J-Rock

ASSORTED ALBUM REVIEWS, ALL BY MALE ARTISTS [kohjiro fukuda, Kazuya Yoshii, SHINee, RAP MONSTER]

By Paris365 on January 28, 2016

ASSORTED ALBUM REVIEWS, ALL BY MALE ARTISTS [kohjiro fukuda, Kazuya Yoshii, SHINee, RAP MONSTER]

Today we have four album reviews of records by male artists for a change. Enjoy!

kohjiro fukuda: platform [he doesn't capitalize it]

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Azusa Kobayashi: Tear Drop

By Paris365 on January 26, 2016

Azusa Kobayashi: Tear Drop

Azusa Kobayashi delivers some shredding hard rock on this single from last July, which I am reviewing now as it should please fans of the current Japanese heavy metal scene (i.e. BABYMETAL, Ladybaby, etc)

Azusa Kobayashi has a rather colorful history. According to Wikia: The Home of Fandom (http://helloproject.wikia.com/wiki/Kobayashi_Azusa), she started her musical journey as a member of the Hello! Project's Country Musume, though only for their debut single, "Futari no Hokkaido." Following that, fellow member Yanagihara Hiromi passed away and Azusa left, stating that the loss was "too great." Some time later, it was believed that she actually left because "adult" pictures of her had leaked.

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Shiori Tomita feat. Ladybeard: バレンタイン・キッス [Valentine Kiss]

By Paris365 on January 20, 2016

Shiori Tomita feat. Ladybeard: バレンタイン・キッス [Valentine Kiss]

Shiori Tomita teams up with Ladybeard for the best J-Pop meets J-Metal song since BABYMETAL's last single.

Shiori Tomita was born in Takayama, Japan in 1994. Last year she released a fantastic album called Moshimo World, which was a blend of folk, J-Pop and Western pop with a splash of classical. It was very organic sounding and mellow. Well, she's done a complete 180 with her new single, "Valentine Kiss," which features Ladybeard. If you don't know who Ladybeard is, you might want to check out his interview with Forbes http://www.forbes.com/sites/laurenorsini/2015/07/08/a-qa-with-ladybeard-....

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PUFFY: PAFFIPIPOYAMA

By Paris365 on December 04, 2015

PUFFY: PAFFIPIPOYAMA

It opens with a gong being struck and then goes bonkers with a fairly typical J-Pop synth bit before it shifts into a plenty original, uppity J-Pop/J-Rock song.

Whenever I stumble across anything from PUFFY -- they always capitalize it -- I immediately think, "Puffy AmiYumi!" This is because they had to add their names, Ami and Yumi, so they wouldn't get sued by Sean "Puff Daddy" Combs, who sometimes is just called Puffy. Of course, now he prefers Diddy or P. Diddy. Or maybe he's moved onto something else entirely. I just think it's weird that he thought people would be confused about a female J-Pop duo calling themselves PUFFY.

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TOMMY'S HALLOWEEN FAIRYTALE

By Paris365 on October 23, 2015

TOMMY'S HALLOWEEN FAIRYTALE

As with her HALLOWEEN ADDICTION remix album, Tommy -- a.k.a. Tomoko Kawase, lead singer of the brilliant green -- has credited both of her alter-egos for most of the songs on this year's scorching new Halloween mini-album.

As with her HALLOWEEN ADDICTION remix album, Tommy -- a.k.a. Tomoko Kawase, lead singer of the brilliant green -- has credited both of her alter-egos for most of the songs on this year's scorching new Halloween mini-album; on iTunes, those tracks come up as Tommy february6/Tommy heavenly6. But there are a couple of songs just credited to one of the personas.

HARUKA TOMATSU: STEP A GO! GO!

By Paris365 on October 02, 2015

HARUKA TOMATSU: STEP A GO! GO!

Haruka Tomatsu releases her first single in months and it's a super catchy pop rock gem!

As my longtime readers know, Haruka Tomatsu is a very popular voice actress who's done around 50 anime movies and tv shows. She's also done the Japanese dubbing for characters on popular tv shows and movies. For example, she's the voice of the character Bradley Martin on Bates Motel. She was the voice of Olivia Morris in Scream 4, and she did the voice of Jena Malone's character Rocket in Sucker Punch. With so many voice acting jobs under her belt, one wonders why she doesn't start working as a regular actress as well. She's more than pretty enough.

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LEO IEIRI: 君がくれた夏 (KIMI ga Kureta Natsu)

By Paris365 on September 02, 2015

LEO IEIRI: 君がくれた夏 (KIMI ga Kureta Natsu)

Three wonderful new tracks from Leo Ieiri. What more could you ask for?

