Besides the fact that they’re one of the more internationally beloved and missed Japanese indie rock bans of the last while, any discussion around Kinoko Teikoku inevitably centers around their shift from Japanese indie UK.Project/Daizawa to global major EMI with 2015’s 猫とアレルギー (Nekoto Allergie), and the inevitable softening/broadening of their sound from their original shoegazey roots. It’s certainly been one of my talking points.
I recently came across this blog post from Leap250 on the occasion of the band’s dissolution in 2019 that talks about this move more from the perspective of their career trajectory in the domestic Japanese music market than their position as flag bearer of cool Japanese indie to the rest of the world. It’s a long but worthy read that makes sure to drive the nail that remains in my heart for missing not one but two visits to Toronto just a little bit deeper…
The band’s 2013 EP Long Goodbye wasn’t the band’s final indie release – their 2014 long player フェイクワールドワンダーランド (Fake World Wonderland) was their last for Daizawa – but it’s tempting to read into the name of the release as their knowing a change was a-coming; it’s still gloriously noisy, but you can already hear the melodicism coming further to the fore. Though only 20 minutes long, the EP is a continuous sweet spot with single “Umi to Hanataba” (“The Beach and Bouquet”) a bracing example of what happens when their two sides are in perfect balance.
And because it’s the sort of thing that just tickles me, here’s some guitar lessons for the song courtesy of akatsuki TABst, who goes to the trouble of making separate videos for both Chiaki Sato’s rhythm guitar and A-Chan’s lead parts. And my main takeaway from these, given how simple and perfectly arranged the parts are, is that I have been way overplaying for like 30 years.