Archive for March, 2011

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Himawari Batake

March 29, 2011

myspace band of the week

Himawari Batake (ひまわり畑) is an indie rock trio. All I get when I Google their name is a lot of sunflower pictures so I’ll have to forego the usual bio paragraph.

For a band whose name translates to “sunflower field,” Himawari Batake rocks pretty hard. Not to say they’re mosh pit heavy, but they’ve got a good hipster head bob going on. おはよう (Good Morning) is a catchy song and I’m happy to say I knew what “ohayou” meant before plugging it into the translator (I know some Japanese words!). They have another song that they named after themselves. It doesn’t evoke sunflowers but it builds on the energy of their previous song. 月夜 stands out as they cut out the noise to focus on guitar work. The “GF version” is equally brilliant. If they focus on developing the sound of these last two tracks they’ll be a force to reckon with some day.

http://www.myspace.com/batake/

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Free PeopleJam EP, new album in May

March 27, 2011

PeopleJam has a new EP available on their website for free. The Star Drop EP contains three previously unavailable instrumental tracks that won’t be on their album. Their debut full-length Dirty Groove will drop May 11 in Japan. Watch an album sampler below.

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Vampillia

March 22, 2011

myspace band of the week

Vampillia is a 10-piece “brutal orchestra” that dubbed themselves the hardcore version of Arcade Fire. Members of the orchestra have included Toyohito Yoshikawa (ex Boredoms), Kazuhisa Chikada (World’s End Girlfriend), and Merzbow. But the main members are their three vocalists: Geath (the screamer), Death (the Mongoloid woodcutter), and OPERA (the opera singer).

They toured New York with Tujiko Noriko in 2008 and made a stop at SXSW this year. In 2010 they toured Australia to all sold-out shows. Is Collage Collective released their first album Sppears late 2009 in Japan. US label Important Records released their next album Alchemic Heart January 2011. This album is a collaboration with Jarboe, Inswarm, and Merzbow and contains two 25-minute songs. Their next album Rule the World + Deathtiny Land will be released this April from Italian label code666. This album will contain 24 songs and last 24 minutes.

Vampillia’s sound is a mix of classical and hardcore music. The combination of screaming and opera in songs like “heyoah” calls to mind bands like mutyumu. “Sea” from Alchemic Heart only gets a 3-minute mix on myspace but that’s enough to get the gist of it. This song has much more in common the post-rock/doom genre than anything on Sppears. “Mersum” with vocals by Tujiko Noriko sounds a bit out of place but it’s a beautiful piece amongst chaos.

Buy Alchemic Heart and Sppears at Amazon.

http://www.myspace.com/vampilliaofficial

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J-Rock Fridays Vol. 41: SXSW Spotlight

March 18, 2011

If you’re reading this you’re probably not down in Austin watching a ton of great bands and films. Like me. But don’t fret, this week’s J-Rock Fridays is SXSW themed. This is not a complete list of all the Japanese bands playing at SXSW. Just the ones who had their video uploaded to SXSW’s YouTube page. Plus a few I’d be remiss not to post.

Tornado Boyz- “Ich Bin Auslaender”

German rap? Really? I don’t know how foreigner Daisuke met up with this Berlin-based band but this video is endlessly amusing.

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Download the new Shugo Tokumaru track, help Japan

March 16, 2011

Shugo Tokumaru is donating all proceeds of his new track “Open a Bottle” to the victims of the Tokoku earthquake. The track can be downloaded at bandcamp for a minimum donation of ¥100 ($1.27USD).

http://tonofon.bandcamp.com/

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Kaisoku Tokyo

March 15, 2011

myspace band of the week

Last week a lot of people came to this blog looking for Kaisoku Toukyou. It looks like they’ve changed the romanization of their name to Kaisoku Tokyo since I posted their video on J-Rock Fridays, but at least the name makes sense now. So for shattering my busiest day record I shall grant you band of the week.

Kaisoku Tokyo (快速東京) naturally comes from Tokyo. The four members met as students at Tokyo’s Tama Art University in 2008. They played shows in Kichijoji and made their first big appearance at Fuji Rock Festival in 2010. Their first album Music Station came out January 2011.

There’s four songs on Kaisoku Tokyo’s myspace and they average a minute. Their hard and fast style will lump them in the hardcore punk genre, but according to this Japan Times article they don’t consider themselves hardcore. “To the bitter end we’re a rock and pop band. It’s just that we’re fast and noisy” says vocalist vocalist Tetsumaru Fukuda. Whatever they want to call it, it’s fun to listen to.

Buy Music Station at CD Japan or Play-Asia.

http://www.myspace.com/kaisokutoukyou

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Takeshi Nakatsuka- We Believe

March 13, 2011

Days after the 8.9 earthquake, Japan’s musicians are back at work. Takeshi Nakatsuka and Delicatessen Recordings just put out a new song, 信じてる “We Believe.” As you can tell from the smiley face, it’s a positive song. That no matter where you are in the world, you’re not alone. You can download the track for free by entering your email and clicking the red button.

If you want to send funds to Japan’s disaster relief efforts, the Red Cross makes donations painless. HearJapan will be donating 50% of sales this week to the relief effort. Stay strong, Japan.

