Sambomaster's knack for writing energetic alt-rock songs with a dash of brass thrown in, as well as the inspired delivery of vocalist Yamaguchi Takashi, made them one of the best hidden secrets of the mid-2000s Japanese rock scene. The trio was founded in 2000 by Yamaguchi Takashi, who also played guitar, and drummer Yasufumi Kiuchi, the two meeting at a university music club and soon picking bassist Yoichi Kondo to cement the lineup. The band started on the perfectionist route, taking a whole year to produce their debut release Kick no Oni (translated as "Kicking Demons"), out in 2001, and only as a limited release at that (300 copies were printed). The limits were off by 2003, however -- the band's performance at the Rookie a Go-Go stage of the Fuji Rock Festival gained them a contract with Sony Music, which immediately released their debut full-length album Atarashiki Nihongo Rock no Michi to Hikari, translated "The Way and Light of New Japanese Rock." They went on releasing strong albums with equally amusing titles (the best being 2006's Boku to Kimi no Subete o Rock 'n Roll to Yobe -- "And You Shall Call All That Comes Between Us 'Rock n' Roll'"), and soon hit the gold vein of Japanese music biz, as their song got featured in the credits of the wildly popular anime series Naruto. This made them sought after in the national entertainment industry, and so by 2008 Sambomaster's songs were featured in a Japanese sitcom, a Nintendo DS game, the movie Koi no Mon, and an animated film (Bleach: The DiamondDust Rebellion) belonging to another franchise of Naruto-like popularity.
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