Leo Ieiri's new single," 君がくれた夏" (KIMI ga Kureta Natsu) (Google: "Summer You Gave Me"), is her second this year and a timely one at that, given the translation of the title. (It came out on 8/19; forgive me for not reviewing it sooner.) I'm sure people will be enjoying it year round, though. She has such a pretty and uplifting voice and this is such a sweet pop rock song. "To love, to love," she sings as the beautiful chorus ends. It's enough to make your heart flutter.

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dolls: ROCK'N' DOLL

By Paris365 on August 11, 2015

dolls: ROCK'N' DOLL

dolls is a new Japanese hard rock group. They sound a bit like Passpo, the big difference being that dolls play their own instruments.

dolls is a new Japanese rock group consisting of three girls who appear to be teenagers. And they're a real rock band, playing their own instruments. (See the teaser video below.) I'm assuming that they write their own songs, too. I mean, if they play their own instruments, why wouldn't they? They obviously have the talent.

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REMOTE GIRL: RELAX IN THE CITY

By Paris365 on May 12, 2015

REMOTE GIRL: RELAX IN THE CITY

If you're a fan of Capsule's Yasutaka Nakata then Remote Girl is bound to become on of your favorite J-Rock groups as soon as you listen to their sunshiny cover of Perfume's "Relax in the City" below.

If you're a fan of Capsule's Yasutaka Nakata then Remote Girl is bound to become on of your favorite J-Rock groups as soon as you listen to their sunshiny cover of Perfume's "Relax in the City" below.

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AURAL VAMPIRE: MIMIC YOUR HAIRSTYLE

By Paris365 on April 22, 2015

AURAL VAMPIRE: MIMIC YOUR HAIRSTYLE

A fantastic EP of perfectly weird covers. A must for fans of Tommy heavenly6/Tommy february6.

Aural Vampire is a Japanese group lead by Exo-Chika (vocals/lyrics) and Raveman (music). They've been around since 2004 but this EP is the first of their releases that I've heard. And I must say I'm quite impressed with it.

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AYUMI HAMASAKI: A ONE

By Paris365 on April 17, 2015

AYUMI HAMASAKI: A ONE

Ayumi's new album is the best thing she's done in roughly 15 years. No kidding.

This year is the 17th anniversary of Ayumi's debut and she's celebrating it with the release of her 16th original full-length album, A ONE. And, let me tell you, that A ought to stand for AWESOME because this album is an awesome one. In fact, it's my favorite album of Ayumi's since the classic Rainbow.

ERI KITAMURA: RINREI

By Paris365 on November 12, 2014

ERI KITAMURA: RINREI

Eri Kitamura continues to deliver song of J-Rock's best music. A must for fans of Babymetal and Kamen Rider Girls

Eri Kitamura has unleashed her eighth single and it's called "凛麗" or "Rinrei," which I'm assuming is somebody's name. When I tried Google translate, it spit out: "RinUrara." But I'm assuming that Rinrei is the more accurate translation since that's what the single is called on Yes Asia and CD Japan.

ANNA TSUCHIYA: LUCIFER

By Paris365 on November 10, 2014

ANNA TSUCHIYA: LUCIFER

Anna Tsuchiya celebrates the 10th anniversary of her career by making new versions of 3 classics from her first release, Taste My Beat, which follow two brand new songs, "Lucifer" and "The Magic of Halloween."

I've always felt that Anna Tsuchiya makes her best music when she's doing dark and edgy stuff. Her punk side is much more intriguing than her pop persona. Not that she does mainstream pop very often, but there have been some songs that I would list under that header. "Bubble Trip" and "Brave Vibration," for example. Not that her pop songs are bad. Even doing pop, Anna is still 1000x better than most artists, but when she's indulging her dark side, that's when she makes her best music. And she's gone totally dark for her new single, "Lucifer," much of which is in English.

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YUKI: FLY

By Paris365 on October 09, 2014

YUKI: FLY

Finally, following a three year wait, Yuki has released her seventh full-length album in the form of FLY. The 16 track opus includes the singles Play Ball, Sakamichi no Melody, Watashi no Onegai Koto, Starmann and Dare Demo Lonely along with 11 brand new, never before released tracks.

Finally, following a three year wait, Yuki has released her seventh full-length album in the form of FLY. The 16 track opus includes the singles Play Ball, Sakamichi no Melody, Watashi no Onegai Koto, Starmann and Dare Demo Lonely along with 11 brand new, never before released tracks.

