Open Your Ears!
In my spare time, I’m usually looking at international music websites (lots of British, Japanese and Korean fansites and record label sites) trying to find new and interesting music, because the American rock scene continues to bore me. I take the good with a lot of the bad, but occasionally I find a few spectacular bands that are on the verge of greatness.

Here is my top 5 list of the best rock songs, records or bands I have heard this year outside of the U.S.

1) The Bawdies-
If you haven’t heard of the Bawdies, I think you might very soon. If there was a Japanese rock band ready to take the world by storm, it would be these guys. They have a retro 50’s and 60’s sound, they sing in English, and their older material almost mimics the Beatles. Now before you roll your eyes, you NEED to hear the lead singer, ROY’s voice. You’ve never expect this voice to come out of this dude. It is deep and raspy and leans the group more towards The Strokes than the Beatles. Their current release is “It’s Too Late” and will be off a forthcoming major label release. Watch them at the Victor Music Channel on youtube.

2) Doimoi-
I’m championing this Japanese band because I love their second album “Dialectic and Apocalypse” (released in October) to bits and pieces. It is in constant rotation in my car, and I think the song “Olympic” is one of the best songs of the year.  Doimoi makes me happy. They represent and bring back the 90’s rock music from hard rock bands that were just a little harder than grunge and different enough to be alternative from the alternative. For Example: Clutch, Helmet, and Primus and the darker tracks and deeper cuts of Soundgarden, STP, Quicksand and the Foo Fighters.These bands will never get heard on your standard classic rock stations on the radio today.  Doimoi takes all of these sounds in and spits out a wonderful 30 minute blast of record. Take a listen to Doimoi’s single “Olympic” at their myspace and cry a tear of joy.

3)Your Gold, My Pink-
It’s very hard to describe this Japanese quartet, except noisy and fun rock. The first single off of their 7 song CD “Parade” is “Are you sensitive” and it will put a smile on your face. Watch their video and tell me this band isn’t having fun?
Maybe echos of Nirvana and The Vines? I’m not sure, but I like it. “Parade” hit Japanese shelves in October and you can listen to many tracks off the album on their myspace page.

4)13 Steps-
This is a Korean hardcore band that seems to show their love of Pantera in 1:30 seconds. Watch “Against All” on youtube now and try not to flinch.

5)Ogre You Asshole
Yes, this band was named after a line from Revenge of the Nerds, and these guys are currently Japan’s indie darlings. They just released a new album in October entitled “Fog Lamp”, and it is on my christmas wishlist this year. Take a look and listen a their first single “headlight”.


That is my top 5 list of great asian rock for the year, and if you like what you hear, by all means, visit yesasia.com or Amazon of Japan’s English site and open your ears to some new music.