The Mad Capsule Markets

About The Mad Capsule Markets

Among Western listeners, the Japanese trio Mad Capsule Markets has most frequently been compared to Atari Teenage Riot, thanks to the crashing punk and metal guitars which overlay the band's aggressive electronic backdrop of industrial, techno, and drum'n'bass rhythms. Yet they've been recording much longer than ATR, forming all the way back in 1990, with a lineup of vocalist Kyono, bassist Takeshi Ueda, and drummer Motokatsu Miyagami (the latter two also share programming duties). The band started out on its own Insect Noise label, where they released their debut single, "Government Wall," and an accompanying album, Humanity, in 1990. The Japanese arm of JVC/Victor quickly signed them for their 1991 major-label debut, P.O.P., which was followed by 1992's Speak!!!! and 1994's Park, as well as the 1994 collection Mix-Ism. The Mad Capsule Markets played their first American gig in San Francisco in 1995, where their 4 Plugs album was being mixed. Released in Japan in 1996, 4 Plugs became their most popular album up to that point, and was quickly followed by the retrospective The Best of the Mad Capsule Markets, which proved equally popular. 1997's Digidogheadlock was an even bigger hit, and also became the first Mad Capsule Markets album available in the U.S. (though not very widely). That year, the Markets boosted their profile on the American indie scene with performances at two prominent showcases: the CMJ Music Marathon in New York and the South by Southwest festival in Austin, TX; they also opened for alt-metal bands Rage Against the Machine and Helmet on those bands' Japanese tour dates, and played the Fuji Rock Festival alongside RATM, Atari Teenage Riot, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Their popularity in Japan only continued to grow with 1999's OSC-DIS (Oscillator in Distortion), which spun off five Japanese hit singles, including "Pulse" and "Good Girl," the latter of which was featured in a TV commercial. Palm Pictures reissued the album in the U.S. in 2001, giving the Markets their widest American distribution yet. ~ Steve Huey

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