One of the craziest sets I saw at SXSW this year was by Otoboke Beaver. The Kyoto hardcore punks unleashed a blitzkrieg on the inside stage at Mohawk, performing with a passionate aggression most groups can’t muster even when they aren’t hustling across Austin from gig to gig. It was like they had pureed Japan’s whole punk-rock history — from Melt Banana to Shonen Knife to the 188.8.131.52’s to CHAI — and were violently splattering it around the room.
Decked out in a party dress while stalking the stage like Henry Rollins, vocalist Accorinrin was a commanding presence. So, too, was guitarist Yoyoyoshie, whose wide-eyed sneers and constant crowdsurfing rendered her something like this band’s very own Flavor Flav. At times the two of them plus bassist Hirochan gathered at the front of the stage, spinning chaos from the front monitor while Kahokiss bashed away on the drums.
It looked like this:
And it sounded and felt like this:
Today the band is back with another single from their upcoming Iketoma Hits following the absolutely batshit “anata watashi daita ato yome no meshi” and “Don’t Light My Fire” (the one that ends with them softly chanting “GO TO HELL”) and the wild runaway train “I’m tired of your repeating story.” Album opener “datsu, hikage no onna” errs on Otoboke’s surf-punk side, but they bring as much intensity to this sound as they do when going full grindcore.
Accorinrin calls it “a second woman’s song,” elaborating: “‘Hikage no onna’ means woman in the shadows. It can be metaphor for a mistress, an ‘illegitimate’ woman, or a woman without a bubbly, outgoing personality. The message of this song is lamenting the oppression of being a woman in the shadows, and about getting out from this suffering.” She stars in director Haruka Mitani’s video, shot on 8mm, which runs with those themes.
Iketoma Hits is out 4/26 on Damnably. Pre-order it here.