Japandroids in concert at the Hillside Festival in 2010
|Origin||Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada|
|Genres||Alternative rock, indie rock, punk rock, noise rock, garage rock, post-punk, heartland rock|
|Years active||2006–2013 (hiatus); 2016-present|
|Labels||Polyvinyl Record Co.|
Formed in 2006, the band rose to prominence following the release of their debut album Post-Nothing (2009). Their second album, Celebration Rock (2012), was released to widespread critical acclaim, with Rolling Stone listing it as one of "The 10 Coolest Summer Albums of All Time", and Spin naming them 2012's Band of the Year. Japandroids toured heavily in support of both albums, gaining notoriety for their live performances and extensive international concert tours. Between 2009 and 2013, the band performed approximately 500 shows in 44 countries across North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Oceania.
Japandroids' music has been described as "one part classic rock, one part punk", due to their blending of classic rock influences such as Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty, with punk rock influences such as the Replacements and Hüsker Dü.
Early years (2006–2008)
Japandroids was formed in 2006 by Brian King (guitar, vocals) and David Prowse (drums, vocals). The two met in 2000 while attending the University of Victoria in Victoria, British Columbia, and upon discovering a mutual interest in music, began attending live shows together regularly in Victoria and Vancouver. In 2003, Prowse moved to Vancouver, transferring to Simon Fraser University. Eager to form their own band, King agreed to relocate to Vancouver following his graduation, doing so in 2005. Heavily influenced by the raw and energetic recordings of the Sonics, King and Prowse began writing and recording music in 2006, hoping to emulate the same style. While they originally intended to find a third member to act as lead vocalist, they later decided to forego having a specific lead singer and simply share vocal duties. The name Japandroids came from two other band name ideas: Japanese Scream (from Prowse) and Pleasure Droids (from King). Occasionally they would spell it without vowels, as JPNDRDS.
Frustrated by the lack of support for live music in Vancouver, as well as the difficulty of 'breaking into' the local music scene, King and Prowse regularly set up their own shows. Inspired by the do-it-yourself methods of bands like Fugazi, they would often arrange for a venue or space to play, rent PA equipment, design and distribute fliers and posters, as well as arrange for their friends to help run the shows. Japandroids performed their first live show on December 30, 2006. Over the next 2 years, they would perform regularly in Vancouver, but managed only short, sporadic tours due to conflicts with King's career in Geology. During this period, Japandroids self-released two EPs, 2007's All Lies, and 2008's Lullaby Death Jams. Each EP was limited to 500 copies, and would later be re-released as a compilation titled No Singles.
Japandroids recorded their first full-length album, Post-Nothing in the summer of 2008, with the intention of self-releasing it in 2009. However, by the fall of 2008, King and Prowse had become convinced that the band was going nowhere, and mutually decided to call it quits at the end of the year. It was agreed that their appearances at Pop Montreal in Montreal and CMJ Music Marathon in New York City would be their final live performances. It was also agreed that they would self-release the album early in 2009, but would not promote it. By December 2008, King was already attempting to assemble a new band.
In January 2009, Japandroids signed to independent Canadian label Unfamiliar Records, who were eager to release the album, despite the band's reservations about continuing. Frustrated by label interest only after they had decided to break-up, King and Prowse reluctantly agreed to continue Japandroids temporarily, and began performing live again. In March 2009, taste-making website Pitchfork Media awarded the song "Young Hearts Spark Fire" a 'Best New Track' designation, exposing the band to a large audience outside of Canada. Their debut album, Post-Nothing was released in Canada in April 2009, originally on vinyl only. Pitchfork immediately championed the album, awarding it a 'Best New Music' designation, and praising its rawness, energy and reckless abandon. Japandroids were subsequently signed to Polyvinyl Record Co. in June 2009.
|World tour by Japandroids|
|Start date||June 13, 2009
Vancouver, BC, Canada
|End date||October 27, 2010
Hoboken, NJ, United States
|Number of shows||200+|
|Japandroids concert chronology|
Post-Nothing was released worldwide in August 2009 to widespread critical acclaim, especially in Canada where Exclaim! named it the second best album of 2009. It was long-listed for the Polaris Music Prize as well as nominated for the Juno Award for Alternative Album of the Year. The album was also well-received internationally, appearing on many year-end lists including Pitchfork Media (#15), Spin (#16), NME (#39), The A.V. Club (#25), Pop Matters (#35), Stereogum (#21), and reached No. 22 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart.
