Saturday, May 17, 2014
Saturday, July 16, 2011
Saturday, September 18, 2010
A few years ago I mentioned my teenage love for the Japanese pop group SPEED.
They started in 1996, then disbanded in 2000. I was crushed. In 2008, they came back again, I was skeptical. Yet the intensity of my love for SPEED, especially lead vocalist Hiroko Shimabukuro (the tall one), was so intense that I composed silly haiku for her.
Sunday, August 31, 2008
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Friday, August 08, 2008
I went to the Liquidroom at Ebisu for one of their 4th year anniversary events on Wednesday night, a live performance by Kahimi Karie and the electronic musician Rei Harakami. I first read about this from Japan Times two weeks ago, and immediately decided to go even though ticket price is a little steep.
Monday, August 20, 2007
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
I was pretty shocked when I read about singer-songwriter Izumi Sakai's death on today's newspapers.
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Saturday, May 19, 2007
One album I've been listening to a lot in the past week is Asobi Seksu's CITRUS. Asobi Seksu's a shoegazing rock band based in New York, their lead vocalist is Yuki Chikudate, who said in an interview with Pitchfork that one of the creepiest fan experiences for her was when she was surrounded by a bunch of hardcore otaku who called her Asobi and talked to her about anime. The band name, Asobi Seksu meant 'play sex' 'fun sex' 'playful sex' or something like that in Japanese.
What a coincidence that both Justin and I have been getting pretty into female Japanese singers named Yuki these days, just that his Yuki is in Japan while mine's in US.
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
One of the advantages of getting heavily into J-Pop is that, almost unconsciously, I've started to appreciate and enjoy musical genres I once scorned. When I was a teenager, anything remotely pop or commercial was anathema to me, and R&B was the worst of the worst. R&B was irritating screaming melismatic female voices, moronic beats, grating lyrics. R&B was something listened to by people I held in contempt. If you said your favorite music was R&B, I probably wouldn't like much else about you, either, and if you had of given me Crystal Kay's 2006 second albumCall Me Miss as recently as five years ago, I probably would have spat in your face.
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
I have my problems with Koda Kumi. Apart from her lacking a certain...how to put this tactfully, star quality (i.e. if she wasn't famous already...) and relying on an obvious gimmick (feigned sluttiness), I've come around to much of her music, even if it struck me as undistinguished at first. The production is often good, befitting an Avex artist; and KK is talented, even if the hooks sometimes take a while to sink in. She tried out for Morning Musume and was rejected, yet that actually reflects well on her: no one in H!P can really sing like her; their voices need to be massed together to achieve any real resonance or tone. But KK is more than capable of carrying a track, and her voice is distinctive.
Sunday, January 07, 2007
Listened to their entire discography over the course of like six hours. Think I just found my new favorite band. Can't be bothered to write an in-depth entry. Just...wow. As much 'ink jizz' as a site like Pitchfork expends over a band like Deerhoof, you wonder what they'd make of JAM or (the previously discussed on this site) Ego Wrappin'. I mean, 'Judy is a Tank Girl'? Just brilliant...
Get Warp or The Power Source if you want to hear Japanese music completely overstepping national bounds and stacking up against anything on a world stage.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
For me, the height of Ayumi Hamasaki's career was the 2002/2003 Rainbow / I Am... era. On those two albums, Ayu and Max Matsuura forged an original and intensely modern sound, one that combined the futuristic gloss and production of electronic dance music with the grind and guitar base of hard rock, all leavened with strong pop flourishes that somehow sounded more ambitious than any of Ayu's previous material (which had been good, to be honest, if a bit sugary and conventional). Appellations like 'dancy metal-pop' or 'club-core with solos' sound ridiculous, but accurately describe the albums' innovative fusions. And they were albums, too, with transitions and spaced-out interludes to bridge the more disparate songs. Because of the unified production, a straight up club track like 'Connected' could segue easily into the driving rock of 'Evolution', and the whole thing felt seamless. For a while, Ayumi Hamasaki really did feel like the most modern pop star in the world, one who could get mentioned in grasping Time magazine supplements and still make you want to put her singles on your playlist.
Thursday, December 07, 2006
Sunday, November 05, 2006
I'll be honest: most everything I know about Japanese music has come as a result of the tireless efforts of Taka. If it wasn't for his more-euphony-than-James-Joyce command of the English language and his unquenchable passion for "80' electorical dance sounds", I'd probably still be listening exclusively to mid-90's NYC metallic hardcore (Orange 9MM, Helmet, Quicksand, etc.).
Sunday, October 22, 2006
Sometime during 2002 (or was it 2003?), disillusioned with annoyingly underaged pop groups and still dealing with the heartbreaking disband of his much beloved SPEED, the Great Swifty, who suffered from Erotomania, lost faith in mainstream Japanese pop, and experimented with the non-mainstream, into what is generally referred to as Contemporary Japanese Groove Music (their jazz stuff).
Sunday, October 15, 2006
The appeal of ZONE isn't difficult to explain: girls with guitars. This simple, retardedly awesome premise lies behind much of the popularity of Shonen Knife, the 5 6 7 8's, and uh...in a different genre, Sleater-Kinney and L7. But the one thing uniting those fairly disparate bands is that they're all - to a greater or lesser extent - PUNK.*
Sunday, October 01, 2006
If you had of asked me on a given day whether I'd one day end up passionately defending fanfiction, I would have given you a strange l...
**Mild spoiler warning for both versions of Cinema Paradiso** Was watching the director's cut version of Cinema Paradiso (called th...
Mishima is a writer associated with scale and grand gestures. Apart from his colorful life and the obviously theatrical nature of his publi...