I have no idea what WordPress or various socials will do with the title of this post. I’m curious.
Kinoko Teikoku is one of the acts that is revered in the world of Japanese shoegaze, though that’s usually qualified by the fact that while they started out in that genre in their early releases, they began to shift out of that pigeonhole to more conventional rock stylings by their third record, 2014’sフェイクワールドワンダーランド (Fake World Wonderland).
But that just makes their first two full-lengths – 2012’s 渦になる (Become A Whirlpool) and 2013’s Eureka – that much more hallowed. Unlike a lot of the Japanese shoegaze and dreampop acts which inject their sounds with the ultra-melodicism of J-Pop, Kinoko Teikoku (translates to “Mushroom Empire”, if you were wondering) delivers more moodiness and angst, which guitarist/vocalist Chiaki Satō delivers exquisitely. This video for the title track of Eureka captures their vibe pretty damn well.
Of course, like all of my recent Japanese musical discoveries, Kinoko Teikoku are now defunct, having split in 2018 and leaving behind five albums. But that doesn’t bother me nearly as much as knowing that they not only played Toronto in the past, but they did so three times – 2013 at The Rivoli and 2014 at The Rivoli and Lee’s Palace as part of the Next Music From Tokyo series; a showcase series dedicated to bringing up-and-coming Japanese acts to Canada which I knew about but never got around to attending and which has also closed up shop as of last year; Mass Of The Fermenting Dregs is another J-gaze outfit they brought over on three occasions that I had no idea about. Just goes to show – no matter how plugged in you think you are… you know nothing.