So Skrillex released (part of?) his new album through some iPhone game today, and this song is the one that’s popped up in my timelines and Tweet stream because…well, it finds CL from 2NE1 and presumably G-Dragon rapping over a Skrillex and Diplo production. Still figuring out my thoughts o it…but pretty interesting development nonetheless.
In the hands of Japanese pop singer Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, cuteness is the stuff of nightmares and language is no barrier to a hit.
An article about Kyary and her world tour has been posted on the website for the Australian newspaper, The Sydney Morning Herald. Check it out!
Hey I wrote this
Also I watched Kyary in New York tonight it was really great
Eadonmm, the solo electronic project of Osaka’s Shinya Wada, offers a shadowy, captivating debut filled with disorienting moments. Armed with pitched vocal samples and goth-leaning visuals, he establishes a genuinely unsettling mood throughout.
One of my favorite albums of the year.
Click the link to see meet & greet photos from her Chicago concert! :D
Dude with a Maltine shirt in the first one deserves all your respect
Don’t even talk to me unless you own a Japanese VHS copy of Hot to Trot.
I have seen this wonderful film twice, a winner all around
Oricon Trail For The Week Of 2/24/2014 To 3/02/2014
#1 AKB48 “Mae Shika Mukanee” (1091406 Copies Sold)
The above is not AKB48, but rather a rock band called The Ikigire covering the super-sized group’s latest singe “Mae shika Mukanee.” This isn’t some renegade act though - the featured clip was uploaded by the official AKB48 YouTube account, the sort of did-not-see-that-coming move they’ve embraced in order to get more attention. Whereas other pop groups won’t even bother putting up a full-length video (you want HD, what the hell you on???), AKB is trying to go viral.
That would be just a silly footnote if the group, the best-selling-albeit-most-divisive unit in Japan, had not recently gone through so much change. Several members long associated with the group…we are talking women who have been with them since the start…graduated, and AKB held a “big group shuffle" that disrupted the formerly established teams. Their latest single still sold over a million copies…but many fans on Twitter noted they didn’t do it in one day, like they’ve accomplished in the past. This is a new AKB, in search of a new identity.
The original version of the single, and the one topping charts (here), is right down the middle. It is not nearly as sugar-coated as other AKB48 singles…despite a lot of call-and-response business, this one is still not as hyper cheery as, like, “Heavy Rotation,”…yet it is still pretty generic, a guitar-centric hop-a-long that goes on way too long. It would be a ho-hum single between albums…but it is the first thing we’ve heard from them in their new form. It comes off like treading water.
Which is where the band version at the top of this post comes in. That group…made up of AKB48 staff members (I believe)…is the only full-length version of the song on the AKB48 YouTube channel. It follows in the footsteps of last year’s “Koi Suru Fortune Cookie,” which featured multiple videos designed to go viral, complete with simple dance. This one is more of a “look at this, a rock-style take on a pop song, who would of thunk it!,” but it is telling that it is the one being pushed on YouTube (a primary source of music discovery…and, in Japan, a site tied up with AKB48 quite some bit). AKB still have the fan power to move a million units in one week…but overall, this feels like a bit of breathing room.
BerryzKobo - “130 Million Diet-Minded Country” (2014)
I was reminded of this, the second song on “EDM idol group” BerryzKobo’s latest single (the first), after The Singles Jukebox covered Korean outfit Lip Service’s “Yum Yum Yum,” which shares a lot in common with the above. Although Lip Service are more overwhelming and Berryz more detail oriented, the overriding theme is pretty much the same for both - the mental terror feeling compelled to be on a diet brings.
One should always take the English translations of these songs with a grain of salt (food reference!) - especially official ones - but the captions for this one are especially strange. Whereas “Yum Yum Yum” drove the insanity home through mantras (“hamburger hamburger hamburger”), Berryz sound clinical here. “After 60th birthday people get more conscious and go on a diet all year round.” “Last night’s buffet dinner was too much for my stomach.” So on and so on, punctuated by the almost comical repetition of “Every single Japanese citizen is always on a diet.”
