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noodles is a J-rock band featuring Yoko on lead guitar and vocals, Ayumi on drums, and Ikuno on bass. They've been going strong for over 20 years, with over 150 songs and over 30 original releases, including albums, singles, and DVDs. noodles is featured in several facets of Japanese pop culture, such as TV shows, movies, and even toys. They fall under the category of indie rock, but they can't accurately be stereotyped. Their style is hard, speedy, bubbly, cute, sexy, dark, catchy, and deep, just to name a few descriptions. As Yoko stated in an interview, "Even though mainstream is more popular, we don't want to do that ... we don't try and make music for a certain audience. We just make music." They utilize both Japanese and English in their music. 40-60% of their lyrics are English; their songs are either entirely in English or a mixture of both Japanese and English. The girls are huge fans of rock from the 60's to the 90's, especially Western rock such as The Breeders, The Pixies, and The Beetles. Their unique style could be described as a fusion of Green Day, the pillows, Weezer, and The Pixies. However, there really is no accurate way to compare noodles to any other band; they are one of a kind.

A brief history of noodles

  • For detailed timelines organized by date, check out the timelines page.
  • Yoko, Ayumi, Ikuno, and Junko were four friends working together at a part-time job. None of them had ever really picked up an instrument before, let alone played in a band or dreamed of becoming famous musicians. However, in 1991, they bought some instruments, got together, and started jamming. Since then, they've been pumping out hit after hit, album after album, earning their name as Japan's best all-girl rock group.

    They came out with their first album, The Gravity Thief, in 1995 under Benten Label. This album really emphasizes their grungy, bubbly, sweet, catchy style. All instruments receive their well-earned, individual focus, including the bass, an instrument that is practically inaudible in most rock songs. The music is perfectly tied in with Yoko's vocals and the beautiful, yet dark, lyrics, that artistically utilize both the Japanese and English languages. During this time period, noodles also wrote a song for a soda commericial, which became a big hit on Japanese radio.

    In 1997, they released their second album Slow Coaster; this album suddenly shifted to a much more girly theme, which is reflected in not only the album art and music videos, but in many of the songs, with more upbeat and sweet sounding melodies and vocals. This theme carried over into the next few releases until they switched over to the DELICIOUS LABEL record label, produced by Sawao Yamanaka of the pillows. From there, they began converting back to their harder style. Their popularity continued to grow as they started touring regularly in America, beginning in 2005. They also started touring regularly with the pillows, including the DELICIOUS BUMP SHOW IN USA. This tour lead to the creation of the DVD of the same name, featuring live clips of both the pillows and noodles in the United States.

    With the loss of lead guitarist Junko in 2004, Yoko has taken on the role of the lead (and only) guitarist, as well as the lead vocalist. Despite this handicap, they continue to grow stronger and stronger with time. ivy was the first album they released as a trio. It received mixed reviews. However, overall Yoko did an excellent job sharpening her skills on guitar and writing songs suitable for the only guitarist having to sing the lead vocals at the same time, partially by 2 seperate and overlapping guitar pieces for the album. They continued to create catchy, unique, and varying styles of songs for more and more albums, introducing some electronic pieces to many of their works such as I recall and METROPOLIS.

    In 2006 they started chatting on a radio talk show called HOT SPLASH, in which they discuss music and other topics. Popular noodles songs are played in the background during the show. In 2007 they were used to do the entire soundtrack for the Japanese lesbian-drama movie Love My Life, for which they wrote 2 new songs, including the popular song that serves as the movie's theme, LOVE MY LIFE. Their song glasgow girl is used as the theme song for the TV show Senjou no Girl's Life, and the cast's amateur cover of the ever popular mellow metallica is used as the ending theme. mellow metallica is also used as a theme song for the Japanese movie Mutant Girls Squad, and all of these are just to name a few of noodles' successes. They are becoming more and more prominent as time marches forward.

    In 2009 they produced their first major best-of album, our first noodles, which features all of the favorites from songs released under DELICIOUS LABEL as well as re-recordings of Slow Coaster and 6 Colors. Sawao Yamanaka and Yoshiaki Manabe of the pillows also chipped in with their own remixes of the unforgettable songs HUSH BELL and She, her. In 2011, they celebrated their 20th anniversary with a special, affordable, limited single We Are noodles From Sentimental and a 26-song concert for their fans that is featured on the DVD We Are noodles.

    In summer of 2013, they released their first cover album MAKE UP TO BREAK UP. This album features 10 songs written by other artists and performed by noodles. Songs include such favorites as Macy's Day Parade (by Green Day), Photograph (by Weezer), Rock and Roll Love Letter (by Bay City Rollers), NICE AGE (by Yellow Magic Orchestra), and more. The featured track (with a music video) is Breakaway (by Tracy Ulman). Most of the songs covered are American rock from the 70s, 80s, and 90s. Also featured is a rerecording of Tsumannai, a song that they have been playing live since 1997. noodles has covered many other songs in the past (see a complete list of covered songs), but this is their first time producing a full cover album.

    At the end of 2013, Yoko performed a live show by herself for the first time. She performed solo versions of noodles songs, along with other songs, with vocals and acoustic guitar. She played a handful of other shows at the end of 2013 and beginning of 2014. Yoko and Ikuno have recorded songs alone for DELICIOUS LABEL in the early 2000's, but never before performed a live show alone.

    noodles is still going strong with endless creativity
    We can never be sure what to expect next from this band, but we do know it will be extraordinary