Archive for the ‘Winnie’ Category

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J-Rock Fridays Vol. 64

February 10, 2012

Presenting the best J-Rock videos of the week…

GRAPEVINE- “Rakuen”

Leave it to GRAPEVINE to take a seemingly innocent song and make a traumatic video about a group of men up against the wall waiting to get gunned down. At least they went to “heaven.”

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J-Rock Fridays Vol. 36

January 7, 2011

Happy new year!

Shugo Tokumaru- “Linne”

Let’s start the new year off right with Shugo’s new shadow-play video for “Linne.”  It’s from his excellent 2010 album Port Entropy, which is *gasp* coming out in America next month!

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J-Rock Fridays Vol. 9

December 11, 2009

In the last week, I have begun the epic task of organizing my computer’s “Downloads” folder.  That means  finding a lot of stuff I haven’t even listened to so that I can start preparing my end of the year list.  I still have a couple of hundred things to go through so forgive me.  The winner of last week’s poll was sleepy.ab with Overground Acoustic Underground a point behind (I’m starting to sense a pattern here).  This week we have 10 new videos from FACT, toe, winnie, and more…

1000say- “Holy Rain”

I’ve said this before, but 1000say remind me of school food punishment.  Except now that school food punishment has become a shit pop band (thanks, Sony!), 1000say is the only good synth-pop band left.  “Holy Rain” is a lot of fun.  It’s like I stepped back in the 80s for a few minutes.  I can’t wait to get my hands on their new mini-album Lightning Amplifier.  (myspace)

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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 #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 #7

November 15, 2008

Annnnnnnnnnnd.  I thought I would do another one of these things while I had the chance.  If you have news you want me to post send it to me!

shing02 supports Barack Obama.

Dir en grey’s video for “Dozing Green” premiered on Headbangers Ball.

Winnie’s new mini-album Headquarter will come out January 14.

-You can download the lyric booklet for girugamesh’s MUSIC over at JapanFiles, for free.

Vuzz Vegas Queen has their demo album up on myspace to stream.

The Slants have a new remix of “Love Within My Sins” on myspace.  It is from their new album Slants Slants Revolution, a remix album by DJ Ninja Gaijin and Justin Coope.

8otto also has some new remixes up on myspace.

This Month in J-Rock: October should be done by next Friday.  Sorry!

Peelander-Z participated in a cool art jam.  They also have a 7″ with Loafass coming out soon.

NEW US RELEASES FOR THE WEEK

An Cafe- Goku-Tama Rock Cafe


Dir en grey- Uroboros