When Japandroids came to the Bottletree last November, Weld ran a rapturous preview praising “the hyperactive lovechild of the Ramones, Hüsker Dü, and Superchunk” to the skies. In August, the eminent Courtney Haden penned a column devoted to the same topic. Though their performance went south in a hurry last time, we’re previewing them again as they return to the Bottletree on June 4.
Why dedicate all that ink to one band? Because the prospect of seeing that band at this venue is just too damned good not to.
With summer now unofficially underway, there’s no better time to grab a pale ale and listen to some of the best punk rock anyone’s making nowadays. The Canadian guitar-and-drums duo staggers on the line between frayed-ends punk and energetic garage rock, and they’ve already established themselves as a reliable source of distorted modern anthems.
Tickets will largely be RSVP for ticketholders from last November’s cancelled performance, unfortunately. But those who can get in to the June 4 perofrmance – an off-night on the band’s current tour opening for A Place to Bury Strangers – will surely be in for an evening worthy of kicking off a fantastic Alabama summer.
With Japandroids, the low-fidelity recordings and laid-back attitude disguise piercing energy and an intelligence possessed by few other bands touring these days. Think the Replacements by way of Latterman, and you might start to get a rough idea of where these guys are coming from.
Their first effort, 2008’s Post-Nothing, was a crackling ode to life and the mistakes we make that shape it. Praised by indie rock fans and punk rockers alike, Japandroids quickly found themselves essential among many year-end lists, including Spin, NME and Pitchfork. Hitting the road running with the stage presence of a two-man Fugazi only served to heighten the buzz around the band. Guitarist Brian King and drummer David Prowse were soon packing out basements alongside such indie luminaries as the Walkmen.
Following a brush with death from a perforated ulcer in 2009, King’s lyricism and songwriting expanded greatly and, after a few years of crisscrossing the nation, the band reemerged last summer with the stellar Celebration Rock, an immediate addition to the punk canon.
Musicianship honed by months on the road provided a deeper musical experience on the album, while King and Prowse settled into a sound that they could call their own. Celebration Rock immediately garnered the band greater critical acclaim and increased their ever-widening audience.
For a band formed just six years ago on the campus of the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Japandroids have been steadily making themselves into a household name for those who like their rock with a stiff upper lip and wearing its heart on its sleeve. Few bands today capture the raw essence of youth with such a perfect blend of passion and memento mori wisdom.
Still riding high on last year’s release and an appearance in February on Conan, Japandroids have only just recently truly come into their prime both live and on record. With new resolve after a long string of early setbacks, Japandroids stand a very good chance to be the next Gaslight Anthem – or the next Strokes, depending on which side of the fence you’re on.
You can call it this show a single-serving redemption tour if you like, but the more important consideration is the fact that people were justifiably jazzed about November’s show in the first place. Japandroids are writing with an intensity and an honest that few acts can match right now. If you have even the slightest sympathy with punk rock or the summer season, you know where to be next Tuesday.
The Bottletree is located at 3719 3rd Ave. S. The Japandroids show will begin at 9 p.m. on Tuesday, June 4. The featured image for this post was shot by Maoya Bassiouni.