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 →
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 →
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 →
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 →
As my preference for older music is quite strong, I don’t have much exposure to music post 2005 or so, which is why finding some more recent music gems is always a pleasant surprise.
My most recent discovery is a band called The Asteroids Galaxy Tour. Sounds stellar, doesn’t it? Continue reading →
I got my Akina Nakamori and Jun Togawa CDs the other day. As usual I reached to CDJapan to fulfill my need for Nihon sounds. Shipping fees are a bit high, but I’ve never complained about their services and they have a very extensive artist catalog. Akina’s 7th album entitled ‘Possibility’ is a dose of above-average Japanese pop music from the 80s – catchy and emotional, + Akina’s voice is as good as ever. Her vocals get really deep and powerful. No to mention ‘Possibility’ comes with a sexy-cute jacket sleeve. Continue reading
Janis Joplin. Jimi Hendrix. Jim Morrison. Richey Edwards. Kurt Cobain. Amy Winehouse. Musicians who belong to the so-called 27 Club (there are more). Through music they proved their immense talents, and, partially due to untimely deaths at the age of 27, they achieved the status of rock n’ roll legends.
The question is – should we glorify those who lived lives of excess and abuse, and simply got what was coming to them? Probably not. Yet all these years after Joplin or Hendrix died, people all around the world still find joy and inspiration in their artistic output and charisma. There’s something inexplicable about certain personae in the music business which makes us – listeners – hopelessly captivated by anything they do or sing about. The dangerous devotion to music they do – even if it means straying off the safe path of counting the earned $$$ in the multi-million-dollar-worth villa – is extremely charming.
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I first became interested in Japanese music around 8 years ago – I believe it was my freshman year in high school. One day I decided to re-watch Dragon Ball saga, which I used to often catch on TV back when I was a kid. Then I discovered ‘anime’, watched few of these cartoons, kind of liked several songs (not to mention anime themselves), and in the end I decided to look up some Japanese rock music.
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