In Japanese, "Asobi Seksu" apparently means "playful sex." Lead singer Yuki Chikudate is a fetching Japanese American girl from New York who sings -- sometimes in Japanese -- in a breathy style not too far from Blonde Redhead. And even with Chikudate trading Kazu Makino's shrieky orgasms for J-pop chirpiness, the band is successfully provocative. Whether or not the gimmick is intentional is happily obscure.
Besides offering Puma-clad Vice dorks obvious masturbation fodder, these savvy indie rockers also lay down a perfectly recreated version of big-guitar shoegazer noise pop à la London 1991, upping the tempos just a little bit. (Think Elastica with sexy Japanese vocals.) That means that you may go to the show depressed over your recent breakup, but you will likely leave with a crush on the lead singer. First impressions will no doubt make you think Asobi Seksu is in fact the latest import from Japan -- and that's the idea. Closer listening, though, reveals the band has done its homework, and the hot Asian frontwoman joke is on you, sort of.