this album is . . . a masterpiece. it's become a regular (daily) listen for me. it's such a completely magical and majestic album. when i finally heard this album after playing her St. Agnes' Eve EP perhaps too many times (which of course is bullshit; i fully intend to continue to listen to that wonderful, wonderful, wonderful album), it was like a revelation. it was a breath of the purest air.
while the songs on the aforementioned EP are beautiful, there was always something lacking there for me. on The City In The Sea, the songs go beyond the two minute mark, and this gives them room to reach their full potential. i suppose i always thought to myself (about St. Agnes' Eve) that the songs would sound much better if only she had allowed them to breath! and on this album she does just that. in fact, the entire reason this album is so beautiful to me is the way each song builds up to the climax.
the highest point for me would most certainly be the luscious "The City In The Sea §1". the lyrics (taken from an E. A. Poe poem) speak of a watery realm inhabited by the dead, and presided over by Death himself. this song sums up the entire album for me. after a melancholic instrumental interlude, the song really begins, and starts to rise and rise to the beautiful ending of the song. the things this song does to me are indescribable. really, the whole album sounds like an ancient kingdom that has long been lost to the waves.
1. The May Queen
2. Nature Rewards Me
3. A Recent Letter
5. The City In The Sea §1
6. The City In The Sea §2
7. The Voyage
8. Since I Left You (Sonnet 113)
10. Eulalie - A Song
okay, so here's another album by the always wonderful マサ子さん. this is probably my favorite album by them, as is the most concise and consistent in sound and quality. it's a beautiful masterpiece of kawaii~ chaos. this is the album that really defines マサ子さん for me, and was the very first album i ever heard by them, annnnnnd it's the album that solidified them as my favorite nagomu related band. they are the perfect combination of punk, pop, and new wave, and i don't know why i haven't spoken more about them, to be honest.
this album is fantastic from beginning to end, but the tracks that i replay the most would have to be "雨にヌレテモいーや", which is a really strange "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head" homage, and "PSYNOMEY" which is just a really fucking catchy song. it kinda sound sinister, but not in a really threatening way. more in a cute way? i dunno, it's hard to explain.
anyways! grab this album ASAP, because it's one of my favorites.
1. LOVE:LOVE SONG
4. Nonsense Song
8. PUNK 花梨
9. フルーツ オレ ヨーグルト
so, i'm finally updating this stupid fucking blog because i'm a stupid fucking idiot who has too many stupid fucking papers to write, etc. anyways, you get the point: stupid fucking finally updating. and this is a stupid fucking brilliant gem of an album that i'm handing over to you now, i might mention. 浜田朱里 has become my own personal goddess. she's . . . cute, she's mysterious, she's gravure . . . i can't stop praising her. she's that great.
my favorite song on this album is likely the second track "あなたに熱中". it's gorgeous. but also, all of the tracks are gorgeous, so what am i even talking about. her voice is so genki. the music that accompanies her is, too. it's catchy, upbeat, and absolutely fun to listen to.
a second favorite (it's more likely on par with the first "favorite" that i mentioned) would be the title track (of sorts) which is first glimpsed at on the weird opening track.
it's . . . i dunno, i really just can't explain how much i love her. she's pure magic.
1. INTRODUCTION -YOROSHIKU-
Exmortes was a dutch one-man project who recorded from 1988 to 1990. essentially, it could be argued that this dude really began the blacknoise genre. his style of black metal was raw as raw can be. the sound seems to be coming from deep underwater.
the vocals, i should mention, are not particularly black metal. he kinda sounds like Atrax Morgue, actually; trying to speak english with a broken accent. it's really fantastic, though.
1. Fear For Hate
2. Boiling Blood
3. No Sanctuary In Death
4. Destroyed Land
池玲子 was, in her time, a sex goddess. she was famous for starring in pink films that doubled as action flicks (known as "pinky violence"). she starred in quite a few of them, too. these films often had strong S&M themes to them, with the women playing the parts of violent yakuza members who murdered each other in cold blood.
this album is, for the most part, simply audio pornography; she sucks in her breath, pants, moans, grunts, wimpers, cries, winces; she makes every noise a pornographic diva can make. but, there's also this really strange growling/gurgling/purring sound rumbling around under about half of the tracks. it sounds like a distorted human voice, or something, but i'm not sure if it's supposed to be sexy or not. basically, it just sounds gross. i can't really argue for the artistic merits of this particular album, as they don't exist. it's trashy, trashy, trashy. a bit slimy, in fact. which is unfortunate, because she doesn't have a bad voice. i quite enjoy it, in fact. but, still: it's no moving work of art. it's audio porn. and yet . . . it's completely disturbing. you really must listen to it to fully understand. it makes me feel completely uncomfortable (and not because of the sex sounds). the creepy, lurking flutes and drugged piano tinkling, combined with the lethargic guitar strumming gives the album a filthy, unclean feeling.
2. よこはま たそがれ
by request, here's としごろ by 山口百恵. she was one of the most successful idol pop singers from the 1970s (if not the most successful). her first album (this one) came out when she was only thirteen years-old (1973). which is absolutely fucking crazy, considering this is not the voice of a thirteen year-old girl. it's simply far too deep. and yet, it's her alright; her voice only got stronger and deeper as she got older (until her last album, which came out in 1980). on this album, though, her voice is already huskier than most adult women.
