Archive for the ‘NICO Touches the Walls’ Category

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This Month in J-Rock: September 2008

October 18, 2008

I’m back for another month of releases, a couple days earlier this time.  You’ll see two changes in this month’s column.  First off is a poll.  I guess this is a new wordpress feature so I decided to use it.  You can vote for your favorite album from the albums I reviewed or another September release I haven’t (list and explain in the replies!).  To be fair, singles won’t be included in any future poll.  The second change is that “Pick of the Month” has been changed to “The Winner’s Circle.”  More on that later.

THE SINGLES

Dir en grey- Glass Skin

If “Dozing Green” and “Glass Skin” is what we have to look forward to on Dir en grey’s upcoming full-length, I think Uroboros will be one bore of an album.  “Glass Skin” is mediocre at  best.  Nothing to wet your pants over.  It just kind of meanders for four minutes.  Let’s face it, they’ll never be able to write another “The Final.”  Thankfully, the band decided to put actual b-sides on this single release.  Next up is a rerecording of “undecided.”  This has more of an acoustic/folky feel.  Not exactly the screaming Dir en grey that I love but much better than the actual single.  We also have an “acoustic” version of “Agitated Screams of Maggots.”  Normally when I hear the word acoustic, I assume that it’s acoustic guitar.  Nope.  This is classical piano! Not acoustic at all.  Look at a dictionary fellas.  It’s not as great as the original but the screaming over piano thing was interesting…kind of.

http://www.myspace.com/direngrey

THE MINI-ALBUMS

BIGMAMA- Weekly Fairy Tale

Despite the initial dissatisfaction that these are not Disney cover songs (all three tracks are named after Disney films), this is one damn catchy EP.  BIGMAMA is sort of like the Japanese version of Yellowcard, a punk band with a whole lot of violin.  “Cinderella” was released as the single for this EP.  The violin sections on the song remind me of Pachebel’s Canon (that song they play at graduations) a lot, especially in the middle, but I love it.  “Sleeping Beauty” shows a more aggressive side to the band.  The EP closes with “Pinnochio” a real fun, nostalgic hoe-down type of song.  The violin has more of a folky sound and the chorus has plenty of handclaps.  I had a lot of fun with this EP.  It’s not often that a band can successfully incorporate the violin into such happy, rock songs.

http://www.myspace.com/rxbigmama

OLIVIA- Trinka Trinka (mini-album)

Olivia Lufkin singles/albums have been a mixed bag ever since her OLIVIA inspi’ REIRA (TRAPNEST) days. There are some traces of her former edginess but with so many average pop ballads it’s evident that she just wants to become the next J-pop idol.  The first two tracks on this mini-album are examples of her stronger work these past few years.  “Trinka Trinka” is a really great up-tempo track with a mild dance beat and a really catchy chorus,  “I’m feeling Trinka Trinka, it’s really happening, my heart is beating, but I don’t want to scream!”  The lead single for this release, “Rain” follows.  Olivia returns with her mixed Japanese/English lyrics.  It’s a fun song that should satisfy her new and old fans.  Unfortunately, the mini-album rapidly deteriorates after these two songs.  “Because,” “Miss You,” and “Your Smile” are typical J-pop ballad fodder with minimal English lyrics.  “Collecting Sparkles” has it’s moments, mostly due to it’s electronic beat, but is ultimately forgettable.  One day I hope she breaks out of her anime alter-ego and records another Comatose Bunny Butcher.

http://www.myspace.com/olivialufkinofficial

THE ALBUMS

8otto- Hyper Hyp8r Hyper

8otto should do well with the British-rock crowd.  They have a similar flavor to bands such as The Strokes or Franz FerdinandHYP8R is the third full-length 8otto album and carries the same laid-back “I don’t give a f—” attitude as always.  Reflective, yet agressive when it needs to be.  But mostly sung in monotone.  I imagine this is the type of music people listen to when they get high.  “Bomb” leads off the album with a slightly different version than on the single, not that I could tell the difference.  My favorite songs are “Real Coke’s Friends”  and “It’s Kind of Fool.”  The album sags around track 9 with a 6-minute acoustic track.  However, it gets funkier with “Stone Funk” and ends with the great title track.  Although at times boring, this band has great rhythm.  You can imagine them as a funkier Brit-rock version of Asian Kung-Fu Generation.

