Vocals: Yoko Hamasaki
URBANGARDE is a self-described “Trauma Techno Pop” band, mixing male and female vocals, outrageous performance-art visuals, and daring social commentary. After completing three independent albums, they released their major debut singles “Skirt Kakumei” and “Tokimeki ni Shisu” from Universal Music Japan in 2011, followed by their first major-label album release Mental Hells. URBANGARDE’s 2012 album Geiger Counter Culture achieved the number 10 position on the daily Oricon chart in Japan and made the top 25 on its weekly chart.
In 2012, URBANGARDE ranked in the top 5 J-Pop artists on the French TV program “Japan in Motion” (NOLIFE TV) and made their French live performance debut at Toulouse Game Show (TGS). URBANGARDE returned to France in 2013 for Japan Expo and released their greatest hits compilation Koi to Kakumei to URBANGARDE, featuring the song “Tokai no Alice.”
URBANGARDE’s Utsukushii Kuni was released in June 2014 by Tokuma Japan Communications, featuring artwork by renowned Japanese painter Aida Makoto. The same year URBANGARDE released music videos for “Sakura Memento” and “One-Piece Shinjuu”. In 2015, URBANGARDE released the single “Coin Locker babies” and made their USA debut at A-Kon in Dallas, TX, followed by the release of their apocalyptic album Showa 90 in December, which featured the anti-war song “Kuchibiru Democracy”.
In 2016, URBANGARDE collaborated with popular Japanese photographer Yuki Aoyama to produce a special collection of photos and poems titled “Schoolgirl Trauma”, and collaborated on the lush photobook “Monthly URBANGARDExTRMN”, which captured the band in gorgeous colorful costumes and androgynous makeup. The band also released a limited-edition, live show-only CD titled Showa 91, the music video “Femme Fata Fantasy”, and the theme song “Kiss Me Kirei Me” for the NHK program “Let’s Tensai Terebi-kun”.
Also in 2016, Vocalist Yoko Hamasaki released her first book of prose titled Bara Iro No Jinsei (“Rose-Colored Life”) and her second solo album, Blue Forest, with the music video “I Like Chopin” directed by Eisuke Naito. Temma Matsunaga released his second book of essays, titled Shoujo ka, shousetsu ka (“Girl, or novel?”), the follow-up to 2015’s Jisatsushatachi (“Selfie People”), a compilation of short stories, essays, and poems about the dark sides of modern life in Tokyo. Matsunaga also co-starred with Hikari Mitsushima in an episode of NHK BS Premium’s Edogawa Rampo Tanpenshu, an anthology series featuring the works of noted Japanese mystery writer Edogawa Rampo.
URBANGARDE’s next single “Akumade Akuma” will be released in January 2017.
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