Tuesday, February 17

Japanther sign to Truth Cult

Japanther are a dynamic punk rock duo hailing from New York City. The band was formed in 2001 by Matt Reilly and Ian Vanek, undergrads at NYC's highly regarded art school The Pratt Institute. With Reilly singing while playing a three-stringed bass as Vanek simultaneously attacked a drum kit and a bank of electronic equipment playing found and mutated cassettes, both of them singing into microphones fashioned out of old-fashioned telephone handsets, they're like a more playful and even more self-conscious updating of the late-'70s no wave scene, though a thorough rooting in the skate-punk scene as youngsters keeps things from getting too precious.

After a 2001 self-released demo, Japanther debuted with the 2002 EP South of Northport, followed by the full-lengths Leather Wings and Dump the Body in Rikki Lake. After a second EP, The Operating Manual for Life on Earth, and a pair of split EP projects with Sneeze and Viking Club, the albums Master of Pigeons (2005), Wolfenswan (2005), Don't Trust Anyone Over Thirty (2006), and Skuffed Up My Huffy (2007) followed. In addition to various multimedia projects with a variety of collaborators, Dump the Body in Rikki Lake and the concept album Don't Trust Anyone Over Thirty (a loose retelling of the 1960s cult classic Wild in the Streets) were used as the basis of puppet shows in collaboration with Philip Huber, who designed and controlled the marionettes in the film Being John Malkovich.

For the past seven years Brooklyn's ultra childish Japanther have baffled unsuspecting audiences and steadily grown its cult following. They've lived out of a van all over Europe, Australia, Canada and the US, circling the international underground like hungry wolves. All the while screaming through yellow pay phone mics, self releasing and self producing in keeping with the "Art Project" persona the group was founded on. Synchronized swimmer, illegal shows, marionettes and giant puppets have all been employed successfully again and again. All in an attempt to redefine what bands, groups and gangs can do.

Always a band of contrasts, Japanther exist halfway in the world of performance art, and halfway in DIY punk. We at Southern wholeheartedly embrace Japanther's ethos and after seeing them support Penny Rimbaud (Crass co-founder) at a London venue last year, we knew that we had to make them part of the family. It comes with great honour to announce that Japanther are our proud new signing on Truth Cult and we are very thrilled to be putting out the album Tut Tut, Now Shake Your Butt as the third release on the imprint label.

On this record and keeping the tradition of contrast alive the lads have teamed up with Penny Rimbaud for this record of punk songs and poetry. On the surface, that may sound like an odd combination, but this thing is a cohesive and truly a wild romp 'round Africa, the Bronx, San Pedro and Brooklyn, complete with faeries, bicycles and a few cans of spray paint. Japanther's infectious, free spirited trash hasn't let up a teeny bit, it's just gotten more focused. Rimbaud's churning, clever, degenerate cadence is an oddly fitting balance for Japanther's two-minute blasts.

These songs are consistent with the level of songwriting on their epic last record, Skuffed Up My Huffy LP. Tut Tut, Now Shake Ya Butt was recorded in late 2007 (at Zero Mass in Brooklyn), as the (band-curated/organized) Dinosaur Death Dance performance ran for three (sold out) nights at New York's PS122. On a special note, this record features a sleeper cover of Portland's New Bad Things' "The Dirge"!

Japanther are going to be bringing the ruckus to the UK and mainland Europe in May. Here is the routing so far and some confirmed dates (with more to be confirmed soon...)

May 1st Ireland
May 2nd Ireland
May 3rd Ireland
May 4th Belfast, Ireland
May 5th Scotland
May 7th Belgium
May 8th Leipzig, Germany - Altin Village Fest
May 9th Berlin, Germany - West Germany
May 12th Hamburg - The Rote Flora w/ The Pink Tank Collective.
May 13th Copenhagen, Denmark - Lades K├Žlder
May 14th Wuertzburg or Ahlborg, Denmark
May 15th Malmo, Sweden
May 16th Gothenburg or Sthlm
May 17th Oslo, Norway
May 18th Bergen, Norway
May 19th Norway
May 20th Turku, Finland
May 21st Helsinki, Finland
May 22nd St. Petersburg, Russia
May 23rd Moscow, Russia
May 24th Moscow, Russia
May 26th Vienna, Austria
May 27th Graz, Austria
May 28th Zagreb, Croatia or Vienna, Austria
May 29th Rome, Italy or Gio
May 30 Lyon, France - Grande
May 31st Tolouse, France
June 1st: Lisbon, Portugal - ZDB Gallery
June 2nd: Portugal
June 3rd Madrid, Spain or Barcelona, Spain
June 4th Bordeaux - Saint Ex w/ Lets Panic Later
June 5th Paris, France or Barcelona, Spain
June 6th London, England - The Dome (with Upset The Rhythm)

We will be updating these dates as soon as venues are confirmed so keep checking the Southern website for information.

Check out some of the praise from the press:

"Japanther remains one the New York City's most under rated acts...". -Pitchfork Media

"spazz gods… a mother f**ker of an album… Japanther is a lean slam boogie machine with no time for boredom" -Thurston Moore For Arthur Magazine

"Japanther is one of the hardest f**king bands in Brooklyn right now. They sound like Iron Maiden, Throbbing Gristle, and Lightning Bolt gave birth to a squealing little baby with flaming guitars for arms. Their shows are chaotic and danger-charged lovefests and they are frighteningly dedicated to keeping it underground" - VICE

Fiat lux - Et facta est lux

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