http://www.myspace.com/8otto

Glory Hill- Going Nowhere

IN BRIEF: This band sounds so much like ELLEGARDEN.  I don’t know whether I should be shocked or appalled but I actually liked this album quite a bit.  These songs are mostly in English but hard to understand.  Stand-out tracks “Falling Down,” “Endless Summer,” “Go For Break,” and “GET UP.”

http://www.myspace.com/gloryhilljp

Mo’some Tonebender- SING!

Super Nice! was your standard alternative rock album.  C.O.W. Check Out World was an experimental minimal electronic album.  Mo’some Tonebender’s newest album SING! is a very uneven work, a hodgepodge of every genre you can think of.  From the standard ballad “Colourful,” to the straight up rock “Cheese Burger,” to the delightfully saxophone-ridden “Niji wo Kakete,” it’s safe to say this band has no idea where it wants to go anymore.  The album leads off with the sing “Synchrocity” that has surpringingly grown a lot on me.  This song, and others such as “Joy” and “Saigo no Bus” follow the electronic sound they were going with in Check Out World while the synthesizers in “Hima tsubushi Part 2″ has a slight BEAT CRUSADERS feel.  The standout track on the album for me was “Kakukakushikajika.”  It’s a nice acoustic piece with violin and some synth that feels completely out of place but is very calming.  So far, this band hasn’t released one solid album from start to finish but just like the rest, SING! has a few great tracks.

http://www.myspace.com/mstbofficial

NICO Touches the Walls- Who Are You?

With the release of their debut album, NICO Touches the Walls has entered the non-visual domain of popular J-Rock.  The album starts with “Broken Youth” which was used as a recent OP for Naruto Shippoden.  The aggressive forward going lyrics saves it from being a cliche rock song, even if it has some Asian Kung-Fu Generation flavor.  Also included is the immense first single “The Bungy,” a great folk/country infused rock song. “Bunny Girl to Danny Boy” has a catchy chorus and starts off in handclaps, the whaling guitars on “Yoru no Hate” are a treat, too. Who Are You? has its fair share of slower, funk driven songs such as “Etranger,” “Hottoshita,” and “Aoi” but thankfully they are spread out on the album.  This band has it’s similarities to bands like Asian Kung-Fu Generation and Snowkel but there are definitely some quirks on this album that makes it stand out.  It may not be as progressiva as the single “The Bungy” but it’s J-Rock done right.

Various Artists- Yowavinalaaaafincha? – A Tribute To Snuff -

You have no idea how much I love Japanese tribute albums.  Even though I’ve never listened to Snuff before, I happily sat down and listened to this.  Unfortunately, that means I cannot compare these covers to the originals.  Some songs I really liked, “I Know What You Want” by MUGWUMPS, “What Kind of Love” by Ken Yokoyama, “Now You Don’t Remember” by FUCK YOU HEROES, “Dickt Trois” by RAZORS EDGE, “That’s Enough” by COKEHEAD HIPSTERS, and of course, “Sweet Dreams” by BEAT CRUSADERS.  With the exception of PUFFY (who does a fine version “Not Listening”), I appreciate that they actually chose punk bands to cover punk songs, most of which do not have major-label backing.  This tribute album has succeeded in getting me interested in more Snuff.

THE WINNER’S CIRCLE (PICK OF THE MONTH)

Simply put, September had too many albums full of win to just pick one.  Seeing as at least two of these albums will finish in my top three of the year, it would be unfair to just choose one.  Instead, I decided to highlight all three of them.  Beware, these three bands represent the finest, most original music you’ve heard on this blog.

