Twice is Sending You a Signal

More and more kpop groups which I’ve been fond of retired lately – Wonder Girls (still can’t get over this one), 4Minute, SISTAR or 2NE1. The giants like Girls’ Generation or BIG BANG may still be around, but I don’t think they’ll stay around very much longer. The entertainment industry is a very vicious place, and new bands pop off straight away to fill the void left by their sunbaes.
In less than two years, Twice has become one of the main forces of the Korean pop. Starting with Like Ooh Ahh, through ubiquitous Cheer Up, TT and Knock Knock, the girlband continues to make a hit after hit, enjoys commercial success and observes great view numbers on Youtube. Twice quickly cemented their position at the forefront of the kpop phenomenon, and now the girls are back with the new single, Signal. So, does it live up to the hype? Continue reading →

Babes Never Die

My top 5 Scotland-related things are: Frankie Boyle, Nazareth, Trainspotting, the accent, and most recently, Honeyblood. The band initially came up on my radar when I heard their first self-titled album, and I immediately fell in love. Thankfully, I didn’t have to wait very long for the follow-up record. The rocking duo composed of Stina Tweeddale and Cat Myers returned with a Babes Never Die CD in November last year (I took my sweet time writing this).. Continue reading →

Visiting Yutaka Ozaki in Shibuya, Tokyo

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Even by itself, my recent trip to Japan had a very special meaning to me. But there were also several crucial objectives planned way beforehand to be ticked off from the bucket list – some were related to cuisine, others to culture, history, nature or entertainment. However, one of the places I visited had also spiritual significance of sorts. While the stopover there lasted maybe 20 minutes, it was a very emotional moment, and it left a powerful impression on me. Located relatively close to Shibuya Station, I paid a visit to a memorial plate of Yutaka Ozaki, late rebellious singer of the 1980s, whose music and charisma actually hugely contributed to my interest in Japan, and he was among the main reasons for my travel there. Continue reading →

Lovely Summer Chan – LSC, the best Japanese album of 2016

I’ve been listening to random songs on Youtube and that was when I came upon this song by Lovely Summer Chan (ラブリーサマーちゃん), called 202. Soothing vocals, mellow music vibe, and a colorful music video immediately won me over. Quick Google check, and I had pre-ordered the limited edition album, LSC. Few weeks later, I was already a huge fan. By the end of 2016, the CD which got released in early November became the most listened to album on my playlist. Continue reading →

The Heavy, Courtney Barnett, and how I’m revising my views on modern music

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There was a time when rock n’ roll in its different forms was a dominant force in music. Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Queen, Journey, Metallica, Guns N’ Roses, Fleetwood Mac, Aerosmith (a random namedrop) filled the arenas all over the world and people loved them. Then by the end of the 80s the industry became completely oversaturated with dudes wearing lipsticks and all that glam. Nirvana and grunge came along, hip-hop arrived in the mainstream, Britpop and so on. I would argue that music in general is more diversified than ever, but what an average person gets to hear on day-to-day basis is just a bunch of artists, those who are  the most intensely promoted by the recording companies. For several years it falsely led me to believe in the notion that ‘the music today sucks’. Continue reading →

Wonder Girls continue to amaze

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Wonder Girls by far remain my favorite Korean girl band. This summer’s new hit single, Why So Lonely does not disappoint – the only thing that’s unsatisfying is the fact that we didn’t get a full album. Sunmi, Yenny, Yubin and Hyerim continue their full band endeavor – I was kinda worried that they might give up on the instruments but I’m glad they didn’t – their approach continues to breathe fresh air into the industry. Singing, dancing and playing the instruments – darn impressive feat! Continue reading →

I Just Wanna Dance… with somebody like Tiffany

ijustwannadanceTiffany, my favorite Girls’ Generation member stepped up her game and made the solo debut recently, with a refreshing album entitled I Just Wanna Dance. Stylistically the release seems inspired by the 80s synth-pop and the 90s soulful r&b ballads sound reminiscent of Mariah Carey or Whitney Houston. It might be a bit of a stretch comparing Tiffany to these powerhouses, but the young singer has arguably the best voice in SNSD and it’s definitely one of the better ones in the Korean industry. Of course I wouldn’t be myself if I didn’t mention how incredibly adorable she is as well.

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Kuuseki no Circus by Kamin Shirahata with PLACEBO FOXES

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Kamin Shirahata (白波多カミン) came back with a new album on March 23 and I didn’t even know it’s been in work until the very last moment. As it turns out, the indie singer I fell in love with when I first heard her mini-album Kudamono (くだもの), decided to rebrand herself. Shirahata’s newest music endeavor is entitled 空席のサーカス (Kuuseki no Circus) and it’s recorded together with a full rock band, Placebo Foxes. The artist has left that singer-songwriter/folksy lore and her latest effort truly packs a punch. Continue reading →

What the funk Jane’s Addiction

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In a time when glam metal ruled the world and almost everything sounded the same (just like the shit pop of today) there were very few bands which stood out among the countless copycats. Guns N’ Roses reinvigorated hair rock with Slash’s hat, grand guitar solos, Axl’s outrageousness and the bluesy vibe in the vein of Aerosmith.

Jane’s Addiction seemingly also originated from the glam scene (which in all honesty seems more and more ridiculous the older I get), yet what they offered was this explosive blend of music genres which can’t be easily defined. This L.A. band were pioneers of the alternative rock and everything it came to be known as in the 90s (at this point alternative is a crazy mishmash of styles and ironically it is the new mainstream, really). With Perry Farrell’s distinct dreamy delivery and one of a kind music sound Jane’s Addiction quickly rose to be one of the music acts closest to my heart. Continue reading →

Seiko Oomori, Zombie Chang, She Border Picture – my new CD purchases

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I bought a few new Japanese CDs recently – 2 of which happen to be created by fairly underground bands which managed to immediately win me over, while the third is a single that comes from an artist who’s currently extremely hyped in Japanese alternative scene. It’s another attempt at understanding the phenomenon behind the success of this peculiar singer. The popular doesn’t mean good, and the obscure doesn’t mean worse than the mainstream.

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