Japandroids (or JPNDRDS as I used to always see it stylized- whatever happened to that?) are a bit of an accident. The Canadian garage/noise rock duo had effectively called it quits before their debut album, Post-Nothing, had even seen a proper release. When the record not only saw a wide release, but was critically revered, the band was forced out of retirement (at the time a temporary plan) to give it another go. Sure, plenty of bands break up due to lack of success, even before a proper album release. Plenty of bands also break up only to eventually reunite due to fan and critical demand. Few bands, however, can say they’ve done both. That’s why, perhaps, Japandroids’ new album Celebration Rock is so important. It was also a struggle.
After mentally checking out, then subsequently being incredibly hyped up, the band found themselves spending the last few years touring extensively all the while being forced to consider that maybe they had no choice but to continue existing as Japandroids (I can’t help but feel like I’m writing the tagline for a weird new anime with that sentence). And, as band once more, the next logical thing to consider: the followup to the album they barely expected to release. Celebration Rock (which was partially recorded here in Nashville) was nothing short of a struggle for the duo. A struggle not only to find inspiration and overcome writer’s block, but to craft a sincere and genuine followup as a band while adhering to their newfound critical attention. What they produced is a concise, powerful, impossibly thick, sonic assault of a rock record that is superior to their debut in every way; an evolutionary representation of not only a band that matters but also knows a band that knows what is expected of them and stays within those paramaters while staying fresh and exciting.
Though they’re back for now, and for the foreseeable future, bear in mind that Japandroids aren’t even supposed to still be a band. A followup album was never the plan, though it’s a welcome development. Still, I’d advise you to catch them while you can, because you never know when they’ll be gone.
Opening the show are Brooklyn indie rockers Swearin’. They’re energetic, lo-fi, and a little bit unpredictable and should provide a fun, energetic start to an amazing show.
Japandroids and Swearin’ perform tonight at Exit/In. The show starts at 9PM (8PM doors) and tickets are still onsale here.