CNBLUE: WAVE

By Paris365 on September 30, 2014

CNBLUE: WAVE

It's been a year since the highly successful South Korean band CNBLUE -- otherwise known as Code Name Blue -- last released a Japanese album, but they're back in a big way with their brand-new album, Wave, which features songs from the singles Truth and Go Your Way along with six brand-new tracks.

It's been a year since the highly successful South Korean band CNBLUE -- otherwise known as Code Name Blue -- last released a Japanese album, but they're back in a big way with their brand-new album, Wave, which features songs from the singles Truth and Go Your Way along with six brand-new tracks. For this review, I'm just going to review it as if all the songs were brand new because having them in a different language does make them sound noticeably different even to someone who doesn't know Korean and Japanese like myself.

ZIGZO: FOREVER YOUNG

By Paris365 on August 11, 2014

ZIGZO: FOREVER YOUNG

Forever Young is ZIGZO's way of celebrating their 15th anniversary. It's also a great hits compilation that's also noteworthy because it includes a re-recording of their 1999 single "Himawari." Who the hell are ZIGZO? According to Wiki, they're a Japanese rock supergroup, featuring members of various popular groups.

Forever Young is ZIGZO's way of celebrating their 15th anniversary. It's also a great hits compilation that's also noteworthy because it includes a re-recording of their 1999 single "Himawari." Who the hell are ZIGZO? According to Wiki, they're a Japanese rock supergroup, featuring members of various popular groups. They were formed in 1999 and broke up in 2002, presumably due to musical differences. But Wiki later indicates that they reformed the group on November 20, 2011 and have since released a mini-album called True Impulse.

RIHWA: CHOU CREAM

By Paris365 on July 28, 2014

RIHWA: CHOU CREAM

Rihwa rocks. No, really.

Singer/songwriter/guitarist Rihwa begins her new series of singles, following the recent release of her under-rated album Borderless, with "Chou Cream." Whether you're a Rihwa fan or naysayer, chances are you have a certain sort of song pop into your head when you hear her name. Me, well, I expected this to be a melodious, acoustic-based pop song. I was wrong. In a very refreshing way, Rihwa has apparently hit the restart button on her career, releasing a tune with some blazing electric guitars. The opening is especially raw, almost aggressive.

FTISLAND: 未体験FUTURE

By Paris365 on June 02, 2014

FTISLAND: 未体験FUTURE

Korean rock group FTISLAND have continued to do very, very well for themselves in Japan, so it should come as no surprise that they've just released a new Japanese single, which actually happens to be their 13th Japanese single already.

Korean rock group FTISLAND have continued to do very, very well for themselves in Japan, so it should come as no surprise that they've just released a new Japanese single, which actually happens to be their 13th Japanese single already. (Where does the time go?) As you can see above, it's entitled 未体験FUTURE. Phonetically, that's Mitaiken Future. Google translates that as "Non-Experience Future." That might sound kind of dismal, but the song's music is entirely upbeat with some of Choi Jong-hoon and Song Seung-hyun's best fretwork to date, the guitars downright scorching.

DEATH RABBITS: KOISURU KISETSU

By Paris365 on May 13, 2014

DEATH RABBITS: KOISURU KISETSU

RIYL: Baby Metal, Kamen Rider Girls

I didn't know what to expect from this one. I hadn't read anything about them, nor had I ever heard their music before. Heck, I didn't even hear their name before. And when I looked them up on Yes Asia, they didn't have anything listed for them. And all Wiki could tell me was there was a gang in NYC called Dead Rabbits in the 1850s. So helpful, those Wiksters!

PASSPO☆: PERFECT SKY

By Paris365 on March 27, 2014

PASSPO☆: PERFECT SKY

"Perfect Sky" is one of the mellower tunes Passpo☆ have done to date. It's still J-Rock, yes, but it's not as heavy as most of their recent singles. During the verses it's a swirling, dreamy mid-tempo number with a wonderful melody, kind of in the pop rock vein.

Normally, the girls of Passpo☆ simply play the part of a singing girl group in their videos, which is exactly what they are. But for "Perfect Sky" they're playing the part of a rock band. From what I've seen of the video excerpt on Youtube, it looks like they're really performing the song, but to the best of my knowledge they don't actually play any instruments. So, if you ask me, it's a bit silly to have them pretending to play the instruments in the video. But it could be worse, like when artists only pretend to sing when they perform live (I'm talking to you, Britney Spears).

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