Nakanomori BAND

Nakanomori-01ANakanomori 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.Nakanomori-02 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-03Nakanomori 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 versionNakanomori-04-1 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:

Nakanomori BAND‘s second album, Do The Rock (2006), was preceded by two singles. “i Need Love” and “Fly High” are good, but the album has other better tracks. “Cannonball”,Nakanomori-04-2 “New Year Party” and “Wana (罠)” are cool gritty rockers, while “Polaris Piketora (ポラリスピケトラ)” is a punky pop/rocker similar to “Whatever”. But, Ayako’s vocals shine best on this album’s numerous ballads, like my favorites, “Seinaru Yoru no Shi (聖なる夜の詩)” and “Say Good Bye”, both power pop ballads. “remember me…” is an acoustic ballad whose original version appears as the B-side to the “iNeed Love” single. “Sayonara Bomber (サヨナラボンバー)” is another good B-side from the same single. Finally, “Hana Monogatari (花物語)” and “Basu Tei Komachi (バス停小町)” are excellent straight pop ballads.

Watch the videos for “i Need Love” and “Fly High” here:

Nakanomori BAND‘s final album, Electric Girl (2008), was preceded by three singles. The first two, “Tabi e no Tobira (旅への扉)” and “Isobravo / Yuki (イソブラボー / 雪)” are good but,Nakanomori-04-3 once again, the album has other better tracks. However, the third, “Kaze ni Naritai (風になりたい)”, which was featured in Ayako’s movie Kekkon shiyou yo, is definitely one of the album’s best tracks. “One last tear” and “Seesaw (シーソー)” are more excellent ballads, but, the final three tracks, “Ue o Muite (ウエヲムイテ)”, “Day by Day ~Tadotta Ashiato ni (辿った足跡に)~” and “Hoshi ni Natta Kimi e (星になった君へ)”, all ballads, are worth the price of admission. Also, “99 Red Ballons (99ラブバルーン)” is, obviously, a cover of the 1983 song originally by German new wave band Nena. The song was a hit in German and English. So, now, here it is in Japanese, and it’s a pretty cool punky version.

Watch the video(s) for “Tabi e no Tobira” and “Kaze ni Naritai” here:

Nakanomori-05Nakanomori BAND Discography
[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-01BDAYBREAKERS 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 andDaybreakers-02 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]

One response to “Nakanomori BAND

  1. Pingback: Nakanomori BAND « Girls, Guns & Zombies!·

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