Ling tosite sigure
Japanese indie rockers Ling Tosite Sigure (or "Rin Toshite Shigure" in the more commonly used Hepburn transliteration) play elaborate post-hardcore with alt-prog influences, showing a remarkable ability to mix tempo changes and emo screams by the two vocalists (male and female) with good melodies and strong emotional messages, and scoring on the Oricon charts despite their complex songwriting. The band was formed in Saitama in 2002 by guitarist/vocalist TK (Toru Kitajima), a buddy of Art-School's Masafumi Todaka, and bassist/vocalist Miyoko Nakamura, who went by the moniker 345; the drummer Pierre Nakano (real name Masatoshi Nakano) joined some time later, allowing Ling Tosite Sigure to start playing live. The group had four demos -- #1, #2, #3, and Tosite -- out in 2003-2004, and in 2005 released the debut album #4 on their own label, Nakano Records, promoting it with a nationwide tour, the first of many. The EP Feeling Your UFO came the next year, and the second album Inspiration Is Dead followed in 2007, when Ling Tosite Sigure also played the Countdown festival.
Their touring activities continued to flourish after that -- in addition to sharing the stage regularly with Sparta Locals, Mo'some Tonebender and the Back Horn in 2008, they also went on tours with Go! Go! 7188 and 9mm Parabellum Bullet, played Fuji Rock and Rising Sun festivals, and did the solo nationwide set of shows they called "Fighting G," charmingly named after Nakano's hemorrhoids problems. In 2008, they also recorded the debut single "Telecastic Fake Show," which was their last indie release: they were picked up by Sony, debuting as majors with the single "Moment a Rhythm" (2008), followed by their third album, Just a Moment (2009), which charted in the Oricon Top Ten. After its release the band travelled to the UK to play their very first international shows, in London and Brighton. The wryly-titled Still a Sigure Virgin? followed in 2010, after which the band went quiet for a while. In mid-2012 TK released his debut solo album, Flowering, but by the end of the year Sigure were back with the single "Abnormalize", which was used as the opening theme to the anime series Psycho-Pass. In 2013 they issued their fifth album I'mperfect, which went to no. 3 on the Oricon charts and also became their first record to be made available outside of Japan when it was released by the UK's JPU label, which had previously gained the rights to The Gazette's Division. ~ Alexey Eremenko