美輪明宏 is an enka and cabaret singer of the highest order. she is everything a drag queen enka/cabaret (they went hand-in-hand in the 1960s) singer should be; luxurious, dramatic, fabulous, and most importantly: long suffering. she was even romantically involved with the late, great 三島由紀夫 (Mishima Yukio) at one point. Mishima was very proud of his lady-boyfriend (lol wordplay), too, to the point that he insisted that she was a must for the titular role of the film adaptation of his play Black Lizard (which is a great movie, by the way. if you haven't seen it then you should really make a point to do so at once). they were apparently involved for quite some time, too (although, of course, Mishima's family denies any and all allegations about his homosexuality)(also, i've always found it odd that they were so involved, considering Mishima always emphasized the beauty of masculinity in his writings).
ANYWAYS, concerning the music here, it is very sensuous and incredibly ridiculous. at some points she will trail off from singing and go into long, dramatic, pained spoken-word rants. they are very intense monologues, and very convincing, too (which i guess is why Miyazaki Hayao has cast her in at least two of his films). the mood of the music can fluctuate very quickly, too. it's really thrilling.
i think my favorite track presented in this collection would have to be the final track. she really displays just how powerful her voice (and acting) is here. my favorite part, actually, is the monologue. she whispers and and grumbles at first, but then her voice rises to a scream of anguish and frustration near the end of the monologue.
ｇａｉａ was an incredibly short lived visual kei group. they put out only two EPs during their short existence (this one, and 新未来抄). which is a shame, of course, considering this is one of my favorite visual kei records from the twilight of the scene (while "visual kei" was most certainly not a genre, it is debatable that a genre did arise from the scene. many bands played, including this one, played a combination of speed/trash metal, hardcore punk, and, in the beginning, post-punk and goth. later on they would elements of pop-rock, as well. so, there is most certainly a sound that can be associated with the scene). this EP is really splendid. i guess it sounds rather similar to the sort of music that more popular bands like La'mule or Madeth gray'll were making, but ｇａｉａ's music had very low-fi production, and that makes them all the more interesting. there is something very strange and minimal about this release. throughout the entire EP there are very shrill sounding synth notes that echo off and on here and there. they give the EP a ghostly sound.
the outro (i got the track order mixed up in the upload, but the track listening i've supplied below is accurate) is very strange. it was not uncommon for many visual kei acts to include a piano piece as an outro or intro, but often they feel . . . beside the point, i guess. this is an exception. it's incredibly haunting, and it's actually my favorite track on the entire EP. i only wish there had been more like this.
anyways, check this out ASAP.
3. 憂鬱-D-Piano Ver.1.0-
小沢なつき is a somewhat unappreciated idol pop singer. as far as i'm concerned, this is simply her best album. it's a perfect example of what a good idol pop album should sound like, and i have recently started suggesting it as a good starting point. it's that good. sure, there's not much experimentation or doom and gloom here, but it's just really, really, really consistently good. also, her voice has plenty of range (she can do an alto and a mezzo-saprano, but i guess my only complaint is that she didn't do more alto vocals).
anyways, there are some songs here that stand out here as some of the best idol pop songs (like "Herself", "風のデッサン" or "Blessing rain").
more introspective idol-pop! really, it's like this pseudo-genre was made for me. anyways, here's an album by the lovely 原みゆき. this album has a very delicate, relaxed feel to it. unlike previous "introspective idol-pop" that i've posted, there's no deep misery here; just serene, calm, meditative swaying in a gentle breeze. the percussion and singing here is what really gets to me, but the gently echoing guitars are also very lovely. track 5 (ゆらり ゆらり) is probably the only one that seems more melancholic, but that might be because she sings in an almost enka-like manor.
really, just overall, this is one of my favorite pop albums from the 80s. it's flawless from start to finish. completely hypnotizing, completely absorbing in its beauty.
anyways, this is just a criminally under appreciated album that you really need to go download right now.
WILD&HONEY is one of the best albums that the legendary pop group ＲＥＢＥＣＣＡ ever put out. there's so much fucking energy on this album, so much aggressive passion. this has to be my favorite album by ＲＥＢＥＣＣＡ, because every track is solid. it's really a masterpiece, and i can't put into words how much i love this album. this video should sum up it's greatness:
1. WILD EYES
2. LOVE PASSION
3. FREEWAY SYMPHONY
4. LOVE IS CASH
6. NEVER TOO LATE
ORDINARY VENUS was a pop duo, fronted by 西脇彩華 (who previously sang with the idol group 9nine). the other member of the band was the brilliant 石井秀仁. so, while this is clearly a pop album of the highest order, it still has new wave and post-disco influences, courtesy of the cali≠gari vocalist. the songs here are very kawaii, and very genki. it almost feels like an idol denpa record.
i think the highlight for me on this album would have to be the opening track "I Don't Know !" or the epic ninth track, "Dream Rush". they're both so perfectly crafted, i feel like i could listen to them a million times without getting bored.
