Shiina Ringo 2017 update and Reimport vol. 2 album

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 →

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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 →

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 →

Shiina Ringo 2016: televised shows and awards

The bad taste in my mouth left by last year’s atrocious Coca-Cola song, Nagaku Mijikai Matsuri (長く短い祭), isn’t easy to wash off, but life goes on… Shiina Ringo appeared on the 66th NHK Kōhaku Uta Gassen, the Japanese New Year’s Eve music show, with the aforementioned tune and I loathed the vocaloid voice as much as ever. The act as a whole was visually great and Kamisama, Hotokesama intro bit was quite enjoyable, but the auto-tune just ruined the experience completely.

Anyhow, after few months of waiting on my part, WOWOW has finally broadcast a concert from 2015 tour. There was also another show of hers aired – a part of the 5th anniversary of Dream Festival on TV Asahi ch1, which took place on November 21-23 of 2015. What can I say – I’m crazy about her and she pretty much nailed it on both occasions, though there were few things I deem unnecessary. Continue reading →