I have no idea why I didn’t do this sooner.
Daikaiju – the monster surf rock band who turn out to be from somewhere in the vicinity of Huntsville, Alabama, and not from Japan after all – have been serenading me on an almost weekly basis for about seven years, thanks to the podcasty awesomeness of Escape Pod (which, as an aside, if you are not currently familiar with, you should visit now. Well, finish reading this, then go visit), but I have only just made the inexplicably surprising discovery that they can also be spotified.
And so, without even knowing how monster surf rock can be an actual thing, I have let it join the increasingly eclectic ‘writing music’ area of my spotify manor.
Of course, you don’t need me to tell you that daikaiju is Japanese for ‘giant monster’ which is why the songs on the band’s self-titled debut album have names such as The Trouble With Those Mothra Girls, Attack of the Crab Women and Farewell to Monster Island. Also Sharkakahn, which is an 80s pop pun par excellence. None of which has anything to do with the music, which is basically just a modern take on the kind of surf music that belongs in the 60s or Pulp Fiction.
The aforementioned debut album starts with Daikaiju Die!, which they evidently don’t, because they rattle through eight more 3-ish minute instrumental tracks and then suddenly change gear, closing with Farewell To Monster Island, 8 minutes and 26 seconds of chilled out, reggae-tinged surf guitar which, frankly, should be part of the soundtrack to any summer (and from now on, will be).
The band’s second album, Phase 2, is… well let’s face it, it’s more of the same: short, sharp bursts with mad drums, epic guitars, no words and titles that sound like a SyFy B-movie – opening with Escape From Nebula M Spacehunter, taking us through Laser Runner and Forcefield Lifts Over Neon City before closing with Zombie Harem. how can you not love Daikaiju on the basis of that alone?
Za Feijingu Supaidaa Kyoui, which I realise is probably something incredibly rude in Japanese, and Choujikuu Mitsukai will be familiar to Escapodians; while the brilliantly named Jellyfish Sunrise reprises the mellow dub sound (and epic length) of Farewell…, and Forcefield Lifts Over Neon City opens a bit like The Jam’s Start!, but then wanders off into surf rock territory, then builds up to some epic prog-rock guitar moments before calming back down again and fading into the background.
This is all just fun music that doesn’t take itself too seriously, but which is, to my admittedly untrained, pretty darned good. And, because it’s instrumental, makes great writing music – at last while writing fun scenes about giant monsters and zombie harems.
Stand-out tracks: Farewell to Monster Island is like nothing else on Daikaiju; while Forcefield Lifts Over Neon City is probably the peak of Phase 2.