Since 2004, New Yorker City based four-piece Anamanaguchi has steadily crafted a DIY Game Boy meets pop-punk legacy, and after launching the second highest grossing Kickstarter campaign in history, to facilitate the group's latest album, Endless Fantasy, it seems that listeners are taking note. And following a stellar performance on "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon," the band is poised to achieve something much greater that Internet fame with its first headlining tour.
Many bands upload songs onto the Internet, but few have garnered the intense following of Anamanaguchi. Endless Fantasy was the number one album on Billboard's Heatseeker chart the week of its release, and their Kickstarter campaign to earn funds for the album's promotion was the second highest in the site's history, receiving $277,399 from over 7,000 fans and admirers.
This comes at a time when corporate record labels are having trouble getting consumers to shell out money to buy an album. Unlike the thousands of other bands trying to make it, Anamanaguchi has created a unique image and brand for their music, one built on childhood nostalgia, a love for anime and all things neon, and an unabashed enthusiasm for the weirder corners of the Internet. Most of all, they hold true to the punk rock ideal of no compromise, and are committed to bringing that aesthetic to life in their live show.
This lack of compromise on their vision was what led them away from a major label home and to the crowd-sourcing Kickstarter model. The decision wasn't made without doubts: Kickstarter withholds the money from projects if their fundraising goal isn't met. As drummer Luke Silas explains, "We were literally having a meeting, before putting up the Kickstarter video, saying 'If we don't reach our (fundraising goal) what are we gonna do?'"
The rapidi response caught everyone by surprise. "It just blew into action for us," he adds. The band reached its goal of $50,000 within the first week. When the campaign ended a month later, it had garnered almost six times that amount. The only project on Kickstarter that has surpassed their success was Amanda Palmer's 1.2 million dollar campaign in May.
Endless Fantasy does the difficult task of taking a cold and robotic medium and making it sound romantic and nostalgic. Despite the lack of vocals on songs such as the title track and "Viridian Genesis," their songs are the perfect John Hughes-like fodder for seeking suburban bliss. Anamanaguchi was uncompromising in their vision, keeping the album at a whopping 22 tracks. When asked why the band didn't go for a more traditional length, Silas responded flippantly, "but that's really fucking boring."
Their music videos are the farthest thing from boring, however. A sequence in the "Meow" video features a Day-Glo Furby morphing into a series or rapid fire characters, including Scary Spice, Guy Fieri, and various others. For the "Endless Fantasy" video they send a slice of pizza into space. The band also pushes innovation with its physical releases as well. The cover "Airbrushed" single is a holographic lenticular that mirrors an online animation from the band's website.
Anamanaguchi's live shows feature a barrage of prerecorded synth leads and live guitar chords that trigger euphoric mosh pits in audiences, and thanks to their Kickstarter's success, expect a live visual feast similar to their music videos, courtesy of DJ Ghostdad.
With a bassist that has built LED rigs for established bands like Ra-Ra-Riot, the band also constructed six LED light poles that are synched to each song, as well as a couple of holographic LED cubes. With any luck, you'll get a chance to handle some of this equipment yourself - during the Fallon performance the band detached the poles and passed them out to the studio audience. Through it all - from the Kickstarter campaing to the Fallon performance to the band's decision to keep a microphone onstage in front of guitarist Peter Berkman to shout out the crowd - its dedication and interaction with their fans that has carried Anamanaguchi so far.
Anamanguchi, Kitty, and Divine Interface play the Drunken Unicorn on Sat., July 20. $10-$12 9 p.m. 736 Ponce De Leon Ave.
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Their show with Chris, Lord about 3 years at the Unicorn was the best.
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