Bonsai Kitten – “Occupy Yourself!”

This is another of my Tokyo Disk Union purchases, and I have to confess I assumed Bonsai Kitten was a Japanese band when I bought it. First there’s the band’s name. Then there is the somewhat ambiguous drawings on the front cover. And finally some kanji on the reverse. Mind you, had I simply looked at the url of the band’s website and seen the “.de” I would have figured out pretty quick that they were German. Then again, I probably would have bought it anyway, so whatever.

Bonsai Kitten describe their still as killbilly – sort of rockabilly/psychobilly, but, you know, influenced by the move Kill Bill. Intrigued? You should be. The band formed in 2005 and released their first EP in 2007, a record exclusive for the Japanese market. Fronted by Tiger Lilly Marleen and her flaming red hair, Bonsai Kitten does all their songs (at least all of them on Occupy Yourself!) in English, making them much more approachable for someone like me. And Marleen’s English is impeccable, reminding me more than a little of a deeper voiced version of Gwen Stefani. Musically their sound is Western style rockabilly influenced, with a dash of pop power, and more than a little in-your-face punk attitude.

The vinyl version of this release is a limited edition of 500 on white vinyl. It also has one of the more unique ways of obtaining a digital download of the album, which involves photographing yourself with the record and emailing that picture along with a couple of other pieces of info to the band. While I prefer the simplicity of a download card, I have to give them some props for using this as a way to connect with their fans.

Bonsai Kitten are all about people taking control of their lives, a very punk rock attitude. They express it on the album jacket, noting “Have fun with our music and don’t forget to feed your head, question, revolt, oppose, disagree and challenge the rules of society,” and of course in their songs, most notably the title track “Occupy Yourself!” with it’s “us against them” refrain and references to the 99%.

If you’re down with rockabilly punk with a clean, pop sound, Bonsai Kitten are for you.

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