Nakatomi Plaza
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Nakatomi Plaza


Band Alternative Punk


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"4 stars out of 5! - Alternative Press"

4 stars out of 5. Sounds like? Difficult to explain; the songs on Unsettled incorporate elements from nearly every punk subgenre to create complex songs that are wholly unique. H ow is it? A bit hard to digest at first, but after a few listens, you'll wonder why it took you so long before you heard of these guys (and girl). - Alternative Press


Good lord, what a process it has been for this band to get this record out. They have been working on these songs for years, gone through line up changes, left their label, self-financed this recording (to the tune of almost $10,000), and released this pressing of it themselves. I call that dedication and determination if I ever saw it. The resulting effort is this collection of songs that go far more in-depth than "Private Property", their last full-length. While that record remains a favorite due to it's grassroots community spirit, catchy songs, wonderful sing-alongs, and inherent feel-goodness, this one shows how their chops have improved significantly since that time. Alison takes the mic much more on this release, though it seems nearly everyone in the band has their turn as well in the vocal department. Oscar flawlessly executes leads and solos like it was nothing, and throws in some very unique guitar effects and textures which makes me wonder why this guy isn't fronting a power-metal band yet. These songs definitely don't have the same catchy appeal that "Private Property" did, but they still rock and show a maturity in the song writing that is far more complex and diversified than previous releases. So hell, if you're a big label reading this front these kids some money and formally release this record so they can get out of debt! -- Ryan Canavan -


This album review had someone's name on it, but we've since separated. I feel almost equal parts the betrayed and the betrayor by putting my feelings on this record to print. It's only fitting that the title of this record is Unsettled. Regardless of any loose ends that I might have, these guys are completely tight, and have a great male/female vocal approach going on which keeps things fresh.

Right from the jump, you can see that they're going to be utilizing some complex guitar work to keep things very interesting. Ranging from rapid fire note spasms, to disjointed progessive minded hooks, to insane soloing, the guitars are an element not to be ignored on this record. In Get Me My Meds, they jump from thinking man's indie rock to a blistering hardcore influenced affront. Then the next track, Not Hopeless, begins with Korg-y keys which work their way into tom-heavy drums in a song that is impossible not to tap your foot to. A huge range of different concepts are going on within this record, and that works both to its advantage, and disadvantage. On one end, it's great to see that a band has an endless spectrum of ideas to draw from, and mix and match genres with. But on the other, it sort've makes it a little hard for your mind to stay attached to it without knowing the songs, and what to expect.

The layers present on every track on this record is enough to keep you coming back for a long time. The talent shown between the guitars, the vocals, and the rhythm section make you want to focus on each and every part that each individual plays. There is always something going on in some portion of the songs that may drop to the background of the song level wise, but gets snapped to your headpiece once you start to dig a little bit deeper. For example, on Undefined, there's a keyboard part being played in the background that might go unnoticed at first, but once you can pick it up, it has a subtle beauty about it.

This is a good record from an extremely talented band. Their wide range of abilities and ideas keeps the record moving in a forward direction, and never settles to the bottom. There is a maturity about this album that resonates throughout, but you can also find a generous use of hardcore and screamo influence in the music to keep things visceral. Defintely check this band out if you're a fan of Pretty Girls Make Graves or bands along those same lines. You won't be disappointed with this release.

The Verdict: 8/10 - Steve-O

"Bad Taste Inc."

This is a limited "tour edition" of Nakatomi Plaza's album Unsettled which still has yet to see an "official" release. Produced by J. Robbins of Jawbox fame and recorded in the band's hometown of New York City, this album offers up a nice plate of musical indulgence for anyone into sincere music.

And when I say sincere, I mean that this band obviously cares about more than just what immediately affects them as people. They caertainly are willing to stick their necks out there and say something when nobody else will, but have a knack on this album for not sounding self-righteous or cynical about it (ie. Bono) Opening track "A Manifest destiny Grows in Brooklyn" covers the topic of America's far from perfect dealings with Native Americans with lines like "Aren't we brave to setlle the wasteland?/convince ourselves and history will follow" Tackling the topic of American capitalism is "Not Hopeless", the systematic indentity-stripping of corporations is attacked in "Calling All Cars", and the list goes on...

