Archive for the ‘Cornelius’ Category

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J-Rock Fridays Vol. 101

July 5, 2013

So I’ve been doing J-Rock Fridays biweekly for the longest time. Let’s see how long I can keep this up every Friday.

saisa- “Blessing the Circulation”

To tell you the truth, the post rock scene hasn’t been doing much for me lately until I found saisa’s cassette tape last year. Their melancholic instrumentals and off kilter vocals struck a chord with me that bands like Mono have failed to do with their extravagant orchestras. “Blessing the Circulation” comes from their debut album, released last month by Chinese label 1724 Records (apparently the first debut of a Japanese band on a Chinese label, politics).

salyu × salyu- “Jibunngainai (Studio Live Version)”

Ghost in the Shell fans were surprised by the announcement of a new OVA series this year. Instead of going with Yoko Kanno for the music department again, they chose Cornelius who then reunited with salyu for the theme song. “Jibunngainai” continues in the salyu x salyu tradition with Salyu’s ethereal voice and Cornelius’ production touches. Unfortunately, the only project we’ll remember her for (aside from Lily Chou-Chou) when her pop career ends.

BiS Kaidan- “好き好き大好き (Special Edit)”

BiS is back again this week, this time teaming up with members of legendary noise rock band Hijokaidan. Seriously? What kind of idol group does that. This video is a delightful mess, with the girls SCREAMING in blood soaked dresses destroying EVERYTHING. Thankfully, we have a full album of this to look forward to.

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Best of 2011: Collaborations

February 8, 2012

Slowly plowing through the year end lists, here’s our favorite collaborations and supergroups of 2011.

AA=AiD- “We’re not alone”

After the natural disasters of 2011, it was cool to see all the “pray for Japan” benefit tracks and compilations that cropped up on the internet from all over the world. AA=AiD is a project led by Takeshi Ueda (AA=) that recorded this song to encourage reconstruction efforts. “We’re not alone” is a veritable who’s who of J-Rock and features Hayashi (Polysics), Shinichi Ubukata (Nothing’s Carved In Stone) and Akihiro Namba (Hi-STANDARD) among many others. You can download it for free here.

Kenzi Masubuchi’s Punk Ska Unity did much the same but with even more punk/ska artists.

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J-Pop Moment: Salyu x Salyu

February 18, 2011

The togo wearing Salyu has had her tasers set to “impress” these past few months. First her triumphant return to Lily Chou-Chou in December and now her forthcoming Cornelius produced album s(o)un(d)beams. On ただのともだち (Just A Friend), Salyu sheds her J-Pop princess persona for something a little more mature (with handclaps!). I guess that’s why she’s releasing this album under the name Salyu x Salyu and not Salyu.

s(o)un(d)beams will be released March 23. Pre-order at CD Japan. Another interesting footnote, this album was co-written by Shintaro Sakamoto of the psychedelic rock band Yura Yura Teikoku. All this talent! If the above video wasn’t enough, there’s three more versions below.

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Cornelius vs. Beck vs. Scott Pilgrim

August 16, 2010

It seems like a waste to spend a Scott Pilgrim post on a single song but this is a J-music blog after all.  So I stayed for the credits and found out what Cornelius did for the Scott Pilgrim film.  Cornelius does the music for the Katayanagi Twins, or Ramona’s evil ex #5 and 6.  Yes, the Japanese techno twins.  How racist.

“Katayanagi Twins vs. Sex Bob-Omb” comes at a pivotal point in the film where Sex Bob-omb faces the evil exes in a mad rock vs. techno battle of the bands.  There’s CG dragons and apes and it’s so awesome.  Spinner says Cornelius was what inspired Edgar Wright’s scene to begin with.

Beck does the music for Sex Bob-Omb, with the actor giving the vocals.  “Threshold” is the song used in the battle.  The song was released on Nigel Godrich’s Original Score Soundtrack, which has only been released digitally so far.

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is indeed “an epic of epic epicness.”  Even happiplatypus liked it.  But I guess America rather watch balding old men blow shit up.

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Cornelius is in the Scott Pilgrim trailer

June 2, 2010

Cornelius fans can hear a full ten seconds of “Gum” in the newest trailer for Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.  The song starts about a minute in when Pilgrim squares off against Ramona’s first ex-boyfriend.  “Gum” is taken from his 2006 album Sensuous, which you should own already.  Cornelius has already announced he will be producing original music for the film.

