Archive for the ‘Zazen Boys’ Category

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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.

Read the rest of this entry ?

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Kimonos- Soundtrack To Murder

October 22, 2010

If you thought Kimonos would only showcase Leo Imai’s sexy voice you’d be wrong.  Mukai starts off “Soundtrack To Murder” with some gritty vocals.  Imai takes over half-way in and gradually turns the track more poppy with his English vocals.  The video has some interesting shadow play interspersed between closeups of Mukai and Imai’s murderous intent (watch in HD for every menacing wrinkle).

Kimonos is the side project of Mukai Shutoku (Zazen Boys) and Leo Imai.  Ichiro Yoshida (Zazen Boys) joins Kimonos on bass for this track.  Their self-titled debut album comes out November 17 in Japan.

http://www.kimonosmusic.com/

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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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This Month in J-Rock: September 2008

October 18, 2008

I’m back for another month of releases, a couple days earlier this time.  You’ll see two changes in this month’s column.  First off is a poll.  I guess this is a new wordpress feature so I decided to use it.  You can vote for your favorite album from the albums I reviewed or another September release I haven’t (list and explain in the replies!).  To be fair, singles won’t be included in any future poll.  The second change is that “Pick of the Month” has been changed to “The Winner’s Circle.”  More on that later.

THE SINGLES

Dir en grey- Glass Skin

If “Dozing Green” and “Glass Skin” is what we have to look forward to on Dir en grey’s upcoming full-length, I think Uroboros will be one bore of an album.  “Glass Skin” is mediocre at  best.  Nothing to wet your pants over.  It just kind of meanders for four minutes.  Let’s face it, they’ll never be able to write another “The Final.”  Thankfully, the band decided to put actual b-sides on this single release.  Next up is a rerecording of “undecided.”  This has more of an acoustic/folky feel.  Not exactly the screaming Dir en grey that I love but much better than the actual single.  We also have an “acoustic” version of “Agitated Screams of Maggots.”  Normally when I hear the word acoustic, I assume that it’s acoustic guitar.  Nope.  This is classical piano! Not acoustic at all.  Look at a dictionary fellas.  It’s not as great as the original but the screaming over piano thing was interesting…kind of.

http://www.myspace.com/direngrey

THE MINI-ALBUMS

BIGMAMA- Weekly Fairy Tale

Despite the initial dissatisfaction that these are not Disney cover songs (all three tracks are named after Disney films), this is one damn catchy EP.  BIGMAMA is sort of like the Japanese version of Yellowcard, a punk band with a whole lot of violin.  “Cinderella” was released as the single for this EP.  The violin sections on the song remind me of Pachebel’s Canon (that song they play at graduations) a lot, especially in the middle, but I love it.  “Sleeping Beauty” shows a more aggressive side to the band.  The EP closes with “Pinnochio” a real fun, nostalgic hoe-down type of song.  The violin has more of a folky sound and the chorus has plenty of handclaps.  I had a lot of fun with this EP.  It’s not often that a band can successfully incorporate the violin into such happy, rock songs.

http://www.myspace.com/rxbigmama

OLIVIA- Trinka Trinka (mini-album)

Olivia Lufkin singles/albums have been a mixed bag ever since her OLIVIA inspi’ REIRA (TRAPNEST) days. There are some traces of her former edginess but with so many average pop ballads it’s evident that she just wants to become the next J-pop idol.  The first two tracks on this mini-album are examples of her stronger work these past few years.  “Trinka Trinka” is a really great up-tempo track with a mild dance beat and a really catchy chorus,  “I’m feeling Trinka Trinka, it’s really happening, my heart is beating, but I don’t want to scream!”  The lead single for this release, “Rain” follows.  Olivia returns with her mixed Japanese/English lyrics.  It’s a fun song that should satisfy her new and old fans.  Unfortunately, the mini-album rapidly deteriorates after these two songs.  “Because,” “Miss You,” and “Your Smile” are typical J-pop ballad fodder with minimal English lyrics.  “Collecting Sparkles” has it’s moments, mostly due to it’s electronic beat, but is ultimately forgettable.  One day I hope she breaks out of her anime alter-ego and records another Comatose Bunny Butcher.

http://www.myspace.com/olivialufkinofficial

THE ALBUMS

8otto- Hyper Hyp8r Hyper

8otto should do well with the British-rock crowd.  They have a similar flavor to bands such as The Strokes or Franz FerdinandHYP8R is the third full-length 8otto album and carries the same laid-back “I don’t give a f—” attitude as always.  Reflective, yet agressive when it needs to be.  But mostly sung in monotone.  I imagine this is the type of music people listen to when they get high.  “Bomb” leads off the album with a slightly different version than on the single, not that I could tell the difference.  My favorite songs are “Real Coke’s Friends”  and “It’s Kind of Fool.”  The album sags around track 9 with a 6-minute acoustic track.  However, it gets funkier with “Stone Funk” and ends with the great title track.  Although at times boring, this band has great rhythm.  You can imagine them as a funkier Brit-rock version of Asian Kung-Fu Generation.

http://www.myspace.com/8otto

Glory Hill- Going Nowhere

IN BRIEF: This band sounds so much like ELLEGARDEN.  I don’t know whether I should be shocked or appalled but I actually liked this album quite a bit.  These songs are mostly in English but hard to understand.  Stand-out tracks “Falling Down,” “Endless Summer,” “Go For Break,” and “GET UP.”

http://www.myspace.com/gloryhilljp

Mo’some Tonebender- SING!

