I'm sure they're out there, but I have yet to meet someone who doesn't like to feel good. Having a good time, though hard to remember at times, is the only thing that makes life worth it. There's a primal element to jettisoning the everyday and allowing ourselves to rattle the cages. Sometimes we need folks to jostle us a little or pied-piper us into submitting to our lizard-brains. That's what Brooklyn-based and Missoula favorites Japanther is there for. Ian and Matt work music like a blender – throw in a variety of delicious parts, set to high and let it whirl (and for those of you lucky enough to have a line of sight last year, you'll remember the actual blender). I still remember the words out of my mouth the first time that I saw Japanther. After the first two songs, all I could muster was “Holy shit.” Since then, I've tried to accumulate everything that they pump out – 2010's Ninjasonik split-project 7” is damn pretty. Their music refuses to be tied down. The differences between albums (take Dump the Body in Rikki Lake vs Skuffed Up My Huffy, for example) demonstrate a solid progression, but also a progression that doesn't sacrifice creativity for the sake of “development.” From power pop to noise, ambient to whacked, their songs stick in your head – how many times have you caught yourself singing River Phoenix or Fuk tha Prince A Pull iz Dum? With our efforts to branch out a bit, we've nailed down a Thursday warm up at the Missoula Art Museum. Japanther will be there; art will happen.
On a personal note, I want to say that Japanther can do no wrong. Back in 2008, when my friend Chad was dying of cancer, Ian and Matt sent him a CD and a poster with “Keep Rockin” sharpied on the back. It was a small gesture in the grand scheme of things, but it was drenched in kindness. They didn't have to do anything. It made my friend smile, and, for the last months of his life, that is all he wanted to do.