Japandroids toured extensively to promote the album, earning praise for their energetic live performances. The Post-Nothing Tour consisted of 7 individual legs, and included over 200 shows in more than 20 countries. While primarily headlining their own shows, Japandroids also toured supporting acts such as A Place To Bury Strangers and Health in Europe, and The Walkmen in North America. The tour was originally scheduled to begin on April 23, 2009 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. After performing only one show, Japandroids were forced to postpone and reschedule the remainder of their first full-scale North American tour due to a health emergency. On the morning of April 24, 2009, King was checked into Calgary's Foothills Medical Center to undergo emergency surgery for a life-threatening perforated ulcer. Touring resumed June 13, 2009 after King's recovery with a performance at Vancouver's Music Waste festival, and continued interrupted through to the final show October 27, 2010 at Maxwell's in Hoboken, New Jersey. Among the dates of the Post-Nothing Tour were numerous festival appearances in North America and Europe, including Pitchfork Music Festival, Sasquatch!, Bonnaroo, Osheaga Festival, Roskilde Festival, and Primavera Sound.
Initially, the duo desired to include several more tracks on the album, but were unable due to insufficient funds. Many of the un-included tracks that the duo had written for the album were later recorded and released in 2010 as series of limited edition 7" singles. These tracks include "Art Czars", "Younger Us", and "Heavenward Grand Prix". The same year, Japandroids re-released their first two EPs as a compilation titled No Singles. The band has stated that both the 7" singles series, as well as the No Singles compilation, were designed to appease fans desire for more music, as they would not be able to record a second album until 2011 due to an extensive touring schedule.
Celebration Rock (2011–2013)
After taking the bulk of 2011 off to work on new material, Japandroids revealed that they would tour North America throughout August/September playing primarily smaller, intimate venues in order to test out their new material prior to the recording of their second album. During these shows, the band debuted several new songs including "Fire's Highway," "Adrenaline Nightshift," and "Evil's Sway." On March 26, 2012, Japandroids announced that their second album Celebration Rock would be released by Polyvinyl Record Co. on June 5, 2012, preceded by a limited edition 7" of the album's first single "The House That Heaven Built" on May 15, 2012.
|World tour by Japandroids|
|Start date||March 8, 2012
São Paulo, Brazil
|End date||November 10, 2013
Buenos Aires, Argentina
|Number of shows||228
North America (101)
South America (8)
|Japandroids concert chronology|
A video for "The House That Heaven Built", Japandroids' first and only music video, was released that summer to promote the single. The black-and-white video, directed by Jim Larson and produced by Pitchfork.tv, documented one week in the life of Japandroids on tour using footage from the east coast portion of their spring 2012 US tour, including live footage from shows in Toronto, Montreal, Boston, New York City, Brooklyn, and Washington, D.C.
Celebration Rock garnered widespread acclaim from critics, who praised the album's blending of classic rock and punk rock influences, as well as King's newfound lyrical ambition. As Ian Cohen of Pitchfork noted, "Japandroids have gone from having almost none at all [lyrics] to packing their songs with an astonishing command of legend and literalism that all but dares you to feel something." The album was especially well received in their native Canada, with The Globe and Mail (Canada's newspaper of record) naming it the best album of 2012. The same year, Celebration Rock was short-listed for the Polaris Music Prize as well as nominated for the Juno Award for Alternative Album of the Year.
