Friday, April 30, 2010

Scoobie doobie do

Scoobie Do - Mighty Swing

Genre: garage rock, funk
Song style: a normal alternativey garage rock song

This video is really cute and lends such an upbeat tone to the song. It's somewhat close to how I'm feeling - upbeat and chill (though not too hungry for hot dogs). I got an album of these guys from a friend yesterday, and will soon check them out. I'm getting to the other side of the hill and the end is in sight. While sometimes it seems sad that each meeting with someone is a farewell, I know the people I really want to meet again will reappear in my life some day.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Oldies: The Blue Hearts

The Blue Hearts - Linda Linda

Genre: punk
Song style: sloppy but energetic hard 80s punk

This is one of those classic Japanese rock songs (and bands!) that everyone should know. I would call them the Japanese "The Ramones". This guy has such passion and energy when he rocks out to this song - I love it. Though the band is defunct now, you'll hear these songs everywhere - the first time I heard it was playing a taiko drumming game at an arcade center (I'm not a geek okay!!) This song was released almost exactly 23 years ago (imagine, just barely older than me haha). Where will we all be in 23 years? I'm feeling so sentimental as my final days as a student here draw to a close. But at the same time I am stressed about getting everything done in time and in a satisfying way.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Maybe I should just make post titles artist names. Damijaw.

Damijaw - 無力な自分が許せない

Genre: alternative, hard rock
Song style: really reminds me of mid-90s hard rock groups, like Stone Temple Pilots

This song is both very predictable but also has some merits to it. I find the song catchy, and an admirable first step of breaking out with a new group. This comes from Kazuyuki Matsumoto, bassist of Japanese visual-kei group "Janne Da Arc". He's here with his newly-made band of 2010 "Damijaw," with a heavier sound than his origins. I find his look very interesting (it takes guts or one majorly screwed up life to get such serious tattoos in Japanese society) and it's interesting to see a "hidden vocal talent" within the bassist of the group. I don't follow Janne Da Arc at all so don't know how much of a fan following this guy has, but it seems like the band has been out with a fairly humble start so far.

Just gotta say but oh my, widescreen youtube videos are wide, eww looks yucky. But so much work to go back and make every video not widescreen... And it gives the "whole experience," right?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Southern Comfort

Syrup16g - ex.人間

Genre: indie, alternative
Song style: vocal-based, low instrumentals, Radiohead-like

This song perfectly fits my mood, I love the guitars here and how they build up. I don't know the band well but they have been suggested to me based on my other favorites. Too bad they split up in 2008. This music video is cute too. But I'm feeling the mood for the song, after a rather bizarre and incomprehensible weekend.

In a couple of hours, I'm gonna go see an American show - The Fall of Troy (their last tour) and Envy on the Coast. I used to like Fall of Troy's old stuff but the new stuff is gross. But luckily, upon hearing the new Envy on the Coast album, I've fallen in love and it's been hard to concentrate on Japanese music: my favorite song of the moment (skip the movie dialogue).

Friday, April 23, 2010

The new yes

Salyu - 新しいYES

Genre: indie, pianoy
Song style: beautiful, soft, and artsy

I was enraptured by this song when I heard it on an Oricon countdown a week ago. It comes off of her month-old album "Maiden Voyage" as the first single. She's just one of those women who seems so powerful and embedded in their artsy folksiness. She has been called the "Japanese Bjork" and her vocals remind me a bit of Ego' Wrappin. I don't know her other work, but I'll look into it someday when I feel contemplative and ready to be whisked away.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Somewhat old news but...

JinnyOops! - (clip from) HO!コミュニケーション

Genre: punk, ska
Song style: some serious female energy!!

So I know I saw this Osakan band about a month ago, but yesterday my friend just sent me the sample CD he got from the Boston Japan Nite show. I ended up only getting through half of the 9mm Parabellum Bullet album (liking it so far) but had a good time reminiscing with the sampler. And I realized, I really like JinnyOops!'s music. They're very talented and have such charisma that defies normal ideals of Japanese cuteness. Unfortunately this is only a clip of their awesome song HO!コミュニケーション but if you want to hear a full track, here's a fan-made music video. I really see this band going places. They released their first mini-album in February and hopefully will strike it big. They're also so friendly and sweet, especially the vocalist! I hope she enjoyed her time in America.

Note: I realize this combo of youtube and blogger has been cutting off the side of a lot of clips since youtube went widescreen. I'm looking into a solution!!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

New Release: 9mm Parabellum Bullet!!!!