mutyumu- i l ya

Imagine putting the best classical, hardcore, opera, visual-kei, post-rock, and deathmetal bands into a blender and you have mutyumu, the most diverse and unique band in the scene right now.  Vocals range from the operatic hatis noi to deathmetal screams.  But it’s always something you wouldn’t expect.  The album starts with a nice instrumental song and explodes in “die Ewige Wiederkunft.”  “L’œil est Dieu” starts off in massive screaming with classical piano but then follows to hatis’ opera vocals. Violins join in later and it all blurs together into one of the greatest songs ever written (I’m serious).  Up next is “toi et moi” which starts off jazz-like but follows a more pop-format with no screaming.  “doxa incarnatate” has a gothic/visual-kei style while “unforgiven” and “raison d’etre” are almost straight up post-rock.  “sappho” is melacholic and evolves into “prayer,” an epic 10-minute journey that starts with only vocals but explodes in violin, drumming, and opera chants.   The album ends in a piano/violin duet with World’s end girlfriend “hai no hi,” a much deserved break from the epicness of the prior material.  With so many genres mashed together, this album has something for everyone.  I fear their uniqueness will likely repel mainstream music fans, which may not be a bad thing, but this band deserves all the hype it has been getting recently.

http://www.myspace.com/mutyumujapan

sgt.- Stylus Fantasticus

Japanese post-rock bands are a dime a dozen, but sgt. is the first one that has been able to surpass Mono in my eyes.  In Stylus Fantasticus, sgt. has been able to combine the best of post-rock with the best of jazz.  Violin, piano, and sax are rarely used efficiently in post-rock but not so for this band.  The album starts off with a slower, piano driven song but then explodes in guitar for “Dilemma Game.”  The next two songs slowly start throwing more piano and sax in until we get to “Saisei to Misshitsu.”  Epic is one word to describe Saisei, the amount of sax is great but so perfect and fitting.  A highly addictive and fast paced song given it’s six-minute runtime.  A short, slow song follows but then is replaced with the 16-minute “Ginga wo Kowashite” that exemplifies the perfection of their violist.  The last song, “Munoyuragi” is another long one but returns to that same great sax.  If you’re looking for a band that perfectly blends post-rock and jazz, sgt. is your man.

http://www.myspace.com/sgtofficial

Zazen Boys- Zazen Boys 4

Zazen Boys have struck the perfect chord between ambient, electro, and funk on their fourth self-titled album.  Mukai, the Boys’ lead singer starts off “Asobi” with a shout-out to his recording studio.  The song itself is nothing short of amazing, and the video for it is damn near perfect.  The handclaps and synth are immaculate.  “Honnoji” drops the electronics for a minute to center on tribal drumming and leads perfectly into the incredibly repititous  “Weekeeeeeeeeennnnd”.  The next three songs have more of a funk flavor and center more on guitars.  “Tarantine” will likely annoy many.  The drums last for about 5 seconds before another 10 seconds of silence.  Eventually the silences transform into long poetic monologues by Mukai.  I really wish I knew what he’s saying, his tone gets hilarious near the ending.  Following is “The Drifing/I Don’t Wanna Be With You” which morphs into a dancetrack in it’s second half.  The album ends with the incredibly reflective and pulsating “Sabaku.” The drumming and soft electronics will likely put you in a trance and is the perfect way to end the album.  This album is the perfect soundtrack for fall and I’ve had it on repeat for several weeks now.

http://www.myspace.com/zazenboys

WHAT TO LOOK FOR NEXT MONTH

8otto- catch on another fire: Wait…didn’t I review them this month?!?!?  Well, this is a remix album.

9mm Parabellum Bullet- Vampire:  Second full-length album.  Includes “Wanderland” from the anime Real Drive.

Asian Kung-Fu Generation- Fujisawa Loser:  New single off upcoming album.

The Captains- I Love GS:  A covers collection of classic group sounds songs.

Deerhoof- Offend Maggie: New album from the SF locals.

Envy/Thursday- Split EP:  This doesn’t have a release date yet but since it already leaked…

The Predators- Kiba wo Misero:  New mini-album from the supergroup, made of members from the pillows, GLAY, and STRAIGHTENER.

Te’- Mashite, Kokoro to Gokan ga Icchisuru Nara Subete Saijo no “Ongaku” ni Henzuru: New album for the post-rock hopefulls.