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is based off the Scott Pilgrim graphic novel series.  The Scott Pilgrim soundtrack should come out early August before the film release date.  The tracklisting has not been released, but will feature Beck, Metric, Broken Social Scene, and a bunch of other neat indie bands.  Needless to say it has eclipsed all hype from the latest Twilight soundtrack.  If you need another reason to see this movie, my lover Anna Kendrick plays Scott’s sister.

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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.

MYSPACE BAND OF THE WEEK

BANK

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

http://www.myspace.com/bankjp

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This Year In J-Rock: 2008

July 25, 2009

Most music blogs give you their year end lists days before Christmas.  Not here at J-rock Explosion.  We give it to you at Christmas in July.  There’s really no excuse for me this time.  I had the list mostly finished by the end of January, I was just too lazy to put pictures and words.  But I think it gave me enough time to fine tune the list, kick off the albums I never listened to since, etc.  Have fun!

Top 3 EPs

3. perfect piano lesson- Terra incognita

With Terra incognita, perfect piano lesson has successfully fused indie and post-rock.  From the quiet and reflective “stew,” to the slow building “untitled,” this is perfect piano lesson’s finest offering to date.  But we still have a couple of their upbeat rock songs, including the excellent closer “Electric City.”

http://www.myspace.com/perfectpianolesson

2. winnie- The Darkest Eternal Lights

With duel male/female vocals, winnie’s first release is a memorable one.  Their English vocals and pop rock tendencies are similar to bands like Jimmy Eat World.  It can be sweet (but tonally dark), as in “lost your sky” and “only time will tell,” or aggressive as in “suck my brain.” I’m not impressed with the single “Starlike Radio” and it’s all male vocals but the rest of the EP makes up for it.

http://www.myspace.com/winnieweb

1. Thursday/Envy- Split (US Release)

Temporary Residence really knocked themselves out on this release.  Not only did they bring over one of the best hardcore bands from Japan, but also one of the best from America (New Jersey to be exact).  As a fan of Thursday previously, I was impressed with their post-rock offerings and “As He Climbed the Dark Mountain,” which made it to their newest album.  Envy’s side started off slowly with a nice post-rock intro and then burst into full on post-hardcore for the rest of their material.  I was surprised, there wasn’t much screaming on Insomniac Doze and then they start resembling the band I loved on All the footprints.  It will also be memorable to me for two reasons, 1) It’s the first album I bought on vinyl and 2) I made a music video for envy’s “an umbrella fallen into fiction” for my television production class (more on that in another post!).

http://www.myspace.com/thursday

http://www.myspace.com/officialenvy

Top 10 Albums

10. the telephones- Japan

The Telephones took us to the urban disco on their debut mini-album and now they bring us back to their home country on their debut album.  I was surprised how chill some of the songs on this album were, in particular the single “Free Throw.”  However, there’s plenty of crazy songs like “DaDaDa” and “sick rocks.”  1, 2, 3, 4, can’t you understand?

http://www.myspace.com/thetelephonesjapan

9. sgt.- Stylus Fantasticus

Ever since post-rock became scene a couple of years ago, bands have constantly tried to infuse different genres into it, jazz being prevalent.  Well, most of these bands just ended up sounding like…jazz.  To this day, sgt. has been the only band that has successfully incorporated jazz and post-rock.  “Saisei to Misshitsu” is a prime example of how to combine horns into a perfectly good post-rock song.

http://www.myspace.com/sgtofficial

8. noughts and exes- Act One, Scene One (US Release)


Why are you including a Chinese band in your top 10 Japanese albums?  Because I love Joshua Wong.  Not to mention, their song “A Minor To A Major” made it’s way to MTV’s Real World (it’s true, I sat through a full hour of this show.  It was horrible.).  Can you say that about any other Japanese band I posted on this blog?  Nope.  Noughts and exes isn’t as good as Wong’s previous band, Whence He Came, but it serves up some nice indie rock.  And I already decided “Everything In You” will be my wedding song, in like 20 years.

http://www.myspace.com/noughtsandexes

7. Beat Crusaders- popdod


It’s been ten years since the band (or just Toru Hidaka) have been together, time to put out a new album!  I’m actually surprised how quickly this album came out, since “Winterlong” was the only single (EPopMaking had soooo many more).  Despite the rush job, there’s plenty of classics on here, like “Time Flies, Everything Goes,” “Chinese Jet Set” and “Work It Out.”

