Monday, May 31, 2010

We are here

Brahman & Ego-Wrappin' - We are Here

Genre: alternative
Song style: Brahman's heaviness + Ego Wrappin's jazziness

Wow it's great to see a collaboration like this, and it made it onto the top 30 Oricon charts! This totally came out of nowhere as there is very little information about Ego Wrappin's current events on their wikipedia article. The music video concept works really well for the mix of the two sounds too. This song is exactly how my life feels like right now - weekends working crazy ~16 hour days as a bartender, and then weekdays freely enjoying life and doing research here and there. This is a part of a newly released single, "Sure Shot", which came out the 19th. I look forward to seeing if the other songs are collaborations as well!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

This was the hottest spring of the year

Princess Princess - 世界でいちばん熱い夏

Genre: pop-rock
Song style: 100% 80's female electro-pop

So this music isn't exactly "rock", "indies", or exactly my style but these girls are so cute!! There's something I just admire about them - a bunch of girls in the 80s in Japan standing up to stereotypes of what a band should be and going on to make tons of number one hits. They've inspired many of the female artists of today. I just saw a movie now where their popular song Diamonds appears in karaoke and I couldn't ignore it. These girls were active from 1983 - 1996. Cheers to days where we can just enjoy being silly princesses haha. Speaking of which, I'm starting cake decoration classes next week!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The lost puppy and the beat of the rain

Asian Kung-Fu Generation - 迷子犬と雨のビート

Genre: alternative
Song style: slow and whimsical.

This new single, "迷子犬と雨のビート" from Asian Kung-Fu Generation came out on May 26th and presents a different sound from the one I was used to with AKFG! They've toned down a little, and possibly grown up. While I can't stay I'm a big fan of this style, it'll be interesting to see what their new album is like, which is coming out in June. This band played a huge role in globalizing Japanese rock music, with its pretty large American and European fan base. Expect a revisit to their past in the next several weeks to juxtapose their change of style!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


A Flood of Circle - 博士の異常な愛情

Genre: hard rock, grunge, punk
Song style: catchy scratchy rock

I don't know much about this band but I've seen some of the music videos off their DVD special - (the pair of this song and the song Ghost) - and they sound pretty awesome and exciting. There's not enough heavy bands like this in Japan! Dunno what's up with the random table tennis videos though. These songs come off their album "Paradox Parade", which was released last year. I feel the craziness they talk about in the song - I've graduated but strangely been warped back to freshman year because of my summer job. Living a strange life as a semi-adult. And getting excited for Japan!!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I'm not dead!

Just posting quickly to say I'm not dead - I've just been very busy with my graduation and moving around. But don't worry, there's still a ton of exciting music waiting to meet you soon - expect regular updates again tomorrow! :-) If you're really itching for some music, here's the Oricon charts for this week (always a fun watch):

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Gothic pink

Tommy Heavenly6 - Gothic Pink

Genre: hard rock, pop-rock
Song style: gothness and cuteness combined

This song comes out of one of Tomoko Kawase's many musical projects. She began as the vocalist for the band The Beautiful Green, but also began to pursue a solo career - first as pop artist Tommy February6, but then diverging into the second, more "rock and roll" character of Tommy Heavenly6. I like the mix of her cuteness but also the slightly hard edge to the music.

On a random other note, I'm finally graduating college in the next couple of days! I should be excited and nostalgic, but instead I feel antsy and a little negative. I hope the next days and my last weeks here come to a good, fulfilling close.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Andymori post I mentioned

Andymori - City Lights

Genre: indie
Song style: chill alternative, almost folksy

I've heard this band's name so many times but never followed up because they always seemed a bit too much on the soft side for me. But here they are - and I find this video really entrancing! It adds flavor to the song too. This seems like the perfect song for a beautiful day like today, just chilling out in the grass with the breeze softly blowing around. This band seems very fun, I'm sure they'll put on a good show.