Various Artists- Metal-IKKA: Metallica tribute album!  Features BEAT CRUSADERS, Polysics, and 9mm Parabellum Bullet.

VOLA & THE ORIENTAL MACHINE- Halan’na-ca Darkside: Zazen Boys this month, VOLA next month.

…and here’s the poll.  Take the time and vote ^_^

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This Month In J-Rock: August 2008

September 22, 2008

This month’s column is relatively shorter with more emphasis on singles.  Why?  Can’t say there have been many mentionable August releases.  Also, I have writer’s block.  That’s what you get for singing up for three writing intensive courses in one semester.  Bitch bitch bitch on with the show.

THE SINGLES

Avengers In Sci-Fi- PLANET ROCK

Some bands take two years off to perfect their sound.  Others just don’t have money to enter the studio.  Avengers in Sci-Fi seem to be in the latter category.  “Save Our Rock” is essentially “Avenger Strikes Back” Part II.  The melody is mostly the same with different lyrics.  After a few listens, I stopped caring, but c’mon.  “Starmine Sister (miss you so much!),” is luckily more original, although on the long side.  I like the Avenger’s take on dance-rock and I still play their first album Avenger Strikes Back on a regular basis.  Both songs on the EP will be available on their 2nd full-length album SCIENCE ROCK due out November 11.

http://www.myspace.com/avengersinscifi

Bonnie Pink- Kane wo Kameshite

Believe me when I say “Kane wo Kameshite” is an unremarkable single.  But the b-sides more than make up for it.  “Pump It Up!” is easily the best J-pop song I’ve heard this year.  So fast, so catchy.  It’s like cotton candy.  So colorful, so retro!  Pump it up!  Pump it up!  Also included on the single is a great remix of “A Perfect Sky” by some dude named Bjorn which reminds me of a fun day at the carnival. I enjoyed this single far more than I thought I would, even if the real “single” was a stinker.  (*)

http://www.myspace.com/bonniepink

D’espairsRay- Kamikaze

I mentioned last month that this would be my first time listening to D’espairsRay.  I’ve been putting them on the back burner, mostly because they’re visual-kei and have been getting far too much attention over at JRR and the other “J-Rock” websites.  “Kamikaze” is the second unremarkable single in this month’s column that was overshadowed by it’s superior b-side.  I’m sure most D’espairsRay fans will disagree but “Scissors” is so much better.  It’s got a cool techno-metal vibe to it.  I thought they were Blood Stain Child for a second.  It’s great to play while I’m doing 40mph in the construction areas by school, and there are so many streets by school getting cut up…

http://www.myspace.com/despairsray

Detroit Metal City x Negishi- Satsugai/Amai Koibito

Murder! Murder! Kill! Kill! Kill!  Detroit Metal City is easily one of the best manga/anime that have come out over the past few years.  “Satsugai” and “Amai Koibito” are used as the opening and end theme, respectively, for the anime and probably the live-action movie (I so want to see this!).  In the series, “Satsugai” is the debut single by heavy metal gods Detroit Metal City.  The song is about raping and murdering your parents.  Gross!  But the DMC fans eat this shit up.  And it’s hard not to laugh at them.  The second song on this single is “Amai Koibito” performed by Negishi, the real-life identity of Krauser II, lead singer of DMC.  It’s such a catchy love song about making sweet breads and eventually making love to your “swiitsu baby.”  Did it make me smile?  YES.  (*)

L’arc~en~ciel- NEXUS 4/Shine

L’arc~en ~ciel are back with their new single “NEXUS 4″ which hasn’t been used as an anime theme song, yet.  But don’t fret, it’s reportedly used in a commercial for the Subaru Legacy automobile.  It’s a competent single, they know what the public wants.  It has some cool dance vibes in the beginning but they quickly fall back into routine.  “Shine,” on the other hand, has been used as the theme song for the anime Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit, currently airing on [adult swim] at their 5:30a.m. deathslot.  It’s strange that it took the band this long to release “Shine” as a single, considering Moribito first aired in April 2007 in Japan.  It’s your typical L’arc~en~single, which is to say it’s expected.  “Hydeless” versions of the two singles are included, which means they have no vocals.

