The Backdrops

Here are some images from our shoot with The Backdrops and Tokyo-based photographers Hirose Shinya and Riri Inoue at Asahi Studios July 12, 2006 in Chuoku, Tokyo.

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The Backdrops are Japanese love children of the Rolling Stones. They play dirty, blues-based rock-n-roll with an impressionistic take on the blues lyric, sort of like a John Spencer Blues Explosion meets The Black Keys, with bluntly juxtaposed riffs and choruses that are both surprising and classic. Let’s say, a postmodern japanese version of the Stones. In the new wave movie that runs in my head, they have a smart cameo headlining a smoky basement club where they inspire John Paul Belmondo to blow smoke rings and are called: Lowering Stones. Their sound is raucous, but never cacophonic, and I’m addicted to their EP, simply titled Five Songs. One of my favorite tracks, The Snake, sounds like the Japanese translation of a 1970s blaxploitation soundtrack.

Lead Singer, Noritsugu, belts lyrics in English, while the rest of the band backs him up with choruses that key off his phrases. Nori channels Mick Jagger to the pacekeeping complaints of Murakami’s lead guitar, and moons and preens with the tongue-in-cheek intelligence of a mod rock geek, yet without an ounce of self-consciousness. As the sweat pours and drool flies, a skeptic may momentarily find himself on the edge of laughter while being continually threatened and entranced–and therefore thoroughly entertained.

Hipsters and mods believe: the blues live on in The Backdrops.

Photos by Hirose Shinya and Riri Inoue

More Backdrops photos here.