9mm Parabellum Bullet - The Revolutionary

Genre: post-hardcore, heavy punk
Song style: fast-paced heavy guitars, melodic melancholic singing

Today comes my most-anticipated album of the year - 9mm Parabellum Bullet's "Revolutionary". This band's beautifully sad and powerful music has served as the background to my life for the past two years. I have laughed, cried, sang, danced, and fell in and out of love to this band. This video is the new single off of the album, sharing a similar title. This band is amazing for their complex guitar, bass, drum parts and melodic vocals to contrast the heavy instrumentals. Their style is distinctly Japanese, with Japanese and idiosyncratic melodies, and all of their lyrics in Japanese except for one sentence in one song. They copy no one. With that in mind, they have become so popular that I fear mainstreaming in their new album - so I have downloaded it, but am a bit afraid to listen to it. My heart is beating quickly to think of how this new album could change my life (or sadly fail to). Listening to this new single has been enough for me today. Now I will use the remainder to dance around the album - listening to previous and related songs. My favorite ever is their song Interceptor off of their early EP Gjallorhorn. It was nostalgic even the first time I heard it.

New releases EVERYWHERE again

Monobright - 英雄ノヴァ

Genre: new wave, alternative, nerd rock
Song style: no-frills, simple melody alternative rock that drills through

I'm not very into this new single by Monobright that comes out today, "英雄ノヴァ". The song is very mediocre, normal alternative and Monobright has done much catchier, unique stuff. But the video itself is really interesting! Where did they find all this bizarre footage, and how did they get it all to be timed in sync with the song?

斉藤和義 (Kazuyoshi Saitou) is also releasing his new single "ずっと好きだった" today but I find it so average and poppy (and the clip online is only a short segment), that it's not even worth embedding in this blog. But there is one new release I'm really excited about, which I will blog about later in the evening (hopefully before midnight)!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Does it matter?

Does - バクチダンサー

Genre: indie, alternative rock
Song style: catchy, nostalgic, a little new-wavey

It's almost like the apocalypse - millions of bands are coming out with new releases tomorrow! So I thought I'd get a head start. This band made it onto the Oricon charts, and the single album for this song "バクチダンサー" will be released tomorrow. From what I can tell, this band is straightforward normal alternative most of the time, but this song caught my eye. The video is so reminiscent of the White Stripes' Seven Nation Army! (Plagiarism?) And I really like this singer's manly voice. Mine may become manly too, I feel an itching in the throat that I haven't felt in ages... (meaning a cold).

Monday, April 19, 2010

More halfie attack!

Alma - 鼓動

Genre: electronic, pop-rock
Song style: a lightly hoppy electronic pop song

I randomly found these guys on Youtube about a year ago and thought they seemed cute, fun, and light-hearted. It wasn't until much later that I realized this half-Japanese half-Spanish vocalist was the brother of famous actor Yuu Shirota (this vocalist named is Jun Shirota). I'm on a halfie roll this week, with first Olivia and now this guy. The video seems a little strange and almost like a cultural commentary. What's with Jun swinging a stick at this poor Japanese guitarist? And we always see them standing next to each other, displaying the obvious height difference between the two. Life as a halfie can be complicated. Some people look white, some people look half, some people look Asian. Instinctively, one would feel like Jun is very different from his bandmates, while Olivia's belonging varies based on her hair color. I look white so I get a lot of surprise from both Americans and Japanese people. Unfortunately I suppose it's good to be "white" in this age of still present discrimination, etc, but it's sad that I can't ever be one of my own Japanese kind. Many halfies are entering the Japanese entertainment industry now. It will be interesting to study their difference in treatment, maybe I should do some actual sociological research on it.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Flying high

The Mad Capsule Markets - Fly High

Genre: noise rock, experimental, metal, punk, eletronic
Song style: metal guitars + electronic backing + punk vocals

What a memorable band. Someone long ago introduced them to me, and now they are both gone. And soon I will be gone from here, as I have just turned in my senior project, phew. This band has gained international recognition for their unique style that combines elements of electronic music, punk, and metal. Unfortunately they're on long-term hiatus since 2006, and it is difficult to say if we will ever hear from them again. Their music videos are always very creepy or bizarre (this one is just trippy) and their sound is fairly constant across tunes. I'm in the mood for something cathartic like this where you can just let out your craziness.

