Since 1991, HI-STANDARD has been a driving force in the Japanese underground music scene. Their eclectic and melodic approach to songwriting has garnered the band an enormous following that is quickly expanding from the Far East to the far reaches of the globe. In addition to playing HUGE sold out shows in Japan all the time (no shit, they’re like the Japanese Beatles), HI-STANDARD have toured the U.S. and Europe with bands like NOFX and No Use For A Name.
HI-STANDARD mixes catchy melodies with speed, harmony, and energy. As a reference point, you could use a Japanese hybrid of NOFX and the Toy Dolls, but their sound is still uniquely their own. Although they dwell predominantly in the vein of melodic hardcore, their influences run the musical gamut. . .from 70’s punk and British pop to soul, funk, and Latin music. These broad musical tastes epitomize the bands positive and open-minded approach to songwriting.
After releasing a wildly successful LP and 7’ on their own label, Pizza of Death, HI-STANDARD made their debut on FAT WRECK CHORDS with the full-length release, Growing Up. On this outing, the trio whipped through 14 contagiously energetic tunes. The song titles alone (‘Summer of Love,’ ‘Sunny Day,’ ‘Kiss Me Again’) display HI-STANDARD’s knack for focusing on positive lyrical themes rather than taking the generic punk route of complaining about everyday life. Other clues to their fun musical approach are their tongue-in-cheek, punky renditions of the Bay City Rollers’ ‘Saturday Night’ and Rainbow’s ‘Since You Been Gone.’ These versions will have even the staunchest of music prudes cracking a smile.
HI-STANDARD’s second album for FAT, Angry Fist, was released in 1997 to a slew of good reviews and great fan response. The band’s penchance for upbeat, cheerful songs (like the super happy ‘My Heart Feels So Free’) could very well make them the happiest punk band ever.
HI-STANDARD recorded and released Making the Road in 1999 to a foaming-at-the-mouth Japanese audience. Several months (and several hundred thousand record sales) later, we got our hands on the album (plus an extra track or so) and released it stateside.
HI-STANDARD’s latest glorious offering is a four song CD-EP entitled Love is a Battlefield. This EP packs a punch like a mouthful of wasabi and is an exact reflection of the three Japanese band members: short and sweet. It’s a classic HI-STANDARD outing complete with super catchy melodic punk tunes and butchered cover songs (’Can’t Help Falling In Love’). This trio has a real knack for defiling American classics!