News flash: I am old and tired and burned-out and jaded. I’ve seen it all and heard it all. So I really don’t get excited about much anymore. But I’ve been geeking out on Atarashii Gakko! ever since I stumbled upon them recently. Mainly because they’re weird and wild and wonderful and unlike anything I’ve ever seen.
Yeah, they’re a J-Pop girl group with choreography and matching schoolgirls outfits. But they don’t play cutesy, syrupy pop. Their latest single Tokyo Calling (which they performed on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on Thursday, as you can watch above) is some kind of crazy, fist-pumping electronica/synth-rock anthem — while their previous releases run the gamut from piano-fronted jazz-rock to slinky guitar-funk (yep, I went down the rabbit hole; I urge you to join me by checking out their music below).
Meanwhile, their choreography is acrobatic and aggressive and just plain bizarre — somewhere between a parody of interpretive dance and a bunch of stoned cheerleaders. And the futuristic traffic-warden uniforms only make things weirder. If it reminds you a little of Beastie Boys, that’s probably no coincidence. The ladies (who have been around for nearly a decade!) have apparently been working with their producer Money Mark recently, and their YouTube page includes a brief clip of them covering Intergalactic.
Anyway, their Kimmel spot was the best late-night TV performance I’ve seen in I don’t know how long. Check it out for yourself and tell me I’m wrong. The only fly in the ointment for me is that I found out they recently performed in St. Paul and I missed it. Rest assured I’ll be the oldest weirdo in the crowd next time they come within 1,000 miles. Until then…