6. Spangle call Lilli line- Isolation

Kana Otsubo has a truly beautiful voice and ISOLATION proves it.  During the fall semester, I went through 2 or 3 straight weeks of listening to this in the morning on the way to school.  There’s nothing like watching the sun rise up with ISOLATION as the soundtrack.  It’s impossible to listen to this and not be put in a good mood.

http://www.myspace.com/spanglecalllilliline

5. Polysics- We ate the machine (US Release)

Grower.  Not a word I thought I would associate with a Polysics album.  I was disappointed with the J-pop direction they seemed to be heading with in “Rocket” and “Pretty Good,” not to mention “You You You” and “Catch on Everywhere” from Karate House, but this album is just as crazy as any of their others.  We ate the machine includes the band’s first endeavor in disco (“irotokage”), breakcore (“arigatou”), shoegaze (“Blue Noise”), and their biggest breakdown yet at the end of “Dry or Wet.”  Yeah, the Polysics are just as spastic as ever.

http://www.myspace.com/polysicsna

4. Zazen Boys- Zazen Boys 4

If you’re looking for another Japanese hipster band ala Cornelius, Zazen Boys is up your alley.  Zazen Boys 4 is the Zazen Boys’ fourth self-titled album and my favorite to date.  They hooked me right away with the electronic “Asobi.”  The rest of the album is full of eccentricities, the funky “Weekend,” the speak easy vibe in “Taratine,” and the 10 minute dance track “I don’t want to be with you.”

http://www.myspace.com/zazenboys

3. kacica- Mosaic (US Release)

The first name that pops up when I think Japanese shoegaze is kacica.  Mosaic is simply beautiful. Misato yamanaka has a way of sounding like an angel through peaceful musical landscapes or chaos.  Just hearing her voice amidst the hardcore tribal drumming in the title track  “mosaic” gives me shivers.  And I don’t even care if the only way I can understand her English is if I’m reading the booklet alongside it. I highly recommend buying all of their CDs off CD Baby.

http://www.myspace.com/kacicajapan

2. capsule- More! More! More!

Capsule only had time to record one album in 2009, but it’s one of their best. I knew I was in for something special when I watched the 7 minute “JUMPER” music video.  They have successfully transitioned from shibuya-kei to techno/dance and I’m surprised they haven’t attracted Daft Punk fame yet.

http://www.myspace.com/capsulemyspace

1. mutyumu (夢中夢)- イリヤ ~ il y a ~

Opera.  Death Metal.  Post-rock.  Just some of the genres mutyumu clashes together on their sophomore album.  Throw in guest appearances from midori and World’s end girlfriend and you know you’re in for one hell of an album.  Il y a has garnered some praise in the west via the post-rock blogosphere.  In a few years, I think they may even have a large cult following like Mono or Envy.

http://www.myspace.com/mutyumujapan

Close Calls:

Akeboshi- Roundabout- If I had to pick a top artist of the year, it would be Akeboshi.  Like many others, my first introduction to him was Naruto years ago.  Despite loving “Wind,” I have largely ignored him until now.  Akeboshi puts most folk musicians to shame.  Meet Along The Way is one of the best albums of the past five years.  Unfortunately, Roundabout is the only material he put out in 2008.  Even though it’s just b-sides, it includes two of my favorite songs of his, “One Step Behind the Door” and “Along the Line.”

avengers in sci-fi- Science Rock- Dance to the sci-fi music! http://www.myspace.com/avengersinscifi

Comeback My Daughters- EXPerience- An excellent mix of folk and indie rock from the Pizza of Death veterans. http://www.myspace.com/comebackmydaughters

Cornelius- Gum EP– The best song off of 2006’s Sensuous was not on the album.  Thankfully, “Cue” made it to this little EP.  Not to mention the “Eat White Paint” remix of “Fit Song.” http://www.myspace.com/corneliusofficial

enie meenie- Fantasy of Life– Enie meenie has been known for synth crazy powerpop, but they take it down a notch on their latest album, substituting some synth with saloon style piano.  One of my favorite punk-pop bands.  http://www.myspace.com/eniemeenie

GALLOW- Too Virgin!!– It’s no secret, I love the Beat Crusaders.    GALLOW is Toru Hidaka’s and Yukio Iwahara’s “neo-acoustic” side project.  If you’re familiar with the Beat Crusader’s synthesized horns, imagine them over acoustic guitar and you have GALLOW.  In the short month between the release of this and popdod, Toru Hidaka’s English improved ten times.  Peculiar.  http://www.myspace.com/gallowjapan

Mass of the Fermenting Dregs- Mass of the Fermenting Dregs– A powerful debut mini-album from the female duo.  The girls can rock.  http://www.myspace.com/motfd

midori- Aratame mashite, Hajime mashite, Midori desu– Okay, I admit, one of the reasons this didn’t make my top 10 is because the album cover is a naked anime character.  But midori is still as crazy as ever.  Who doesn’t love girls screaming over jazz music?