1. I Don't Know!
9. DREAM RUSH
MONKEYS WAX is an album by beyond perfect nagomu signed マサ子さん. マサ子さん were a really weird, really cute, really spastic pop band that had a super cutesy little girl stage persona, and they all were just too impossibly cute for words to accurately describe. the music is completely silly and completely absorbing in its higher levels of complexity. the really long tracks here are perhaps completely out of character, but they sound so, so, so good. like the week i found this album it was pretty much all i listened to. it's that cute/good/wonderful/perfect/flawless.
in between the tracks there are these weird backwards hissing sounds that only last like a second or two. weird, but it really makes the whole thing feel like some sort of weird children's saturday morning cartoon show (not that that's how they do it in glorious nippon, but you know what i'm getting at). this is the soundtrack to my ideal childhood. when i finally finish my time machine (school is really getting in the way . . . ) i plan to only have this album (and their other albums, sure) on repeat the entire time i am reliving my precious early years. yep. for sure that will actually work. :3 WE CAN ALL HAVE 1990S WACKY J-POP INSPIRED DREAMS (even you, if you listen to this album now).
3. PINHOLE HEAVEN
8. DOT HEAVEN
by request, here is PLANET VENUS by Sex Android. PLANET VENUS is just a really perfect goth/death-rock album. the riffs are all really catchy, the drumming is perfectly simplistic, and the vocals are seductive and delightfully sinister. i imagine a grinning robot man dressed in leather, beckoning to me from a graveyard.
every song is perfect. perhaps not as perfect as the previous SEXAROID CAPSULE SCHNEIDER single that i uploaded, but this is still one of my all time favorite goth albums.
grab this now.
1. REPLICAS ANDROID
2. PLANET VENUS
3. MIDNIGHT DANCER
4. SISTER GUY
Sex Android (not to be confused with the angura kei band SEX-ANDROID) was the solo project of Phaidia's vocalist, Gilly. Phaidia were legends in the japanese goth-rock scene. as far as i'm concerned, however, this is much better than anything that Phaidia ever did. now, don't get me wrong; i love Phaidia. but this is just so . . . intense. the a-side of this single just roars with sexuality. Gilly croons the lyrics, groaning and panting the whole time. and that guitar riff makes me fucking melt. jesus fucking wept.
the b-side is also really delicious. it suggests longing and lust, but it's much less feral than the title track. really catchy stuff.
[as a side note, what exactly is a sexaroid? because i've seen it in multiple places (for example, Voiss has a song called "Sexaroid Insane", and most famously YAPOOS had a song called "Barbara Sexaroid"). i'm going to assume it's like a, well, "sex android". in the video for the YAPOOS song, Togawa kills some business men (or are they spies?), played by the other members of YAPOOS, and then there's a segment during the spoken word bit where the video uses english words to describe how Togawa (playing Barbara) is half robot, or something.]
1. SEXAROID CAPSULE SCHNEIDER
2. GLAMOROUS LADY
so, here's an excellent little post-punk album by ミシン. they were signed to nagomu, as far as i know, and only put out three releases (this, plus two little EPs). their sound kinda reminds me of The Cure's first album Boys Don't Cry, but much more interesting (probably due to the weird awkwardness; nagomu pretty much only signed bands who were kinda awkward, as i'm sure you all know by now). there's a building intensity on this entire album, like there's something laying right underneath that is about to explode. a primal scream, per say.
anyways, this is a really wonderful album. download this now.
3. Jamaican Eskimo
楽しい音楽 is a fairly obscure band that, as far as i know, only put out one album in 1983. it's very difficult to find info about this band, because their name translates to something like "fun music". i know there were two members, by the name of 吉川洋一郎 (supplying the instruments) and what appears to be the legendary folk/pop singer あがた森魚 (supplying the little boy vocals). whether this is true or not i'm not entirely sure; my source might be wrong.
either way, this album sounds a bit like Picky Picnic or some other nagomu related acts (like 人生, for example). really hyper, childlike strangeness. on one track the vocalist goes through the act of mimicking the sounds of animals (like cats and birds and a sheep, for example). the whole time the synths are very cute and colorful, giving the album a very dreamlike quality.
albums like this are what make me enjoy music. i hope you'll feel the same way.
by request, here is 壱. 壱 is a live collaboration between noise legend MSBR and folk oracle 井内賢吾, recorded on two nights in 1998, and in 1997. both artists are at their prime here. MSBR's synths and tape manipulations are hazy and swampy feeling. 井内賢吾's voice is as terrifying as ever. truly, he is a portal to jigoku. his guitars shake and quiver, like a plague victim coughing out its last breaths. when the oracle begins to howl, my heart palpitates, and i am filled with the deepest sense of dread, and of complete doom. MSBR's noisings are the shadows in this bunraku play, and 井内賢吾 is the lone priest, praying to the holy buddha, but receiving no comfort.
MSBR (aka 田野幸治) is dead. he lost his fight with cancer in 2005. i wouldn't be surprised in the slightest of 井内賢吾 is dead as well. as i have mentioned before, he has essentially disappeared from the world, leaving very little trace. it strikes me as oddly appropriate, considering the nature of his music. sheer bleak terror, shrieks of pain from the waiting grave.
