Forget anime, manga, and sugary sweet Japanese pop music. There's a side of Japan's pop culture that's doesn't get much press, but it can be way, way more interesting than big eyes and sailor uniforms. I refer to none other than the Japanese noise scene.

Some Japanese noise bands are:

Japanese Noise is, as the name suggests, completely different from other music scenes peculiar to Japan, such as Shibuya-Kei. Noise bands have little to no semblance of song structure - pieces are composed of machine like noises (hums, fuzz, loud bangs and such) or extreme noise generated from overdriven guitars layered on top of each other so that no tune is decipherable.

Some artists like the Boredoms and Melt Banana have had "success" abroad. An excellent introduction to this type of music is the wonderfully titled Japanese American Noise Treaty recording, released on Relapse in 1995. Be forewarned: Japanese Noise is not "easy listening", and it's not for everyone, but it sure is an interesting peek into a Japanese sub-culture that doesn't get as much exposure as Pokemon.

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