It’s no secret that these days I listen mostly to female vocal bands. That just makes it even more exciting whenever I find a rocking group with a guy on the mic. The other day I had the pleasure of seeing The Hungry Rugrat, a four-piece band hailing from the northern island of Hokkaido, who took the stage dressed in sneakers and sports coats. With a clear influence from UK garage rock and post-punk revival, The Hungry Rugrat dishes out a great familiar sound without feeling too derivative. I love the way the vocals flow, half spoken, half sung. One of the biggest nitpicks I have with Japanese bands is they just try too fit too many syllables into a phrase. Japanese is wordy, but can really make for excellent streams of sound when the songwriter fits the words to the music. They also have a way of making the lead guitar mirror the vocal line work, a musical feature that I usually dislike. Everything is simple and tight and just works. Check out this video from their first minialbum Te (手), a 5-track CD released earlier this year with no mediocre songs in sight.