J-Pop Sunday – The Telephones

Right, hello! It’s summer. That means it’s unbearably hot. Which means my motivation to do anything plummets to zero. Summer also means festivals. You know, live music? And these four guys from Saitama city have a sound and energy that would shine when played out in a field on a sunny day. Well, I think so anyway.

Wizards!

Quick Guide:
Act Name: The Telephones
Line-up:
Akira Ishige (石毛輝) – Vocals, guitar & keyboard
Ryohei Nagashima (長島涼平) – Bass & chorus. (He’s kind of cute…)
Nobuaki Okamoto (岡本伸明 ) – Keyboard & chorus
Seiji Matsumoto (松本誠治) – Drums
Years Active: 2005 – Present
Genre: Um…Slightly electronic, shouty Engrish new-wave indie rock? I don’t even know any more. We’re pretty far down the rabbit hole by this point.
Kaito’s Choice Tracks: “Love&DISCO” (2008) “Yeah Yeah Yeah” (2011), “Keep your DISCO!!!” (2013)
Favourite Word: “Disco”

The Telephones formed in 2005 and for their first few years performed at venues local to their hometown of Saitama and nearby Tokyo. Their sound took off and in 2007 they released their first mini album. By 2009 the band were known across the land having performed at major Japanese music festivals including “Rock in Japan” and “Summer Sonic” as well as television appearances.

Right, let’s dive into the music. One thing that I find quite novel about The Telephones is that – although it might not seem like it – a lot of their songs are English. (Wait… Does that mean I can’t class them as J-Pop?!) Although just because they’re in English it doesn’t mean that they make any sense. Take note of the opening line for “Yeah Yeah Yeah”.


Oh Japan! Stay Japan-y.

Yes, the opening lyric to “Yeah Yeah Yeah” was indeed “I want to be your shoe box.” It could be some kind of mad metaphor. Or a parody, the video for “Keep Your DISCO!!!” demonstrates the band’s fondness for parody. The video is nothing more than spoofs of Japanese television programmes and advert tropes. The song itself falls into the Japanese rock safe zone of “Head-nodding riffs and easy to learn and shout chorus.”


The [Well Known Chain of Japanese Electronics Shops]* parody is my favourite.

“Love&DISCO” is a much mellower track. Again with a silly video. And I like it. I’m sorry, that’s all I can think to say: The Telephones are very much a band that speak for themselves in their music and in their videos anything I could say would be somewhat redundant. So I ask you just to listen and enjoy.


The video for “Love&DISCO”

More from The Telephones:
Official website: http://thetelephones.net
Twitter: https://twitter.com/thetelephonesjp
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thetelephonesjp
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/thetelephonesjapan

*I’ve given Yodabashi Camera more than enough free publicity over time. They’re not getting any today!

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