The album was also well received internationally earning a Best New Music designation from Pitchfork, a 9 out of 10 from Spin (who also named Japandroids 2012's Band of the Year), and a 4 out of 5 from Rolling Stone, who later listed the album as one of The 10 Coolest Summer Albums of All Time. The album also appeared on many year-end lists including MTV (#1), The A.V. Club (#2), USA Today (#2), Spin (#3), Village Voice (#4), Pitchfork Media (#5), Rolling Stone (#8), and reached No. 37 on the Billboard 200 chart.
Japandroids toured heavily in support of Celebration Rock, performing over 200 shows in more than 40 countries between March 2012 and November 2013. The Celebration Rock Tour consisted of 13 individual legs across North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Oceania, including numerous festival appearances: Coachella, Bonnaroo, Sasquatch!, Pitchfork, Firefly, Governors Ball, Fun Fun Fun Fest, Free Press Summer Fest, and Metallica's festival Orion in the United States, Primavera Sound, Optimus Alive!, Paredes de Coura, Pitchfork (Paris), OFF, Latitude and Longitude festivals in Europe, Vive Latino in Mexico, Fuji Rock Festival in Japan, and St. Jerome's Laneway Festival in Australia.
Following a farewell message at the end of the Celebration Rock tour, the band's online presence was inactive for nearly three years. The band did not perform or give any public appearances in this time.
On August 10, 2016, it was announced via the band's Facebook page that the band would be returning for a series of shows in the remainder of the year. This included dates in Canada, the United States, England, Mexico and Australia. The tour poster also featured images seemingly taken from within a studio, suggesting that new material is forthcoming.
- Lindsay, Cam "No Fun City Rockers", Exclaim!, May 2009 accessed November 10, 2010.
- Metacritic "Japandroids - Celebration Rock", Metacritic, accessed January 22, 2014.
- Sheffield, Rob "The 10 Coolest Summer Albums of All Time", Rolling Stone, July 18, 2012 accessed January 22, 2014.
- Harvilla, Rob "Band of the Year: Japandroids", Spin, December 3, 2012 accessed January 22, 2014.
- Caramanica, Jon "Kinetic, Exuberant and Loud on the Topic of Romance", The New York Times, July 12, 2009 accessed November 10, 2010.
- Chick, Stevie "Japandroids: Live at Heaven (London, UK)", The Guardian, October 29, 2012 accessed January 22, 2014.
- Marotta, Michael "Japandroids finally wrap up their 230-show ‘Celebration Rock’ tour — which began in March 2012", Vanyaland, November 17, 2013 accessed January 22, 2014.
- "Bandsintown – Tour History 2009–2013 (Japandroids)"
- Hermes, Will "Japandroids: One Part Classic Rock, One Part Punk", NPR, June 6, 2012 accessed January 22, 2014.
- Devlin, Mike "Why Japandroids should win the Polaris Prize", CBC Music, July 30, 2012 accessed January 22, 2014.
- Rubin, Mike "Loud Enough to Be Heard in Another Country", The New York Times, June 15, 2012 accessed January 22, 2014.
- Cohen, Ian "Reviews - Japandroids, Celebration Rock", Pitchfork Media, May 29, 2012 accessed June 7, 2012.
- Gormely, Ian "Review: Japandroids - Celebration Rock", Exclaim!, May 29, 2012 accessed January 22, 2014.
- Usinger, Mike "Vancouver's Own Japandroids Make Good", The Georgia Straight, May 14, 2009 accessed November 10, 2010.
- Berman, Stuart "Interview: Japandroids", Eye Weekly, March 9, 2009 accessed November 10, 2010.
- Worth, Liz "EP Review: All Lies", Exclaim!, December 2007 accessed November 10, 2010.
- Worth, Liz "EP Review: Lullaby Death Jams", Exclaim!, May 2008 accessed November 10, 2010.