Taking lyrical stands like this is quite an accomplishment on any record, and the frequency with which Nakatomi Plaza criticizes and points out the ills of our culture is staggering. It is only fitting that such stirring lyrics are accompanied by well-honed sonic backdrops for their soapboxing. With more dissonance than you can shake a stick at, Nakatomi Plaza has a style I would describe as "dischordant/spacey/melodic/post-punk" And because I'm sure you will get nothing out of that description, think of melodic guitars at the same time being dischordant. Add tight-fitting vocal melodies and sprinkle in the occasional scream, then sprinkle in some prog rock song structuring, and you may begin to get a feel for the band's sound.

Overall, this album is very ambitious and the band pull off a very pleasing record to listen to, and one that still compels after repeated listens. Like a can-opener with a pair of fuzzy dice hanging from the handle, Nakatomi Plaza gives you an abrasive edge acompanied by lush melody and great songwriting skills. Be sure to catch them when they come steamrolling through your town! - Evan

"4.5/5 stars! All Music Guide"

The more time that elapses since the beginning of any genre-defining event, the harder it seems it is to truly capture the spirit the original proponents had, while at the same time continuing to create a unique take on that spirit. In the hardcore and punk scene, trying to match the mood of say, Minor Threat, Black Flag, or the Minutemen can be next to impossible. It seems as though only the later bands -- Fugazi or Bad Religion, to name a couple -- which are spawned from the aforementioned acts can truly make any attempt at even coming close to reminding the faithful members of this subculture why they got into the music in the first place. And then there are those bands who come out of nowhere and remind you that the underground is alive and well. Nakatomi Plaza would be such a band.
The ten songs on their debut full-length album contain the bursts of passion of Boy Sets Fire, the bite of Ink & Dagger, the aggression of Black Flag, and the occasional beauty of Rainer Maria. With a triple-vocal attack of sung male and female vocals as well as occasionally screamed male vocals, the possibilities on the vocal end of the recording are intelligent and plentiful. In that manner it is reminiscent of Planes Mistaken for Stars in some regards, but with the addition of Al Fair on female vocals, it adds a whole other dynamic. Each vocal compliments the other and the lyrics were all written in a way in which each can take their part and it works appropriately with the style they represent. The lyrics are first-rate, with songs with topics such as political complexities right next to a song on relationships. The words are sharp and introspective, yet occasionally catchy. While some of the songs can be short and musically aggressive ("Consider This a Hostile Takeover"), others ("Boy Wonder") can be elongated and delicate, although Nakatomi Plaza certainly don't let one ever forget their hardcore roots. All in all, a really stunning debut album. -- Kurt Morris
4.5/5 stars -

"band photography"

OH MY FUCKING GOD! Best CD of the year anyone?! Right here! These guys combine the styles of old Braid, Team Dresch, old Rainer Maria and Rival Schools with the energy of Cap N' Jazz, Avail, and a thousand stampeding horses. Poppy, catchy, FUCKING ROCK! I'm to busy dancing in my room playing air guitar to write this review! Call me cheesy, I don't care. This cd will bring out the adult who likes to rock out and the kid that likes to throwdown! Indie rock with a mix of hardcore and even new school delay guitar effects! This cd has everything you've come to love about modern DIY styled post-hardcore. The end is capped off with a pretty and near epic guitar effects medly! GET THIS CD! -

"Jersey Beat"