Super Nice! was your standard alternative rock album.  C.O.W. Check Out World was an experimental minimal electronic album.  Mo’some Tonebender’s newest album SING! is a very uneven work, a hodgepodge of every genre you can think of.  From the standard ballad “Colourful,” to the straight up rock “Cheese Burger,” to the delightfully saxophone-ridden “Niji wo Kakete,” it’s safe to say this band has no idea where it wants to go anymore.  The album leads off with the sing “Synchrocity” that has surpringingly grown a lot on me.  This song, and others such as “Joy” and “Saigo no Bus” follow the electronic sound they were going with in Check Out World while the synthesizers in “Hima tsubushi Part 2” has a slight BEAT CRUSADERS feel.  The standout track on the album for me was “Kakukakushikajika.”  It’s a nice acoustic piece with violin and some synth that feels completely out of place but is very calming.  So far, this band hasn’t released one solid album from start to finish but just like the rest, SING! has a few great tracks.

http://www.myspace.com/mstbofficial

NICO Touches the Walls- Who Are You?

With the release of their debut album, NICO Touches the Walls has entered the non-visual domain of popular J-Rock.  The album starts with “Broken Youth” which was used as a recent OP for Naruto Shippoden.  The aggressive forward going lyrics saves it from being a cliche rock song, even if it has some Asian Kung-Fu Generation flavor.  Also included is the immense first single “The Bungy,” a great folk/country infused rock song. “Bunny Girl to Danny Boy” has a catchy chorus and starts off in handclaps, the whaling guitars on “Yoru no Hate” are a treat, too. Who Are You? has its fair share of slower, funk driven songs such as “Etranger,” “Hottoshita,” and “Aoi” but thankfully they are spread out on the album.  This band has it’s similarities to bands like Asian Kung-Fu Generation and Snowkel but there are definitely some quirks on this album that makes it stand out.  It may not be as progressiva as the single “The Bungy” but it’s J-Rock done right.

Various Artists- Yowavinalaaaafincha? – A Tribute To Snuff –

You have no idea how much I love Japanese tribute albums.  Even though I’ve never listened to Snuff before, I happily sat down and listened to this.  Unfortunately, that means I cannot compare these covers to the originals.  Some songs I really liked, “I Know What You Want” by MUGWUMPS, “What Kind of Love” by Ken Yokoyama, “Now You Don’t Remember” by FUCK YOU HEROES, “Dickt Trois” by RAZORS EDGE, “That’s Enough” by COKEHEAD HIPSTERS, and of course, “Sweet Dreams” by BEAT CRUSADERS.  With the exception of PUFFY (who does a fine version “Not Listening”), I appreciate that they actually chose punk bands to cover punk songs, most of which do not have major-label backing.  This tribute album has succeeded in getting me interested in more Snuff.

THE WINNER’S CIRCLE (PICK OF THE MONTH)

Simply put, September had too many albums full of win to just pick one.  Seeing as at least two of these albums will finish in my top three of the year, it would be unfair to just choose one.  Instead, I decided to highlight all three of them.  Beware, these three bands represent the finest, most original music you’ve heard on this blog.

mutyumu- i l ya

Imagine putting the best classical, hardcore, opera, visual-kei, post-rock, and deathmetal bands into a blender and you have mutyumu, the most diverse and unique band in the scene right now.  Vocals range from the operatic hatis noi to deathmetal screams.  But it’s always something you wouldn’t expect.  The album starts with a nice instrumental song and explodes in “die Ewige Wiederkunft.”  “L’œil est Dieu” starts off in massive screaming with classical piano but then follows to hatis’ opera vocals. Violins join in later and it all blurs together into one of the greatest songs ever written (I’m serious).  Up next is “toi et moi” which starts off jazz-like but follows a more pop-format with no screaming.  “doxa incarnatate” has a gothic/visual-kei style while “unforgiven” and “raison d’etre” are almost straight up post-rock.  “sappho” is melacholic and evolves into “prayer,” an epic 10-minute journey that starts with only vocals but explodes in violin, drumming, and opera chants.   The album ends in a piano/violin duet with World’s end girlfriend “hai no hi,” a much deserved break from the epicness of the prior material.  With so many genres mashed together, this album has something for everyone.  I fear their uniqueness will likely repel mainstream music fans, which may not be a bad thing, but this band deserves all the hype it has been getting recently.

