Archive for September, 2008

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Random J-Rock Updates #6: Preorder Madness!!

September 30, 2008

This is a very special segment of J-Rock Updates.  Obviously, Dir en grey is the big news here but I didn’t want them to have the satisfaction of having their own post.  Luckily, there’s three more bands that will be releasing albums in the US in the near future.

Dir en grey’s new album Uroboros will be released through The End Records on November 11 in America, a day before Japan.  In addition to the regular CD/vinyl/digital release, a deluxe CD version will be released with a bonus DVD.  All that can be preordered here.  More info including tracklisting is available on their blog.

-The Thursday/Envy split EP can now be preordered from Temporary Residence or MerchDirect.  The EP will be a combo CD-vinyl package.

-The CD and digital version of Polysics’ We Ate the Machine was released today.  It can be ordered at amazon and interpunk.

-The debut album known as Noble by Versailles -Philharmonic Quartet– will be released in the US by Maru Music.

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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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Random J-Rock Updates #5

September 14, 2008

Hey guys.  I’m going to try to do these “news updates” more frequently.  I just started writing This Month in J-Rock: August 2008 (I know! Late again!) and it should be done by Friday.  I can tell you now that the column will include four album and six singles reviews.  Much less than last time but it was a short release month to begin with.

Electrico have two new songs on their myspace, “Soul Not Science” and “Hail To the Friends” from their new album We Satellites.  WHEN WILL THIS COME OUT IN AMERICA.

Asparagus uploaded a live video for “Dead Song.”

-Looks like BEAT CRUSADERS have a tribute album coming out!  They’re also contributing to the  tribute album for the legendary punk band Snuff.

-Clips from Zazen Boys’ 4th album are now streaming on Myspace.  I just downloaded the full album and it’s one of this year’s best.

-I added several new J-Rock links under Blogroll, including my BEAT CRUSADERS fansite in case you missed it.

-Filipino screamo act TYPECAST have posted a blog containing their 2008 Baybeats performance.

-If you were wondering what happened to Whence He Came, their myspace status is now “…is no more. Thank you all!” 😦

Asian Kung-Fu Generation will release their new album Surf Bungaku Kamakura on November 11.  This will be their second full-length album of the year.

Versailles have officially changed their name to Versailles -Philharmonic Quintet- (how full of it are they?) for copyright reasons.  Their new single “Prince” can be downloaded for free at MaruMusic and HearJapan.

The Cherry Coke$ have a new album out.  How the @#$% did I miss that?

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Muon- FREE discography

September 13, 2008

I’ve had my eyes on Muon for several years now.  Muon was a three-piece, now a four-piece, ambient/experimental unit from Singapore.  Their songs tend to be mostly instrumental and electronic with a post-rock feel to it.  From what I understand, Ginnette Chittack from the Singapore indie-rock band Astreal was also a member of the group at one point.  In a recent blog post on myspace, Muon has given away their entire discography, including their 2008 album The New Mutants which I will talking about in greater detail in another post.  Enjoy.

The Death of Cinema (2003)

1. Immanance

2. Outside Looking In

3. Mythic Resolve

4. Realign

5. Prologue

6. Eulogy

7. Belarus

8. Goot Shiz

9. Bloodrush
>> download

In Flught (2004)

1. Paxian

2. Persona non Grata

3. Life and erasure

4. In Flught

5. Jupiter

6. Feel Is

7. Breaking Silence

8. Ourselfs

9. negotiations with an inner voice

>>download

Live In Bangkok (2006)

1. Against the Grain

2. This Is Not the End

3. Stop Taking Sad Pills

4. From the Cold

5. The Dead Sea

>>download

The New Mutants (2007/2008)

1. Marny

2. Love Drops

3. Against the Grain

4. Chromatik Fantastik!

5. The Consequence of

6. This Is Not the End

7. Cylons Dream of Electric Sheep

8. From the Cold

9. Part X

10. What

>>download

for more of their witty banter and side-project downloads click here.

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Random J-Rock Updates #4

September 7, 2008

Just wrapped up my second week of the new semester.  Not bad so far, even though I’m taking 18 credit hours.  I also just turned in my graduation dues, $125 down the drain!  Sigh…I’ve been forced to take 2 night classes this semester which means 2 nights off work a week.  My wallet’s just about empty.  It doesn’t help that the Christian bookstore by my house is going out of business and that they have such great deals on my Tooth and Nail bands!  I bought 8 CDs today alone, for about $20.  Might take me a while to get to the new Japanese music now…

parms (ex-DRUMKAN) will be recording their debut album in Louisville, KY with Kevin Ratterman this month.

-Sawao Yamanaka from the pillows is in a new band named The Predators with members from GLAY and straightener.

MUCC will be headlining 2 shows in LA and New York.

girugamesh’s self-titled album will be availabe at Hot Topic by the end of the month.  Their discography is also on JapanFiles.

TsuShiMaMiRe have a new song up on myspace named “Hyper Sweet Power” that has some connection with the Powerpuff Girls.  They are currently on a US tour.

buddhistson have uploaded studio updates.

New on JapanFiles:

girugamesh- girugamesh

girugamesh- Reason of Crying

girugamesh- 13s Reborn

LOVE PSYCHEDELICO- This is Love Psychedelico

Tokyo no Records pre-orders:

The Captains- I Love GS (10/22/2008)

Thee 50’s High Teens- Punch De Beat 9/9/2008

Various Artists- The Time Was Then Is Now 9/30/2008

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Saw Loser pulls an ELLEGARDEN, blink-182

September 4, 2008

INDEFINITE HIATUS

It seems like it was only two weeks ago that I posted that this band was in the studio recording.  I guess because it was!  Saw Loser played their last show September 1 at Fort Canning in Singapore I assume.  They had a short run, 3 years and two albums but they had a growing fanbase in Asia.  No reason was giving for the hiatus (there almost never is).  But yeah, good pop-punk.  I awarded their album Hits Hit the Fans as pick of the month for July.

http://www.myspace.com/sawloser