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Friday, April 22, 2011
Special to The Japan Times
Mashing together Ringo Starr and the Death Star from "Star Wars" to create their name, noise-pop group Ringo Deathstarr were one the "buzz" bands at last month's South by Southwest (SXSW) Music Conference and Festival in Austin, Texas. With 2,000 acts performing over the heralded bash's five days, this was no small feat for the hometown three-piece. Pre-fest accolades came from the likes of CNN, and Wired featured Ringo Deathstarr in their "10 Must-Hear Bands Ready to Shake Up SXSW" preview.
Tokyo psychedelic-garage rock stalwarts Zoobombs closed out Wired's list. And while Ringo Deathstarr would likely happily tour with Zoobombs, it's local wild rockers Guitar Wolf they are pining to play alongside. In interviews, Ringo Deathstarr have praised the leather-clad trio and expressed their desire to share a stage with them.
Ringo Deathstarr embarked on their first international tour in 2009 for concerts in Japan. The jaunt was to promote "Sparkler." The Japan-only compilation was released by local indie imprint Vinyl Junkie and included the group's 2007 eponymous EP and singles. The label issued the act's full-length debut "Colour Trip" in early February. Unapologetically borrowing from The Jesus and Mary Chain and My Bloody Valentine, Ringo Deathstarr's take on spacey, hallucinogenic rock 'n' roll is far from groundbreaking. A very strong album nonetheless, its great nostalgic nod to shoegaze's heyday is earning positive reviews.
Prior to the final show of their dozen SXSW concerts, Ringo Deathstarr guitarist Elliott Frazier was sharing a table with a few friends of mine. When someone asked if the March 11 earthquake and tsunami would force the cancellation of their April Japan dates, Frazier replied "If (Vinyl Junkie) say it's on, we'll be there." Staying true to his words, Ringo Deathstarr will perform in Tokyo and Osaka this month. Expect to hear some well-crafted pop melodies peeking out from under lots of loud feedback.
Ringo Deathstarr play Fever in Tokyo on April 27 (7:30 p.m.; ¥4,000 in advance;  6304-7899); Club Dijon in Osaka on April 28 (6 p.m.; ¥3,000 in advance;  6539-7411). For more information, visit www.vinyl-junkie.com/label/ringodeathstarr.