http://www.myspace.com/mutyumujapan

sgt.- Stylus Fantasticus

Japanese post-rock bands are a dime a dozen, but sgt. is the first one that has been able to surpass Mono in my eyes.  In Stylus Fantasticus, sgt. has been able to combine the best of post-rock with the best of jazz.  Violin, piano, and sax are rarely used efficiently in post-rock but not so for this band.  The album starts off with a slower, piano driven song but then explodes in guitar for “Dilemma Game.”  The next two songs slowly start throwing more piano and sax in until we get to “Saisei to Misshitsu.”  Epic is one word to describe Saisei, the amount of sax is great but so perfect and fitting.  A highly addictive and fast paced song given it’s six-minute runtime.  A short, slow song follows but then is replaced with the 16-minute “Ginga wo Kowashite” that exemplifies the perfection of their violist.  The last song, “Munoyuragi” is another long one but returns to that same great sax.  If you’re looking for a band that perfectly blends post-rock and jazz, sgt. is your man.

http://www.myspace.com/sgtofficial

Zazen Boys- Zazen Boys 4

Zazen Boys have struck the perfect chord between ambient, electro, and funk on their fourth self-titled album.  Mukai, the Boys’ lead singer starts off “Asobi” with a shout-out to his recording studio.  The song itself is nothing short of amazing, and the video for it is damn near perfect.  The handclaps and synth are immaculate.  “Honnoji” drops the electronics for a minute to center on tribal drumming and leads perfectly into the incredibly repititous  “Weekeeeeeeeeennnnd”.  The next three songs have more of a funk flavor and center more on guitars.  “Tarantine” will likely annoy many.  The drums last for about 5 seconds before another 10 seconds of silence.  Eventually the silences transform into long poetic monologues by Mukai.  I really wish I knew what he’s saying, his tone gets hilarious near the ending.  Following is “The Drifing/I Don’t Wanna Be With You” which morphs into a dancetrack in it’s second half.  The album ends with the incredibly reflective and pulsating “Sabaku.” The drumming and soft electronics will likely put you in a trance and is the perfect way to end the album.  This album is the perfect soundtrack for fall and I’ve had it on repeat for several weeks now.

http://www.myspace.com/zazenboys

WHAT TO LOOK FOR NEXT MONTH

8otto- catch on another fire: Wait…didn’t I review them this month?!?!?  Well, this is a remix album.

9mm Parabellum Bullet- Vampire:  Second full-length album.  Includes “Wanderland” from the anime Real Drive.

Asian Kung-Fu Generation- Fujisawa Loser:  New single off upcoming album.

The Captains- I Love GS:  A covers collection of classic group sounds songs.

Deerhoof- Offend Maggie: New album from the SF locals.

Envy/Thursday- Split EP:  This doesn’t have a release date yet but since it already leaked…

The Predators- Kiba wo Misero:  New mini-album from the supergroup, made of members from the pillows, GLAY, and STRAIGHTENER.

Te’- Mashite, Kokoro to Gokan ga Icchisuru Nara Subete Saijo no “Ongaku” ni Henzuru: New album for the post-rock hopefulls.

Various Artists- Metal-IKKA: Metallica tribute album!  Features BEAT CRUSADERS, Polysics, and 9mm Parabellum Bullet.

VOLA & THE ORIENTAL MACHINE- Halan’na-ca Darkside: Zazen Boys this month, VOLA next month.

…and here’s the poll.  Take the time and vote ^_^

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Random J-Rock Updates #5

September 14, 2008

Hey guys.  I’m going to try to do these “news updates” more frequently.  I just started writing This Month in J-Rock: August 2008 (I know! Late again!) and it should be done by Friday.  I can tell you now that the column will include four album and six singles reviews.  Much less than last time but it was a short release month to begin with.

Electrico have two new songs on their myspace, “Soul Not Science” and “Hail To the Friends” from their new album We Satellites.  WHEN WILL THIS COME OUT IN AMERICA.

Asparagus uploaded a live video for “Dead Song.”

-Looks like BEAT CRUSADERS have a tribute album coming out!  They’re also contributing to the  tribute album for the legendary punk band Snuff.

-Clips from Zazen Boys’ 4th album are now streaming on Myspace.  I just downloaded the full album and it’s one of this year’s best.

-I added several new J-Rock links under Blogroll, including my BEAT CRUSADERS fansite in case you missed it.

-Filipino screamo act TYPECAST have posted a blog containing their 2008 Baybeats performance.

-If you were wondering what happened to Whence He Came, their myspace status is now “…is no more. Thank you all!” 😦

Asian Kung-Fu Generation will release their new album Surf Bungaku Kamakura on November 11.  This will be their second full-length album of the year.

Versailles have officially changed their name to Versailles -Philharmonic Quintet- (how full of it are they?) for copyright reasons.  Their new single “Prince” can be downloaded for free at MaruMusic and HearJapan.

The Cherry Coke$ have a new album out.  How the @#$% did I miss that?