Giant Robot Store and GR2 News

Old friends, new bands! I closed out Thanksgiving weekend by seeing Mayuko and Tsuzumi Okai from The Binges in their new group (above) but first things first. I finally got around to catching Dum Dum Girls drummer Sandy in the outfit that she fronts, SISU, on Friday at The Satellite. Along with fellow Dum Dum Jules and friends Ryan, Nathanael, and Chris, Sandy’s “other” band is psychedelic, dark, and gorgeous. It’s way heavier than DDG and also more Goth and complex with its swirling textures and sounds. There are five people in the band for a reason, and the heavy instrumentation supports the ethereal vocals of Sandy insanely well. I bought a hand-stenciled and spray-painted EP to go with my splattered 7″ single and can’t wait to give it a spin. Check ‘em out at the Casbah tonight or Constellation Room tomorrow night if you can. The headliner was Colleen Green, who was practically the opposite of SISU with her ultra stripped-down sound of natural vocals, raw bass, and drum machine. Combine the sincerity of Beat Happening with the lo-fi experimental sound of Blackbird (post Rank & File, Dils) and put sunglasses on it, and you’re getting close to Colleen’s sound. She showed a great sense of humor about her icy cool demeanor by closing her set with a Corey Hart cover. The Okai sisters’ previous band, The Binges, recalled the rock ‘n’ roll spirit of the Cathouse scene of the ’80s. Their newer group, Boost is as ripping as ever but heavier and more influenced by ’70s hessian grooves like Sabbath or Deep Purple. All new songs and all new riffs but there’s still nothing like seeing Mayuko and Tsuzumi dueling on their axes. I don’t know anything about the new singer or drummer (yet) but the band rules and you gotta check them out when you can. More details to come in this blog, for sure. Sunday night’s show at King King was part of the New Years World Rock Festival, which is being shot in five countries and will be shown in Japan. The headlining band showcased finger-tapping bass master Billy Sheehan (Mr. Big, UFO, MSG, David Lee Roth, Steve Vai) in a jam band with Mayuko, Eric Dover (Jellyfish, Slash’s Snakepit), and Ray Luzier (9.0, David Lee Roth, Korn). They played masterful, ripping covers from Led Zep to Deep Purple, with Tsuzumi jumping in for the final song. This top-shelf rock ‘n’ roll was intended to help tsunami victims in Japan but felt pretty excellent for us in the crowd, too.
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There are plenty of “endless running” games out there. And some of them are pretty fun. But how many have psychedelic monsters, clobbering-time gloves, perishing children, and a truly ripping soundtrack by one of the raddest bands ever? Escape from Age of Monsters has all that, not to mention inside jokes ranging from Fat Albert to Michael Jackson to Tiger Mom. I had to ask Mayuko Okai, my friend and guitarist for The Binges, and Michael Su, CEO and co-founder of Massive Joe Studios, how the new iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad game went from finger-tapping addictive to head-banging awesome.

MW: Michael, how did you decide to get a real rock band like The Binges involved in Escape from Age of Monsters instead of a circus-like 8-bit soundtrack?
MS: We knew from the get-go that this had to have a metal soundtrack. Given our indie nature, we thought it’d be cool to find an up-and-coming band to work with rather than just getting a game composer. Our CTO had been to a Binges show in the past and suggested them. We went on YouTube, saw how they killed it on stage, and we knew we wanted to work with them. Boy, did we luck out!

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