NICO Touches the Walls- Broken Youth

I just can’t get away from my anime themes this month.  “Broken Youth” is the current theme for Naruto Shippuden.  I congratulate NICO on making the big leagues.  The single is catchy but not as much as “The Bungy.”  It’s definitely a safe song, it doesn’t break the mold but fits in nicely with Naruto’s rock catelog, not to hide my disdain for all things Naruto.  The next song is slower, quite possibly a love song, and unremarkable.  The ten minute “Guernica” has its epic moments with some awesome harmonica half-way through.  But they’re no post-rock band and shouldn’t do this again.

THE ALBUMS

GOLLBETTY- Betty’s Buggy

What could be better than female ska bands?  Well, a lot, but GOLLBETTY have recently released their third full-length album Betty’s Buggy.  I like to compare them to Oreskaband with the aggressiveness of Ketchup Mania.    “Cool Music,” “HAPPYRAMID,” and “bonds of friendship” have great horn sections and “99%” is a another great 1999-themed song to add to my list.  For the most part, I was unimpressed by this album as it tends to go into pop-rock mode far too often. (-)

http://www.myspace.com/gollbetty

Detroit Metal City- ~for the movie~

I think…they turned…DMC…into a visual-kei band.  I’m sorry but that’s all that comes to mind when I listen to this ten song soundtrack. “Satsugai” is on here, which I love, but these are all DMC songs.  None of the songs by Negishi or Tetrapot Melan Tea are on here which kind of makes it hard for me to listen to. Just from reading the manga and watching the first four episodes of the anime, I can’t recognize any of the other songs on the soundtrack except for the “Rape x10 a second” and the “F*ck” tracks.  I’m sure I’ll like this more after I’ve seen the live-action movie, but it’s a big pass from me right now.  (-)

enie meenie- Fantasy of Life

Officially released in July, I decided to include this in this month’s column for two reasons: I wasn’t able to find it until a couple of weeks ago and this band needs more exposure.  Before this album, enie meenie were mainly a synth driven pop-punk band comparable to Motion City Soundtrack.  They’ve kept some of that for this album but they’ve also added some amazing saloon-style piano to the mix.  The album starts off with the nursury rhyme “enie meenie minie moe, catch a tiger by the toe.”  Frankly, I’m shocked it took them this long to do it but at least it’s out of their system.  “Short Drama” and “Play the Hero” lead off the album strongly while “I May” will go down as one of the finest songs of their carreer.  Unfortunately, there are plenty of slow songs on here such as “Different Nights,” “Parting Song,” and “Sleep” that drag the second half of the album down. However, the first three songs I mentioned are more than enough to recommend this album for. (*)

http://www.myspace.com/eniemeenie

PICK OF THE MONTH

Muon- The New Mutants

I give credit to bands who frequently and consistently give away their music for freeMuon is a three-piece ambient/electronic act from Singapore.  The New Mutants is their third full-length album.  It begins with a guy named Marny doing some spoken word dialog, “how many times do I have to tell I don’t have no fcking money?”  It continues with “From the Cold” and “Against the Grain,” fan favorites from their live material.  “This Is Not The End,” has marching band drums and pounding synths for an epic nine-minutes. “Cylons Dream of Electric Sheep” is the oddball track on the album with sheep “baaaa”-ing every so often.  Outside of the sheep song and “Marny,” there’s no vocals on this album.  They sound and present their material very much like a post-rock band, such as Explosions in the Sky or Mono.  This might not be the flashiest album this month, but it’s quiet and reflective mood will surely resonate with many new fans.  And besides, it’s free, why not pick it up?

http://www.myspace.com/muonmagick

WHAT TO LOOK FOR NEXT MONTH

8otto- Hyper Hyper Hyp8r: This month may have been lackluster but we’ll start next month with the latest album from indie-rockers 8otto.

Dir en grey- Glass Skin: The latest single from their upcoming album Uroboros.

Glory Hill- Going Nowhere: The latest album from the ELLEGARDEN wannabes.

mutyumu- i l ya:  Just letting you know this is a top contender for album of the year.

NICO Touches the Walls- Who Are You?: First full-length album from the Naruto rockers.