Unabashedly hardcore, Nakatomi Plaza manages to soften the blow of its guitar-driven fury with some well-crafted melodies and thoughtful, acoustic-oriented vocal passages. An expanded CD release of the original 7-song album, Private Property builds upon the passion and intelligence of innovators like Minor Threat, Nakatomi Plaza's odd time signatures and syncopated rhythms complimented by Husker Du-styled melodies and spoken, sung and shouted lyrics. Songs like "Bike Rock Revolution" and "Next Bus To New Orleans" evince a certain social consciousness, but really attempt to lyrically reconcile the fragility of human relationships carried on under the spectre of ever-growing societal fascism. Private Property is a thought-provoking and intelligent record, Nakatomi Plaza are the hardcore punk equivalent of System Of A Down. - Jersey Beat

"The Gauntlet"

The collision between gritty hardcore intensity and fragile emotional melodies has become an overnight sensation, and much credit should go to Thursday who served as an introduction to mainstream culture who may have never come across the likes of Far, Quicksand and other equally important groups that have formed the framework for the "emocore" genre, and as such Nakatomi Plaza could be mistaken as yet another addition to the ever-expanding style. This would be partially true, as they do find themselves thrown into that genre easily enough, yet they aren't exactly new arrivals to the scene, as they have in one form or another been co-existing with the tumultuous underground arena since late 1998. Granted at the time, founding member Oscar Rodriguez was looking for a side project to experiment and release tension while still finishing up his education and playing with local main-stays De La Hoya. One thing inevitably led to another, Nakatomi Plaza evolved into a full-time band and they have now made an impressive debut with Private Property, a seven song EP turned full-length for indie label Immigrant Sun.
Now some may recognize the band's name, Nakatomi Plaza, as the illustrious headquarters for the Nakatomi Corporation in the action-packed original Die Hard flick. Thankfully this musical entity does not feature Bruce Willis' less then memorable vocalization, yet it does reflect it's source material in one way: much like the building being blown up, Nakatomi Plaza explode with virulent force on private Property, fusing together touching emo melodies with an edge of volatile hardcore intensity. Case in point, the album opener "Meanwhile in Greenpoint..." savagely tears at the listener's ears with unprecedented fury, wielding malicious vocal screams with progressive hardcore/punk urgency. This one track encapsulates the very fiber of Nakatomi Plaza, as it has it's relentless hardcore slant yet survives the brutal undertaking by slipping in mesmerizing guitar melodies and Al Fair's deliciously feminine crooning. One of the most dynamic aspects of Private Property is most certainly Fair's emotive voice and it's interaction with the other vocals, as it serves as a polar opposite to the jagged, throaty shouts and masculine harmonies of Rodriguez and Joel Remland. This helps Nakatomi Plaza set their own distinct sound from which they build off from, sprucing up songs like "Bike Rock Revolution" with dreamy indie rock build-ups and decimating cuts like "Consider This a Hostile Takeover" with palpable post-punk angst.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of Private Property has to be it's unpredictability; Nakatomi Plaza never allow themselves to fall into formulaic song patterns, and while one can usually expect alternating bursts of heartfelt emotion and boiled-over aggression, the band never do the same thing twice. "For Me to Live Happily, You Must Die" weaves a tapestry of overlapping sounds that has astounding depth and is impossible to forget. After this moving diatribe, it's almost frightening to stumble across "Miguel" and it's poppy accessibility...if Nakatomi Plaza can even master edgy pop what CAN'T they do? Almost unintentionally the group overwhelm the listener with vibrant hooks that dig into your skin, pulling you along a joyous ride through passionate dissonance, and the cascading drum fills of Andrew Destafano make this an obvious stand-out that is almost too entertaining for it's own good. The dual chant that opens "Next Bus to New Orleans" segues into an amalgamation of sincere emo melodies (Fair often resembles Everafter's Ashley Smith on the mic) and infuriated screamo disillusionment, heightened by the whirlwind guitar notes pleading for the listener to pay attention. How could you not? "Our Hero Exits Stage Left..." is a subtle weeper that latches onto the listener, and is clearly another stand-out on an album that never fails to impress.
Private Property has lost nothing in it's transfer, and the fresh mix has lent the album a heightened aura of dignity. The additional tracks feel like they have belonged here the whole time, which is unusual since most albums re-released with additional tracks suffer from a stark contrast between old and new. Nakatomi Plaza are most certainly flying under the radar, yet the immense wealth of potential these four musicians have is immeasurable. To step into the indie purist's view and instantly weigh in with current sensations such as Taking Back Sunday and Thursday is beyond shocking, it's down-right unbelievable. Nakatomi Plaza also leave their mark through a brilliantly written piece in the album booklet, and for the vivid images brought upon by the album's artwork. This should help generate thoughtful discussion amongst fans who desire social and political conversation, and allows the band to insinuate themselves into your everyday awareness in multiple ways. Overall, Nakatomi Plaza show grandiose aspirations on Private Property, and make a memorable entrance to the Immigrant Sun roster. Bands such as Nakatomi Plaza are the reason why digging into the independent scene is such a rewarding experience, and I for one urge all readers to take the time and find this record.

