Tuesday 13 February 2024

Toru Okada

"Constantly talking isn't necessarily communicating". Once again, we descend into the depths of despair once a year, same time same place, on February 14th. As everything becomes lonelier, we pick one band to invest our woes in, and this year is a solid one. If you want more sad orchestras, all previously installments are listed at the end.

Toru Okada were a six-piece screamo band from Austin, Texas that were active from 2003 to 2006. They put out a self-titled full-length, two splits and a few demos. These early demos are what compromised 8 Songs, a compilation initially released in 2004 before being re-released in 2019. It was followed by 10 Songs, which contained the same tracks plus the two cuts off the Olive Tree split. I prefer the former version, which to me is their definitive release, so that's what's included here.

The influences often cited along with this band are I Hate Myself, Portrait, The Khayembii Communiqué, and The Spirit Of Versailles, which are apt points of reference, though they truly do stand on their own. They bring in a healthy dose of melodrama to their melancholic, arpeggiated clean guitars, with quick dynamic shifts breaking into cathartic climaxes on the brink of breaking chaos. The dual vocalists provide a whole other dynamic layer, often layering upon each other and varying between scream, sung, and quite often spoken. Lyrically, more often than not they are suited for the introspective melancholy of days like today.

As a fun side note on an unfun day, their guitarist and main songwriter from 2003 to 2004 was Alejandro Rose-Garcia. He's also an actor, appearing in a few episodes of Friday Night Lights (he's the Swede, for those who have seen it). He's ever better known now as the immensely talented one-man band Shakey Graves, which you're undoubtedly familiar with if you've ever perused the "Popular" section of Audiotree's Youtube channel. Nothing ever works out, it only gets worse, don't enjoy as you'll be back here this time next year.

1. Toru Okadu - Our Great Cities
2. Die, Emperor, Die! - Dear Friend (Never Give Up)

1. ...So He Could Hear His Footsteps
2. Shadowless Nights
3. Saccharine Leaves
4. A Graveled Street
5. Ruined Tongues
6. Kiss Me Through The Computer Screen
7. Lights Out
8. Emonologue

1. Toru Okada - Long Questions
2. Toru Okada - The Second Floor
3. Olive Tree - The Bird's Song
4. Olive Tree - The Lone Islands

1. Shadowless Nights
2. Fields Burned Golden
3. Ruined Tongues
4. Saccharine Leaves
5. Kiss Me Through The Computer Screen
6. A Graveled Street
7. So He Could Hear His Footsteps
8. Our Great  Cities


  1. Any band named after a Protaganist in a Murakami novel is right by me.

  2. Woa, never knew where the Shakey dude came from, love his music!