Last year at the Fuji Rock Festial, a trio of bands played the gathering that were presented — by domestic media, and me at some point — as a new tide of Japanese rock music. Two groups definitely felt close to one another — that would be Yogee New Waves and Never Young Beach, bands on the more laid-back side of things, who write songs celebrating the simple pleasures of being young in (or at least close enough to) a city. Then there was DYGL. Although they started getting greater buzz at the same time and come from the same Tokyo indie-rock scene as the aforementioned pair, their sound is pretty different. The lyrics still touch on youth, but the music is more willing to get messy, get loud and even get angry when the time calls for it. They were easily the best of those three live.
“Bad Kicks” really drives home DYGL’s sharper side. Nobuki Akiyama’s singing approaches a shout, covered in a layer of feedback that manages to soften — just a little — his near yelps, and late in the song when he really starts letting loose he almost manages to break through. The music helps add to the energy, offering something a touch scuzzier than previous major-label DYGL efforts (they are approaching the Leather days!). This is the sound of DYGL breaking away into their own lane, and demanding new comparisons or at least just let them do what they do. Listen above.