This week I intend to travel outside Europe – musically speaking – since I seldom do it: let me introduce you to Tenniscoats, one of the most unconventional Japanese bands ever. Their funny and peculiar name, Tenniscoats, comes from the way “Tennis Courts” sounds, when rendered in Japanese.

Tenniscoats are essentially a duo featuring the musicians Saya and Takashi Ueno, from Tokyo, Japan; on the stage, though, they are frequently joined by other musicians and artists,  with whom Saya and Takashi likes to perform. The couple has been playing together since early 2000, when their first EP The Theme of Tenniscoats was released.

Thanks to Saya‘s, the lead singer with the softest and the sweetest of voices, Tenniscoats music is the gentle and mellow kind, that so much resembles the one of our favourite Icelandic artists, such as Múm and Pascal Pinon. Because of Takashi‘s saxophone and many other not so conventional instruments, the duo belongs to the most experimental branch of the Japanese indie pop.

Their unconventional tunes may be the reason why Tenniscoats have been collaborating with a various number of Japanese and non-Japanese artists and musicians – such as the collaboration between Satomi of Deerhoof and Saya in 2008, and the one with the Scottish indie pop group The Pastels, with whom they have released the album Two Sunsets in 2009.

Since The Theme of Tenniscoats in 2000, the band has released a long list of other EP’s and albums: among these, the beautiful Live Wanderus in 2006, in which the cheerful tunes and Saya’s vocals could be a tribute to Deerhoof. Papa’s Ear, released in 2012 under their record label Majikick, is the latest album of Tenniscoats: with ten tracks in which Saya sings both in Japanese and English, this could be one of the most fascinating albums of the duo. Once again, the delicate and original melodies of Tenniscoats create an unique and intense atmosphere, that characterizes the whole album.

The most beautiful video I could find by Tenniscoats is on  La Blogotheque‘s Vimeo channel: enjoy.

Tenniscoats make my head lighter and my heart warmer: I am certain it will work the same way for you,  if you listen to their music for the rest of the week!

Love, P.

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