OLIVIA- Trinka Trinka: It’s been a couple of years, OLIVIA.  I need to hear your angelic voice again!

Zazen Boys- Zazen Boys 4: Damn! So much great stuff coming out this month.  So far this is dead tied with mutyumu for most amazing album of the year.

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This Month in J-Rock: June 2008

July 1, 2008

My latest attempt at a listen and review article. The plan is to post one of these at the end of every month with my opinions on this month’s releases. In addition, at the end of every post you will find my “hype” list for the following month. However, thanks to Wizard World and Wall-E last weekend this first one has come a little late! But enjoy it anyway. Comments, etc. would be appreciated. I added myspace pages where available so you can listen to the artist. I was going to post videos but youtube deletes them the day after I post them so…why bother. Any release with a (*) after the review is highly recommended.

THE SINGLES

DOPING PANDA- Beautiful Survivor

DOPING PANDA’s latest single comes 3 months after their 3rd full length album Dopamaniacs. “Beautiful Survivor” is your typical Dopan song with sweeping synth beats and a catchy chorus. The b-side “We say we love each other” has a more laid back r&b style. Over-all, this isn’t a groundbreaking single that brings DOPING PANDA into new musical territory like “Miracle” or “I’ll Be There” did but will undoubtedly please the fan’s fix.

http://www.myspace.com/dopingpanda

Genki Rockets- Star Line/Smile

And then it dawned it on me half way through “Smile,” Genki Rockets sounds a lot like Hilary Duff. The lyrics are cheesy and sound like it was written by a pre-teen. Yeah I was a little disappointed with this one. Last summer, this “computer experiment” released the really great “Heavenly Star” and “Breeze” singles which had a great techno beat and were super happy. Although “Smile” was a let down, “Star Line” was pretty great. The song has a rock beat but has a very catchy chorus. The remixes are fun but absolutely forgettable. Their first full-length is supposed to come out tomorrow so I still have hope.

http://www.myspace.com/genkirockets

NICO Touches the Walls- The Bungy

A random download worth noting. “The Bungy” is a really fun song with a lot of handclaps and country twanging. The b-side “Simon Said” is much slower with a lot more emphasis on vocals. The band hasn’t released a full length album yet but have another new single coming out in August. They’ve been put on my radar. (*)

THE ALBUMS

Asian Kung-Fu Generation- Imada Minu Asu Ni

Arriving three months after their last full-length album, I didn’t see this coming. Seriously. I just found it randomly on my torrent site and assumed it was an old release with higher bit rate. Oh well. This mini-album compiles 6 b-sides from World, World, World. It sounds a lot like their old songs but none of them are very distinguishing or memorable. I can see why they were left on the cutting room floor.

ketchup mania- F.L.A.G.

I came into this album expecting ska but what I got was uber fast punk rock with a tint of metal. Songs here are simple with repetitious lyrics but that’s not a bad thing. Many songs such as “BAD! BAD! BAD!,” “Please! Marry Me,” and “Just a Mess!” essentially repeat the title of the song over and over. Now that you mention it, half the songs have an exclamation point in their title! Song’s like “Ping-Pong” venture into metal territory and sounds similar to Maximum the Hormone. It’s hard not to smile when listening to this album. From track one, Ketchup Mania has never backed down on this album. Each song is faster and catchier than the one before it. With their increased exposure in America, I think we can expect great things from them in the future. (*)

http://www.myspace.com/ketchupmaniajf

Locofrank- BRAND-NEW OLD-STYLE

As the album title implies, if you expected anything less than the sweet pop-punk they’ve always made, you’re a fool. The new album continues with their full Engrish vocals that are more incomprehensible than ever. Seriously, if an English speaking population can’t make sense of your lyrics, why bother? It just sounds a lot like whining.

http://www.myspace.com/locofrank

The Novembers- Picnic

Gotta love picnics. A smorgasbord or sandwiches, cheeses, bread, etc. Simply put, The Novembers debut album brings nothing unique to the picnic table. It’s the same J-rock song over and over. It doesn’t get interesting until the singer starts screaming half-way through the ninth track. As disappointed as I was, I gotta give props to the artist who drew the album cover for this and their debut EP. Very neat.