1. Psychic Blue
2. live on 23-05-‘98
3. live on 24-01-’98
4. - (a japanese title. unfortunately i don't know what it is.)
5. live on 24-11-’97
as requested, here is another album by the lovely 河合その子. this album is perhaps not as perfect as Dancin' In The Light (which still remains one of my all time favorite pop albums), but it's certainly worth checking out. it features the splendid "雨のメモランダム", which is quite possibly my favorite song that she ever did (it was also the first song that i ever heard by her). it also features the incredible "カーテンの少年", which is easily one of her best vocal performance. the fluidity with which she moves from one note to the next on this track is absolutely stunning. she seems to float on waves of a tropical ocean (the bossa nova-esque guitars and percussion on this track are also really nice).
the production here is not quite as great as Dancin' In The Light's production (there are a few too many corny back-up vocals here), but it's still a top tier idol pop album, without a doubt.
1. Weekend Monument
3. Endless Theatre
4. さよならBack Stage Kiss
so, here's ＭＯＴＨＥＲ ＧＯＯＳＥ's album. i'm under the impression that this album is particularly rare. i only found this recently, too, so i can believe it.
this album is interesting. the sound they have going here kinda makes me think they were inspired by thrash metal. i mean, it's goth for sure, but it sounds like they were inspired by thrash. so, actually it kinda reminds me of early music from the visual kei scene (but only in technique and spirit). they do the really quick strumming on a couple tracks (like the first track), but the percussion on the entire album is unmistakably goth. very simplistic and yet chaotic. actually, this entire album is rather chaotic. i guess the fast drumming, fast guitar strumming, and the vocalist's really weird voice all cause this. it did take me a while to get used to his voice. it's very squeaky and nasally. kinda cartoonish sounding, actually. it gives the entire album this really strange feeling, like it's sarcastic and mean spirited (maybe i'm just imagining that, but that does seem to be the tones that are being expressed here).
anyways, i really enjoyed this and i'm sure you will, too. if you like both thrash (or hardcore, i guess) and goth then get this. sooner rather than later.
1. Too Dance
2. Red Star
3. In The Far East
5. Channel 2
8. Missing Space
SOIL is a perfect pop album from Syoko, the vocalist of G-Schmitt. this was her first solo album, and it was released the same year as G-Schmitt's brilliant sin, secret & desire. it was even recorded in the same studio as that album.
when first listening to this album, i kept getting reminded of the OST's for Tonari no Totoro and Tenkū no Shiro Rapyuta, as well as a few other early soundtracks by 久石譲. and that's because, as i later discovered, this album was produced, composed, and arranged by the mastermind behind so many of Studio Ghibli's films. yeah, i shit you not. the very delicate, raindrop synths on this album sound very much like some of the less childlike songs from Tonari no Totoro (which remains not only my favorite OST by 久石譲, but also my favorite film by Studio Ghibli).
so, this album is absolutely perfect to my ears. it features my favorite vocalist and my favorite contemporary composer. what's not to like? the songs are perfectly structured, and wonderfully elegant. Syoko has such passion in her voice. i am absolutely swept away by the grace she exhibits here on this pop meets post-punk masterpiece.
(ps. unfortunately the first track sounds a bit off because the vinyl was apparently very scratched, but it clears up a bit about a third of the way through the song, and luckily you can still hear exactly what's going on this song. what i'm saying is it is by no means ruined; it's still probably my second favorite track on the album, after the excellent "Sphinx In The Night". anyways, thanks to BlackiceLORD for this!)
2. Criminal Shuffle
3. Sphinx In The Night
5. Sunday Never Comes
so, on this album, zazie and the gang decide to go all out gay dance club disco pop. i feel like wrapping a pink feather boa around my shoulders and dancing down the street in a pair of white nylon zip-up boots (yeah, i've thought quite a bit about this, obviously). it's very hard to take ＳＯＤＯＭ serious at this point, yet the band seems to be entirely serious. which is what is so fantastic about this, i suppose; they're not being ironic. like, not even a little bit. they most certainly want you to get into the groove, and feel the acid. which is wonderful, i guess. i mean, good for them that they want to have fun.
it's good for us, too, because this is a really fantastic album. if you enjoyed their album KING OV HOUSE (which is my favorite LP from them, though my favorite EP shall always be the dramatically different BEYOND) then you will like this. this is very much like their EP MATERIAL FLOWER, as well. though, here they have completely cut all of their ties to post-punk. and really, they shouldn't be remembered as a post-punk band (and certainly not a hardcore band, as they only had two hardcore LPs), as most of their output was this silly/sincere dance music. and i love them for it.
my favorite track on this album is probably the second track, "Slave To The Body". zazie's vocal delivery on this album is so delightful. he's completely given up his weird growling/moaning vocals here, which is fine, because he's a completely competent singer.
a second favorite would have to be the second to last track, "Dream..., Illusion...". the synth line (mimicking a flute of some sort) on this track is absolutely delightful. and, once again, zazie's voice sends shivers down my spine. so, maybe his voice isn't traditionally beautiful, but something about it really does make my hair stand on end. honestly, i think i'm rather glad that i don't know what he's singing about, because that could very well spoil it.
anyways, check this out if you want a really slow paced but completely catchy and still very strange pop album. i think ＳＯＤＯＭ may have finally become my favorite band. i can't get enough.