Review by: JFerret -

""Punk City""

jonah bayer 02.06.02

Action-movie fans will undoubtedly recognize Nakatomi Plaza's name from the first Die Hard film, but their title is more than a kitschy moniker - New York based punk outfit's Do-it-yourself ethos dies even harder. "We make our own patches, our own buttons, we assembled our own seven-inches," says their drummer, Liam Hurley. "Anything you can do in-house, we've done it."

Compromised of NYU students and recent alum, the group --Hurley, guitarist/singer Oscar Rodriguez, bassist Al Fair, and guitarist Joel Remland-- solidified their lineup early last year, transforming what initially began as a side-project into a full fledge undertaking. This metamorphosis was no doubt aided by Rodriguez's split from his old band, the politically charged (and terminally underrated), De La Hoya. While Nakatomi Plaza's music is tinged with emo and pop influences as opposed to conventional "million miles an hour" punk aggression, the political agenda that Rodriguez' s previous band exhibited isn't all lost -it's just refocused. "We take the motto 'the personal is political' really seriously, so whatever is going on with us is what's going on with the world," said Hurley. "It helps to think about your own stance, but that applies directly to political situations that are happening in the world. They reinforce each other." For example, political manifestos like "Bike Rock Revolution" (sample lyric: "Did you know there's a fence around every last mile of the USA?") are juxtaposed by melancholic musings about lost love and heartbreak, adding a human element to their laudable ideals. Nakatomi Plaza completed a five-week U.S. jaunt last summer and are currently touring in support of their latest release, the Private Property EP, which has been garnering rave reviews in the punk underground. When they pass through Ithaca on the 8th, they'll be playing an unlikely venue - The See Spot Gallery on The Conmons. Although an art gallery doesn't seem like the typical place to view a punk rock show, the band (who strictly play all ages shows) are used to non-traditional venues, preferring basements to bars. "We try to play on the floor because music is a collective thing and whole club scene is really not very conducive [to our music]," said Hurley. To back up his statement, he excitedly adds, "We played a street corner in San Francisco and it was one of the greatest shows on tour, you know?" When's the last time the same could be said for Billie Joe Armstrong? - The Ithaca Times

"Reax Magazine"

Nakatomi Plaza with / The End of the World, History, & Palantine
by: MacKenzie Pause (
posted Nov 16th, 15:08 to Rants & Musings | more articles
Nakatomi Plaza
with / The End of the World, History, & Palantine
November 17, 2006
New World Brewery
Words: MacKenzie Pause
Photos: Shane Walsh

This November, Nakatomi Plaza will leave the concrete confines of Brooklyn and head out in support of their upcoming Red Leader Records release, “Unsettled.” The record comes out January 30, concluding a long, arduous process of label shopping.

“We’d been talking to labels of all sizes for over a year,” Oscar Rodriguez (guitar/vocals) said. “It was tough to weed out who was serious and who was all talk. RLR were the only ones who would match us in the amount of work we've already put into this project, and they're certainly giving us more attention than some of the larger labels would have.”

