Indie Spotlight: 股下89 (matashita89)

myspace homepage

股下89 are a 4 piece female band hailing from Kanagawa prefecture (i.e. somewhere near Yokohama). They play dark, emotive, barebones garage rock and to a degree prefer to conceal their appearance from the general public. They don't wear masks but similar to soutaiseiriron they value their privacy and project an air of mystery by not having photos or video footage of themselves readily available. Thanks to 3rd party sources, however, the elusive girls' appearance can be unveiled:

Matashita89 a very young band and although they play indie-garage now (Ian says they're too grungy) it'll be interesting to see if their sound matures in a different direction as they improve as musicians. They're actually fairly solid already but playing shows frequently and practicing in-between will only make them better. Both the bassplayer and drummer perform barefoot. This is something pandemic to Japanese bands that used to irk me but I see it so often it no longer phases me. ;) Back to the subject of concealing appearances, Era (bass) always performs wearing a hat with her head tilted down shoegazing (though she has no shoes to gaze at) to hide her face. On top of that 90% of the time she performs with her back to the audience. HOWEVER, she also plays in another band called Dots Dash (not to be confused with Ian's web handle: dotdash. hahaha) On Dots Dash' website there is actually a band photo that shows Era's face proving she's not actually a vampire or grossly disfigured.

The musicianship is lo-fi but solid; however, the best part about this band by far has to be the singing. Ajima has such a rad voice. Raspy, powerful and overflowing with pained emotion ala Janis Joplin. Listen to my favorite song by them (masao between walls) split into 2 parts:

[audio: | titles=masao between walls part 1]股下89 - masao between walls part 1
[audio:]股下89 - masao between walls part 2

(Actually, I absolutely love the bass in this song as well!!)

On stage the band is no-nonsense. Similar to Rin Toshite Shigure, they walk on stage, play their songs with next-to-no-banter and leave. (They also follow ling tosite sigure's book of romanization by preferring the spelling matasita89. Either that or they don't like having the word "sh*t" in the band title.) If you're looking for band-crowd interaction and developing some sort of bond, the cold mistress that is 股下89 says "F*ck you!" I like bands that are personable on stage but sometimes bands with a bit of attitude and swagger are interesting as long as they don't take themselves too seriously.

Here is a clip of their performance from the EMIROCKS festival:

And here are my videos from when I saw them @ Shinjuku Motion in February:

I became a fan of 股下89when I first saw these girls play at Swan Song Council last year. In fact I had a tough time deciding between 股下89 and Merpeoples for invitation to Next Music from Tokyo Vol 3. Merpeoples won out this time b/c they've been around longer and have more material (and are friendlier) but you might see this cameraphobic band (who would be a nightmare for me to promote) on a tour in the future. :)