You can watch our unreleased song called Blue on NME link.
So my piece about the Nico Nico Chokaigi - imagine if YouTube had a massive convention, followed by a concert where viral sensations did what made them famous on a stage, IN AN ARENA - finally went up on MTV 81. Yay! Check it out.
I had no idea what a big deal this event was heading into it, and was caught off guard by how huge it was. If I could go back in time, I would pitch an article to somebody about the appearance of political parties and the United States Military at an event geared towards, well, a demographic that’s not radically different than your stereotypical Redditor. The music was cool but…the realization that Japan’s most sought-after consumers in 2013 are dudes super into anime and glow sticks was sorta crazy.
Above is a poster put together by the Liberal Democratic Party, Japan’s ruling party, clearly aimed at people obsessed with cartoons. LDP speakers gave speeches on trucks…while wearing cartoon ears and other anime garb. Another party let you make your own election poster, which resulted in folks dressed as Vegeta running for the Diet. It was all very savvy - Japanese voters are apathetic, and political parties here have long been slow to find ways to appeal to them, especially younger ones. This was them learning how to target specific demographics.
More interesting to me was the presence of the U.S. Military. Japan’s online communities tend to be extremely conservative, and do not like the American military. So this was the U.S. trying to win them over by…letting them try on fatigues and pose next to jeeps and tanks. It was all very crazy, and I think I need several thousand loads to unload it all.
Over the course of its six-year existence, Flau Records has carved out an identity as a record label offering intimate music. The actual sonic styles of the artists represented by …
I reviewed the new split EP from Nagoya’s Noah and California’s SELA for The Japan Times this week. It’s a chilling little listen…like having someone breathe cold air on your neck. It’s also free, so go check it out.
Point of view / Kyary Pamyu Pamyu
“Invader Invader” officially came out today in Japan (maybe on iTunes too), and in the next few days I’ll write A LOT about that song - I actually just wrapped up my review of the song for the Jukebox. I love that single, a lot.
I hadn’t heard the B-side, “Point Of View,” until just now and it’s also pretty good! It’s the sonic opposite of “Invader” - that song is all about being confrontational, whereas “Point Of View” just wants to share cookies with you and then bounce around the room for a bit. By now, noting that working with Kyary has allowed Yasutaka Nakata a chance to play around with a new palette of sounds isn’t fresh, but here’s a clear example. Playroom pop, for sure, and would have felt at home on Pamyu Pamyu Revolution.
Definitely not essential in her catalog - I mean, that A-side - but “Point Of View” might make your morning a little happier.
Ykiki Beat - “Garden”
You like Orange Juice? You like songs built for the summer? You like handclaps? You like shout-alongs? Meet Ykiki Beat, from Tokyo.
Seconds into Desire, Mark Redito (who records as spazzkid) completely drops his guard. “We’ve only just begun/but I think/you’re the one/breathing life into me.” It’s the sort of sentence that might make a date arch their eyebrows up, as if to say “really now?” - the song is called “Getting To Know You” for extra context. Yet it’s that total romantic vulnerability which makes the song and the album it leads off on such an engaging listen - Desire is completely head-over-heels infatuated, but also sounding so delicate.
Sonically, the Los-Angeles-via-the-Philippines producer’s fidgety electronics bring to mind the likes of Toro Y Moi and Bibio, musicians unafraid of leapfrogging between styles from song to song, and who also don’t blink at sticking odd details into their tracks. Nearly every song here features a sound or two (or more) that come off like it’s poking through from the other side - a woman’s giggle, a breathing sound, a “woo.” “40 Winks” even does an about-face midway through, diverting into something sounding like nothing that came before it for a few seconds. Redito includes several instrumental tracks that especially highlight his production skills, like “Kokeshi Doll” and the bubbly “Forgiveness.”
What makes this album stand out, though, is Redito’s emotional vibe. The Toro Y Moi comparison seems safe until you take into account Chaz Bundick’s lyrical themes, which tend to be about breakups or long-lasting relationships (see this year’s Anything In Return in particularly). Bibio definitely gets sentimental, but he also gets playful. Desire, meanwhile, is all puppy-dog eyes and nervous heartbeats. This oozes new love, of that period between newness and stillness.
Appropriately, the music leans softer. “Getting To Know You” features what sound like bell twinkles and leaves plenty of space for every element to tumble over one another. “40 Winks” takes the piano from a Memoryhouse cover of My Bloody Valentine’s “When You Sleep,” and turns it into the foundation for the most intimate number here (all while never bringing to mind MBV - I wouldn’t have known where it came from if it weren’t for this article). “Loving Free” might be the most blissed-out song here…and even that comes off like pillow talk thanks to the muffled vocals and xylophone-like touches.
It’s not all hand-in-hand walks through the park, as closer “If Not You Then Who” ends the album on a total downer vibe (it’s still a great song - and features a koto, nice). The majority of Desire, though, is earnestly giddy, while also being an excellent display of Redito’s production skills and ability to create specific moods with them. Desire can at times feel a bit too forthcoming - but if you let it in, you’ll find one of 2013’s best albums.
[11:28 PM] OH MY GOOOOD Corey from Slipknot… ! AHHHHHHHHH!!! SO HAPPPPyyyYYY
Kyary’s love of Slipknot has been documented before, but that’s not going to stop me from reblogging this fantastic thing
(Over/Under on how many Linkin Park songs Kyary has on her iPod…3)
yes, absolutely, i agree
Denpagumi.inc - “Denden Passion”
I’m not naive - I know the inner workings of the Japanese music business are as manufactured as any other nation’s. Still, one thing that separates the J-Pop industry from the rest is the fact a song like the above can come out on a major label and be marketed as pop music. You think “212” or “Countdown” or anything Ke$ha has done touches this madness? This is like a bunch of music producers got together and asked one another “what would make a good song?” Their conclusion - “everything.”
The J-Pop trend of 2013…so far…has been the incorporation of brostep into songs. The most prominent example - at least before “Invader Invader,” which, well I’m working on my thousand-word thesis on THAT one stay tuned - has been “Neo Stargate” from the current hyperactive bosses of Japanese idol pop Momoiro Clover Z. They do a bit more with the head-tossing sound, but the overall effect is something that I think hurts a lot of J-Pop trying out some new wubs - it is just kind of showing the world “hey, you hear THIS sounds before? We have!” That doesn’t mean the song is bad…but it isn’t anything amazing, for sure.
Denpagumi.inc…who are a lot like Momoiro Clover Z, except a thousand times more nerdy…do not feature anything resembling American brostep on “Denden Passion.” Yet, more than any act this year, they capture the spirit of that style best. What I like about brostep…and, in particularly Skrillex…is how absolutely chaotic the part that follows the drop is, how it feels like the song is inches away from ripping itself apart…yet always holds together. “Denden Passion’s” drop is the entire damn thing, the mix of rock guitars, hot-potato vocals, synth cheese, spoken-word interludes, muffled intimidation and straight-up silence…I think I’m forgetting some details…seems like overload. This should dissolve into a bubbling pile of sugar about a hundred times…yet Dempagumi.inc hold it together to deliver the year’s best injection of hyperactivity.
Great video to boot.