Nakanomori BAND (中ノ森BAND) was an all-female pop/rock band from Japan, formed in 2004. The band was fronted by Ayako Nakanomori (vocals/guitar) who was the runner-up in the 2000 Kyushu-Okinawa Starlight Audition [he says as if he knows what that was]. The other members were Tomoe (guitar), Shinamon (Keyboards), Yucco (Bass) and Cheeta (Drums). Tomoe left the band in 2005, and they continued on as a foursome. Ayako Nakanomori’s best asset, apart from her undeniable cuteness, is her voice. She sings in a lower register than most Japanese female pop singers with an occasional squeak, making her vocals very distinctive. She sings in Japanese but throws in some English phrases, usually in the choruses. Nakanomori BAND is comparable to American artists like Everlife (circa their eponymous 2007 album) and KSM. In 2008, Ayako Nakanomori, along with her band, appeared in the movie Kekkon shiyou yo (結婚しようよ). She starred as the musician daughter of a salaryman who was struggling to keep his family together. Nakanomori BAND disbanded later that year, and Ayako has since been pursuing a solo career. She cites as influences “Sheryl Crow, Carole King, Cyndi Lauper, P!nk, and more…” In 2011, Nakanomori joined the one-shot supergroup DAYBREAKERS.
Nakanomori BAND‘s debut, OH MY DARLIN’ ~Girls having Fun~ (2006) was preceded by three singles. The first, “Raspberry Pie”, is pure girl-pop, but also undeniably addictive. “Whatever”, however, is a punky pop/rocker that sounds like a Japanese version of The Go-Go’s, and is one of the band’s best tracks. The third single, “Oh My Darlin'”, is good, too, but the album has even better tracks. “Pink Monster” begins with a riff that recalls Rick Springfield‘s “Jesse’s Girl”, then explodes into infectious pop/rock perfection. And, “Secret Pool”, a pop/rocker with a pounding backbeat, is a definite favorite. I love Ayako’s raspy vocals when she sings, at the end of each chorus: “With these words I’ll never say.” And, “Love♡Control (ラブ♡コントロール)” is a similar pop/rocker, equally awesome, while “Quicksand (クイックサンド)” and “Jishaku (磁石)” are excellent power ballads. An awesome debut (if you like this kind of catchy rockin’ pop).
Watch the videos for “Raspberry Pie”, “Whatever” and “Oh My Darlin'” here:
Watch the videos for “i Need Love” and “Fly High” here:
Watch the video(s) for “Tabi e no Tobira” and “Kaze ni Naritai” here:
[2005.02.23] “Raspberry Pie” [Single]
[2005.05.25] “Whatever” [Single]
[2005.11.23] “Oh My Darlin'” [Single]
[2006.01.11] OH MY DARLIN’ ~Girls having Fun~ [Album]
[2006.05.31] “i Need Love” [Single]
[2006.08.30] “Fly High” [Single]
[2006.11.22] Do The Rock [Album]
[2007.07.25] “Tabi e no Tobira (旅への扉)” [Single]
[2007.10.24] “Isobravo / Yuki (イソブラボー / 雪)” [Single]
[2008.01.23] “Kaze ni Naritai (風になりたい)” [Single]
[2008.03.05] Electric Girl [Album]
[2008.09.24] GIRLS ROCK BEST [Album]
DAYBREAKERS was a “temporary” supergroup that consisted of influential rocker Nanase Aikawa, pop singer Mai Hoshimura, Ayako Nakanomori (ex-Nakanomori BAND), Hisato Izaki ( of boy band FLAME), Ayumi Orii (former AKB48 member), pop singer Erica and guitarist Kaizokuou (of rock band Ouzoku BAND). Return to ZERO (2011), the ensemble’s one and only album, is, apparently, a concept album, but how would I know? I don’t speak Japanese. But, I do know that the album is an excellent showcase of some serious Japanese pop/rock. No J-pop here, even though 4 of the 6 vocalists are, in fact, J-pop artists. Each of the 6 vocalists takes the lead vocal on 2 tracks each, while Kaizokuou is showcased on 2 instrumentals, and the entire group contributes to the final, title track. Ayako Nakanomori’s tracks are “confession”, a rocker, and “time has come 〜雪解けの時”, a ballad (that ends with a cool guitar solo). Good stuff. Check it out.
[2006.01.11] Return to ZERO [Album]