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.
With the release of their debut EP 2018’s Jikaku, the members of the Montreal-based septet came into their own highly unique and difficult to pigeonhole sound that features elements of Japanese Eleki surf rock, shoegaze, post-punk, psych rock, ska, Latin music and Balkan music.
Kill Rock Stars Records, released the Canadian collective’s full-length debut Shirushi last year, and in the lead-up to the album’s release, I wrote about five of its singles:
- “Kala Kala:” Deriving its title from a phrase that roughly translates to English as clattering, “Kala Kala” is centered around a mind-melting arrangement and song structure, Kuroki’s howling and crooning. And to my ears, the track accurately captures the band’s frenetic live energy.
- “Chidori,” a cinematic yet mosh pit friendly freak out that’s one part psych rock, one part Dick Dale-like surf rock, one part Ennio Morricone soundtrack delivered with a frenetic aplomb.
- “Meikyu:” Deriving its title from the Japanese word for labyrinth, the track is a no bullshit, no filler all killer ripper with menacing guitar work, dramatic bursts of trombone, fluttering flute, thumping tribal drumming and some wild soloing within an expansive, mind-melting song structure.
- Yoru Ni,” a fever dream featuring dreamy blasts of flute and trombone, menacing and slashing guitars and intricate Japanese shamisen. Deriving its name from the Japanese phrase for “at night,” the song despite it’s mischievous tone, is a somewhat romantic and spiritual tale about its central character letting go of a long-held delusional quest.
- “Barbara,” a mischievous and cinematic track with a stomping, punk rock energy that sounds like the perfect soundtrack for a misfit circus — or the Coney Island Mermaid Parade, as each instrumental part seemingly introducing a new and strange character. Much like the previously released singles, “Barbara” captures the frenetic energy of their live sets. The lyrics as the band explained are a twisted take on zashiki-warashi, spirit beings, who like to perform pranks and bring good fortune to those who see them.
The Montreal-based JOVM mainstays announced a short run of tour dates that includes their first ever New York stop, November 11, 2022 at Public Records. As always, you can check out the rest of the tour dates below. And along with the tour announcement, the band shared a new single from the album, “Dobugawa,” a cinematic song that feels and sounds like a seamless Twin Peaks-era David Lynch and French chanson, with a subtle bit of mischievous fantasy.
The songs title translates into English as “dirty river,” and it sets the scene for an off-kilter, romantic tale about the ambiguity of identity. “Set in a poor industrialized town in 1930’s Showa-era Japan, an ambiguous couple take a stroll along a dirty river (Dobugawa) said to be filled with all the city’s hidden words,” TEKE: TEKE’s Maya Kuroki says.
Animated by the band’s Maya Kuroki and edited by the band’s Serge Pelletier, employs the use traditional animation and collage, which emphasizes the fantastic and surreal elements of the song — while being subtly menacing. “This is a very cinematic song, with elements of fantasy and surrealism. I wanted to keep the animation simple so as to give off a dark, sparse feeling of what lies beneath in contrast to what otherwise seems like a peaceful, spring afternoon, Kuroki explains.
The video also features English-translated subtitles, allowing the viewer to further engage with the song’s lyric and meaning.