Friday, April 16, 2010

I can't

Olivia - できない

Genre: pop-rock
Song style: somewhat heavyish pop-rock

The name Olivia has been one of the strongest presences in my entire life. I'm glad to see the name has manifested itself as this half-American half-Japanese singer Olivia Lufkin. I received a collection of this gal's stuff from one of my closest friends a couple of years ago. Though some of it sounded predictable and some sounded amateur, something about it is endearing and catchy. I am also happy to see halfies succeed in the industry! This girl has gained popularity through her songs in the film Nana, though she is still mostly under the radar. So here's a post of girl-power - thanks to the Olivia in my life, and to the friend who gave me this other Olivia. I want to be done with the other gender. This friend and I will be going out tonight and hopefully fulfilling what we've been looking for.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

No Mistakes Today

Riddle - Mistake

Genre: punk, post-hardcore
Song style: upbeat, heavy guitars but melodic singing

I really dig the intro of this song. Guitars and then bam - "do you remember that bad day, do you remember the first time..." (hope I'm hearing the English correctly hehe). Unfortunately the chorus gets stereotypical for me, but overall a nice piece. This band has been around since 2003 but has laid under the radar. They're currently on tour, and this song "Mistake" is their latest music video, released January of this year. I am going to plow through this weekend of too many fun things + too many final papers just as these guys plow through this so unbelievably catchy intro. Help me, I need a band to return me to the rock world away from Fergie...

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


The Telephones - Kiss Me, Love Me, Kiss Me

Genre: new wave, indie, dance
Song style: chill and really simple

Not quite my favorite song but it is off of The Telephone's new mini-album "Oh My Telephones!!!" out today! The Telephones have very fun, light-hearted music and so far every album of theirs has had a song featuring the word "disco" (including songs like Love&DISCO, Urban Disco, Monkey Discooooooooo, and ABC Disco). How many discos can you have, and were these guys even alive during the 70s!? Regardless it shows they're fun at heart and are ready to party! I've known about these guys for about a year now but their music hasn't been compelling enough for me to actually pursue it. But I appreciate the hole it fills in Japanese indie, for danceable meaningless indie tunes (sort of reminiscent of MGMT)? It's a DISCO!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Love Addict

VAMPS - Love Addict

Genre: hard rock, alternative
Song style: 90's-esque hard rock

This band is a fail-safe if you're in the mood for very straightforward alternative rock (like a heavier Bon Jovi even). It's headed by Hyde of L'arc-en-ciel and also features Oblivion Dust guitarist Kaz. Because of these two dudes' fame, the band has gotten plenty of press, though I'm unsure if the music itself is succeeding. They also completed a US tour at the beginning of the year. It was fun going to see them play in Baltimore - but also horrifying to be trapped in the Baltimore Greyhound bus station around midnight, our ears ringing and creepy homeless men talking to us innocent youngins dressed in our rockin'-out gear. This band released a DVD celebrating their US tour on March 17, and have a lot of new releases coming up for the beginning of the summer. Though they're not one of my favorite bands (not quite unique enough for me), I still have a healthy respect for them.

Monday, April 12, 2010

I wanna dance, I wanna dance in the light

Orange Range - おしゃれ番長

Genre: electronic, pop-rock
Song style: silly and fun

So, secretly the video I actually want to post is Imma be Rocking that Body by the Black Eyed Peas because I think the mash-up is so amazing and I love the dancing robots in the video. I've downloaded their cd and it is my current playlist. So to get out of that urge, I have decided to present to you guys a similarly mainstreamish (sorry for the indies fail) electronic group - Orange Range. Most Japanese people have probably heard of them, and this was their newest (2009) fairly popular single. Even though they're popular, I find them really catchy and enjoy their album musiQ in the car every so often. Sometimes it's nice when a band doesn't take itself too seriously (contrasted with the previous post). So let's enjoy one brief reprieve from the deep, contemplation of indie music and instead dance the night away!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Light Infection

Prague - Light Infection

Genre: pop-rock
Song style: light with a lot of vocal movement

This song feels so close but not quite there. Almost catchy and fun, but the singer goes all over the place, which sometimes ends up in him missing the note he's looking for. But I'm interested to see if this band ends up going the indie route or the mainstream route. They started just at the end of last year (September 2009), and will be releasing their third single CD "Distort" on May 12 (and I believe the song is out - though no music video has hit the youtube waves). I wish the best of luck to these guys.

By the way, I saw Jonetsu Marie and Shabondama High School, and they were amazing! Very charismatic and they put on a great show that even translated well to an American audience. I didn't end up watching Uzuhi or Spirit + Noise, but I saw Uzuhi at their merch booth.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Concert: Sakura matsuri part 2

情熱マリーとしゃぼん玉ハイスクール (Jonetsu Marie and Shabondama High School) - モーレツ!!調教ママ

Genre: ska, jazzy rock
Song style: a catchy song of a woman being tough

Turns out this band (what a crazy long name) will be playing at the Sakura Matsuri tomorrow in Washington DC! I like their song a lot better than Uzuhi's, gotta say. I could see them being really exciting and charismatic. I'll be there tomorrow. I hope the event is fun and not "fake Japanese".

