Domo Arigato!

We talk Japanese-style and chat with L.P.

To quote Robert Christgau: This is not punk rock. This is L.P. (a nickname from high school; she won't reveal what lies behind the initials), the Brooklyn-based rocker your mama would have warned you about, had your mama ever fretted over a sexy, harp-blowing, vibrato-wailing, 28-year-old skater boy trapped in a girl's body. She stands like a slacker on the cover of her second album, Suburban Sprawl and Alcohol, but don't expect the Misfits or the Damned. L.P. sings like a banshee with perfect pitch, and her indie guitar band prefers melody to thrash. From a cell phone in New Mexico, she dishes on vocal range, lesbian fans, bad deals and dick.

B-Sides: Your mom was an opera singer?

L.P.: She sang at Carnegie Hall up until she was nineteen, then she got married and had kids. She used to sing around the house; I'd sing with her. Kids' songs, show tunes, The Sound of Music. Just dumb stuff.

You layer your vocals a lot on the record.

I can sing pretty low, too. There's a lot of background parts I want the band to sing. They can't really get that low.

What's the point of having boys in your band then?

I make them do it. Good point, though. I'll have to use that.

I was surprised at how poppy Suburban Sprawl is.

It's not really indicative of the show, so that disappoints some people. But a lot of bands are a bummer live, so I like how we rock more onstage. [On] the next record, I want to capture more of that.

You left Koch after your first record. Why?

They didn't put enough into it, but they wanted publishing [rights]. I'm not gonna do that unless they pay me or get behind the record. Me and my manager were like, "Fuck off." They pulled tour support and everything. They wanted me to sign for two more records, and I was like, "No fuckin' way."

Your first band was called Lionfish. What was that like?

It was acoustic, no bass, just a guitar player, harmonica and simple drum kit. We had a big lesbian following in the city. Then we wanted to rip each other's throats out by the end. Then I met David Lowery (of Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker); he thought I was a real rocker and he brought that out in me.

Playing with Cracker was probably different than the lesbian scene.

I have multiple personalities in my music. That confuses people. Even in life I have that.

Do you ever get sick of people thinking you're a boy?

Check this out. We were in Sacramento, I was in the van playing guitar, and this guy asks me how old I am. I was like, "Why?" He said, "You look a lot younger than the other guys in the band." I said, "Maybe because I'm a chick." He was like, "You're a chick?" I still get looks when I go in the bathroom.

You have a sense of humor about it.

I didn't have tits till I was eighteen anyway. I went through a girly phase when I was nineteen. I didn't like it. That was about the same time I discovered I didn't like dick, either. At the time, I thought, "Hmmm, I don't like dressing up as a girl. I don't like doing this dick thing." It pretty much ended there. -- Roy Kasten

Lost in Translation
International thoughts on Asobi Seksu

The dream-pop quartet Asobi Seksu may hail from Brooklyn, but the band is soaked in Japanese style thanks to Japanese-American vocalist Yuki Chikudate. Several of the songs on the band's self-titled debut are sung in Japanese, and Asobi Seksu translates into "play sex."

To get a different perspective on AS's Eastern flavor, we rang up Ongaku Hihyouka, respected Japanese music critic. Through a cut-rate translator, we chatted about the band:

B-Sides: Is Asobi Seksu popular in Japan?

Ongaku Hihyouka: The band is with number-one sound! It is great for many people of fun ways.

What are your thoughts on their album?

Fuzz for ear-tickling and soda hooks means pleasure may result. "I'm Happy But You Don't Like Me" has beats and plinks, other times there is guitar shaking or crying parts. Asobi Seksu is wear many socks on many feet.

Could you tell our readers about their influences?

For first, Exsanguinating Heart of Mine and its album No Love. There is also balloon-rapidly-deflating sound like Inexpensive Trick. But the sound comes from innards of band. Impressions left in my mind.

Thank you for your time.

Please touch yourself in your original style. -- Jordan Harper