BABYMETAL managed to combine idol culture with metal. Halcali or Rhymeberry mix it with hip-hop. Seiko Omoori, just like the legendary Jun Togawa back in the day goes for the anti-idol gimmick. My newest jam, Dance for Philosophy, is a cool 4-piece Japanese girl group, which puts their own, refreshing and bouncy spin on the genre. Continue reading →
I haven’t written about Shiina Ringo, my favorite Japanese female artist in a while. There wasn’t that much going on around her, and the recent years showed that cashing in on CM music is the thing she’s focused on the most. And that’s coming from a guy who thinks that Sunny (Hi Izuro Tokoro) was a decent album, Nippon is corny, but acceptable, and Ringo Expo ’14 was an enjoyable hot concert recording (a bit of a mess at times, but a hot one). 逆輸入 ～港湾局～ (Gyakuyunyū: Kōwankyoku, ‘Reimport: Ports and Harbours Bureau’), the self-covers CD, which came in 2014 was pretty cool as well. Finally, three years since the aforementioned Reimport and Sunny albums, we got a new record this December – and guess what, it’s the vol. 2 of Reimport. Continue reading →
I’m gonna keep mention this ’til I’m blue in the face – I simply cannot get over Wonder Girls’ disbandment. Yenny, Sunmi, Yubin and Hyerim turning into pop/rock/reggae band with idol elements was a perfectly executed idea, and Reboot album in particular got me super-hyped and hungry for more. Unfortunately, the girls could not win with the vicious kpop industry. As they had been around for quite some time, newer, younger idol groups became much more popular, and this led to the obvious conclusion – only the bands which bring in the most $$$ get to stay and do stuff (WG’s contracts were expiring and the re-negotiations brouhaha was bound to end in flames).
Yenny and Sunmi parted ways with JYP, and as it turned out, fortunately they’re good without him. Continue reading →
Lovely Summer Chan’s LSC was the perfect out of the blue album that rocked my world last year. The perfect blend of the kawaii, distorted guitars, mellow, adorable voice and pop/rock/electronic/you-name-it sound hit that perfect spot on my music palate. Since then, I’ve been eagerly anticipating more stuff from her, and on August 2 this year, Lovely Summer Chan has finally released some new music – an E.P. entitled Ningen no Tochi (人間の土地 – ‘Human Land’). And once again each song appears to be entirely different than the other ones.
Ningen no Tochi consists 4 tracks and all of them represent different music genres and styles – which is a lot like LSC – the diversity of that record is something that continues to amaze me. Continue reading →
I wrote about Lovely Summer Chan. I wrote about Kamin Shirahata. Now it’s time for Ayano Kaneko. And firstly I must say, it’s fucking amazing we’re living in times when I can find out about all these talented artists from the all over the world, even if they aren’t worldwide famous, promoted and mass-sold to us through all the means available. It’s actually possible to learn about this young girl singer who plays the guitar in Japan, and despite the fact that I don’t understand much, I know enough to decide whether someone rocks or not. Continue reading →
Lana Del Fuckin’ Rey did it again. She released a new album and it’s a bewitching, breathtaking audiovisual journey as usual. The work is called Lust for Life (it rolls off the tongue well), and it already sounded like a change in artistic direction for Del Rey. No more gloom and sadness? While dark Hollywood tales still have their room on the new record, the singer seems to have accepted fame and the shit it comes with, but also she accepted herself. Familiar love stories are included, but at some Lust for Life surprisingly gets political too, and the issues she’s trying to raise are well-thought out. Lana Del Rey is fully grown now. ‘Gone is the burden’, she says. It’s like taking off the weighted clothing in Dragon Ball Z, making your power levels spike. Continue reading →
Haim’s Days Are Gone was an album that took me by surprise – it turned out there’s a contemporary band which sounds like my beloved Fleetwood Mac. By incorporating some fresh twists and quirks here and there, the group could entertain the today’s generation listener as well. After long-ass 4 years of waiting, the girls finally came back in June with a new record, entitled Something to Tell You. Continue reading →
The nineties fucking rocked music-wise. Let’s see, there were badass grunge bands like Alice in Chains, Nirvana or Pearl Jam. Some other alternative/indie rock acts soon followed as well, including Faith No More, Foo Fighters, The Smashing Pumpkins, No Doubt or Beck. Many well-established bands which started out in the 80s managed to hit new heights – like Metallica with their Black Album, or RHCP with Blood Sugar Sex Magik. Hell, some groups from the 70s enjoyed new-found success as well – like Aerosmith and their Get a Grip record in 1993 (who doesn’t sing along to Crazy or Cryin’?). Rap became a next big thing (N.W.A., Wu-Tang Clan, Cypress Hill, Biggie, 2Pac, Eminem), and so did female-fronted pop-rock acts, often associated with the third wave of feminism – singer-songwriters like Alanis Morissette, Tori Amos, Sheryl Crow or Liz Phair were enjoying immense popularity. Pretty much all of those bands entered mainstream, and at this point are considered classics in their respective genres. Like it or not, 1990 was already 27 years ago, so to me it’s almost my whole lifespan. Interestingly (or maybe it shouldn’t be that surprising) enough, there were some groups that aren’t well-known outside their home countries. Hootie and the Blowfish is one of them. Continue reading →
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 →
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 →