Archive for the ‘THE PREDATORS’ Category

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J-Rock Fridays Vol. 77

August 10, 2012

Finally getting cool weather in Chicago. Let’s hope it lasts through the weekend!

Teen Runnings- “Make It Better”

Friends decided to get back together again to rerelease their debut record as Teen Runnings. “Make It Better” was on the original and remains a fun surf pop song with a complementary waves and beach party video courtesy of VIDEOTAPEMUSIC.

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Stuff To Look Forward To, August 2010

August 4, 2010

August is here.  And there’s more Japanese albums I can’t afford.  If you’re in Chicago this weekend X-Japan will be at Lollapalooza.  I don’t have $300 to burn just to stand around in the sun but whatever makes you happy.

Beat Crusaders- Situation

If you haven’t already heard, the Beat Crusaders are breaking up.  Why do you have to leave me?  “Situation” is their final single.  Apparently, it will only be released as a DVD video.  The listing says it’s Region 2, which defeats the point of me buying it, but thanks for one last song.

Nature Living- Anonymous

Back in the day, Nature Living was the screamo band to listen to from Japan.  And then their popularity fell along with Purevolume’s before they even released their album.  But I bought it.  And liked it.  This is their second full-length (third if you count After All).  I doubt they’ll make it easy and put it on Interpunk again for us but I will find you.  (myspace)

the telephones- We Love Telephones

Yes, we do. Second major label album from the band and they’re just as crazy as ever.  I was starting to worry after that collaboration with MiChi.  But the singles have been good, especially “Kiss Me, Love Me, Kiss Me,” which was a pleasant diversion from their normal chaos.  They’ll bring the disco if you give them your love and voice.  (myspace)

Mass of the Fermenting Dregs- Zero Comma, Irotoridori No Sekai

Now this is a major label debut we should be worried about.  When they released the video for the title track a couple of weeks ago it was clear that they changed their sound to something more bubbly.  I don’t mind the direction they’re going in.  It’s kind of fun.  (myspace)

The Predators- This World

The Predators are back with a new mini-album.  This was the supergroup comprised of Sawao Yamanaka (the pillows), Jiro (GLAY), and Shinpai Nakayama (STRAIGHTENER).  Well, Shinpai left and Hirotaka Takahashi (ELLEGARDEN) stepped in on drums.  If you’re a fan of the pillows, they kind of sound the same, so go get it.  (myspace)

Scott Murphy- Guilty Pleasure 4

Damn you Scott Murphy.  You just got back together with ALLiSTER  and you’re already doing more solo stuff.  As always, the fourth in this series will cover a bunch of J-Pop songs, like Utada Hikaru’s “Flavor of Life.”   And hey, there’s even a Carpenters and The Slants cover.  And to be fair, the new ALLiSTER album kind of sucks.

Other Stuff

Masafumi Isobe- Do we know? (single)

NICO Touches the Walls- Sudden Death Game (single)

noanowa- Magical Circus

sakanaction- Identity (single)

Sebastian X- Bokura no Fantasy

Various Artists- Ghibli Rock

Various Artists- !Leche Con Cover! -A Tribute To No Use For A Name-

I was made to hit in America

Sometimes we can buy Japanese CDs at cheap American prices.  Good Charamel is going a little crazy this month by releasing the newest albums from Shonen Knife, Molice, LAZYgunsBRISKY, and TsuShiMaMiRe on August 31.  Selected songs from each band and DJ Sashimi will be on a compilation called I Love J-Rock released the same day.  That’s a lot of stuff!

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This Month In J-Rock: October 2008

November 27, 2008

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:

(-) bad

(1/2*) okay

(*) great

THE SINGLES

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*)


THE MINI-ALBUMS

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. (-)
http://www.myspace.com/thefeatherside


Holstein- Teleology

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.  (*)

http://www.myspace.com/holsteinweb



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.  (*)

http://www.myspace.com/thepredatorsofjapan

THE ALBUMS


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. (*)

http://www.myspace.com/9mmparabellumbullet


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.  (-)

http://www.myspace.com/thecaptainsofficialmyspace


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. (*)

http://www.myspace.com/comebackmydaughters

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*)

http://www.myspace.com/deerhoof


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.

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Artist Spotlight: THE PREDATORS

October 20, 2008

Just as BEAT CRUSADERS fans don’t know Toru Hidaka has an acoustic side project named GALLOW, it seems fans of the pillows don’t realize Sawao Yamanaka has his own side project THE PREDATORS.  The members came together in 2004 when JIRO from GLAY covered “Sad Sad Kiddie” on the pillows tribute album Synchronized Rockers.  During the recording, the two met up with Shinpei Nakayama from Straightener and formed the J-Rock supergroup THE PREDATORS. They released two mini-albums, Hunting!!!! in July 2005, and Kiba wo Misero in October 2008.  Kiba wo Misero will be released on iTunes on October 28.

Stylistically, THE PREDATORS doesn’t sound that much different than the pillows.  They list Nirvanva as an influence and dedicate a song to The Ramones “C.R.S. (Come on Ramones Song)” on their latest mini-album.

THE PREDATORS are
Vocal,Guitar : SAWAO YAMANAKA (the pillows)
Bass : JIRO (GLAY)
Drums : SHINPEI NAKAYAMA (STRAIGHTENER)

http://www.myspace.com/thepredatorsofjapan

“Shoot the Moon”

more videos after the jump.

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