Cook Some Dishes is an album by shibuya-kei master, Yukari Fresh. Yukari Fresh's childlike voice and delightfully bubbly pop is what made me fall in love with shibuya-kei. i discovered Yukari Fresh before i ever discovered Pizzicato Five, Flipper's Guitar, Fantastic Plastic Machine, or any of the other more well known acts from the genre. years before that, in fact.
the highlight of this album are the three last tracks, which may as well be one single track.
one of the most impressive things about yukari, i think, is her almost flawless pronunciation of the english language. it's nice to, for once, have some japanese pop that i can actually sing along with, hahahahahahahhahaaaaaahahaha
1. introduction MC
8. is this disco?
10. cook some dishes
Alienation is a 1996 album by YBO², a zeuhl (i think) band, formed in 1984. i'm actually not all that wild about zeuhl (and, i guess by extension, prog -- or perhaps it's the other way around), but this shit is delicious. it's thick, murky, and loud. it reminds me of Les Rallizes Denudes or Fushitsusha, or some of the other japanese psychedelic bands of the 1970s.
i don't really have anything else to compare it to, but i know that if you like the japanese psychedelic movement of the 1970s then you'll most certainly like this.
3. Boys Of Bedlam
4. To Be (帝国の逆襲)
5. Heavy Waters
DARK BALANCE is an EP/single by Ruellia (who i previously mentioned in my post about kc+loid). more drag queens making metal inspired post-punk.
i posted this EP/single only so that you can hear the track "Fate of Claustrophobia". it's easily my favorite track by this wonderful band. the guitars on this song are so incredible. it kills me every time i hear it.
1. Fate Of Claustrophobia
2. DARK BALANCE
This post is to redirect you to Habit Of Sex where you can download Tomo Akikawaba's epic, The Castle. i have to say this may indeed be the best album i've discovered from another blog all year.
i won't say much about it except that if you don't download it then i feel really bad for you. this is the album. also, the dudes over at Habit Of Sex sum it up much better than i could. they've clearly been looking for this album for a while, and they make it clear through their review of this flawless album.
the best part, for me, is the sincerity and utter sadness of the vocals. if he puts across one emotion in his singing then it's desperation. complete, crushing desperation.
さてこそ is チャクラ's (chakra, चक्रं, what have you) masterpiece. i can't tell you much about this band because, like many other albums on this blog, not much info exists for them on the western internet.
essentially, though, these dudes were making music that sounds like a mix between Picky Picnic's later childlike cute pop and SHI-SHONEN's lovely new wave synths. they've become one of my favorite bands.
4. You Need Me
The Age of Dissent is my favorite album by legendary power electronics act, The Grey Wolves. i don't feel like writing anything up about it right now, except that you'll like it if you like early Whitehouse.
2. Empty Threat
3. Destructive State
4. Aura of Violence
5. The Age of Dissent
6. Skin Hunger
7. Low Level Transmission
8. New World Dis-Order
i've already shared goatbed on this blog once before, on their split with SilhouetteNewRomance. the tracks presented there, though, were most likely unfinished. a few even show up on this album. but the songs that were on Stowaway To Paradis are so perfectly mastered here that they almost sound like different songs. the two that stand out the most clearly are "BUDDY BEAT" and "VOGUE MAN". fucking incredible.
this album blows my mind every time i listen to it.
2. YOUNG VANING
4. YOUR GRANDPA IS THE MOST ABNORMAL
5. BUDDY BEAT
6. BY PHERO MONDE
7. VOGUE MAN
8. GOODLUCK DELETE
アザラシイズム is an album by あざらし (azarashi). あざらし are a punk/noise-blues-rock/post-punk band with an obvious Suehiro Maruo inspired image. the band is female fronted (like most bands on this blog; what can i say, i just prefer the female voice), but the vocalist sings in a gruff tone (reminiscent of 水玉消防団, actually). the guitars drift and groan and moan and hiss, and the vocalist wails and screeches and grunts. every once in a while we get a hefty dosage of feedback, and high-pitched whining on the guitar.
overall, an extremely earpearcing experience.