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Stuff To Look Forward To, March 2011

March 10, 2011

March is a big month for J-music. New albums from capsule, FACT, Polysics, Salyu, and uhnellys. Greatest hits albums from Clammbon, Sambomaster, Sotaisei Riron, and new hits from Maximum the Hormone. New super groups killing Boy, If By Yes, and Bradberry Orchestra. My pick of the month goes to sloppy joe’s debut album With Kisses Four, who wowed me with their Portrait 7″ last year.

03/02 the band apart- Scent of August (CD Japan)

03/02 Monobright- Come Together/Dancing Babe (CD Japan)

03/02 Rip Slyme- Star (CD Japan, Play-Asia)

03/02 SiMoN- Supankoru (myspace, CD Japan)

03/02 Sorry For A Frog- Happy Songs For Our Tomorrow (myspace, CD Japan

03/02 uhnellys- to too two (myspace, CD Japan)

03/02 VA- Free Throw Compilation (CD Japan)

03/09 Holidays of Seventeen- Let There Be Pop (myspace, CD Japan)

03/09 80kidz- Nautilas 7″ (myspace, Jet Set)

03/09 8otto- Ashes to Ashes (myspace, CD Japan, Play-Asia)

03/09 Emi Meyer- Suitcase of Stones (myspace, CD Japan)

03/09 Hotel Mexico- His Jewelled Letter Box (myspace, Amazon.com, CD Japan)

03/09 killing Boy- killing Boy (myspace, CD Japan)

03/09 Mizca- 1925 (CD Japan)

03/09 Polysics- Oh! No! It’s Heavy Polysick!!! (myspace, CD Japan, Play-Asia)

03/09 sloppy joe- With Kisses For (myspace, CD Japan, Jet Set)

03/16 Bradberry Orchestra- Vol. 0 (CD Japan)

03/16 co3 aka FACT- co3 (myspace, CD Japan)

03/16 EMPTY- So What? (myspace, CD Japan)

03/16 FACT- Eat Your Words (myspace, CD Japan)

03/16 group_inou- Heart (myspace, CD Japan)

03/16 Mowmow Lulu Gyaban- BeVeci Calopueno (myspace, CD Japan, Play-Asia)

03/16 sakanaction- Rookie (myspace, CD Japan, Play-Asia)

03/16 VA- GO!GO!7188 Tribute – GO!GO! A GO!GO! (CD Japan, Play-Asia)

03/16 Versailles- Philia (myspace, CD Japan)

03/22 If By Yes- Salt on Sea Glass (myspace, Amazon.com, CD Japan)

03/23 capsule- Killer Wave (myspace, CD Japan, Play-Asia)

03/23 Maximum the Hormone- Greatest Hits 2011-2011 (myspace, CD Japan, Play-Asia)

03/23 Salyu x Salyu- s(o)un(d)beams (CD Japan)

03/23 Sambomaster- Sambomaster Kyukyoku Best (CD Japan, Play-Asia)

03/23 Sotaisei Riron- Tadashii Sotaisei Riron (CD Japan)

03/29 Dirty Beaches- Badlands (myspace, Amazon.com, Insound)

03/30 Clammbon- clammbon-Columbia best- (CD Japan, Play-Asia)

03/30 Clammbon- clammbon-Warner best- (CD Japan, Play-Asia)

Notes:

-If you’re new to J-Rock, check out the Free Throw compilation. It has most of my all-time favorites—the telephones, sleepy.ab, avengers in sci-fi, The Brixton Academy, Turntable Films, and more. Two CDs for the price of one!

-Hotel Mexico’s His Jewelled Letter Box is just a jewel case reissue for wide release. One of my favorite EPs last year!

-If By Yes is the only band to get a Japan/US release this month! It’s the new project from Petra Haden (That Dog) and Yuka Honda (Cibo Matto), plus members from the Cornelius band.

-I almost have enough affiliate monies at CD Japan to buy something. What should I get?

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JOSY

March 8, 2011

myspace band of the week

She brings me Mexican food from Sombrero’s just because. Yeah, just be-whoops wrong Josie.

JOSY is an all-girl rock band from Tokyo.  They formed in the spring of 2010. Their first single “The Ugly Duckling” went on sale February 2011. You’ll be able to see them live in the USA on this year’s Japan Nite tour.

One thing JOSY doesn’t have that most bands do is a guitarist. But that’s OK. Their keyboardist keeps things funky. JOSY has three songs available on myspace, which appears to be everything they’ve recorded. “The Ugly Duckling” is more pop oriented, with an inspirational English chorus, while “Selfish” is a little more aggressive. “Loopy” takes JOSY to a more Bohemian direction, similar to last year’s all-girl buzz band The Suzan. JOSY promises to be an up and coming girl band to watch.

JOSY will be opening for Mo’some Tonebender on the Las Vegas, Las Angeles, and San Fransisco dates at Japan Nite this year.

http://www.myspace.com/josy0507

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J-Rock Fridays Vol. 40

March 4, 2011

For your listening pleasure.

sakanaction- “Rookie”

Always a good day when sakanaction drops a new PV. Get plenty of rest so you don’t see dead people!

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