“Unsettled” began with J. Robbins, who has produced numerous bands, such as Jawbox, Burning Airlines, Engine Down, Braid and Shiner.

“I thought it was a total pipe dream,” Rodriguez said. “But in the winter of 2004, we found ourselves at Jarvis Studios with J. Robbins behind the board.”

NP knows it takes more than a great producer and label support for a successful release.

“Touring allows us to bring our music directly to other people,” Rodriguez said. “I think that kind of interaction is special and not something you can get just by listening to an mp3 on MySpace.”

“No CD can beat seeing a band live,” added Lou Maiolica (drums).

The band has toured consistently since their formation in 1998 and they have seen it all. While Al Fair (bass/vocals) drove through North Carolina, she was surprised by a naked man masturbating on an overpass.

“He had a big beard, a trucker hat, socks and shoes,” Fair recollected.

Georgia gave NP a different welcome. While racist punks yelled threats during their set, they continued to play. Once they finished, their roadie, Jay, suggested they get going.

“It was later revealed that the group had weapons, including a switchblade and, are you ready for this, a shotgun,” Rodriguez recalled.

When their lives aren’t being threatened, they are playing a brand of post punk/hardcore rock that is innovative and complex. With male/female vocals and intricate guitar melodies, comparisons range from Pretty Girls Make Graves to At The Drive-In.

“I want to have a multitude of sonic possibilities with the guitar,” Rodriguez said. “Which is also why I use as many effects pedals as I do. Lyrically, we strive to write songs with personal themes that are framed by the socio-political climate.”

NP’s unique sound and DIY attitude created a dedicated fan base for the New Yorkers and paved the path for the band’s future.

“We've met and played for a lot of wonderful people, and they've all helped us in some way,” Rodriguez said. “Being in a band like ours and surviving is hard enough. The odds are totally against you and you really need the support that the DIY community provides.”

Nakatomi Plaza stops in Tampa on November 17 at New World Brewery. Witness the rock, buy some of their merch, or just give them a high five.

For more information check out: - MaKenzie Pause



Frog Octopus Wolf EP
Red Leader Records
tracks 1 and 2 (from Unsettled) recorded and mixed by j. robbins
The Ghost Intrigue recorded and mixed by Zack Rice
Retro Is Really In This Year and The Finish Line recorded and mixed by oscar albis rodriguez
released February 2007

Unsettled CD/LP
Red Leader / Brightskull (respectively)
release date: March 13, 2007
Recorded and Mixed by J. Robbins at Jarvis Studios (NYC), with additional tracking done at Big Crunch Studios (Baltimore, MD) and at home in Greenpoint / Park Slope, Brooklyn.
Produced by Nakatomi Plaza with J. Robbins.
Mastered by Alan Douches at West West Side Music.

Unsettled "Tour Edition" CDs
soft-release date: May '05
Recorded and Mixed by J. Robbins at Jarvis Studios (NYC), with additional tracking done at Big Crunch Studios (Baltimore, MD) and at home in Greenpoint / Park Slope, Brooklyn.
Produced by Nakatomi Plaza with J. Robbins.
Mastered by Alan Douches at West West Side Music.

Private Property LP
Immigrant Sun Records kill-25
recorded and mixed by sean hanney and john herritt in the spring and winter of 2001 and the spring of 2002
mastered by alan douches at west west side
released November 26, 2002

Private Property EP
Gunboat Records 03
recorded and mixed by sean hanney and john herrit at prime time studios, spring 2001.
released summer 2001.

