Archive for September, 2009


Random J-Rock Updates #10

September 25, 2009

In an attempt to make more regular columns on J-Rock Explosion, Random J-Rock Updates returns!  I’ll probably be doing this every Wednesday from now on, starting the Wednesday after next Wednesday.  I compile these mainly from myspace Activity Stream and bulletins, sometimes there’s nothing to report for days.  I’ve also added a new feature to this column, Myspace Band of the Week.  This is a band that randomly added me on myspace or vice versa and doesn’t suck.  These are mostly small bands that don’t have any music videos for me to show off for J-Rock Fridays.  There’s probably more words in this paragraph than the actual news, but go on…

Asobi Seksu’s new album Rewolf will come out November 10 via Polyvinyl records.  The album was one of the last recorded at the legendary Olympic Studios.  Pre-order is available here.

-Muon has 4 new live tracks for free here.  They are currently writing their new studio album.

-Cornelius is producing original music for Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.

Absolute Polysics will be available on iTunes September 29.

Freaky Frog is putting out their debut album on November 4 in Japan.  The band is fronted by former BEAT CRUSADER umu.

Overground Acoustic Underground has a trailer for their new album.

-BoA’s US album was released again.

Maru Music will put out An Cafe’s new album BB Parallel World on October 20.  It will include a DVD with four music videos and a live clip.

-Dir en grey will be in North America this November.   FACT will be touring with Senses Fail this October.



BANK is an acoustic/jazz band from Too Young Records.


Announcement: 2009 US Release Calender

September 24, 2009

On this blog, I like to talk about what Japanese albums are getting a US release.  So, I’d like to introduce a page I’ve been working on since the beginning of this year, the 2009 US Release Calender. It’s been live all this time, but considering it has only gotten 39 views so far, I have to assume no one knows it exists.  It’s a very simple list of what came out this year, followed by a link to where to buy it and their myspace if applicable.  I only include albums that were released on CD or vinyl.  MP3 downloads are too numerous and really take no effort to release.  I like physical media.  It gives me a sense of ownership that MP3s will never, ever have.

What I’ve bought this year (just 2009 releases):

VinylHush and Transparence 10″ by Asobi Seksu and Hymn to the Immortal Wind by Mono

CD: self titled albums by FACT and parms, P-POP HIGH SCHOOL by Peelander-Z, and Utada’s second English album This Is The One

DVD: A Knot Of by Dir en grey

I also have 9dw’s self titled LP.  It came moments ago, that’s why it’s not in the picture.  There’s also a couple other things I have on order.  Right now, albums I’m most looking forward to later this year are Armonica Hewa by OOIOO, Rewolf by Asobi Seksu, and Dir en grey’s music video collection.  I also have to applaud Maru Music for getting their releases on Hot Topic shelves.  I was able to buy Versailles’ debut album from there a few months ago.

I’m constantly updating this page, I added three releases yesterday alone, so be sure to bookmark it.  Also, be on the lookout for a This Month In J-Rock announcement next week.


J-Rock Fridays Vol. 3

September 18, 2009

Why hello there.  I have nothing witty to say this week.  I’ve just been listening to a lot of Japanese music and attempting to job hunt.  It’s been quiet around the house since my sister went back to school, so I’ve been able to “restart” my other two blogs.  And here we are with this week’s assortment of Japanese music videos.

Shinichi Osawa- “Star Guitar”

Last week, Shinichi Osawa released his 2-disc remix collection TEPPAN-YAKI.  It wasn’t doing much for me, so I decided to give The One another spin.  Still one of my favorite techno albums.  “Star Guitar” is the lead single off The One.  The video is flashy and trippy until the two and a half minute mark when the girls of Au Revoir Simone step in.  But it doesn’t take long to get trippy again.  Instantly catchy and unique, “Star Guitar” always makes my techno mixes.

DE DE MOUSE- “east end girl (keeps singing)”

Similar to Omodaka, DE DE MOUSE lays heavy beats over the voice of a Japanese girl.  It’s a little strange, but addictive in high quantities.  “East end girl” comes from his second album Sunset Girls.  The animated video is cute, but doesn’t really fit the tempo of the song.  2:15-3:00 is reminiscent of the first Naruto ED but maybe that’s just me.

FACT- live?

The astute members of Absolute Punk are accusing FACT of lip-syncing.  Now, concerning the heavy use of auto-tune in “A fact of life,” I find it kind of impossible for Hiro to not sing without a back-up track.  But after I watched a couple other videos I’m not so sure.  Bummer if it’s true, but that doesn’t change the fact that they’ve put out several badass albums.  So, what do you think?

URCHIN FARM- “Role-Playing”

Every time I have trouble figuring out what band to feature on here, I log on to myspace and pick a random band that added me (and doesn’t suck).  URCHIN FARM plays a nice blend of powerpop with the addition of piano (but the drums are the stand-out instrument on this track).  Kind of like ELLEGARDEN meets enie meenie.  The video is flashy, but does it’s job.  They seem like they could be the next indie band to blow up.

KAREN- “Enemy”

I’ve seen this band posted on Spark Plugged and a few other J-rock blogs, so I finally decided to give them a listen.  “Enemy” is so great!  I love the flutes in the background.  It just makes me smile for no reason.   KAREN is made of members of Art-School and downy, enough to make any J-Indie enthusiast wet their pants.

