Initially started as a loving homage and tribute band to legendary Japanese guitarist Takeshi “Terry” Terauchi, the Montreal-based collective TEKE: TEKE – Yuki Isami (flute, shinobue and keys), Hidetaka Yoneyama (guitar), Sergio Nakauchi Pelletier (guitar), Mishka Stein (bass), Etienne Lebel (trombone), Ian Lettree (drums, percussion) and Maya Kuroki (vocals, keys and percussion) — features a collection of accomplished Montreal-based musicians, who have played with the likes of Pawa Up First, Patrick Wilson, Boogat, Gypsy Kumbia Orchestra and others. The Montreal-based act quickly came into their own when they started to blend Japanese Eleki surf rock with elements of modern Western music including shoegaze, post-punk, psych rock, ska, Latin music and Balkan music. Adding to a bold, genre-defying sound, the band’s arrangement meshes rock instrumentation with traditional Japanese instrumentation.
Last November, I caught the Montreal-based genre-bending act play at an M for Montreal showcase at the Cafe Cleopatre, one of the oddest venues I’ve ever been in — and while playing one of the most energetic sets I had seen in several months, the act’s sound reminded me a bit of The Bombay Royale; in other words, mischievously anachronistic yet cinematic sound that somehow seems to be part of the soundtrack of a Quentin Tarantino.
Since the release of their debut EP, 2018’S Jikaku, the Canadian genre-bending act have melted faces — including mine — at festivals across Canada. Recorded and mixed by Seth Manchester at Pawtucket, RI-based Machines with Magnets Studio and mixed by Heba Kadry, the band’s self-released latest single “Kala Kala” is the first taste from the band’s highly-anticipated full-length debut. Roughly translating to clattering, “Kala Kala” captures the band’s frenzied energy and difficult to pigeonhole sound: the song features distorted, rock-based guitar power chords, gorgeous fluttering flute, trombone blasts in a slow-burning and atmospheric intro before quickly turning into a full fledged psychedelic freak out, centered by Maya Kuroki howling and crooning in Japanese. The end result is a song that feels simultaneously familiar and alien.