Indie Spotlight: 虚弱。 (kyojaku)

河野まな       Mana Kohno           (Drums) 壷内佳奈      Kana Tsuboichi      (Guitar) 新井深雪      Miyuki Arai              (Bass) Umi              (Piano/Synthesizer/Glockenspiel)

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kyojaku are a young band that formed in Nov 2008 and started playing shows in Feb 2009. So it's pretty astonishing these 4 girls were invited to play at last year's Swan Song Council with less than a year's worth of live performances under their belt. Female post-rock/instrumental bands are pretty damn rare. Of course there's nisennenmondai and OOIOO (OOIOO has tribal chanting but they're essentially an instrumental band in my books). And it's too bad Ian's pals from Fukuoka: ミー愛さしみ recently called it quits (yeah, I realize the drummer's male).

So kyojaku are somewhat of an anomaly in a musical genre dominated by males. Their level of musicianship won't astound you... at least not now... but in the context of having been around for less than 2 years they are incredibly tight already. To be honest, if it were a bunch of guys playing this level of instrumental rock with simple arpeggios and clichéed arrangements I would probably avoid them like a peanut butter & natto sandwich. BUT the fact that they are girls willing to focus their craft on arguably the least sexy of rock styles is so profoundly awesome I can't help but cheer them on. In fact their music definitely has a feminine touch that gives it a serene yet majestic edge that an all-male inst band would never likely emulate. I haven't seen them play in a year but judging by the samples off their 2nd demo, they've made significant improvements from a technical standpoint. (The re-recorded version of Kabetosogy is sublime!) Nisennenmondai have been around 11 years, give kyojaku a few years to catch up. =)

Though I wish Kana and Umi would strive to flex their ovaries with some "mathier" riffs/melodies (ie sneak in some legato from time to time), the band manages to attain a lush complexity in sound when all the instruments are layered together. And I can't stress how incredibly tight they are for having played < 2 years.

I remember the first time I saw them at 9spices, they ended their set with an epic MONO-esque sonic fury and Mana threw her drumsticks to the ground and stormed off the stage. I thought that was pretty intense. Then I saw her do the same thing again at 2 different shows and felt she really needs to change up the routine a bit from time to time. For instance she could take out a chainsaw and slice Umi's keyboard in half. Just a thought.