...By Chester Copperpot LP
BD records 04
recorded and mixed by matt galek fall 1999
released spring 2000


Split 7" with The Frenetics
Fans of Bad Productions (Canada)
song: "Hurray for One Good Eye" from Private Property Full Length

split 7" with Latterman
Roklok Records 12, BD records 06, SOT records 02
recorded and mixed spring 2000 by jason mariani at jsm studios
songs: "Re: Hey" & "I Wish Everyone Was as Smart as Alison"

Compilation Songs

No Nucleus Compilation 2004
song: "It's Really Not This Hopeless" demo version from forthcoming full length

Cipher Compliation 2004
song: "Calling All Cars" demo version from forthcoming full length

Immigrant Sun Records sampler 2003
song: "Meanwhile in Greenpoint" from Private Property full length

Immigrant Sun Records sampler 2002
song: edited version of "Boy Wonder" from Private Property full length

Green Hell Compliation CD #2 (Europe)
song: "Consider This a Hostile Takeover" from Private Property EP

D.I.Y. is Still Alive!
Resident Records
song: "Consider This a Hostile Takeover" from Private Property EP

true until death 2
United Edge Records (Canada)
song: "Consider This a Hostile Takeover" from Private Property EP

The Hope Machine
Roklok Records 08
song: "i wish everyone was as smart as alison" from split 7" with latterman

a compilation to benefit the Allen family
song: "Bottle Full of Jesus" live @ the Artspace in Gloucester, MA



(Red Leader Records)

Right now is a pretty surreal time to be in a punk band. It seems like these days words like “originality” and “inventiveness” have been stricken from most bands’ vocabularies, only to be replaced with “regional Soundscans” and “target demographics.” It’s ironic, really, that a subgenre that was initially born out of contempt for the mainstream culture and brazen capitalism has turned into a commodity of forced rebellion.

Then there’s Nakatomi Plaza.

Formed in New York City, in 1998, the Brooklyn-based Nakatomi Plaza—guitarist/vocalist Oscar Rodriguez, Bassist/vocalist Al Fair and drummer Lou Maiolica—have embodied punk rock’s DIY ethic via tireless touring and self-promotion for the past eight years and their third full-length, Unsettled, is the culmination of their career. Produced by J. Robbins (Jawbox, Burning Airlines), the album is a unique amalgam of influences that juxtaposes post-punk’s angular riffs with virtuosic guitar solos, electronic flourishes and even the occasional screamo yelp to create a sound that’s instantly hooked countless listeners, including Robbins himself.

“I gave him the Nakatomi demos two or three years ago and didn’t really expect him to write back—but he wrote back that week and said we should talk about doing the record,” Rodriguez recounts. Inspired by the band’s music, Robbins traveled to Brooklyn for two weeks in the winter of 2004 recording the album you are currently holding in your hands. “I thought we were going to have to pay for his hotel, but he slept on our couch for two weeks while we were recording!” Rodriguez exclaims as if he can’t even believe it himself. “It was a lot of fun.”

If there was one adjective to use to describe the collective personality of Nakatomi Plaza, it would be “perfectionist”—a trait which is responsible not only for how groundbreaking Unsettled is, but also for how long it has taken to be released. From finding the right label to getting the ultimate guitar tone, Nakatomi Plaza spared no expense with Unsettled (the album was eventually mastered six times). “We almost broke up a few months ago because the shopping was taking so long,” Rodriguez admits. “But now that we have a fresh start and someone who’s actually excited about putting the record out, that’s great.”

Lyrically, Unsettled is remarkably intelligent, however you don’t need a Ph. D. to comprehend the album’s inspiring themes. Sure, the opener “A Manifest Destiny Grows In Brooklyn” parallels the gentrification of Brooklyn against the American expansion to the West, but most of the songs on Unsettled focus more on feelings and abstractions. “If I had to describe the lyrical content of the album, it’d be mildly political songs with overlying themes of depression and anxiety,” Rodriguez says. “The lyrical themes are personal, but with an emphasis on the social fabric that holds everything together.”

“The gates are closing/escape while you still can,” Rodriguez sings on “Combustible/Jettison,” summoning the urgency that informs every second of Nakatomi Plaza’s music. With Unsettled, the band have delivered a collection of songs that are vital, deliberate and now more than ever, relevant. So, for a second, forget about genres and buzzwords and MySpace and just listen. Because ultimately, that’s why we all got into this in the first place; sometimes all we need is a reminder.

-Jonah Bayer