won’t regret it—I can speak from experience when I say that it will be an ear-opening performance to remember as last Wednesday’s was at the ECT.

Artist Profile: Let’s talk about Doja Cat

Whoaaaa, so I’m completely out of my element.

Actually, I was really wanting to share with you another reallyhippie indie, guitar playing artist that “seemed incredibly raw” as I like to
say. But enough of my uppity attitude, we should switch it up sometimes, you know?

Let’s talk about Doja
Cat
.

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I’m not super into hip-hop or rap so when I became intrigued
with Doja Cat, I was a little inspired. Not much is known about her, really, but
born Ami Zindale, she’s an 18 year old singer/rapper and L.A. based. She’s
young and she’s new, but she’s got this weird trippy vibe about her, and I
really just dig it.

This EP Purr! that
Doja Cat has out is relatively new, released in August 2014. It’s got 5 tracks,
and I’m not a fan of all of them, but her sound is just so different and airy and
so blended with soul vibes, I can’t help but like it.

“So High” was a single Doja Cat released prior to her EP, in
April, and is one that definitely gives off the impression of being high. It’s
dreamy, kind of psychedelic with the beats she uses, and her voice is kind of
just this high lilting mystery that pulls you in. It’s not a catchy, boppy
song, but definitely when she sings over and over again “You get me so high/You
get me so high” I catch myself grooving along to her.

It’s good, listen. It’s really trippy.

Okay, so then we continue on to the rest of the EP and it’s
pretty much along this vibe. She has this absentminded, lazy, spacey way of
singing, but once in a while, she dips into smooth straight rap like in “Nunchucks”
get this slower, soul Nicki Minaj
feel to her tracks.

Honestly, I have no idea why I like this, but I just do. I
listen to a track like “Beautiful” and it’s dreamy and mixes her smooth rap with
hippie beats in the background.

I really like “No Police.” She mixes her rap stylings with
some really chill beats, and her overall style makes it one of the best tracks
on the EP. But I also like “Control,” with her slow builds and real, breezy,
echoes that just relax you.

Doja Cat is consistent within her EP and that’s good, but
she’s definitely different. I think that’s what it is. She’s weird. She’s
different, I’ve never really heard anyone like her before and her originality
of mixing soul, rap, and R&B together is intriguing. She mixes her little
cat references into her rap and just randomly purrs or meows in her tracks, so
you definitely can’t escape Doja Cat’s identity. It’s weird. It’s cool.

Or maybe I’m the weird one. Either way, check her entire EP
out here:

Ariana Rivera

ASUW & Rainy Dawg Radio Present: Moses Sumney + Shaprece & Crater @ UW ECT TOMORROW

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The Associated Students of University of Washington Arts & Entertainment and Rainy Dawg Radio (yours truly) has invited Moses Sumney to play at the Ethnic Cultural Theater TOMORROW, January 28.

Sumney’s lighthearted demeanor lets his music envelop the listener. Seamlessly flowing between his drawn out ooo’s and aah’s and falsetto lyricism, his music is faded. In listening to Moses sing, we are forced to concentrate on more than just the initial comfort he brings.

During the show, expect plenty of meditations and sudden realizations as Sumney brings his heart to the stage. His music, as well as songs from the whole lineup, are available for streaming on ASUW A&E’s SoundCloud.

Playing before Moses will be Crater, one of Seattle’s most danceable experimental electronic acts. Band members, CBG x KFG, are joined onstage by Gomez, Gordon, Roth, Umble, according to the band’s facebook page. The craterbabes (as they are known on social media) rely on guitars and ambient electronic sounds strung together to generate an existential groove. Plus, they seem pretty excited about performing for us:

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Shaprece will also be making an appearance as she sheds her general collection of instruments for a more “stripped set”. In her previous acts that I’ve seen, the sheer amount of sound from her band provided the perfect driving force behind Shaprece’s amazingly talented vocals. For this performance, however, she’ll be leaving most of that sound behind. It will be exciting to see how this change affects her sound and dynamic range!

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Don’t miss out! RSVP on Facebook or buy your tickets now on Brown Paper Tickets ($5 for students, $10 for everyone else). If you can’t make it, no worries! Like ASUW A&E and Rainy Dawg Radio on Facebook to stay up to date with the latest in local music and events.

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DJ Desman

Throwback Thursday: Mikky Ekko / HAERTS Show (Ani Joon Review)

Something you may have missed over the break… Rainy Dawg Radio’s Ani Joon is sonically enlightened by Mikky Ekko’s performance in Seattle.

A local performance review (featuring audio and video from the show)!

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Ania Kamkar