Concert: Andymori, mothercoat, and more

Andymori, mothercoat, owarikara, グーミ, and Kulu Kulu Garden are performing from May 22 - 29 at various locations in Canada, starting with Vancouver and then making their way over to Toronto. This tour is a part of Next Music from Tokyo!, a tour organized by a truly impressive person over at a Japan indie forum I frequent. I probably won't be able to make these shows, but I'm sure it will be amazing! Expect an andymori video immediately following.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


FLiP - ライラ

Genre: hard rock, alternative
Song style: a new kind of girls' rock

I randomly saw these gals during some Youtube browsing, and wow I'm impressed! Despite the plethora of female artists on this blog, I have a strong bias for male vocalists, especially in the genre of heavier rock music. But these girls from Okinawa do an amazing job of pulling it off, and give an interesting masculine yet feminine melodic vibe. I look forward to looking into more of their music. They released an album back in February that I'll try and get a hold of.
On random other notes, travel has come back into my life! This is my last day back at home before returning to school for graduation and some part-time work. And two days ago I bought tickets for a trip to Shanghai (with the World Expo) and Korea! I'm excited but a little nervous about what this year will have in store for me.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Concert: The Pillows and more

The Pillows, Noodles, Pop Chocolat, and Monokuro are playing two shows in California on May 21 and 23rd. For May 21, it's Slim's in San Francisco, and for May 23, it's The Glass House in Pomona. I don't really know these bands, but the Pillows are LEGENDARY, so anyone over in the West Coast should definitely try to catch them! I'll also try and upload some of their tunes so you can get a feel for them.

Saturday, May 15, 2010


The Yoshida Brothers - Rising

Genre: shamisen rock
Song style: cool traditionalness turned edgy

I love this concept, seeing these guys in hakamas rocking out on the shamisen with a rock crew backing them up. These guys are pretty big names in Japan, and I'm thinking America too because of their novelty. Not much to say about them other than they released an album last year called Prism. I saw some relative of theirs perform at the Toyota showcase in Odaiba wayyy back when. Perhaps another brother dun dun dun. Today was a very traditional day for me - had some delicious yudofu, and an ikura and uni donburi, so here's some "traditional" music to celebrate it.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The avengers!

Avengers in Sci-fi - Homosapiens Experience

Genre: new-wave, electronica
Song style: straightforward sorta astro-alternative

I got my hands on two albums today - Avengers in Sci-fi's "Science Rock", which features this song, and Syrup16g's "Hell-see", which features ex-人間 (posted previously). I have to say I love Syrup16g's album!! A very nice melancholic feel that suited the mood and my searches in the attic for items for this weekend. Avengers in Sci-fi's album was good as background music for my cooking, but I found it pretty stereotypical. One of those bands that really goes by a theme (in this case, robots, outer space, technology), but no deeper introspection. But sometimes you need some of one, and sometimes you need some of the other! I'll keep looking into these guys in the future. This song sort of reminds me of Orange Range, but more "indie".

Also, on a random note, I didn't realize this blog would manage to last so long! When I started out, I had about 2 months of material, but I somehow still have 2 months of material - which means enough to last me until I leave this country. Who would have thought the industry would be so vast.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

New release roll

Out of all of the new releases that have come out today, I pick the following as my favorite...

Prague - Distort

Genre: pop-rock
Song style: Slow but dancey pop-rock

This song gives me a very different impression of Prague versus their previous single I covered (Light Infection). They seem more grown-up here and sound quite a bit like サカナクション. Just so you know, I believe the jittering in the beginning of the video is intentional.

Along with this single CD of "Distort", there are also singles from:

Vamps - Devil Side (covered yesterday)
Screw - "Cursed Hurricane" - a very stereotypical softish visual-kei type song. I think they can do better.
Flow - "Calling" - way too stereotypical and poppy a tune, so hard to put on this blog. But I remember getting a better impression of Flow elsewhere, so they may go up on here another time.

I'm sure many more artists have new releases, but it's so hard to keep track! So perhaps expect a stream of new songs coming after today too.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Devil Side

Vamps - Devil Side

Genre: hard rock
Song style: stereotypical late 90's-esque hard rock

I sometimes feel like Hyde is trying too hard to become an American. The lyrics, the music, and the video are all too 90s American hard rock. But then again, out of anyone in the music industry, maybe Hyde is the one who can do it. This is the new single from his project Vamps, entitled "Devil Side", which comes out in eight minutes (though I guess it's already far into tomorrow in Japan). On the same day, a 2009 tour DVD is also coming out for this group. I find the flow between American and Japanese culture very interesting. Should the two keep separate? What sort of balance is perfect? I've met Japanese people who've integrated perfectly into American society, but others who have a false image that they have. Similarly, there are so many Americans who seem creepy and awkward in Japan and others that seem to fit right in. I hope I am the latter.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Piano interlude

batapy - 9mm Parabellum Bullet medley

Genre: rockin' piano!
Song style: a piano medley of post-hardcore band 9mm Parabellum Bullet's work

And now, for a brief piano interlude before the flood of new releases coming on May 12! I've really admired this youtuber for a while. He(?) makes amazing piano covers of 9mm Parabellum Bullet and other artists such as Muse and People in the Box. He's become so popular that he's starting to play some concerts in Japan. He really manages to keep the soul of the songs and make them sound very "rock" despite using the piano as the conveyor. Even if you don't like 9mm, you may enjoy this music and the talent behind it. If you're curious, the three songs in this medley are: Heart-Shaped Gear, 次の駅まで, and Punishment, three of my favorite songs from the band. I know you're probably sick of all the 9mm posts... don't worry this will (probably) be the last til a next release. But please check out batapy's amazing channel!