1. Skin Deep
2. Slave To The Body
3. It's Paradise
4. Morning Light
5. Dancing In The Moon
6. Orange Sunshine
7. Dream..., Illusion...
8. Double Side, Double Meaning
MENSTRUATION is a 1993 noisy post-punk/no wave album by the mysterious (me being lazy: i don't know anything about the band) band MENSU. it is my assumption that the band is probably all female. maybe i'm wrong, but with this sound it just seems likely. anyways, the vocalist bark and breaths and moans sexually. basically she's either trying to seduce the listener or mimic a macaw the entire album; it's really incredible. some of my favorite vocals that i've encountered in a while. really crazy stuff here. another thing is that the vocals seem to be barked over a megaphone or something, because they're muted and they have a mechanical distortion sound to them.
it also has a light no wave influence. once or twice on the album you can hear jazzy guitar or piano. the whole thing kinda reminds me of Non Band if Non Band wasn't so painfully kawaii.
most certainly grab this if you like really angry/sexy girly punk.
1. MY FUNNY CHRISTMAS
Prayer Rehearsal is a very murky black metal album by Durazis. this album is a celebration of destruction and satanic ritual. rough grumbling black noise straight from the darkest pits of blackest hell. this album could curdle any christian blood.
1. Our Father
2. Durazis Prayer
3. Tongue of Alagarda
4. Across The Neptune Horizon
El Dorado was, as far as i know, ＡＬＬＥＲＧＹ's only studio album. it's brilliant. i still prefer their live album that was recorded at the Shinjuku Loft, but that's simply because of the energy. that album remains my favorite live album ever recorded. this is just really great source material, i suppose. and it's awesome to hear how they sound here, and then compare it to the live album; they perform better live. i always wonder how that comes to be; does the producer force them into a different sound (like with the very well known case of Joy Division, where their producer wanted them to have a much more mellow and less punk sound for their album). regardless, i don't care too much in the long run, as this is still a perfect album. any fans of the live album should enjoy this, without a doubt.
1. Poker Face City
3. Burning Angel
4. El Dorado
6. Our Time
7. Tokyo Frustration
8. Double Think
10. Plastic Toy
i don't even know where to start with this album by 丸尾丸子. it's a lovely, sad little piece of pop music, with accordions, toy pianos, flutes, and harps creating a childlike yet ethereal sound. this is somehow a combination of the lovely pop-folk and jazz sounds of ゑでぃまぁこん combined with the surreal cell-phone music of Sasaki San.
this album is a lovely/surreal journey into another world. download this now.
ＲＥＡＬ were a self-published (starting after this EP) post-punk band. they put out quite a few EPs, beginning with 1981's REAL, but they didn't put out a full length until 1991. i haven't heard it, so i can't judge it's worth, but all of their EPs up to that point were sublime. this first one is no exception. it's a banging and growling monster with harsh feedback, rolling piano, and grunted vocals. it's also absolutely stunning to listen to.
most certainly check this out if you liked ＡＬＬＥＲＧＹ.
here is the album FOLK MUSIC by ex-White Hospital member Jun Konagaya. this music is what White Hospital would have sounded like if they had taken a stronger power electronics approach. although, actually, this is more like what S·CORE might sound like if there were barked vocals performed over it.
there are, however, moments of stark beauty on tracks such as "Heil" and "Grove". they are completely lovely, and the contrast is really interesting.
download this now if you like power electronics and ambient like S·CORE and État Brût (or, if you just liked White Hospital).
2. Frozen Limit
3. Bremen 1
6. Alps Noel
7. Bremen 2
11. Nobel Folk
by request, here's Macronympha's Relentless Agony. this tape is really fantastic. this is one of my favorite albums by one of my favorite noise musicians (my second favorite after 非常階段). the sound he presents here is absolutely terrifying. it rends me in two, and completely rapes me. i can't get enough.
my favorite track on this album is probably "Methane Gas Trigger". the light rhythm going on here is delightfully catchy, until it fades back out again and then my head is split down the middle. this is one of my favorite noise tracks, period.
1. Headache Remedy
2. Rock Slide 1
3. Rock Slide 2
4. The Hatred Of Love
5. Methane Gas Trigger
6. Coal-Mine Structure Collapse
7. Hurricane Warning
8. Tainted Woman
this is the live album by post-punk band ＡＬＬＥＲＧＹ (or is it アレルギー? impossible to say, considering they used both. i'll stick with the unicode spelling). it was released by Teichiku Entertainment, which also put out music by Pizzicato Five, Urban Dance, Shi-Shonen, コシミハル, ゲルニカ, 細野晴臣, and plenty of other new-wave and related bands. they also did the japanese releasing for some mediocre western bands, but we'll forget about that for now.
i present you their live album because it is superior to the studio album that i have. in energy and performance, sure, but also in song choices. for example, the live album doesn't have their brilliant "『 』 (かたち)" which i can't. stop. fucking. listening. to. jeeeeesus christ.
this reminds me a bit of ＳＯＤＯＭ's hardcore era, but only in delivery. i guess it really doesn't sound too much like them, though. it sounds more like すきすきスウィッチ, actually. or maybe OFF MASK 00. either way, the music is very frantic and the vocalist is absolutely manic in his delivery. it's one of the best live albums that i have ever heard. if i had the option, i would sell my soul to have been at Shinjuku Loft on the 27th of october in 1984. what a fantastic show that would have been.
download this now or regret it forever.
