Sakanaction is a band that is pretty good overall !
June 9, 2012 6:14 PM   Subscribe

Sakanaction is a band from Sapporo with a very stylish web site and some pretty unique music videos, especially but by no means limited to:

アルクアラウンド ("Arukuaround," a play on "walk around"), which was probably their first really famous video in Japan, and which was filmed in a single long shot
ネイティブダンサー ("Native Dancer"), which totally features the fancy dancing footwork of their lead singer. Totally.
目が明く藍色 ("An Indigo that Opens Eyes"), a long, melancholy, and surreal stop-motion video
アイデンティティ ("Identity"), a catchy and upbeat jam of sorts
『バッハの旋律をよるに聴いたせいです。』 ("It's Because I Listened to Bach's Music at Night."), a deeply surreal but extremely cool video that is a POWERFUL EARWORM
「僕と花」 ("The Flower and Me"), their newest single, released just two weeks ago
BONUS VIDEO: They've apparently become popular enough that they have been recruited for an identification spot for Space Shower TV, essentially basic cable Japan's version of MTV-back-when-they-played-music-videos.

If you're a fan of their hard-to-categorize music (rock? new wave? synth-rock-pop?) but don't live in Japan, don't despair! Don't even despair a little bit! They're available on iTunes, even in (at the very least) the US!
posted by DoctorFedora (12 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
One of my former students is a huge fan of this group. Glad I can finally see what it's about - thanks!

It helps that I know how the name of the band is pronounced, too. I've been reading the katakana as "Sakana Cushion." So I figured it was some sort of strange pun or joke or something, and just added it to the Very Long List of Things I Will Never Understand About Japan.
posted by MShades at 6:57 PM on June 9, 2012

Yeah, the "cushion" thing was an issue my girlfriend and I ran into at first too, actually.
posted by DoctorFedora at 7:19 PM on June 9, 2012

Not sure how I feel about this.
posted by sanka at 7:50 PM on June 9, 2012

"Pretty good overall" is an apt description. I would say "slightly odd" works better for me than "deeply surreal." To generalize, I'd say most of this kind of thing is less earwormish than it is generically poppy. Like this kawaii (cute to the power of cute) video: PONPONPON, or this similarly odd bit of J-Pop with far less money to spend on production values. Admittedly, my knowledge of the genre is pretty limited. But, then, everyone who says "your favorite band sucks" doesn't really know a lot about "your favorite band." I'm just being contrarian. Hey, look, I'm Malcolm Gladwell!
posted by kozad at 9:08 PM on June 9, 2012

If you're a fan of their hard-to-categorize music (rock? new wave? synth-rock-pop?)

Either I've heard too much music out of Japan or not enough, but I have a hard time finding anything here that distinguishes this band from regular J-Pop with a male vocalist. It's not candy-sweet, it's not goth Lolita, it's not visual kei or whatever, it's just regular, studio-produced J-Pop. I mean, hell, even Rolly and Scanch are more interesting in retrospect.
posted by Nomyte at 9:25 PM on June 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

Wait - I watched the 「僕と花」 video and it goes along like it's going to have a happy ending and then (spoiler) OH NOES TRAGEDIES! Now I'm consumed with wanting to know the lyrics. The flower! The mean flower killers! The giant flower person! What does it all mean...
posted by memewit at 10:57 PM on June 9, 2012

I first read this as Sanka Nation, and thought it might have something to do with Japan's coffee culture and also its tendency to elevate random parts of vintage Americana. I will now show myself out.
posted by oneironaut at 1:12 AM on June 10, 2012 [2 favorites]

You know, I think I've reached the point where calling something "Jpop" tells me exactly zero about the music I'm about to hear, other than a) it's Japanese and b) it's pop music. So, leaving out the country of origin when it comes to the style of music being played here, to me it sounds like Interpol or early Franz Ferdindand - indie rock with some definite Kraftwerk/Devo mechanical stylings. It's charming music, and I could see myself walking downtown on a sunny day listening to it. Thanks for sharing this.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:52 PM on June 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Heh - back when I considered a post on synth-rock-pop Japanese bands, Sakanaction was in my list. Glad you posted about them.

I ran into Sakanaction while searching for other Japanese bands to listen to after my beloved Supercar disbanded.
(From Supercar: Wonder Word, Recreation, Last Scene)
posted by needled at 12:52 PM on June 10, 2012

Some earlier Sakanaction stuff:
Mikadzuki Sunset
Shiranami Topwater
posted by needled at 1:21 PM on June 10, 2012

I, too, read サカナクション as sakana cushion for the longest time. Damn katakana.

And I'm glad to find another Supercar fan. Oh how I miss Supercar!
posted by emmling at 6:51 AM on June 11, 2012

Add me to the Supercar pile. Since moving to Japan no single thing has made more people I meet randomly light up in surprise than mentioning I like Supercar.

If you hadn't heard, half the band (including the vocalist, Furukawa Miki) got back together as LAMA. The singles are OK but their album failed to make an impression.
posted by 23 at 4:11 AM on June 13, 2012

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