http://www.myspace.com/thenovembers11

Perfect Piano Lesson- Terra Incognita

I have to say, I was disappointed the first time I listened to this band. Perhaps because their song titles implied “dance band” and what I got was “indie rock.” I’m proud to say my opinion of perfect piano lesson has changed dramatically with this release. They have took on a post-rock atmosphere with this latest mini-album. Actually, they remind me of one of my greatest J-Rock finds from last year–eksperimentoj. Although piano’s songs are shorter, both bands sing in ok English and have great guitar work (and they both have an epic 7-minute track by the name “untitled”). “Death At the Library” is great and I love the gang vocals on “Electric City.” (*)

http://www.myspace.com/perfectpianolesson

the pillows- Pied Piper

Just because you’re signed to a major label doesn’t mean you have to make shitty pop music! “I am scarecrowoh,” remember that horror of a tune from their last album? Well, luckily the pillows realized it was shit and moved back to their rock n’ roll roots with PIED PIPER. This is such a dramatic improvement it has actually rejuvenated my interest in the band and they’re one of my favorites again. The album contains the singles “New Surrender,” “Ladybird Girl,” and my favorite, the heavy ska influenced “Tokyo Bambi” featuring the Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra. In addition we get another great instrumental named “Tokyo Zombie” and even a little cello in “Last Holiday.” My other favorite is easily the hand clap laden “Purple Apple” which has been on repeat the past few days. (*)

http://www.myspace.com/thepillows

PICK OF THE MONTH

BEAT CRUSADERS-popdod

What a surprise, he chose the new BEAT CRUSADERS album as the pick of the month? Indeed. Coming a year after their last album, EPopMaking, and after only one single (wasn’t it like 5 or 6 last time?) “Winterlong,” this came as quite a surprise. Popdod celebrates the 10th anniversary of the band as well as Toru Hidaka’s 40th birthday. The album starts off with their latest single “Time Flies, Everything Goes,” a feel good song. In fact, they all are. If you’ve ever listened to the band before, you’ll know to expect. My favorite songs are “Work It Out,” the traditional 1 experimental techno song per BECR album, and “Chinese Jet Song,” which has a great call and response chorus. “Summer End” is a bit more mainstream rock, and feels similar to past songs “Say Goodnight” or “Zenith.” The album ends with “Jive” whose style hails back to their good old indie days.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR NEXT MONTH

Electrico- We Satellites: Third full length album. Considering that I haven’t been able to find their first two albums legally or illegally, I doubt I will be able to review this.

ELLEGARDEN- ELLEGARDEN BEST (1999-2008 ): Weak. Very Weak. First off, it should be titled “1999-2006″ since they haven’t released anything since Eleven Fire Crackers. You will be missed.

enie meenie- Fantasy of Life: At least this band will carry ELLEGARDEN’s torch. Semi-cheesy pop-punk with neat synthesizers. They remind me of old school Motion City Soundtrack.

GALLOW- TOO VIRGIN!!: This band is in one way, shape, or form related to Toru Hidaka of BEAT CRUSADERS. Therefore it must be good.

GENKI ROCKETS- I -Heavenly Star-: This has been delayed several months now so we’ll see.

Saw Loser- Hits Hit the Fan: These guys have been blowing up around Asia the past few years. This album contains 10 classic cover songs such as “You’re Beautiful” and “Fly Me to the Moon.”

Versailles- Noble: “OMG, he’s excited about a visual-kei band?” Yeah…I was shocked too. This is their 2nd shot at a “full-length” album. They remembered “The Revenant Choir” this time.

See you next month!

h1

NICO Touches the Walls

June 8, 2008

May I direct you to NICO Touches the Wall’s new single “The Bungy.” I can’t find a video for it so I had to upload the song to the Box.net player a la derecha.  It has a nice bluesy guitar riff that sounds rather similar to “Sea Lion” by Fiest.  Also, handclaps galore.  This is my first time listening to NICO but they’re officially on my download radar.

note: I love this album cover.

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