Indus & Rock

Three-piece band Indus & Rocks has been around for years, but only released their sophomore album this past May on guitarist Kurosawa Jiro’s own label, Jiro Kikaku. Sure to impress fans of electric guitar rock, “Nazo no Indus & Rocks no Nazo” features eleven mature songs with definite jam-style influences bubbling up through the streams of catchy riffs. A handful of the songs include Jiro’s soft vocals with reasonably pleasing effect, but the strength of the album is his bright guitar work over a tight rhythm section care of drummer Mao and bassist Ôchan.

These songs rarely slow down, in tempo or volume of notes played—it’s like the opposite of blues with long spaces between minimal notes. And yet, the album doesn’t become tiring, rolling out one distinctive track after another. In “Pipopipopeppo” the band turns on the funk for a pleasant shift of sound. Jiro often uses different guitar effects in the same song for achieving a smorgasbord of sounds and moods. Longer tracks like the 9:48 “Hanomidori” have multiple sections, but maintain coherency and listener interest.

Indus & Rocks feeds off the energy of the crowd during live shows, revealing great improv skills—do check them out.




Leaving Eden

Pacific Roots vol. 2 is the second installment of a compilation album celebrating “roots music” from Australia, New Zealand and other Pacific islands. Released this past June, it features sixteen tracks and is pleasant listening even if the summer is over.

The early warmth and cheerfulness of the album, as if you’re out on some sunny Pacific beach, derives from its emphasis on easy-listening reggae. The songs are mostly slow-groove material, but some are infused with influences of other genres like soul on “Hold Me Close” and “Save Me.”

The funky track “Luv Iz” shifts gears for the next five songs into more of an R&B sound, which ranges from soaring female vocals on “I Love You Too” to more of a slow dance vibe on “The Things We Do for Love.” The last three miscellaneous tracks include an acoustic ballad, a powerful soul performance from Hollie Smith and an R&B pop song.

Nothing on the album is extremely memorable—there are perhaps no instant classics here—but neither are there any sub-par tunes. Well balanced and pleasing, it promises good things to come for a future volume 3.

ルーツミュージックが好き? Carolina Chocolate Dropsの新作「Leaving Eden」は19世紀終わり頃のアメリカ南部の音楽、あるいはそれよりももっとディープな、アフリカ、スコットランド、アイルランドなどからの移民の音楽を思わせる。その音はブルーグラス、ブルース、フォークといったルーツミュージックの源流まで遡り、むしろ黒人奴隷霊歌に近い。


“Country Girl”という曲はヒップホップ的なボーカルとビートボックスによるリズムで今風なアレンジになっている。次の曲はいきなりバンジョーや管楽器が入った正統派のブルーグラス調になっているのだが、その流れは自然に耳に入ってくる。様々な楽器が駆使され、またそれぞれの演奏能力も素晴らしい。そしてボーカルもとてもいい。古いスタイルの音楽は野暮ったくて万人受けするものではない、という人もいるかもしれないが、この作品が持つ音楽的価値は否定できないだろう。これこそ本物の音楽だ。

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