And now this column has officially outlived the former J-Rock Fridays haha.  Personal triumph, I guess.  Next time I’m going to try something a little different.  Or if that doesn’t work out, more random videos.  Whatever.  Bye.


Andrew W.K.- Gundam Rock

September 14, 2009

Last week, Andrew W.K. released his brand new album Gundam Rock, a cover album full of songs from the original Gundam anime.  Now I know what you’re going to say, why is a gaijin recording Gundam covers?  Although I consider I Get Wet a classic, Andrew W.K. faded into obscurity after his second album was released in America.  But for whatever reason, he blew up in Japan.  They love him there.  It’s mind-boggling.  Flash forward to 2009 and Andrew’s back in the spotlight as Cartoon Network’s “CN Real” poster child.  But he didn’t forget Japan.  And this is when Andrew was invited to record a cover for Gundam’s 30th Anniversary Tribute Album.  But he decided not to stop at one cover and here we today with Gundam Rock.

The result?  Glorified 80s glam rock meets anime OST.  It’s hard not to laugh while Andrew stumbles through the first songs, but it takes a true master to replicate the inherit cheese of the originals.  By the time “Garma Zabi’s Funeral Speech” came along, I was shouting like a proud Zeon soldier, “Sieg Zeon!  Sieg Zeon!”  I don’t know if it’s worth the import, but I think any anime fan will find themselves smiling half-way through.  Below is the video for “Fly, Gundam!” and the “Soldiers of Sorrow” song that started it all…

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Dir en grey and Tokyo No Records pre-orders

September 7, 2009

I’m sorry Eric Bresler, I didn’t want to give Dir en grey their own post.  Think of it this way, any post that mentions Dir en grey gets 10x more views.

Dir en grey- Average Blasphemy

-The End Records will release a DVD collection of Dir en grey music videos called Average Blasphemy on October 27, 2009.  The videos included come from the Marrow of a Bone and Uroboros albums.  Making-of footage and alternative cuts will be included.

01. Vinushka
02. Dozing Green
03. Glass Skin
04. Reiketsu Nariseba
05. Agitated Screams Of Maggots (Restricted version)
06. Grief
07. Ryoujoku No Ame
08. Clever Sleazoid
09. Red Soil
10. Vinushka (Promotional Edit)
11. Clever Sleazoid (Despair In The Womb version)
12. Agitated Screams Of Maggots (Despair In The Womb version)
13. Conceived Sorrow (In Weal Or Woe version)


the heiz- Self-titled

-Tokyo No Records will release the heiz’s first album this fall followed by a US tour October-December.

1. Don’t Let Me Down
2. Tokyo’s Burning
3. Black Pepper Girl
4. Out of Time
5. Monday Morning Blues
6. Please Don’t Cry
7. Wait Wait Wait
8. Hurry Up Baby
9. Tomorrow Nite
10. Ta-Me-Shi-Te-Mi-Ta-I
11. Macaroni Surf
12. Menthol Blues
13. What To Say
14. Keihin No. 3 “Koi-No-Daisan-Keihin”


The Questionmarks- Boo!  I’m A Ghost!

-As reported last month, Tokyo No Records will release The Questionmarks debut American album on November 3, 2009.  A US tour will follow in 2010.

1. Studying for an Examination
2. Boo! I’m a Ghost!
3. UFO Club
4. The Metamorphosis
5. The Ghost Left Town
6. The Fool *
7. Feedback No. 1
8. UFO Club (alternate version)
* US exclusive track


All three releases have been added to the 2009 US Release Calender.


J-Rock Fridays Vol. 2

September 4, 2009

Dutifully, here is the second installment of J-Rock Fridays.  This week we have two ambient artists from Preco Records, a screamo band, my favorite electronic song ever, and a flamboyant K-Pop artist.

ent- “Silver Moment”

A neat little stop-motion/animated video starring the one man band known as ent.  A mix of electronica, rock, and very decent English vocals.  I was surprised to find out that ent is actually Atsuhi Horie, the vocalist of STRAIGHTENER.  I never really liked them, but what I’ve heard from ent is marvelous.  Ent’s debut album Welcome Stranger is available to order from Preco Records.  I’ll definitely pick this up soon.

Pine*am- “Gymnopedie 0.1”

This may or may not be a strange vocal interpretation of Erik Satie’s Gymnopedie compositions.  I pulled out my copy of Pull The Rabbit Ears, but it doesn’t say a damn thing.  All I know is that this song makes me happy sad and makes me want to dance around my room.  It’s a fun song, but such a downer compared to the rest of the hyper happy songs on the album.  I guess that’s why I like it.  Enjoy the mp3.

For the anime fans: Makota Shinkai (Voices of a Distant Star, 5 Centimeters Per Second) used Satie’s original Gymnopedie 1.0 in his short Other Worlds.

when the leaf seared- “My Flight In the Midnight”

When the leaf seared is just one of many awesome screamo bands on Theory & Practice Records.  The video is very stylish, not unlike the look and sound of Underoath or whatever hard bands the cool kids are listening to these days. But I really do love the screaming in this song.

fredricson- “Eyeme”

This is the type of video electronic stores play on loop to display their HD TVs.  The animation matches well with the ambient-electronic song, which is not so fun to listen to in itself. This is the second Preco Records artist this week.  They just released his debut album MISC in July.

G-DRAGON- “Heartbreaker”

All I’m going to say is major LOL.

Well, that’s all I got for this week.  I’ll be back 2 weeks from now.  But I’ll have a few more posts up before that hopefully 🙂