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Friday, Jan. 23, 2009
The Ting Tings
When the hype machine in their native Britain sent newcomers The Ting Tings into overdrive in 2008, the Manchester duo had one advantage over other acts garnering similar column inches: The Ting Tings were actually good.
Seemingly springing out of nowhere at the start of last year, Katie White and Jules De Martino had actually honed their craft together in the trip-hop trio Dear Eskimo. But when that unit ground to a halt before releasing their major-label debut, White and De Martino came up with something new. Coupling a fresh, minimal, party sound with an underground manifesto, their Ting Tings incarnation was all about having fun. It paid off — the duo made an organic but no less sudden leap into the national consciousness with singles such as "That's Not My Name" and "Great DJ," which burned up the radio playlists, seduced the critics and burrowed into the brains of Britons.
Live reports were no less breathy, with the duo playing roughly three explosive shows a day at the South by Southwest music-industry festival in Austin, Texas. Drummer De Martino kept a cool and steady rhythm as singer-guitarist White prowled the stage, yelping her lyrics and radiating stage presence.
Back in Blighty, their album went on to top the charts in its first week of release, and the duo quickly found themselves touring the world. An appearance at August's Summer Sonic in Chiba and Osaka placed White and De Martino on the festival's second-largest stage in front of around 15,000 fans, and it seems Japan has taken a lasting shine to the band, who will play here next month en route back home from Australia and Hong Kong.
What to expect from these shows? Well, it's unlikely they'll unveil any new songs, having stated in interviews that they are holding off work on album No. 2 because they don't like to write on tour. (De Martino also recently told the Melbourne Herald Sun that they've turned down an invitation to work with legendary producer Rick Rubin, preferring instead to self-produce.) But one thing's for sure: You're gonna need your party shoes.
The Ting Tings play Feb. 5 at Namba Hatch, Osaka (6 p.m.;  7732-8888); Feb. 7 at Shibuya-AX, Tokyo (5 p.m.;  3462-6969); and Feb. 8 at Club Diamond Hall, Nagoya (5 p.m.;  265-2666). Tickets for each show are ¥5,800.