Thee Michelle Gun Elephant Rodeo Tandem Beat Specter

This is another Japanese group with an underground buzz around them and if you give them a chance, you'll see why. Singing in their native tongue and making good use of their influences, they sound like a cross between the Jesus Lizard and early Dead Kennedys. It's a catchy, yet harsh and disjointed sound that may not pull you in on the first few listens. But keep listening and you'll find the catchy riffs bouncing around your head and find yourself humming along after the record is over. This is likely to grow on you like an exotic fungus. Inject the razor-sharp bluesy guitar of Futoshi Abe, who plays with a tight fierceness and desperation and things get even better. Top if off with the fierce vocals of Yusuke Chiba, who isn't afraid to shout himself hoarse yet doesn't shy away from the occasional melodic moments and you have a memorable set of songs. The seemingly mismatched words in the record and song titles make you wonder if these guys are part-time beat poets who haven't quite grasped the English language but use it whatever way they please anyway. (Alive!)