Press Play: JPNSGRLS

JPNSGRLS is a bit of a misleading band name. It sets the expectation that the listener is about to embark on a musical journey with Japanese girls only to be surprised that your musical guides consist of four white guys. So how did JPNSGRLS come about? Well, that’s a good question.

JPNSGRLS was born under a different name. Their incarnation began as The Beauties. But, as chaos would have it the band had to reinvent itself early. There was some conflict with another band regarding the name, so JPNSGRLS did  the best thing a band or anyone can do when chaos strikes: be flexible. It wasn’t’ a challenge to come up with a new name.  The band wanted to pay tribute to a band they admired.  That band was Mass of the Fermenting Dregs, an all-girl Japanese indie band, so the name JPSNGRLS made sense.

With a new name in their arsenal, the band set on a musical quest to connect with garage pop fans across the globe. They released their first EP The Sharkweek in 2013 and began touring. In no time,  JPNSGRLS became known for their high energy shows. It was only a year later that they release their first full-length album Circulation.  The Vancouver band created a global buzz in the United States, Europe, Canada, and Asia.  Many of their songs are centered around social justice issues like equal rights for women and the LGBT community. Namely, the song “Brandon” calls attention to a homicide case that occurred in 1993 when transman Brandon Teena was raped and murdered in Nebraska.


While advocating for the rights of others the band began to face their own internal challenges. Particularly band member Oliver Mann. Mann announced his departure from the band on Facebook in January of 2016. Mann wrote the following statement on his Facebook  to his fans and followers: “As some of you already know, 2016 will be a big change for me, in the fact that I have recently decided to leave JPNSGRLS. It was a tough decision to make, but something I had been thinking about for a long time. Being in a band as active as JPNSGRLS required an enormous dedication of time, and to make it work I had to put a lot of other aspects of my life on hold. It was a struggle to continuously weigh the opportunity and cost – and in the end, that weight was bringing me down from even enjoying being in the band anymore,’ he said. ‘Being a part of JPNSGRLS was amazing, and I am sad to leave it. I got to see so much of the world and am very proud of what we had accomplished over the last 8 years. Most importantly, I got to enjoy the journey with some of the most amazing people I have ever known. I want to thank everyone for all your support over the years and hope that my departure from the band won’t stop us from being creative together in the future. I am already very excited for what JPNSGRLS will be accomplishing in 2016, and I hope you will be too.”

Mann was very honest and gracious in his departure which may have made it easier for listeners to accept new lead guitarist Colton Lauro.  JPNSGRLS went on to record and release their sophomore album Divorce. Notably, an interesting title for an album that came just after the ending of a 6-year long relationship with Oliver Mann. No matter where the inspiration for the album came from it demonstrated the tenacity of JPSNGRLS.  Divorce demonstrates their capacity to be flexible, to flow with the chaos of the universe, and to create an album that leaves fans feeling delighted. If you are looking for a band that perseveres, uses their platform to give a voice to others, and does it all in the package of garage pop then you definitely want to press play on JPNSGRLS.