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Monster Island refugees Daikaiju surf the surreal

Ready for a vocabulary lesson? Daikaiju is a Japanese word, roughly translated into English as "giant strange beast." It's also the name of an instrumental surf rock band, which truly lives up to its name by being a bigger than life, strange creature.

Daikaiju's music brings surf rock back to its origins: slamming on guitars, drums and bass to create a danceable (and surf-able) melody. Yet, what Daikaiju adds to surf rock's fun melodies is attitude.

Even in the nearly nine-minute-long "Farewell to Monster Island," the band's we're-going-to-give-you-a-show attitude can be felt in every note as the song drifts from laid-back guitar riffs to in-your-face guitar reverb and back. Pitchfork Media was so impressed with the band's skill, they gave Daikaiju's 2005 self-titled debut album a 7.8 rating.

In addition to the album, which is on iTunes as well as Daikaiju's website and Myspace pages, the Huntsville, Ala. band has also released a new single, "Flight of Garuda," on classic 7-inch vinyl for audiophiles out there. The band insists the quality of vinyl will always be superior to that of compact discs and mp3s.

Even so, when asked their personal favorite format when it's time to settle back and listen to music, they insist that the best ear-ringing comes from listening to an 8-track.

Every aspect of Daikaiju is a performance. The band, which will only do interviews by e-mail, is fairly ambiguous when asked how they formed: "Many speculation in which womb Daikaiju form. Maybe inside volcano?"

Band members also never show their faces, which, in the fashion of surf rockers Los Straitjackets before them, are always masked. Daikaiju's disguises are red, white and black — the band's color scheme — a continuation of the band's Japanese-inspired personality (and yes, there are matching shirts).

However, according to Daikaiju they, "never hide [our] identity! Daikaiju [is] form[ed by] Secret-Man, Rock-Man, Mobile-Man, [and] Hands-Man!"

Onstage, Daikaiju is known for high-energy shows that challenge audiences to just try to stand still (nearly impossible). Off stage, they call their songs "sonic attack formations," and insist they never settle for being happy with their attacks: "[We're] always developing a new sonic attack to battle enemy with more power-up!"

For Daikaiju, battling enemy with more power-up apparently translates to virtually incessant touring. The band has performed nearly every single day since March. When asked how they keep fresh after such a long tour (this one will extend all the way into October), the jokers reply, "Daikaiju pass many toll booth in journey of life. Daikaiju always fresh after Mothra Girl back rub and many lasting bubble bath!" (They love Mothra Girls so much that they also have a sonic attack formation about them, "The Trouble With Those Mothra Girls").

If their humble introduction on their website is any indication, Daikaiju intend to rock your world with their loud sonic boom: "Who is the Daikaiju??? Premium action heroes deliver most high rocket music!"

And while awaiting their invasion of Colorado Springs — as well as a new album that's already in the works — don't forget to "worship psycho-surf band Daikaiju daily for good luck and health!"

scene@csindy.com

  • Monster Island refugees Daikaiju surf the surreal

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