2. Plastic Toy
4. Our Time
6. 二重思考 (ダブルシンク)
10. 『 』 (かたち)
12. Cosmic Ray
13. 20th Century Boy
16. Monkey Drive
here is, as far as i'm concerned, ＳＯＤＯＭ's greatest achievement: BEYOND. it is the only time (as far as i know) that ＳＯＤＯＭ performed such luscious post-punk. sure, they did post-punk on TV MURDER, but that was an entirely different beast. although i love every single album/EP/single that ＳＯＤＯＭ put out, this is easily my favorite. few post-punk singles even come close, as far as i'm concerned, to the grandness of "Castle In The Air" and the title track.
on the title track, "Beyond...", the sound is just so . . . indescribable. it is exotic and lofty; heavenly, in a word. not terribly threatening, but with this single/EP/whatever they really didn't try to be loud or aggressive. with this song they achieved a beauty that i have rarely heard anywhere else. it sends shivers down my spine.
the b-side, "Castle In The Air", is almost as powerful as the title track. i can't get over the percussion on this track. it's so catchy, so perfect.
while i loved what they did after this single, i feel it was a mistake for them to move on so soon to . . . whatever it is they were doing on King Ov House.
(credit goes to elias for sharing this with me.)
2. Castle In The Air
VASSER... is one of my all time favorite albums from the visual-kei scene. it is also one of the first to get me into the entire scene. the music that DAS:VASSER makes here is absolutely filled with emotion and violent intent. the vocalist stumbles about, the guitars whine and crackle, groan and hiss. and yet it's so pure; when the vocalist stutters or when his voice cracks it just feels so genuine. it is perfectly imperfect.
this is quite a bit different from previous VK albums i've posted; it's much more accessible, and yet it's still completely crushing as a final product. most certainly check this out.
3. Cutting Extacy
5. attempt suicide (ノンフィクションヴァージョン)
so, at long last, here's another album by the always changing ＺＥＬＤＡ. these ladies started out as post-punk in the early 1980s with that first album i posted last year, but by the mid-1990s they had taken on inspirations from american pop and "r&b" (see: not really r&b, but just soul inspired pop sung by black men and women. the popular media called it "r&b" because they are racist. shit, they still call Rihanna, Beyoncé, Usher, and other black pop singers "r&b" even today. anyways, pop trivia as cultural criticism, etc, i'll shut up now). also, they wanted to be jamaican, i think. they didn't sound like reggae or dancehall or anything like that (they sound more like Bow Wow Wow, actually), but with this album and another album of theirs from the 1990s they used a heavy jamaican aesthetic. hell, on the cover of their album ラヴ・リヴ・ライフ they even replaced the four asian girls with three jamaican girls (the remix of that album also had four jamaican faces instead of four asian faces). on the cover of this album they're even pushing it a bit close to black-face . . . or maybe they just got really heavy tans for the cover? anyways, i'm not saying they're racist. maybe just a bit naive. either way, they really seem to be into it, because the record that they wrote while under the influence of rastafarianism (i jest) is absolutely fantastic. one of their better albums.
there's probably something weird and esoteric going on here, considering the title of the album (the only thing i can think of is "pūjā" (पूजा) in hinduism, which is a ritual performed to honor a specific god. the one particular "full moon pūjā" that i can think of is the puja for the goddess Durgā , which of course is performed on a full moon . . . ), the seal of david above the title, and the ankh on the one girl's hat. i wish i could understand japanese well enough to know what Sachiko is singing about. if anyone could tell me i'd be more than grateful.
there's a really comical exchange during the ninth track where Sachiko talks about how she just left japan yesterday and how she loves jamaica. this jamaican dude goes on about "sachiko, girl, i miss you, stay in jamaica, don't go back to japan, mon" and then Sachiko sings about how much she misses jamaica, etc, etc, etc. if they went on a big tour in jamaica i am unaware of it.
anyways, this is some really great stuff. download it ASAP.
二十才の記念碑 曼珠沙華 is a beyond sublime album by the flawless 山口百恵 (i posted her GOLDEN FLIGHT album a while back, for those who haven't checked the archive). this album kills me on every level. i am devastated by the delivery, the flow, Momoe's breath-taking vocals, absolutely everything. it is a perfect album, by every means. while she released a staggering number of albums throughout her ten year-long career which began at the age of thirteen in 1970, none of them ever managed to be anything but great.
her dedication and commitment to the music is what, i think, made her such a breathtaking powerhouse of a vocalist and a performer. a long time ago, i remember watching a video of her final performance. she comes out on the empty stage in a poofy white dress, with a crown of white flowers upon her head for the last song (the crushing さよならの向う側), and the lights are down low. Momoe looks to the crowd, and they cheer her on as tears roll down her face. she begins the song, and struggles at first with keeping her voice even as she weeps. but, soon she empowers herself, and ends up giving the single most majestic and awe-inspiring performance that i have ever witnessed. the lights blaze behind her as she sings the last words of the song, and i feel like i've been witness to a goddess.
every song on this album is filled with the most exquisite emotional depth. she sings from her very heart, and you can feel it as it rips through you on every ballad and rousing epic. because of this, i have a very hard time listening to this album while doing anything else, because i end up losing interest in the task. essentially, this album can never be background music for me. the affect it has on me really is that strong.
the highlight of this album is track six, 曼珠沙華. it builds up slow with Momoe accompanied by an acoustic guitar, but soon enough an electric guitar and an entire string orchestra joins in as Momoe's voice builds and builds. it is everything that i love about this incredible woman.