Togawa Jun is apparently back in business, or at least was in the studio recently; she is responsible for a "cover" of カノン (or 蛹化の女) by Michiro Endo from the recent (it came out eleven days ago, i think) tribute album to The Stalin and Michiro Endo, titled ROMANTIST. i use quotation marks around the word cover, because this is actually a cover of a cover. the song that Endo was covering was originally from Togawa's 1984 album 玉姫様. so, in essence, Togawa is simply redoing one of her older songs.
i was almost completely turned off this album after hearing DIR EN GREY's god awful cover of ワルシャワの幻想. i don't hate DIR EN GREY. i do hate this cover. so, i guess what i'm saying is that it's a miracle that i heard this breathtaking cover that Togawa Jun so masterfully performs.
more important than this single song, though, is the possible promise of a new album from the queen of avant-garde pop herself. it's been a good six years since Togawa Legend came out. i think we're all about ready for a new album by now. let's cross our fingers and hope this is a sign of things to come.
FLOPPY's first album DEUS EX MACHINA is kind of a masterpiece. it's like . . . what every bit-pop/picopico album should sound like. it's like every fucking song is flawless, perfect, adorable pop. a collaborative between 新宿ゲバルト's Toda Hiromu (on electronix) and メトロノーム's Kobayashi Sharaku (on vox). legends, the both of them.
uhhh, apparently they were involved in an UCHOTEN cover album, which gives them credibility if you had doubts (why you would have doubts is honestly beyond me, considering the dudes involved in this project).
1. EX MACHINA
another graphic novel post. Witches is a breathtaking graphic novel short-story collection by 五十嵐大介 (igarashi daisuke). each story focuses on, as the title would suggest, witches. the witches come from different parts of the uncivilized world (two from small villages in germany and russia, another from the jungles of south america). these witches are quite unlike the average portrayal of witchcraft in japanese graphic novels (or manga if you're too pedestrian to realize that that word just means "comic"; aka "graphic novel". that's why i am loathe to use it, since it would be like calling books from poland "książka"). they are not delightful magical princesses (i have no problem with this sort of japanese graphic novel/comic book princess, by the way; i've read/watched every volume/season of Cardcaptor Sakura and Bishōjo Senshi Sailormoon) but instead they are traditional practitioners of magick, speaking to animals and digging runes in the sand to cast spells blessed upon them by the spirits of this world. in the story about the witch from the rain forest, the protagonist uses the wrathful spirits of the forest to attempt to take vengeance upon the government who is destroying her forest in the name of furthering humanity's death-grip on nature (i think they want to build a mall or an airbase or something). i won't reveal the ending (as it absolutely crushed me when i read it), but it's not pretty. the art, on the other hand, is most certainly pretty. igarashi's lines are complex, beautiful, and natural looking. there is no overproduction here. indeed, his drawings sometimes seem to perfectly capture the spirits of nature.
his works have been compared before to miyazaki. i think that is perhaps a fair comparison, considering the focus of his stories (feminism, childlike naivety, and defending the natural world against man). it also reminds me of magical realism (particularly marquez's "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings").
ローザ・ルクセンブルグ (or, errr, "Rosa Luxemburg" . . . as in the the marxist theorist?) were an incredibly upbeat rock band who's style and sound are completely unlike anything i've ever heard before. they are the most playful, fun pop rock (for lack of a better genre title) band i've ever heard. if i had to compare them to something, i guess it would be to IPPU-DO, or maybe some of the stuff on Nagomu Records. as far as modern bands go, it's quite possible that Sakurai Ao of cali≠gari was inspired by ローザ・ルクセンブルグ.
they premiered with their song "Chinese Boy" (i think i translated that right) which is on this album (second track), so i'm going to assume this is their first album (information is very meager on the western internet; they don't even have a proper discogs). even though my japanese is greatly lacking (i can read it, but will have no idea what it means for the most part), i was still able to discover what might be a news article explaining that the vocalist died from brain trauma in hawaii.
i'm stunned by that album art, by the way.