Also anther band, Spirit + Noise will be performing tomorrow. They're a shamisen rock group (mainly instrumental). I'm not totally sure how I feel about them so I'll cover them after the show if they end up being good.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Concert: Uzuhi


Genre: punk
Song style: a pianoy alternative song. Not wonderful hehe.

I walked outside this morning and saw the beautiful scenes of petals drifting down from trees all around me. These weren't the cherry blossoms I was used to in Kyoto, but from today I will be going to Washington DC to see some and relive my memories. While I'm there, there will be a "Sakura Matsuri," or Cherry Blossom Festival, featuring many Japanese cultural activities. I'm very excited, I've never been to it before... let's hope it's not fakey! At this Matsuri, this band "Uzuhi" will be performing. The members are all Japanese but formed their band in New York. They're really a very "local" band, and they still seem amateur to me. Not really my style (in particular, check out their really bizarre not so wonderful single. But I'll still be there to check them out. They'll be playing Saturday, April 10 at the Sakura Matsuri in Washington DC.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

New release: King Brothers

King Brothers - XXXXX

Genre: hard rock, garage rock
Song style: a heavier version of 60's British rock

This band is releasing their first new album in six years "The First Rays of the New Rising Sun" today! Great for a week where we're finally seeing the first rays of spring. I don't know much about them, but I like the sound I hear from this first song. They really have a good charisma. They are very internationally-minded, touring in the US occasionally, but haven't received much recognition, especially because of their long hiatus. I look forward to checking out their new album.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Anyone go see Dazzle Vision?

Dazzle Vision - HERE

Genre: hard rock, metal-ish
Song style: sounds like Utada Hikaru went metal

So did any of you see this group play at Sakura-con a couple of days ago in Seattle? I don't know much about this band and they haven't had any new releases since 2008, but I think they're a very respectable heavy group. I think the female vocalist is very talented. The band is still pretty underground (I mean look at the quality of their music videos) but deserve more appreciation. Today I woke up and felt so peaceful and loved. (And no, no one was there or anything!!) Hope you all feel that same feeling sometime this week as the weather becomes more beautiful and the cherry blossoms reach their peak.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Quick note about commenting

I have now made it so that anyone can comment on this blog (not just blogger members). Some people had been complaining to me about that. So feel free to post your feelings whenever, wherever!

Let's go home!

斉藤和義 - 歩いて帰ろう

Genre: pop-rock
Song style: a happy guy with his guitar

Possibly one of the first Japanese "rock" songs I ever heard, this song became the theme song for Ponkiki, a Japanese Sesame Street-like show my sister and I would watch fondly as kids. Sometimes it is nice to return to one's childhood and relive things even if they aren't 100% top notch compared to today's standards. Luckily I think this sweet tune by Saito Kazuyoshi is just as nice, listening to it today. He's still a very active musician, having released a live album March 24th and set for a new single soon. I look forward to see how he's changed in the past eighteen years!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Been so busy these days

Half-Life - 色彩

Genre: indie
Song style: soft, very "adult" indie. Somewhat reminiscent of Jimmy Eat World

First of all, Happy Easter and Happy April Fools day! I didn't have the guts to pull a lame trick on you guys. The weather has become nicer here but so much has been going on (both academically and not) that it was hard to update in the last couple of days. I'm in the mood for something chill like Half-Life to help me relax this last day of the weekend. This band actually started off in Canada and then moved their activities to Japan (and they're all Japanese members). I have to say it's quite unfortunate they chose a band name that shares the name of a popular video game, because it's hard to find info on them specifically. However, I've had their 2009 debut release "Second Narrow" in my computer for a while, and it's very relaxing (but not too mentally stimulating music) that's perfect for an airy, springy day like today.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Selfish Love

Miyavi - Selfish Love

Genre: guitar rock
Song style: rock/bluesy guitars and vocals

Can't post for long, cause in a meeting, but I wanted to put something out there. This guy is so weird, interesting, and charismatic. His voice has a nice snarl to it, and he uses his guitar in unique almost percussion-like ways. He released a compilation album and DVD on March 24th. My friend who lives across from me recommended him to me while considering going to see him during his US tour, but couldn't go in the end. Gotta go - shortest post ever!