Envy is celebrating their 20th anniversary with the release of Invariable Will, Recurring Ebbs and Flows, a massive career-spanning 14 LP boxset. To be released on July 16 by Temporary Residence, the boxset will include all of their albums, EPs and b-sides for a total of 95 songs. In addition, it will also include a 100-page coffee table book and two DVDs. The boxset is limited to 1000 copies, including two color varients, and is available for preorder here with a special 20% off discount until June 1.
Archive for the ‘Envy’ Category
Fifty seems like an important number. If you can’t wait for J-Rock Fridays, I’ve been posting a few videos a day on my Tumblr account.
Comeback My Daughters- “Always on your side”
Outta Here is a great album. And since I’m too lazy to write album reviews I’ll just give CBMD top billing again. Awesome country sound!
Envy has a new album out and a video to go along with it. “Worn heels and the hands we hold” begins with a two-minute instrumental, assuring us that this album will be no different than Insomniac Doze. Unsurprisingly, Tetsuya Fukagawa bursts out with an explosion of screams that eventually turns into poetry reading. The video follows a lanky girl who walks around a forest and occasionally the city. On second thought, no different than the video I made for “an umbrella fallen into fiction,” (it even ends with a close up of a lake for @#$%’s sake) except maybe not as crappily made.
Let’s get dangerous.
world’s end girlfriend- Seven Idiots
What’s more exciting than a new world’s end girlfriend album? A new post-rock label founded by none other than WEG himself! But a new WEG album is awesome as well. And this will be Virgin Babylon’s first release. “Les Enfants du Paradis” was a little more upbeat/chipper than we’ve come to expect from WEG. But I’m interested to hear what this “irregular pop album” is all about. (myspace)
OGRE YOU ASSHOLE – Ukareteiru Hito
What’s more exciting than a new Ogre You Asshole mini-album? An Ogre You Asshole North American Tour! That’s right, OYA will be opening for Wolf Parade this November in the States (and Canada). Hopefully an American label will release some of their material in the States. Or at least pick up a few CDs at their show? (myspace)
Just when you thought Peelander-Z couldn’t get any crazier, they decided to release a children’s album. No joke. Chicken Ranch Records will release the album stateside with a bonus DVD of music videos and extras. They’ll be touring America (and Canada) a lot this fall so check them out! Human bowling! Limbo! (myspace)
Envy’s fifth album is upon us. Said to be their most epic yet. Hopefully that doesn’t mean long, droning songs like on Insomniac Doze. The two songs that were released remind me of old-school Envy, though. If you can wait, Temporary Residence will release the album stateside in October on CD and vinyl. They’ll also be touring America with a bunch of skramz bands this September-October! (myspace)
Ling Tosite Sigure- still a Sigure virgin?
Ling blew us away with just A moment last year, but apparently we’ve heard NOTHING yet for we are still Sigure virgins. Get ready for another nine tracks of virgin goodness. (myspace) ————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-
avengers in sci-fi- Delight Slight Lightspeed: Just one b-side for this single, but it comes with a DVD loaded with live videos. (myspace)
HALCALI- Roman Hiko: HALCALI remakes the classic 90s song from Kome Kome Club. Features ska favorite Your Song Is Good as guest musicians. (myspace)
Rega- Lyrics: The title makes no sense they play post-rock. (myspace)
RiLF- Ferris Wheel: Featuring members of Anoice and matryoshka. (myspace)
sleepy.ac- LIVE @ Sapporo Kitara: Live sleepy.ab album? I’m confused. (myspace)
Start Of The Day- Love: New album. New band members. And no more of this StartOfTheDay crap. (myspace)
VOLA & THE ORIENTAL MACHINE – PRINCIPLE: A new Vola album? Yesssssssssss. (myspace)
Wagdug Futuristic Unity- R.A.M.: AA= released their new album earlier this year. Time for this other Mad Capsule Markets spinoff that sounds exactly the same to release theirs.
I was made to hit in America
We’ll be getting the new Peelander-Z and Envy albums in the US very soon, but there’s also a couple of older releases coming out.
Boom Boom Satellites- Over and Over
Boom Boom Satellites will be coming to America this fall and Sony decided to release a compilation album to celebrate. Over and Over features 17 tracks from Exposed, ON, Umbra, Photon, Full of Elevating Pleasures, and Out Loud. The only problem? This is a CD-R release. That’s right, Sony loves this band so much that the only physical release they plan on giving it is a burn-on-demand product from Amazon.com. Disappointed.
Boredoms- 77 Boa Drum
Thrill Jockey will release this monumental DVD release from Boredoms. 77 Boa Drum documents a concert held at the Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park in Brooklyn, NY on July 7th, 2007 at 7:07pm. 77 drummers were asked to play as one in this live event.
Envy will release their fifth album Recitation on September 22 in Japan and Europe. Temporary Residence will release the album on October 12 in America. Pre-orders for the US release will go up on September 1 on Temporary Residence’s website in CD and 2xLP format. The band will tour the US in September and October with Touche Amore, And So I Watch You From Afar, La Dispute, and Trash Talk to support the album. Tour dates are below.
