Japandroids: Bringing the Heat Back to Rock and Roll?

Intro:

There’s a reason EDM has amassed such a large following over the past several years: it’s decently easy to make, it’s sounds great when played loud, and it makes for good dance music. Combined with a general music trend towards a more electronic/poppy sound, EDM has essentially pushed rock and roll away from the “party” environment, and almost into hiding. When I go to sporting events, I seem to hear less and less rock classics from bands like ACDC, and instead hear more modern, “hype” pop songs instead (Imagine Dragons and Twenty One Pilots do not count as rock and roll to me, I’m sorry).

Japandroids are making what I would describe as “party rock” good again. They’re fast, loud, and rough, making it perfect music to listen to while you just lose it on a dance floor. Their lyrics are what I would consider less “cliche and dumb,” but are definitely gauged for a younger audience, and filled with ideas of “F everyone else, we’ll just have fun.” If I were to recommend one current rock band to everyone, it would probably be Japandroids. I can confirm that they’re amazing live, all of their albums equally good, and I think they’re overall an enjoyable experience. Like the rest of bands I have covered so far on this blog, they’re lesser-known, but unlike the rest of the bands I have covered, I think the majority of people would like them a lot. So here’s a review/discussion of a band I think most of you will like, and maybe rock like this can come back as an anthem for the people.

Who and What Are They?

Brief Bio

The Vancouver rock duo met in college and began playing music together under the name Japandroids in about 2006. They’ve won several awards, including “Band of the Year” for 2012 by Spin. The Rolling Stone also gave their album, Celebration Rock, great critical praise. However, this critical praise hasn’t resulted in a large amount of commercial success. While they are known about by more than a few people, they are still signed to an indie label, and are thought of as an indie band.

They have broken up and planned breakups before, but they still continue to tour and make music. In fact, I saw them just a month ago in Kansas City. I do not know if they are currently working on anything, as they just released an album last year, but I imagine they’re planning something in the coming years if they can manage to stay together.

Music Style

As I said before, they’re loud and fast, and good for party environments, or just to “rock out” I guess. Their aggressive style of rock comes from many musical influences. They’ve cited their influences to mostly be a mixture of classic/folk rock (artists like Tom Petty), and punk rock (artists like the Replacements). This can certainly be heard in both their instrumentation and vocals.

They only use one guitar, and one drum set in most of their music. The guitarist, Brian King (right in picture), is the lead singer, while David, the drummer (left) sings mostly backup on their songs. But like the White Stripes, their lack of members does not lower their volume or energy level. I would argue it most likely enhances.

Their music has always been dominated more by the instruments, and less by the vocals, but their influence on the lyrics has continued to grow throughout their career as a band. The volume of the instruments has recently dyed down a little on their most recent album, but continues to be loud nonetheless. They’re an energizing, exciting young band that I hope gets more attention as they continue to make amazing music.

I encourage all of you, if you enjoy them, to break out some of their music the next time you have a large party/get together.

Favorites/Recommendations

Best Album: Celebration Rock

First Song I’d Recommend You Listen To: “Near To The Wild Heart Of Life”

Most “Hype” Song(s): “The Nights of Wine and Roses” or “The House That Heaven Built”

My Favorite Song(s): “Continuous Thunder” or “Young Hearts Spark Fire”

I also have constructed a playlist of what I believe to be their greatest songs, and I even ordered it to flow semi-well. If you are intrigued, or just want to listen to it, the order is:

  1. “The Boys Are Leaving Town”
  2. “Near To The Wild Heart Of Life”
  3. “The Nights of Wine and Roses”
  4. “The House That Heaven Built”
  5. “North East South West”
  6. “Younger Us”
  7. “Wet Hair”
  8. “Sexual Aerosol”
  9. “Heart Sweats”
  10. “Young Hearts Spark Fire”
  11. “Continuous Thunder”

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