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Mo’some Tonebender

by Shawn Despres

M o’some Tonebender released their 13th studio album, “Struggle,” in December. Although their career has not been without its challenges, the disc’s title is something the popular alt-rock trio have not had to do for some time.

The group formed in Fukuoka in 1997. Tired of making 16-hour drives to showcase their noisy anthems in Tokyo, Mo’some Tonebender relocated to the nation’s capital in 2001 and inked a deal with Universal Music Japan. Revisiting their indie roots in 2003 after parting with Universal, a year later they returned to the majors on Nippon Columbia’s roster, where they still remain.

One of Japan’s more adventurous mainstream acts, Mo’some Tonebender have experimented with pop, punk and electronica on their different records. “Struggle” is a much harder affair then 2008′s catchy, melodic “Sing!” The heavy opener “Hammmmer” has an almost Nine Inch Nails feel, while “Youth” is a more conventional, but equally strong rocker. Expect both tracks to excite locals during Mo’some Tonebender’s upcoming “Tour Struggle.” They should also fare well on the band’s American jaunt this spring, which will be the group’s first time to play overseas.

A December back injury sidelined guitarist and vocalist Kazuhiro Momo for much of that month. Momo is better now and Mo’some Tonebender performed at the massive New Year’s Countdown Japan festival. By all accounts he will be his usual energetic self at all “Tour Struggle” dates.

Mo’some Tonebender play Jan. 16 at Macana in Sendai (6:30 p.m.; [022] 262-5454); Jan. 20 at Club Quattro in Hiroshima (7 p.m.; [082] 542-2280); Jan. 22 at Drum Be-1 in Fukuoka (6:30 p.m.; [092] 737-5300); Jan. 25 at Club Quattro in Nagoya (7 p.m.; [052] 264-8211); Jan. 26 at Club Quattro in Osaka (7 p.m.; [06] 6281-8181); Jan. 28 at Bessie Hall in Sapporo (7 p.m.; [011] 221-6076); Jan. 31 at Liquid Room in Tokyo (7 p.m.; [03] 5464-0800). All shows cost ¥3,500 in advance. The band also perform Feb. 5 at Zepp Tokyo (6 p.m.; ¥4,000 in advance; [03] 3599-0710); Feb. 12 at Differ Ariake (Bay Camp 201102 festival) in Tokyo (2 p.m.; ¥3,800 in advance; [03] 5486-1099). For more information, visit www.mosome.com.