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Tokyo's The Watanabes
Saturday, April 11, 2015
The Watanabes are an international indie folk pop band performing and recording in Tokyo, fronted by two British brothers on guitar and vocals, an American keyboardist and a Japanese rhythm section. The group began life in the orange-laden prefecture of Ehime, and named themselves Watanabe in tribute to the warm and friendly people of the region, whilst also alluding to The Smiths. The initial inspiration however came from Toru Watanabe, the slightly troubled and over nostalgic protagonist in Haruki Murakami's novel, Norwegian Wood.

Three years later, the band packed up and shifted to Tokyo in search of new inspiration and regular trains, where they began work on their debut album ‘Independent Social Power’. The album caught the attention of Japanese indie music magazine Cookie Scene, as well as the BBC, who described their work as “pure Indie, with floating verses and catchy choruses”.

On the day before the release party of their second album, a massive earthquake and tsunami struck Japan. Filled with a desire to support their adopted homeland, the band have organised and performed in many charity events in aid of Tohoku, and recently visited Fukushima to help build a playground alongside NPO Playground of Hope. The trip was documented in the shape of a collaborative music video, which will be used to promote the charity, and The Watanabes’ new single Make Things Better. The band’s fundraising efforts have been praised both by Japanese national newspaper Mainichi Shimbun, and Time Out Tokyo, who described them as a band with “more heart than ego”.

Their recently released track "There's Something Wrong" has been creeping up the Jamsterdam Top 10 countdown. Tune in at 10am and midnight Toronto time to hear the 10 best tracks you've never heard.

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