I’ve been walking to and from work lately. It’s a long walk, but train service has been sporadic at best, and incomprehensibly crowded at worst. Imagine, if your patience and fancy allows, a subway platform completely filled to the brim with human forms. Picture, if you will, a solid mass of man spreading from the inside of a stopped train out onto the platform, over into the stairs, and back out of the train station into the street. I tried to brave those conditions, but the attendant informed me the wait to get onto a train was just north of one and a half hours. The ride to my office takes 10 minutes.
And so I walked. I have mind attention deficit disorder; I cannot be left to my own thoughts for protracted periods of time, so during the trek to my office I turned on my MP3 player, which also conveniently doubles as a radio. I opted for some local flavor, and switched on the FM tuner. A staggered, lilting guitar riff invaded my ears. It had a bit of an indie vibe to it. Soon lyrics joined it, drums, bass, etc., and after three minutes the song ended having left me wanting, as in more. The DJ informed me through a mixture of English and English accented grammatically perfect Japanese I had just listened to 狭心症 (heart attack) by Radwimps (not “The”).
After a long day at the office, followed by another long walk back to the homestead, I dove into the cybernet to find out more about these alleged Radwimps. Through the mercy of the great giver Youtube, I was able to watch videos for more of their songs, including おしゃかしゃま, 嫌ん and DADA. The pickings, though cursory, pleased me, and so through the even greater mercy of the all-gifter The Pirate Bay, I soon had the complete Radwimps discography downloaded and ready for consumption. The band is now listed as one of my favorites on Facebook, and am not one to use Facebook lightly. Their name is a portmanteau of the slang terms “rad” and “wimp,” because…I guess they’re cool cowards.
They’ve been around for about 8 years, and have been fairly productive, releasing 6 studio albums. Their early work is less inspired, more standard punkish rock. More discerning auditory palates will notice a hint of Ska influence. However, this does not make their early work any less enjoyable, just…less deep. Their first album, which is eponymous (actually eponymous, not titled “eponymous” like the R.E.M CD where they tried to be clever), is pretty damn fun. Try out 人生出会い. Albums 2-4 are all pretty good, and then we reach their 5th album, アルトコロニーの定理, which was their breakthrough smash hit. Lots of good songs of that album; I’ll let you do the research on your own.
Their latest, 絶対絶命, just dropped last week, and might be their best. Two of the above linked songs are from the album; give it a go.