Holy Crap I haven’t posted in a while. Its probably because I’ve wandered back to English music as of late. Time to get back into the swing of things, there are tons of music in japan and china to discover!
This song is LILI by Anatakikou. Great band and wonderful song.
Shugo Tokumaru is one talented dude. There is no denying it. His albums are consistently solid and I am always taken back by his ability to inject such strong emotion into this work.
His genre of music unfortunately falls under the realm of the artistic and misunderstood. It is easy to dismiss him for his high-pitched voice, strange instrumentals, and mild energy. For this, it is hard to take him seriously at face value. (This is from a western perspective, hes actually achieved commercial success in Japan!)
This is again unfortunate for his songs contain such melodic brilliance. It is hard to imagine how people come up with stuff like that. He is easily one of the most talented music artists in Japan today. This video I’ve linked will have you feeling all sorts of things, so sit back and relax!
Fishmans フィッシュマンズ - Magic Love
A band seemingly lost in time that shows up every now and then due to their incredible cult following in the underground scene. Their mix of prog reggae and Shinji Sato’s vocals made them huge, but not exactly famous. They began in 1987, but their quick rise to fame began in 1996 and lasted till 98. Shortly after their last performance. Shinji Sato, vocalist, died of a heart condition. The rest of the band members dissolved into the music scene and continued to produce great music among other artists. Many consider this band’s work to be legendary and idolize Shinji Sato for his innovation and contribution to Japanese progressive music. Even after Sato’s death, the success of their music has increased quite dramatically.
For such uplifting and quirky music, its sad to hear about the story of Sato’s death and its impact to the scene. You can’t exactly listen to it the same way as before, especially since he could very well still be alive today and continuing to make great music. On occasion, artists pay tribute to Fishmans by playing covers, re-mixing, and using them as inspiration for their music endeavors.
Get ready! After almost 4 long years Zazen Boys new album “Stories” 『すとーりーず』 has been announced. The release date is currently TBA, but they have a song list up.
The unpredictability of Mukai is what scares me a bit about this album release. Although I’m very comfortable with his ability of produce quality work regardless of genre and trends, I can’t help but feel nervous.
毛皮のまりーズ - Heart of Gold
毛皮のまりーズ - Rebel Song
Hisako Tabuchi, who is Ex-Number Girl and regular guitar in Bloodthirsty Butchers, has her own band! I’m sure there are people who religiously follow everything an Ex-Number Girl member has done since the day they broke up, but sadly most of their work flies directly under the radar.
As did every member in the late Number girl, Hisako played a vital role in developing it’s sound and turning Mukai’s thoughts into music. I honestly would not have liked Number Girl if it were not for her guitar work, which is a pretty bold statement for myself! She is considered one of Japan’s best guitarists and made it all around cool to have a female in your band. And although her energy has seemed to mellow out after NG, she has allowed herself to adjust to a role of a frontwoman within post-punk Toddle.
Number Girl defined the genre, and it’s members carry the legacy as pioneers to the alternative rock scene in Japan. I could go on forever about such a great thing Number Girl and subsequent bands that spawned from it were, but I think i’ll spare it for now. I will do posts later about Toddle, Zazen Boys, Kimonos, Bloodthirsty Butcher, Vola & The Oriental Machine, and other stuff that Mukai Shutoku pumps out.
recent edit: Toddle’s new album Shimmer is indeed some of Tabuchi’s best work outside Number Girl. Be sure to check out her recent work in LAMA, a crazy supergroup with Miki Furukawa, Koji Nakamua, and Kensuke Ushio.
アーバンギャルド - ラヴクラフトの世界
Urban Garde is a post pop band straight out of Tokyo. They have got a strange vibe to them as they are a mix of electro pop, alternative rock, and a pinch of goth undertones. They seem to have a pretty big good size underground following as they felt the need to put options for translated English and French on their website. They describe themselves as “Trauma Pop,” and if you had the chance to see a few of their videos, its most likely you’ll be just as confused as I am! I’m pretty sure they like to play on the concept of pregnancy, Virginity, and other women stuff. The music sounds great until you realize you are listening to a band singing about periods and menstruation. (strange that this has happened to me twice already with 2 different bands including this one, dammit)
They are definitely an interesting band that hold some unique taste in video content and presentation. I consider them very much another “Only in Japan” bands, but it makes for entertaining videos that make you realize you traveled into the weird part of Youtube. They are definitely listenable, and the vocals often remind me of Sotaisei Riron’s own Etsuko Yakushimaru, which of course isn’t a bad thing.
Be sure to check out the video below as well.
アーバンギャルド / スカート革命
cali≠gari - 青春狂騒曲
I listened to Cali=Gari continuously when i first discovered them about 6 or 7 years ago (yikes!) and have been sporadically coming back to their songs since then. They are a strange mix of smart punk, melodic visual kei that somehow keeps its 90’s sound roots. Though their visual kei is considered different from today’s standards, they very much take it a step further. From many sites containing info about the band, it is suggested that they are an “eroguro” style, which means their songs contain lyrics of erotic and grotesque nature. I’ve seldom searched for translated lyrics, but I think it would be nice to see what their songs were really about. From their lives, it seems they are all about crossdressing and showing off their glam side, so check it out if you’re interested in visual kei.
Musically, they’ve been able to embrace a unique sound with help from some really nice bass lines and unique vocals, while adopting different styles to each song in a single CD.They have been able to stand out to me from the rest of the v-kei genre in early 2000’s.
There are a couple more videos below, check em out.
Polysics - Black Out Fall Out
I remember this video from a long time ago. The Polysics were relatively new to me, but their sound has been consistent for many years. Through their usual sound is not like this particular MV, since the keyboardist Kayo has the center spotlight in this song. They tend to with frantic guitar riffs and electronic that mixes surfer punk with new wave elements. Sadly, Kayo left the band for reasons unknown to me. Its kind of a bummer since the polysics were definitely a band that only worked with its original members. If one was missing, it would be immediately noticable and damaging to the dimension of the group. Check out the awesomeness in the next video I’m linking, which is of her last live show.
□□□（クチロロ）／あたらしいたましい feat. 金田朋子
Kuchiroro is one of those groups that have a nice variety of styles they have transitioned into and out of. Finding their early work lets you understand their influence and appreciate their sound a bit more. You want experimentation? this band is oozing it.