The best things in life are often the simplest. This is particularly true for Japandroids, a stripped-down Vancouver duo that eschews elaborate genre titles in favor of good times and fast beats. The group will bring its youthful rock buzz to the Blind Pig tonight, in support of its debut album Post-Nothing, which was released in April 2009 on Unfamiliar/Polyvinyl.
Tonight at 9 p.m.
The Blind Pig
Japandroids’s guitarist Brian King talked to The Michigan Daily as his band navigated the U.S.-Canadian border on its way to a concert in Montreal. The band’s current North American trek follows a year of constant touring, and Japandroids will continue through the spring and summer. After a successful four-day stint at Austin’s South By Southwest festival in March, Japandroids has intensified its steady stream of internet-buzz and undoubtedly gained a new legion of avid fans.
Hopefully, the group’s Ann Arbor show will be better than its last visit to the Great Lakes state.
“The Detroit show we played last year was one of the worst shows on the tour,” King admitted, “which is one of the reasons why we’re not playing there on this tour and we’re playing Ann Arbor instead.”
Although Japandroids’s current tour has been supported by label-mates Love Is All, Brooklyn-based psychedelic-rock troupe Bear In Heaven will join the band for its Ann Arbor stop — Bear In Heaven’s only appearance throughout Japandroids’s entire tour.
“We were both playing Ann Arbor on the same night, and instead of trying to compete against each other, we just decided to do a show together,” King explained. “That way people don’t have to pick whether they want to see one band over the other.”
All the better for Ann Arborites, who can witness how Bear In Heaven’s electro-tinged jams compliment Japandroids’s rawer guitar-and-drums sound.
When asked to describe his band’s aesthetic to the uninitiated listener, King was refreshingly simple.
“I think that we’re just a garage band,” he said.
Although King’s group doesn’t possess the British accents and snappy proto-hipster outfits that are normally associated with the garage rock scene, Japandroids’s simple chords and minimalist production certainly fit the bill.
King, along with Japandroids drummer David Prowse, doesn’t waste his time creating inventive new genres to define his band’s sound. So don’t expect them to be tied down to no-fi, post-punk or, God forbid, shit-gaze.
“There was this obsession with having a totally unique genre for your own band and finding some way to describe yourself that is different from everybody else, even if your music wasn’t different from everybody else,” he explained. “It was getting so ridiculous to the point where I just started sarcastically referring to ourselves as post-nothing. We weren’t post-anything. Post-absolutely-nothing.”
While this jab, which became Japandroids’s debut album title, is partly King’s way of mocking music journalists who attempt to encapsulate a band’s sound into a witty package, it’s also an expression of King’s sarcastic sense of humor.
His irreverent, tongue-in-cheek amusement is evident throughout Post-Nothing. Whether reminiscing about alcohol-drenched nights or expressing his desire to “french kiss some French girls,” King’s lyrics typically profess the glory of youth at the expense of the boring 9-to-5 routine.
Despite his own grueling tour schedule, King believes that these themes are still present in his daily life. Ultimately, his songs are about “escapism” and he firmly believes they can be relatable to high schoolers and 30-plusers alike.
“I think there are elements of the lyrics and the themes of the record that supercede age and supercede what’s going on at every given moment,” he said. “They’re really general and really universal in some way.”
Japandroids’s tour schedule has prevented the group from working on new music, but King believes he will return to jam sessions in the fall. In the meantime, the band will release past material throughout the year in the form of 7” records.
Before the band returns to the studio in the fall, it will continue to tour throughout the U.S. and Europe with stops at Bonnaroo Music Festival, Sasquatch! and Primavera Sound in Barcelona. With countless shows behind them, including a sold-out appearance at Manhattan’s Bowery Ballroom last Thursday, Japandroids will surely give an energized performance tonight at the Pig.