10. 十五の頃 (紅梅集)
YAWA YAWA is an album by the fantastic パイナップル4.9. they were an eerie psychedelic post-punk band that Stalking Duppi's C.PATERA described as being "almost like a no-wave band with all the nervous tension drained, leaving them diffused and skeletal". i'm not entirely sure if i agree with that or not, but i certainly see how it's possible. sometimes it does border on the sort of sound that bands like Non Band were working with; a fairly mellow, relaxed sort of no-wave.
this band deserves much more attention. if you enjoyed the likes of ウニタ・ミニマ and ルナパーク・アンサンブル then you'll probably like this. fans of ＬＩＢＩＤＯ might enjoy this, too, as it has the same sort of atmosphere.
p.s. i can't remember where i found this EP . . . i downloaded it a while back, but i wish i could remember.
1. Diamond Crack
at long last, i am able to share with you this brilliant album by Madame Edwarda. this album is beyond perfect. i am convinced that this is one of the most important goth rock albums ever made.
from the first track to the last this album is a force to be reckoned with. this has much more experimentation with sounds than the average goth rock album (but, then, Madame Edwarda were never "average"; every song that they ever released is masterfully crafted, particularly the epic nine minute long "Lorelei" and its sister track, "Arabian Nights"); there are only passing and very brief resemblances to any sort of pop sound on this album, unlike a great deal of japanese goth. every track on this album can stand alone perfectly fine, but they really deserve to be listened to as a whole.
if you like goth or post-punk then you must have this album in your collection. nothing else can quite compare to the splendid majesty that is Mme Edwarda.
(supplied by elias of evil-en-lucifer. he recently purchased a copy of the album, so he suggested that i share it here.)
4. The Horror Cave!
6. Le Sabbat
7. Trench Coat
9. メッキ II
11. Never Say Good-Night
nonetheless, ＳＯＤＯＭ's cover of "Cry" by The Birthday Party is certainly an interesting root of how the band's constantly changing sound came to be.
annnnd, here's the original:
i say it's not particularly interesting because it is, besides the intro, an exact remake of the original. all the same, ＳＯＤＯＭ's cover is superior.
annnnd, here's the original:
i say it's not particularly interesting because it is, besides the intro, an exact remake of the original. all the same, ＳＯＤＯＭ's cover is superior.
i'm not sure why the first album that i posted by 井内賢吾 wasn't 犬神と家畜. it may have been because of the sheer revulsion that i have experienced when listening to this album. it is perhaps the blackest album that i have ever heard. it's very difficult for me to write anything about this album because of that.
to give you some idea of what you're about to hear (even if you did download the previous album by this madman that i posted, nothing will prepare you for this; the two albums are quite different), i'll explain to you the folklore behind at least part of the name (which reads as "Inugami to Kachiku", or "Dog-spirit and Livestock"). in shinto belief, an inugami was a dog spirit which would do your bidding if you summoned it. or, more specifically, if you made it; you see, an inugami is made by tying up a dog (or burying it up to its neck in the ground) and then placing food just out of its reach. the dog starves (or its head is cut off), and it returns from the dead as a ravenous servant which will bring about violence at its masters commands . . . if it chooses to. the inugami could just as easily turn on its "master". just as the inugami would be unforgiving for the cruel nature of its death, this album is also completely unforgiving in its delivery and its vision.
this album will eat you alive.
Géométrie D'Un Assassinat is an album by belgian industrial act État Brût. this band played a very distorted form of ambient industrial in the style of S·CORE or White Hospital; very slow, meandering music, with underlying themes of mental retardation, strangulation, and murky claustrophobia. i always feel so disoriented when i'm listening to anything by this brilliant band.
most certainly check it out if you liked Dross.
3. J. Michaux
5. Pôles Du Cerveau
6. Dealey Plaza
7. Karol Simon
8. 7 H 30
早瀬優香子's breathtaking LOVE YOUR LIFE has consistently been one of my favorite albums for about a year or two now. the music she makes here is delightful. it feels like a walk through a rainy jungle. though superficially it might sound a bit like quite a bit of idol pop, if you listen closer you can hear a certain quality that sets it apart; there is a fertile, lively feeling here that is very hard to explain. you really just have to hear it. the best comparison i could make is the modern musician KOKIA. it has that same mountain spirit quality to it.
i think my favorite track is the ambrosial seventh track, "lost in early summer".
