Melt Banana

Tokyo quartet Melt Banana really is the perfect band for fans of both Puffy AmiYumi and AIDS Wolf, if such a creature actually exists (the fan, not the wolf). On the cute side of things, there are frontwoman Yasuko Onuki's vocals, which are mostly hyperactive squeals, squawks, and chants comprehensible only to the Japanese-fluent, and oddly yet undeniably sweet. On the noisy, thrashy, fucked-up, mangle-your-nervous-system side of things is, well, everything else. Guitars (and various effects boxes) sound like high-speed dental drills, space shuttle launches, and the sickening twist of metal during a car crash. Rhythms batter the skull like Sunday-morning jackhammers, or a cage fighter jacked on crystal meth. And somehow the two sides come together brilliantly, and occasionally even form some semblance of melody!

Clearly no other band would have been as appropriate to contribute the theme song ("Hair-Cat") to the bizarre Adult Swim anime series Perfect Hair Forever. That's just one of the more recent chapters in the 15-year career of Melt Banana, which has been relentlessly championed by the likes of Mike Patton, Merzbow, and John Zorn. The band's latest full-length adorable assault is Bambi's Dilemma, which, from the sound of things, is that a chainsaw-wielding lunatic is about to lop off her cute little deer legs.

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Michael Alan Goldberg