Like “Yum Yum Yum,” there is something horrifying about this song. The sound, for one, gets weird, especially when they try to sing “WOW” and it comes out this horribly distorted thing. There’s a drop, and even more vocal manipulation. The whole thing is just really warped, and only becomes more when placed with other lyrics. Our protagonist wakes up in a cold sweat because she’s late to work…but all she’s thinking about is if she can shed some weight via all that water loss. The daily commute by train is a nightmare. And, most clearly, is the constant belief that love and happiness is only acceptable if the diet is achieved…”I want to be in love,” sure, but also “I want to believe in the future” which, geez, way to ramp it up.
Japanese producers Obey City and Seiho created the collaborative EP Shochu Sounds for a recent tour. Featuring a pair of tracks from each, it’s a solid introduction to both artists, touching on what makes them such promising producers to watch.
Solid introduction to these two, though you should also definitely get your hands on Seiho’s Abstraktsex and Obey City’s Champagne Sounds to hear these guys at their best.
LINQ - COLORFUL DAYS
This is an art attack. This is an art attack. This is Art Attack…
Madeleine Lee: Recently, I was trying to explain to a friend the difference in tendencies between K-pop and J-pop. I was trying to do this on a cup of coffee and an empty stomach, so I didn’t succeed, but I’ll try again here: One thing I’ve observed is the tendency in J-pop to have several voices sing the melody together, as opposed to K-pop’s practice of splitting one main singer into (sometimes pitch-adjusted) harmony. “Colorful Days” does this and then goes one further, assembling a slew of genres and signifiers (wubs, beat hiccups, saxophone) into a unified whole. It flows nicely, but “smooth” isn’t quite the word — there’s still enough of the different textures to catch.
Iain Mew: LinQ are like an all-in-one package of top Japanese idol groups of recent times. The electro-futurism of Perfume, the relentless intensity and dubstep-incorporating spectacle of Momoiro Clover Z, the… huge number of members of AKB48. That “Colorful Days” manages to fit many different good things together into one song without them clashing is some achievement, and the glitching and saxophone bits even do some extra work to establish a fun separate identity.
Alfred Soto: Bigger and faster than Perfume, not stronger maybe. The crypto-Atari beats and vocals chase each around the same motherboard.
Will Adams: It’s Perfume minus the polished songwriting and Nakata frippery. Call it Febreeze.
Anthony Easton: I am on board with the disco lasers, but everything else is so unrelentingly cheerful and manically upbeat that it becomes profoundly obnoxious. Which might be a feature for a lot of listeners, but for me, is like being throttled to death by Jigglypuff.
Scott Mildenhall: The song is a treadmill — a whizzy, new one — and LinQ are showing it off to their friends. “Yes,” they think, “that is quite an impressive treadmill.” And the group keep it at a steady pace for about three minutes, and yes, it is quite impressive, but also moving quite steadily. So their friends send in some quacking ducks to “accidentally” nudge the turbo button, forcing LinQ to frantically (and successfully) try and turn it off, not realising that in the process they’ve queued up a surprise key change for about 10 seconds later. Then the treadmill explodes. It’s quite exciting. But it took a while to get there.
Brad Shoup: I’m not one to back machines in a fight, but LinQ were winning this one-handed before getting bucked halfway through by a system error and reboot. I suppose that sort of thing is played out. Then again, so is hitting the Shift key. No, my favorite part is when LinQ ride a frantic bassline, tossing the same rappy cadence at each other until someone throws it at the ceiling, possibly in rage. As a newly minted laborer in the software industry, the subsuming of humanity into technology makes a hell of a lot less sense than a mutual breakdown and shit-fit.
Patrick St. Michel: “EDM” has become a trendy thing in Japan, to the point where Universal Music Japan made a website devoted entirely to it, promoting baffling wait-huh acts like The Wanted and Capital Cities. Established J-pop artists now drop in wobble breakdowns, usually in a way that comes off like someone desperately trying to seem cool. LinQ (stands for “Love in Qshu,” with that last word being another abbreviate for home-region Kyushu) manage to actually sound smooth while still working in sonic elements of contemporary electronic music. The beat slows and ripples, but it never comes off as showy, just another detail moving along while the group sings over Yasutaka-Nakata plink-plonks (made even more clear when you remember this). It won’t fly with the club crowd, but this paints a brighter future for EDM pop.[Read, comment and vote on The Singles Jukebox ]