So I've decided to do a series of threads over the next month dedicated to what I consider the 25 best active musical acts on the planet.
Note that this list will only include bands that are currently writing, recording and touring. So you won't see legends like Mercyful Fate, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd or Voivod on this list. You also won't see bands that are way past their prime [i.e. Slayer, Metallica, etc.]. Most [though not all] of these bands are fairly underground. And yes, this list is pretty much exclusively rock-oriented, so I don't want hip hop fans complaining.
Bands are ranked pretty arbitrarily, but I did weigh a number of factors, including the strength of each band's most recent output in comparison with their back catalog, the consistency of their discography as a whole, the quality of their live show, their inventiveness and their potential [or realized] impact on the music world in general.
Without further ado...
Country of origin: Japan
Genre: Post-punk/noise rock
Years active: 15
Latest release: Bambi's Dilemma, 2007, A-Zap
Quite possibly the most kinetic band ever to exist, Melt-Banana is the pinnacle of evolution for the Japanese noise rock genre pioneered by the likes of The Boredoms and Fushìtsusha in the 1980s. Though they've certainly toned things down from the unfettered noise of their early records and developed a refined sense of groove and quality songwriting in recent years, they've maintained the hyperglycemic edge that once made a friend of mine remark that they "sound like a bunch of meth-fueled Japanese cheerleaders."
Between guitarist Agata's weird, caustic effects-laden riffs, the frantic drumming and Yasuko O's uh... unusual vocals [and often humorous Engrish lyrics], this is a band that is sure to make you bounce off walls.
All Music Guide profile
Official MySpace page