Jrock Fix: Spitz
If you haven’t heard of anything from Spitz, you have yet to hear from the best of Japanese pop and rock. This band, formed in 1987, has created an entirely new genre of music that has left its mark on the history of J-pop and j-rock.
The group was first created in 1987 by four members- Kusano Masamune on rhythm guitar and lead vocals, Miwa Tetsuya on lead guitar, Tamura Akihiro on bass guitar, and Sakiyama Tatsuo on drums. They later gained prominence in the Japanese music industry with their 1995 single “Robinson“.
Their alternative rock style of music is distinct, and creates a jangly blend of pop and rock with the use of their smooth harmonics and guitar chords. Their lyrics are thematically sound and symbolic, while at the same time combined with clear-pitched vocals from their lead singer.
Their divergent style is slightly reminiscent of The Beatles, in that it is a melodic mix of pop and rock with catchy feel-good tunes. They initially created punk rock music, but reconsidered later on and started making songs that emphasize the use of acoustic guitars.
They had humble beginnings under The Universal Music Japan label and only remained in obscurity until the release of “Robinson“. Since then, they have sold more than 20 million records worldwide.
They are also consistently on top of the Oricon charts, and have scored over ten number one singles. They are currently one of the leading rock bands for Japanese music, and their songs are consistently being used for events and films.
“Robinson” was a great chart-topper, and later on they also got attention with “Hachimitsu”, “Cherry” and “Sora mo Toberu Hazu“. Of the people in the band, Masamune Kusano has provided the most additions to the songs.
Interestingly enough most of their lyrics are inspired from bittersweet memories of going through life’s troubles. One of their songs, “Sora mo Toberu Hazu“, has been featured in the drama Hakusen Nagashi, and its frequently used in Japanese graduation ceremonies, as it is a heartfelt song meant for any age.
Their primary songwriter, Masamune Kusano, creates wonderful imagery from his songs. He is known for writing beautiful yet eccentric lyrics that offer abstract concepts related to emotions. They have played in over forty venues since their commercial success in 1995. They took a small break from 2003 and 2004, and returned to penning new songs for their 2006 and 2007 albums.
They released their 13th album, “Togemaru“. in October of 2010. They are still prominent as veterans among the younger musicians in Japan’s performance industry. Their songs are still catchy and heartfelt to the present date.
Their most recommended songs would be those from the album “Hachimitsu”, “Cherry”, and “Sora mo Toberu Hazu”. Various newer artists are also creating memorable covers of their songs. Their newest single, “Minato”, was released on April of this year. They have also revealed the official video for this song, on their website. The video shows scenes of them performing, while also showing animation clips reminiscent of the harbour (Minato), along with imagery of an avian flying above.
Some of their singles and albums can be found on iTunes and Recochoku. So go have a listen and as always let us know what you think of this week’s Jrock Fix!