I figured I spent enough time ranting about music videos on this blog that it’s time to post my very own music video. This is my video interpretation of “an umbrella fallen into fiction” by envy. I made it as a project for my TV production class last year. Looking back on it, I’m a little disappointed. For starters, I had to cut the song in half just to finish in time. But I’m still somewhat happy with the final product.
Yeah, I’m on YouTube now. Rate, comment, subscribe 🙂
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.”
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.
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!).
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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?
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 ?
A full 8 months late. I can’t bear to see this on the front page. Hit the jump if you dare. Read the rest of this entry ?
Happy Thanksgiving! Thanks for taking the time out of your holiday to visit this little blog. I’m majorly late on this month’s column. I just haven’t been able to bring myself to write. In the end I had to cut a few releases to review but I still left them in the poll. Last month’s poll was a tie between OLIVIA’s Trinka Trinka and Zazen Boys’ Zazen Boys 4. Three votes each. Kind of sad. But anyway, I brought back the rating system:
Asian Kung-Fu Generation- Fujisawa loser
Once again, the new AKFG single is outshined by it’s b-side. “Hello Hello” is a duet with Rachel Haden of The Rentals who originally performed the song. It’s a treat to hear Masafumi Goto sing in English, without stumbling over the words, with the sexy Haden. I wouldn’t mind hearing more of these collaborations in the future. “Fujisawa Loser” isn’t bad but doesn’t bring anything new to their indie rock table. The PV for it is hilariously bizarre, though. (1/2*)
Doping Panda- majestic dancer feat. VERBAL (m-flo)
This is Doping Panda’s second collaboration with the hip hop group m-flo. “Majestic Dancer” is your standard Doping Panda single with VERBAL’s rapping inserted in the middle of song. The b-side “chi chi pa pa” returns to the more laid back style on their earlier albums with a slight R&B flavor. The single ends in “Mugendai Dance Time,” a pointless 30 minute track that mashes together several songs from Doping Panda’s career with a robotic voice chanting “Mugendai Dance Time” in-between. I’m not quite sure why this was included. (1/2*)
Art-School- Illmatic Baby
Art-School shows a major shift in direction with the release of “Illmatic Baby.” These guys have clearly listened to Metro Station’s “Shake It” on repeat. “Illmatic Baby” dances it up with the broken English chorus “Shake hip, clap your hands, move your body,” with each phrase being echoed. I don’t know what these guys were thinking. However, it has definitely grown on me after watching their laughable PV for it. The remaining five songs transfer back to Art-School’s softer style. The second song and “Broken White” are great but the others are too slow for my taste. (1/2*)
The Feather Side- Scenes From a Lull in the Rain
The Feather Side is a piano driven indie rock band. They list Mae as an influence, so it suddenly becomes clear why the album cover reminds me of Destination Beautiful. Unfortunately, they are not as good as Mae. Their English is horrible and they come off as whiny emo kids. “Am 4.19,” the only song in Japanese, is the best song on here and ends in a nice instrumental. (-)
Combining punk and hardcore, Holstein is similar to 9mm Parabellum Bullet or Nature Living. Their English is bad but much more bearable than The Feather Side’s. “Farewell to Our Memories” starts off this EP with a bang followed by “Funeral March” which isn’t nearly as depressing as it sounds. After a short interlude, they come back with the fast “Rene Descartes” followed by the slow building 7-minute title track “Teleology.” Holstein has potential to be the next big emo/scremo act of Japan. (*)
The Predators- Kiba wo Misero
In case you missed my Artist Spotlight, The Predators is the side project of Sawao Yamanaka of the pillows, JIRO of GLAY, and Shinpei Nakayama of STRAIGHTENER. If you listened to The Predators and the pillows side by side, I doubt you’d be able to tell the difference between the two. “Rock N’ Roll Lay Down” and “Shoot the Moon” are insanely catchy while the other tracks are fairly aggressive. “C.R.S. (Come on Ramones)” is an odd-ball song, even though this is apparently a Ramones tribute, much of the bass lines sound identical to Nirvana’s “Smell Like Teen Spirit.” This is only The Predators second EP. Although Sawao Yamanaka has done little to distinguish it from his main project, they are still a great listen. (*)
9mm Parabellum Bullet- Vampire
This is 9mm’s second full-length album including the invigorating single “Wanderland,” the theme song from the anime REAL DRIVE. It seems that their sound has grown faster but more melodic at the same time. “Vampiregirl” is brooding in the verses but has a great pop chorus. “Hide & Seek” is my new favorite 9mm song. The drumming is some of the fastest I’ve heard and the screaming some of the best I’ve heard this year. It’s followed up by the second best song on the album, “The Revenge of Surf Queen,” a three-minute instrumental that has a modest but not overbearing surf-sound. The album ends with “Living Dying Message” that culminates in intense screaming. This is a very solid album, better than their debut, Termination. (*)
