New Miminokoto – All About Mimi
Following a lineup change, Miminokoto released a superb live CDR last year, which had me looking forward to a new official album — and here it is, albeit under the name New Miminokoto, apparently to distinguish itself from the earlier incarnation.
The main change is guitarist and vocalist Junzo Suzuki, who has been mentioned on this blog before. His style isn’t radically different from previous guitarist Masami Kawaguchi, who’s busy now with his own New Rock Syndicate, but Suzuki’s feel seems even better suited for the dark, bluesy psychedelia of Miminokoto. His voice is passionate, and his guitar work moves fluidly from slow, delicate strumming into fierce fuzz-driven leads. Drummer Koji Shimura, the group leader, is joined by bassist-around-town Takuya Nishimura, whose bass alternates between steady, solid rhythm work and busier melodic playing.
Miminokoto has never made a secret of its inspiration from Kousokuya’s main man Kaneko Jutok, and here tribute is paid with two of Kaneko’s songs. The first, “Hour of Death,” might be my favorite piece on the album. A few years ago I was scheduled to play a show in Tokyo on a bill with Kaneko, but he shockingly passed away a month or so before the show. Instead, I was fortunate to see Shimura join a tribute to Kaneko with singer Mick and, if I recall correctly, Nishimura on bass.
Released by the stalwart PSF label, this is a must for anyone who’s enjoyed the previous Miminokoto outings as well as any of the other bands mentioned here. The band also have a great live album which they’re shopping around here in the U.S. (anyone with a label who’s interested, let me know and I’ll put you in touch with them!). Hopefully they’ll get that released and come tour soon.