Archive for the ‘FACT’ Category


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.


FACT is selling masks

July 30, 2009

If you live in Japan, you can buy the FACT Japanese “nou” mask at Twilight Online Shop.  Ever since I saw the video for “A fact of life,” I’ve had a strange desire to buy Japanese masks.  Anyone have any recs to buy one online?

FACT was also part of a 5-way split album named Pentagon.1 released on July 22 with FC FiVE, endzweck, iwrestledabearonce, and Tribal Chair.  I can’t seem to find it online anywhere, but there’s some great clips here.


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.”

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.

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!

Comeback My Daughters- EXPerience- An excellent mix of folk and indie rock from the Pizza of Death veterans.

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.”

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.

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.

Mass of the Fermenting Dregs- Mass of the Fermenting Dregs– A powerful debut mini-album from the female duo.  The girls can rock.

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?

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.

For more close calls, check out my RYM list!

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 ?


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.


UPDATE: Vagrant Records signs FACT

February 13, 2009

Vagrant/Maximum 10 have officially announced that they will release FACT’s debut  US album.  The album will contain 16 tracks and was produced by Michael “Elvis” Baskette (Incubus, Story of the Year) and mixed by Chris Lord Alge (Green Day, My Chemical Romance).  Although the bulk of the album will contain new material, select songs will be taken from their first full-length in Japan, Never Turn Out The Light To Keep Myself, and their EPs. The album will be released on April 14th. Vagrant is the home of many accomplished punk bands, including Alkaline Trio, Dashboard Confessional, Thrice, The Get Up Kids, Saves the Day, and more.

1. Paradox
2. Los Angeles
3. A Fact of Life
4. Chain
5. Reborn
6. Purple Eyes
7. Lights of Vein
8. Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence
9. CO3
10. Snow
11. Stretch My Arms (from The fine day never last)
12. 45 Days
13. Why…
14. 1-2
15. Rise
16. A Fact of Life (Boom Boom Satellites remix)


FACT goes viral, scene kids disappointed

February 12, 2009

Earlier this week, punk news website posted a link to  At the time, the viral website only contained the phrase “FACT OF LIFE.”  The letters A, F, and I were clickable, leading many to believe it was a teaser site for the new A.F.I. album.  Eventually, someone posted the link to FACT’s video “A Fact of Life” which was identical to the audio found in the letter “A.”  Mystery solved.

Or so we thought.  Yesterday, a new article was posted, “Who Could This Be?”  The Fact Of Life website was updated, clearly stating the band was FACT, a link to their YouTube video, and with the same image of the mask they wear on their myspace profile picture.  However, some people just don’t get it:

“I figured it was Davey Havok using autotune to hide his voice”

“Surely the vocals were altered a bit? so we couldnt figure out who it was?”

“Maybe this band “fact” is made up, and it really is some other band going waaaaaay over the top via viral marketing or whatev and the autotune is used to mask who the real voice is, and the masks really are hiding whoever’s face it is…and the person said he loves Fact and their split ep, maybe he’s working with them to cover their true identity up…”

“At first it seemed like AFI, it still could I be but I have no clue, the video was a little weird. I kind-of want to know who it is, it seems like one band then they add something and I get so lost, I wonder what will happen next.”

“Either Lost Prophets or 30 STM.
I’m guessing.”

It’s amazing how many people on the internet can’t read.  Having posted on that forum for several years, I can tell you this isn’t an isolated incident.  Not the brightest bushel in the barrel. It’s funny how they all loved this band when they though it was A.F.I. and now it’s “just a random Japanese band.”

Interestingly enough, when you sign up for FACT’s mailing list, you’ll get an email confirmation from Vagrant Records.  Does this mean they have a record deal in the States?  They’ll be touring America in March and April with Greeley Estates, Memphis May Fire, and iwrestledabearonce.

“A Fact of Life”