The Captains- I Love GS (US Release)
It is evident by now that The Captains love group sounds. It is their mission to keep the spirit of group sounds in the hearts and minds of the Japanese people. Thankfully, Tokyo no Records is bringing the group sounds to America. Group sounds was a style of music popular during the 60s in Japan similar to The Beatles. Members of the band were expected to dress in identical, stylish outfits. I Love GS is a 10-song cover album of classic GS songs by bands such as The Spiders and Blue Comets. “Tunnel to Heaven” appeared on Tokyo no Records’ Last Group Sounds release but all the other tracks are new. Unfortunately, I’m just not feeling this album as much as Last Group Sounds. Just like their outfits, most of the songs sound identical, which is probably the reason why GS died. (-)
Comeback My Daughters- EXPerience
Unarguably the most misleading album cover of the month. If you expected heavy techno tracks after seeing disco girl on the cover, you would be wrong. Comeback My Daughters is a folk rock band on Pizza of Death Records. Not that that’s a bad thing. This is the second best album of the month. The band sings entirely in English, most of which is understandable. “Hot Chinkee,” “Vice & Vice,” and “Eternal Cheep” are my favorite songs and”Bored Rigid” which includes a nice banjo. With this release, they are officially on my list of best indie bands. (*)
Deerhoof- Offend Maggie (US RELEASE)
Based in San Francisco, Offend Maggie is Deerhoof’s 12th full-length album. Unlike last year’s more aggressive and punk sounding Friendship Opportunity, Offend Maggie centers more on instrumentation and melody. Led by female vocalist Satomi Matsuzaki, lyrics are switched from English to Japanese frequently but always sound cute. My favorite track is “Basket Ball Get Your Grove Back” with its repetive lyrics “Go go champions! Be be champions!” Lyrics are almost always silly like that. Deerhoof is well respected in the American indie scene. It puzzles me how similar bands like Luminous Orange or Mass of the Fermenting Dregs have not been able to gain attention in America. Probably because they’re 100% Japanese. (1/2*)
Various Artists- METAL-IKKA (Tribute to Metallica)
Let’s face it, the only reason I listened to this was because of BEAT CRUSADERS and Polysics. I couldn’t care less for Metallica. But I do love my Japanese tribute albums. Out of all the tracks on this album, the only songs I’ve heard the original for were “Sad But True,” “St. Anger,” and “Fuel.” BEAT CRUSADERS’ cover is “One” is great. The muffled rapping and Toru Hidaka’s low grumbles are amusing. Polysics’ “Enter Sandman” is much more industrial than any of their other songs but is great to drive to. 2side1BRAIN’s cover of “St. Anger” is an amusing punk/emo cover that will surely piss off Metallica fans. 9mm Parabellum Bullet’s “Motorbreath” sounds like an authentic 9mm song and Razor’s Edge’s “Creeping Death” has a fun ska vibe. Unfortunately, none of the other bands on this compilation do much with the original material. Some are a little punkier but are still metal songs. Just like all tribute albums, METAL-IKKA proved to be half good-half bad. (1/2*)
PICK OF THE MONTH
VOLA & THE ORIENTAL MACHINE- Halan’na-ca Darkside
It’s debatable whether this is an EP or album, since half of the 9 tracks are interludes, but this is still my favorite VOLA release. Halan’na starts off with a dancey intro with loud bass then merges into “self-defense” which in turn merges into “An imatation’s superstar.” Just like last album’s “Mexico Pub,” “An imatation’s superstar” is near flawless. It starts with shaking drums and the vocals are spot on. After another interlude, “soft genocide” starts up which is my second favorite track. “Double Standard” and “Internal Division” are great too. The interludes really merged this album together as a cohesive whole and it’s hard to not listen to this straight through.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR NEXT MONTH
Acidman- I Stand Free: New single release.
Ami Suzuki- Supreme Show: Double dose of Nakata this month! Contains all the Ami singles and b-sides released since DOLCE. Should be a more dance driven album.
avengers in sci-fi- SCIENCE ROCK: Sophomore effort by the electro-rockers. Also, my second most anticipated for the month.
capsule- More! More! More!: What can I say. From the album previews this might be damn near flawless.
Dir en grey- Uroboros: New album from the metal gods.
dustbox- Blooming Harvest: Recommended for fans of ELLEGARDEN.
Envy/Thursday- Split: I will save this for next month after all 🙂
Gackt- Jesus: I’m getting a HYDE feeling from this…
HALCALI- Long Kiss Goodbye: They are adorable. New single, recently released as the end theme for Naruto Shippuden.
Oceanlane- Look Inside the Mirror: New single from the British sounding rockers. Still don’t understand how they’re not worldwide sensations by now.
Spangle call Lilli line- Purple: I’ve become such a fan of this band after ISOLATION, unfortunately that was after I wrote This Month in J-Rock: September.
the telephones- Love Disco: As a Christian, I take offense at the album art they are using for this. That and I have heard the song on myspace and it’s not disco at all.
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.