Muon- The New Mutants- This deserves a mention just for “This Is Not the End.”  Not to say that’s the only good track on the album.  Did I mention it’s free? http://www.myspace.com/muonmagick

Saw Loser- Hits Hit the Fan– 2008 may have seen the last of Saw Loser, but not before releasing cover album genius.  From old school hits “Karma Chameleon” and “Fly Me To the Moon,” to James Blunt’s recent pop sensation “You’re Beautiful,” Hits Hit the Fan is a blast.  They even made the Friends theme song tolerable. http://www.myspace.com/sawloser


For more close calls, check out my RYM list!  http://rateyourmusic.com/list/slickwataris/best_of_2008

Now I hate to leave you without a look at 2009, so here are my top 5 albums at the moment:

5. Ogre You Asshole- Pinhole– A single, but my favorite release of theirs so far.

4. FACT-FACT- Uneven at times, but I’m glad there’s another band that managed to crack into the American market.

3. Utada- This Is the One– I didn’t like this one as much as Exodus, but it’s still pretty catchy.  I think she even managed to crack the Billboard 100 with this one.

2. 80kidz- This Is My Shit– If you like Daft Punk or Justice, you’ll love this band.  A lot of fun techno songs.

1. buddhistson- SLOWDANCE ~wisely and slow they stumble that dance fast~- The second I heard buddhistson was recording a new album, I knew it would shoot up to the top of my list.  Two perfect records in a row, congrats.

Well, that’s it for this year.  Hopefully next year’s will come earlier.  If you want a leg up, here’s my 2009 list on rate your music.  Or come back for the return of This Month In J-Rock (next week?).  Here’s some great 2008 music videos to tide you over: Read the rest of this entry ?

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Random J-Rock Updates #9

May 11, 2009

The triumphant return!

-“Layers” from Asobi Seksu’s new album is used in the movie Treeless Mountain.  It was also on Ugly Betty.

-Download Hoshina Aniversary’s “Galaxy” mixes here.

Quixotik covered Aerosmith. lol

Cornelius canceled his North American tour.  Swine Flu!

-Temporary Residence is releasing the Young Widows/Melt-Banana split.  PS: I’m still waiting for my Mono preorder TempRes!!

Utada has a new CD coming out.  She wants to sign it.

-Both m.o.v.e. and The Slants canceled their performance at Anime Central on Saturday.  Sorry guys, no review this year 😦

the telephones have signed to a major label

-A short video of FACT’s US tour.  The tour was canceled after a serious van accident.

I’ll be graduating college next Sunday so hopefully I’ll have more time to update this blog now.

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Random J-Rock Updates #8

December 7, 2008

Sometimes I feel like I report on the same bands, but that’s okay!  In this segment, we have two new US releases announced for February and a Grammy nominee!

parms debut album will come out February 17 on Parrot On a Porch Records in the US.

-Two new Winnie songs on myspace, “sweep” and “first class speed of light.”  Their new EP Headquarter is due out January 14.

Dir en grey has a live DVD coming out!  A Knot of is due out February 3 in the US.

-I uploaded two new songs to the box.net player, “Along the Line” by Akeboshi and “Mosaic” by kacica.

Electrico has a new video for “Hail To the Friends.”

1978 Is the New Year

Cornelius is nominated for “Best Surround Sound Album” for the 51st annual Grammy Awards.

buddhistson’s new album SLOWDANCE -wisely and slow, they stumble that dance fast- will be released Januray 7 in Japan.  A new song “Eyes in the Dark” is on their myspace.

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Random J-Rock Updates #3

August 20, 2008

It’s been a while.

Dir en grey is now on Facebook and VampireFreaks. They will also participate in a 22 stop North American tour this fall.

Bomb Factory’s new album Moshing Through Tokyo came out in Japan and the US on August 19! You can buy it off amazon or these other places.

-School starts on Monday. GAHHHHH.

Tokyo no Records is coming back this September! They will release Thee 50’s High Teens’ Punch De Beat on September 9. A compilation called The Time Was Then Is Now will drop on the same date featuring tracks from the 50 Katienz, Mayuko Sakai and 7 other unnamed bands.

buddhistson is writing and recording their new album! They plan on releasing it January 2009. Should be epic.

Saw Loser have a new video update here. Who is the internet president?

-Looks like Cornelius’ album Sensuous is getting a rerelease with a DVD.