For my 2015 song of the year, it's a toss up between the masterpiece "Supreme Pain for the Tyrant" by Taiwanese metal band Chthonic and the gorgeously orchestrated "Quasar" by Japanese indie band The Lost Control. Let me explain the relevance.
"Supreme Pain for the Tyrant" came out on the 2013 "Bu Tik" album and features an amazingly choreographed MV that tells the story of the band members traveling back in time to assassinate members of the Kuomintang -- then rulers of current day China -- as they collaborated with Nazi Germany.
CHTHONIC - Supreme Pain for the Tyrant MV
Aside from being a standout piece in the band's repertoire of songs that shed light on the darker parts of Taiwanese history, the song itself is beautifully composed. It opens with haunting chords courtesy of keyboardist CJ, soon joined by drummer Dani's driving beats and and the guttural roar of front-man Freddy Lim, who is running for Legislature this year. OH YEAH. THAT'S HAPPENING.
This song was centerpiece during the Boxing Day concert celebrating Chthonic's 20th anniversary and fundraising for Freddy's campaign (and fundraiser they did, ending at a staggering 300% on Taiwanese crowdfunding platform FlyingV). The final chorus, a rousing "Let me stand up like a Taiwanese" was a fitting capstone to the politically charged gathering, which saw over 20,000 fans in person and tens of thousands more streaming online.
It was also the song I sang at a karaoke contest this year! So it holds a special place in my heart <3
Second song of the year is "Quasar" by The Lost Control (TLC) because THERE IS AN ELECTRIC CELLO and also this band is really awesome. Not only do they have an awesome sound -- a medley of hip-hop, metal, alternative, punk, and EDM -- all the members are actual functioning members of society with real jobs. They just make amazing music on the side.
The song starts with some funky electronics by Jim (who also does guitar and backing vocals) before going full on rock with TATSUKI on guitar, Ray on the cello and Masaya on Drums. Katy rounds out the sound with a solid bass. The whole thing is a pleasant solar space-y rock experience.
Quasar comes on a single with "Dying Flowers", another amazing piece, and you can listen to samples of both on the band's soundcloud and are available for purchase on iTunes. TLC just made its U.S. debut this year, playing at Whiskey a Go Go in Los Angeles in September, where A-to-J was lucky enough to meet up with them. The band itself is based in Tokyo, Yokohama and they play regular gigs in the area.
If anyone is lucky enough to be in Tokyo, their next concert is coming up on the 30th of January, 2016 at Liveholic.
They've also just come out with another single: Burn/Way Down which are also available on iTunes.
You can check out their official site here : http://tlclol.wix.com/thelostctrl
Or on Facebook http://tlclol.wix.com/thelostctrl
The Lost Ctrl - QUASAR (Live)
◆ Tom Kiryu