7. lost in early summer
here is an art book by the brilliant Kasai Ayumi. her art is completely unrivaled in the shounen-ai scene. everything this woman pens is magnificent and completely luscious. it makes me think of early BL works like Kaze to Ki no Uta by Takemiya Keiko. each line is perfect, and the art never loses its quality. simply sublime.
April is the cruellest month (the spelling is Takayanagi's, not my own) is an album by the legendary 高柳昌行 and his New Direction Unit. The title of this album is taken from the first line of the 1922 poem The Waste Land by T. S. Eliot (written before his ridiculous conversion to Anglicanism in '27). but where that poem (or groups of poems) was more stark and bold, this album is bloodcurdling and violent. every scrape of the guitar, every whine of the saxophone, every crash in the background feels like the soundtrack to a breaking mind. every once in a while it even borders on noise à la 非常階段 or 灰野敬二. and the violence and destruction just escalates as the album goes on, coming to its climax on the vicious final track, "My Friend, Blood Shaking My Heart".
in my personal opinion, i think this is most likely 高柳昌行's opus.
1. We Have Existed
2. What Have We Given?
3. My Friend, Blood Shaking My Heart
AZITO~空カラノ手紙~ is a really great album by post-punk band DIE-ZW3E. they were heavily inspired by heavy metal and hard rock, but their sound is still very post-punk. this of course was a very common sound in the early visual kei scene (with other bands like VOIS having a very similar sound). tracks like "空からの手紙-From your friend-" have that undeniable post-punk and borderline goth sound to them.
3. For My Tomorrow-現実の中で-
4. 空からの手紙-From your friend-
Lovely Songs was the second album by idol-pop singer 柏原芳恵. while she's not my favorite idol-pop singer, (even by a long shot) her voice is absolutely seductive. i also think the production of her songs on this album is practically perfect in every way. this is certainly an album i would suggest to anyone just getting into idol-pop. it's gentle and cute, and "lovey dovey". not much to it, really, but it's so much fun to listen to.
2. フィフティー ン・ラブ
200% is an album by the idol-pop singer 太田貴子. unlike some previous idol-pop albums i've posted, this is indeed something with depth. the songs here are as bleak as i've ever heard in any idol-pop (it's level of crushing sadness is on the level of something like ｆｉｃｔｉｏｎ or G-Schmitt). almost every song here is filled with the most intense longing. if i was to relate it to another idol-pop album, i'd probably say it was most like Dancin' In The Light by 河合その子. this probably isn't quite as foreboding, but it most certainly comes close with songs like "The Changes You Give Me" and 忘れチャイナの青い鳥; dark melancholy behind visages of pop music.
(also, what a completely misleading cover.)
2. 気分は ミ・ス・ト・レ・ス
3. どけて!!(DANCE AWAY)
4. とりあえず Night more
5. 遅れてきた BIRTH DAY
7. Voice Stranger
8. ハロー MR.イエスタディ
9. The Changes You Give Me
LOVERS is my favorite album by the all female early 1980s pop-rock group プリンセス・プリンセス. プリプリ released quite a few albums and, as far as i know, they were very popular. their sound was absolutely adorable, and i can't believe they aren't more popular nowadays.
the album cover of this album is a bit misleading; the songs are not as bleak and brooding as the cover would suggest.
POISON is another album by the the always brilliant ＲＥＢＥＣＣＡ. this album features their melancholic single "MOON" (the lyrics of this song have something to do with a girl destroying her life). the whole album remains fairly low-tempo, and very somber (except for the giddy "CHERRY SHUFFLE"). i think the best example of this is the rather pensive 真夏の雨. however, i think my favorite track is the incredibly tight final track, "OLIVE". it's phenomenal.
1. POISON MIND
4. TENSION LIVING WITH MUSCLE
5. DEAD SLEEP
6. KILLING ME WITH YOUR VOICE
7. NERVOUS BUT GLAMOROUS
8. CHERRY SHUFFLE
9. TROUBLE OF LOVE
愛の嵐 is an incredible album by 少女人形, a hardcore band with many post-punk influences. though they didn't start out as a band with any post-punk influences, by this album they had become very post-punk. that actually seems to be a common theme with hardcore bands in japan (even The Stalin put out a post-punk album (FISH INN)).
everything about this is perfect. one of my favorite albums as of late.
1. Lost Lost
2. Inside Reality
3. Kill Age
5. Moon Light Love
essentially no information exists in english about this band (not even any pictures besides the one i've used seem to exist). so, if anyone can help me with info about them then that would be swell.
anyways, this is their EP 病人車「躁」. it's a mix of trash metal and hardcore punk. it's really, really good.
深山 is the self-titled album by Deep Mountains (i'm not sure the proper way to tag them). they're a much more recent band in the blossoming chinese black metal scene. the music is incredibly polished and produced, and the sound evokes a deep forest more so than deep mountains (and not only because of the many forest sound samples (see: chirping birds, rustling branches, wind, and what sounds like an animal howling at one point)).
each track on this album is long and dramatic. it's very much guitar driven, and when there is feedback it sounds clean, and it's not buried in static. so, it's really quite unlike the previous black metal albums i've posted. nonetheless, this is very good. i think my favorite track would have to be 松林赋. the outro to that song is particularly delicious.