Sunday, May 9, 2010


The Back Horn - 戦う君よ

Genre: hard rock, punk
Song: pretty heavy and militaristic

I can't believe I missed this! I got blindsighted by my fav 9mm's release on the 21st and managed to completely miss this new single from my second favs the Back Horn, "戦う君よ" that came out April 21st. It's not attached to any album thus far. Gotta say it sounds like their other stuff - nothing really new or unique, just "safe". But still fun to rock out to. And shoutout to all the great mothers out there who have helped their kids rock on in this world (hint: it's mother's day). Including to my own mom, who has always supported my endeavors and my love of rock music. :-) We had a wonderful day today, just the two of us, eating ice cream and walking around the mall.

Saturday, May 8, 2010


Champagne - For Freedom

Genre: punk, emo
Song style: higher pitched, lighter punk but catchy

I'm really curious as to these guys' background. The singer's English is good enough (though not perfect) to have studied in the States and the drummer has a USD shirt on. They've released their first indies album this year with the awesome title, "Where's my Potato?". I wonder what happens to bands like these. Not many punk bands like this make it into the limelight. Are they aiming for a Japanese audience or an American one? Hard to say, but I find this song unique and exciting.

PS - happy b-day to my sister! For her freedom from school.

Top 100 Japanese Artists

HMV's Top 100 Japanese Artists

I've been going over my music to decide what will make a good compilation for a special event. In thinking through all of the artists I've encountered in the past couple of months, I've remembered this interesting list that I found on a bunch of Wikipedia articles about artists (great source right?)

It's the HMV list of top 100 Japanese (pop) artists. Don't trust the pop label, because I was surprised at the wide range of rock artists who also made it on here. I thought it would be an interesting exercise to post the list on here and then see how much this blog eventually covers one day.

1. Southern All Stars - popish rock group I may cover some day.51. Misia
2. YMO52. Minako Yoshida
3. Yumi Matsutoya53. Namie Amuro
4. Happy End54. Taeko Onuki
5. Hibari Misora55. Akina Nakamori
6. Tatsuro Yamashita56. Tsuyoshi Nagabuchi
7. Momoe Yamaguchi57. Alice
8. Yosui Inoue58. L'Arc~en~Ciel - Hyde's group, may have to cover them someday
9. Eiichi Otaki59. Shogo Hamada
10. Seiko Matsuda60. Tatsuya Ishii
11. Ryuichi Sakamoto61. Unicorn - planning on putting these guys up
12. Keisuke Kuwata62. Chage & Aska
13. Motoharu Sano63. Dragon Ash - these guys may go up
14. Eikichi Yazawa64. Hi-standard
15. Flippers Guitar65. Glay - pretty famous dude
16. RC Succession66. Masayoshi Yamazaki
17. Kenji Sawada67. Akiko Wada
18. Kyu Sakamoto68. Moon Riders
19. Blue Hearts69. Smap
20. Miyuki Nakajima70. Tomoyasu Hotei
21. Tetsuya Komuro71. Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra
22. Boowy72. Lisa Ono
23. Yutaka Ozaki73. Blankey Jet City
24. Hikaru Utada74. quruli
25. Tamio Okuda75. Roosters
26. Mariya Takeuchi76. Kyosuke Himuro
27. Mr Children77. Thee Michelle Gun Elephant
28. Kazumasa Oda78. Denki Groove
29. Spitz79. Kenji Ozawa
30. B'z80. Yuzo Kayama
31. Pizzicato Five - totally putting them up!81. Yellow Monkey
32. Off Course82. Jacks
33. Murahachibu83. Fishmans
34. Pink Lady84. Noriyuki Makihara
35. Tulip85. Ken Hirai
36. Ringo Shiina86. Yonin Bayashi
37. Toshinobu Kubota87. Rip Slyme
38. Char88. Princess Princess
39. Godiego - these guys will go up!89. Original Love
40. X Japan - may go up, wayy famous90. Luna Sea - may go up
41. Yujiro Ishihara91. Mute Beat
42. Ayumi Hamasaki92. Alfee
43. Cornelius93. Hiroshi Fujiwara
44. Haruomi Hosono94. Sadistic Mika Band
45. Dreams Come True95. Mondo Grosso
46. Takuro Yoshida96. Judy And Mary
47. Anzenchitai97. Zeebra
48. Checkers98. Crazy Ken Band
49. Candies99. Ua
50. Yasuyuki Okamura100. Begin