- Hogan, Marc "Single Review: Young Hearts Spark Fire", Pitchfork Media, March 4, 2009 accessed November 10, 2010.
- Cohen, Ian "Album Review: Post-Nothing", Pitchfork Media, April 27, 2009, accessed November 10, 2010.
- Polyvinyl Record Co. "Japandroids Join Polyvinyl Family", Polyvinyl Record Co., June 5, 2009 accessed November 10, 2010.
- Gormely, Ian "Pop Rocks: Year In Review 2009", Exclaim!, December 2009 accessed November 10, 2010.
- Polaris Music Prize "Polaris Music Prize: 2009 Nominees", Polaris Music Prize, April 27, 2009, accessed November 10, 2010.
- Juno Awards "Juno Awards: 2010 Nominees", 2010 Juno Awards, March 3, 2010, accessed November 10, 2010.
- Hogan, Marc "Staff Lists: Top 50 Albums of 2009", Pitchfork Media, December 17, 2009 accessed November 10, 2010.
- Marchese, David "The 40 Best Albums of 2009", Spin, December 7, 2009 accessed November 10, 2010.
- Edwards, Tom "The 50 Best Albums of 2009", NME, December 9, 2009 accessed November 10, 2010.
- Ryan, Kyle "The Top 25 Albums of 2009", The A.V. Club, December 9, 2009 accessed November 10, 2010.
- Fortune, Drew "The Best 60 Albums of 2009", Pop Matters, December 18, 2009 accessed November 10, 2010.
- Billboard "Billboard Heatseekers Chart History", Billboard, August 22, 2009 accessed November 10, 2010.
- Tedder, Michael "Q&A: Japandroids' Brian King", The Village Voice, October 26, 2010 accessed November 10, 2010.
- Polyvinyl Record Co. "Japandroids Announce North American Tour", Polyvinyl Record Co., June 7, 2011 accessed November 22, 2011.
- Adams, Gregory "Revved-up Japandroids return to action in Vancouver", The Georgia Straight, August 29, 2011 accessed November 22, 2011.
- Dombal, Ryan "Japandroids Talk New Album", Pitchfork Media, March 9, 2012 accessed March 31, 2012.
- Fitzmaurice, Larry "Japandroids Share New Song, Tour Dates", Pitchfork Media, March 26, 2012 accessed March 31, 2012.
- Minsker, Evan "Video: Japandroids: "The House That Heaven Built"", Pitchfork Media, August 13, 2012 accessed January 22, 2014.
- Minsker, Evan "Japandroids Offer Commentary on Their "House That Heaven Built" Music Video", Pitchfork Media, December 13, 2012 accessed January 22, 2014.
- Wheeler, Brad "Best Canadian album of 2012? Japandroids’ Celebration Rock", The Globe and Mail, December 16, 2012 accessed January 22, 2014.
- Polaris Music Prize "Polaris Music Prize: 2012 Nominees", Polaris Music Prize, July 17, 2012, accessed January 22, 2014.
- Juno Awards "Juno Awards: 2013 Nominees", 2013 Juno Awards, February 13, 2013, accessed January 22, 2014.
- Tedder, Michael "Japandroids - Celebration Rock (Polyvinyl)", Spin, June 4, 2012 accessed January 22, 2014.
- Dolan, Jon "Reviews: Japandroids - Celebration Rock", Rolling Stone, June 5, 2012 accessed January 22, 2014.
- Polyvinyl Record Co. "Japandroids - Celebration Rock", Polyvinyl Record Co., accessed January 22, 2014.
- Billboard "Billboard 200 Chart History", Billboard, January 22, 2014 accessed January 22, 2014.
- Pelly, Jenn Japandroids' "The House That Heaven Built" is now Vancouver Canucks' entrance song, Pitchfork Media, February 27, 2013 accessed February 28, 2013.
- Kevin Lozano (August 10, 2016). "Japandroids Announce 2016 Tour". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved August 11, 2016.