Thursday, May 6, 2010

It is almost the witching hour

Malice Mizer - Beast of Blood

Genre: visual kei, metal elements
Song style: really "goth" - heavy guitars + harpsichord + hissing and singing vocals

I have to say this was one of my first conscious exposures to Japanese rock music (and possibly a stereotypical one). In 2001 for my first time in Japan (I was like 14 years old!) I ran across a magazine ad with these guys and I thought they looked pretty awesome... so I looked into their music and liked what I heard! Combinations of heavy discordant guitars and melodic singing really draws me in. This group is now defunct (sadly happened the same year I discovered them), but it used to have the now-uber-famous Gackt as its lead vocalist. Here, the band is headed by their last singer, Klaha (I wonder what happened to him?) It also has the famous crossdresser Mana pretending to play the violin, who frequently models for goth fashion magazines. I was never really a goth person but can understand why people might like the effect or the music. But don't be fooled into thinking this is all Japanese rock has to offer! It's just an interesting extra facet that we don't too frequently see in America these days (though even saying that, these guys are pretty old news now).

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Goodbye again

Toe - グッドバイ

Genre: instrumental, math rock
Song style: very chill and contemplative, one of their few vocal songs

There are so many songs out there entitled goodbye. In Japanese there are so many ways to say it - バイバイ,グッドバイ, じゃあね,また今度,さようなら,... I guess any language has a lot. I wonder how many times the average person says goodbye in a day? I must have made a record. Goodbye DS, goodbye KL, goodbye AL, goodbye exams, goodbye professors, goodbye trees, goodbye dining hall, goodbye dorm, goodbye college. I'll be back in a couple weeks but it won't be the same since everyone else will be missing. This group toe makes a lot of wispy, contemplative songs for a breezy summer day. Most of it's instrumental - for example, this is the only song with vocals off their mini-album "New Sentimentality". They're classified as "math rock" because of their complex beats but is so different from the other math rock stuff I've heard cause that stuff is usually very heavy. Cheers to our stop-motion lives.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Goodbye nostalgia

Base Ball Bear - Sayonara Nostalgia

Genre: indie, alternative
Song style: normal catchy indie

Goodbye nostalgia, goodbye college! Today I am studying intensely for my last final ever, being held tomorrow. It's a time to refresh for everyone. Over in Japan, it's the longest holiday of the year - Golden Week - and over here, students busily working away like me are wrapping up their work and their finals. I wonder if I will come out of this last semester unscathed. This is one of the first indie singles from the band Base Ball Bear, from back in 2003. They've since gained in popularity and are now releasing "major" albums, but I still like this single a lot. I remember hearing it as my friends were over chilling, doing work or something, and it came up on a friend's playlist. The band is a little bit off from what I usually like (a little too soft or cookie-cutter) but this song is nice. Don't know what's up with the video though!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Nothing's Carved in Stone

Nothing's Carved in Stone - Isolation

Genre: punk, alternative
Song style: powerful, post-hardcorish punk

I love the complex guitars layered onto the simple ones at the beginning, and the interlude near the end is great. The chorus is a little bland for me, but I think any punk lover should enjoy a band like this. Nothing's Carved in Stone was formed in 2009 as a project coming out from Ellegarden's guitarist. Overall, a catchy, solid track, though I don't know much about the band.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Tranny palindrome

中村中 - 事勿れ主義

Genre: jazz rock, pop-rock
Song style: powerful jazzy rock, sorta 90s ish

It's great when artists have a palindromic name (though only for reading, not for saying). I've had such a wonderful past week and have fulfilled much of my desires. Today went to a May Day festival and yesterday did some square dancing. :-) Anyways! Guess the big secret of Nakamura Ataru (this artist). She was born male! Yes indeed, here's a powerful female tranny singer - wow. Could you have been able to tell? It's a catchy video too, let's all not get knocked down by the people around us, etc etc. I discovered this song randomly while watching TV a year ago or so. Her other songs apparently tend to be either jazzy like this, or more like enka ballads. So I'm not sure if you would enjoy her other works, but this song is at least good for a playlist or two.