J-Music

BABYMETAL: MEGITSUNE

By Paris365 on June 24, 2013

BABYMETAL: MEGITSUNE

Although it incorporates sounds from traditional Japanese music -- in a bastardized sort of way -- the new BABYMETAL single, "Megitsune," is all about metal-thrashing-mad guitars and sonorous drums. The B-side will blow you away, too.

BABYMETAL, Sakura Gakuin's metal sub-unit, had a top 10 hit earlier this year, surprising just about everyone, with their major label debut single "Ijime, Dame, Zettai." They've since embarked on their "Death Match Tour 2013" with a full metal band and are now back in the spotlight with their fast and furious, shred-fest of a new single "Megitsune" ("メギツネ"). (Google couldn't translate this one; I think it's a name.) It's been said that the song combines traditional Japanese instruments with enka ballad sounds, but don't expect to hear much of that.

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FRIPSIDE: SISTER'S NOISE

By Paris365 on June 07, 2013

FRIPSIDE: SISTER'S NOISE

Trance duo fripSide return with "Sister's Noise," the theme song to the new season of Toaru Kagaku no Railgun S.

Trance duo fripSide provided the theme song "Only My Railgun" to season one of the anime series Toaru Kagaku no Railgun S in 2009. Now the show is finally back for a second season and fripSide are again providing the theme song, this time with their new single, "Sister's Noise."

"Sister's Noise" is fripSide's sixth single, though it should be said that the duo prioritizes making albums over singles. To date, they've released five studio albums and four best of type compilations. (Yeah, it's a little weird that they have almost as many compilations as albums.)

CHIHIRO ONITSUKA: IDIOT PIERROT

By Paris365 on April 01, 2013

CHIHIRO ONITSUKA: IDIOT PIERROT

Chihiro returns to her singer/songwriter roots with fine results on her first new original song in over a year.

It's been nearly a year since Chihiro released her critically acclaimed album of covers entitled Famous Microphone. Her new single, "悪戯道化師" (official translation: "Idiot Pierrot" -- Google translation: "Mischievous Clown"), finds her slipping nicely back into her slightly avant garde/singer/songwriter roots. Her smokey voice sounds as wonderfully textured as usual on the catchy song, which features lots of acoustic guitars, some flourishes of strings, bass and drums. And accordion. Or, if it's not accordion, then it's something that sounds an awful lot like it.

MIHIMARU GT: 君だけのSTORY

By Paris365 on March 25, 2013

MIHIMARU GT: 君だけのSTORY

Mihimaru GT once again delivers addictive songs that blend pop and hip-hop perfectly.

For those of you new to our site: Mihimaru GT is a Japanese duo comprised of songwriter and rapper Miyake and singer, rapper and lyricist Hiroko. Their new single, "君だけのSTORY" (Google translation: "You Just STORY"), starts off with some scratchy guitars and a bit of scratching vinyl as Miyake says "c'mon" a few times until a heavy beat drops. It's so raw, loud and in-your-face that it calls to mind Sleigh Bells or Boom Boom Satellites. But then a dance pop beat takes over and Hiroko starts singing and suddenly it's a warm, endearing pop song.

YUKINO: RANTIKI

By Paris365 on February 22, 2013

YUKINO: RANTIKI

Yukino's new single is a genre-bending mess but a beautiful mess at that.

The last thing that I recall hearing by Yukino was an R&B single called "You Make Me Blue." Which is funny because R&B is the one thing "RanTiKi" isn't. And I do mean the *one* thing. It begins with Yukino singing along to loud, clattering drums that more or less sound like tin cans. But glorious horns quickly enter the picture and then it shifts into what I'm going to call a jazz/pop hybrid. Literally. You have jazz piano and jazz drums and jazz horns and jazz (upright) bass, but the tempo is totally upbeat pop and the same goes for her vocals.

MIHIMARU GT: KIMI DAKE NO STORY

By Paris365 on February 19, 2013

MIHIMARU GT: KIMI DAKE NO STORY

Mihimaru GT's new single features two extremely catchy hip-POP songs and a lovely ballad.

For those of you new to our site: Mihimaru GT is a Japanese duo comprised of songwriter and rapper Miyake and singer, rapper and lyricist Hiroko. Their new single, "君だけのSTORY" (Google translation: "You Just STORY"), starts off with some scratchy guitars and a bit of scratching vinyl as Miyake says "c'mon" a few times until a heavy beat drops. It's so raw, loud and in-your-face that it calls to mind Sleigh Bells or Boom Boom Satellites. But then a dance pop beat takes over and Hiroko starts singing and suddenly it's a warm, endearing pop song.

AUREOLE: REINCARNATION

By Paris365 on January 14, 2013

AUREOLE: REINCARNATION

Aureole continue on their voyage with Reincarnation, shifting from one genre to another throughout the gorgeous album.

Singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Daichi Mori is back with Aureole's third album, their second on Kilk Records. As with 2010's Imaginary Truth, it's impossible to categorize Aureole's sound, their eclectic music often shifting from one genre to another to another within the context of a single song. If I had to try to describe their sound I'd say electronic meets post-rock meets minimalist meets psychedelic meets new age. Mori's greatest strength, perhaps, is his ability to select elements from so many styles of music and mesh them together in his own highly original songs.

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MIHIMARU GT: BANZAI SANSHOU!!!

By Paris365 on November 12, 2012

MIHIMARU GT: BANZAI SANSHOU!!!

Mihimaru GT celebrate their 10th anniversary with this lovely single, which, as usual, finds them blending pop vocals and lots of hip-hop.

Mihimaru GT are celebrating the 10th year of their existence as a duo with this new single, "Banzai Sanshou!!!" And, as usual, they're mixing pop and hip-hop with pleasant results.

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SEAMO X SPYAIR: ROCK THIS WAY

By Paris365 on October 17, 2012

SEAMO X SPYAIR: ROCK THIS WAY

Seamo is an immensely popular Japanese rap star. SPYAIR is a popular J-rock group. To the best of my knowledge, this single is the first time they've collaborated. To be honest, at first I wasn't sure why they bothered. "Rock This Way" immediately rubbed me the wrong way. It reminded me of Limp Bizkit's over-the-top rap rock. The song that immediately came to mind was Bizkit's hideous "Nookie," a song which I'd rather not think about.

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PASSPO☆: 夏空HANABI

By Paris365 on August 27, 2012

PASSPO☆: 夏空HANABI

The first time I listened to this single I was a bit perplexed. Passpo☆'s last single, "Next Flight," was the group's take on L.A. hair metal and featured members of Guns 'N' Roses. But the plan was for Passpo☆ to continue traveling around the world and trying on new styles of music with their upcoming singles. So, imagine my surprise when I first listened to the two songs on this single and they sounded like more L.A. hair metal. But then I looked up the product description on a few websites and discovered that the songs weren't actually hair metal but Japanese punk.

NHATO: ETUDE

By Paris365 on August 16, 2012

NHATO: ETUDE

Etude is the long-awaited full-length debut album by Japanese artist Nhato, who has become something of an electronic music pioneer during recent years. He's garnered the praise of Armin van Buuren, shot to number one on Beatport and he's been featured on compilations alongside veterans like Paul van Dyk and Paul Oakenfold.

DORIAN: STUDIO VACATION

By Paris365 on August 13, 2012

DORIAN: STUDIO VACATION

I really can't tell you anything about this artist's background or bio. Turns out there are dozens of artists out there named Dorian, so I wasn't even able to find an official site for this artist. Meanwhile, Amazon, Yes Asia and CD Japan didn't have any information on this artist or album, though they all have it listed for sale. I did find a page for this album on a Jet Set Records' site, but it didn't have a product description and I couldn't tell if the site was an online music store or an actual record company's site.

MONA A.K.A. SAD GIRL: NEVER SAY NEVER

By Paris365 on August 03, 2012

MONA A.K.A. SAD GIRL: NEVER SAY NEVER

I don't know much about MoNa. Just fragments of things that I was able to comprehend from Google's translation of Amazon Japan's product description of this release. Basically, she started rapping circa 2005 and self-released an album, selling over 1000 copies. That release was later repackaged and professionally released. Cut to 2012 and she's releasing her first new album in two years.

SONOMI: I

By Paris365 on August 02, 2012

SONOMI: I

Sonomi is a Japanese R&B/pop singer who started off singing on hip-hop artist Kreva's tracks and eventually went on to release her own music. I is her first release for Avex's Rhythm Zone imprint.

LIL: 恋はPUSH!

By Paris365 on July 06, 2012

LIL: 恋はPUSH!

"Push, push, push ahead," begins LIL's new single featuring the talented hip hop duo HALCALI. "Brush, brush, brush you hair," it continues when it gets to the full chorus. Clearly, it's not meant to be taken very seriously. Then again, most of the song is in Japanese, which I don't understand, so maybe parts of it are quite serious and I just don't know it. One thing is for certain though -- if you like hip hop and also enjoy electro pop songs with loud bass and fluttery effects then you're sure to love this.

LOVE AND HATES: L.A.H.

By Paris365 on June 25, 2012

LOVE AND HATES: L.A.H.

I strongly disliked this one the first time I heard it. But I forced myself to listen to it again. Then I hated it. Really hated it. I thought it was the most absurd and pathetic attempt at rap music I'd ever heard. I only forced myself to listen to it a third time so I could accurately review it. But then I decided that it wasn't even worth reviewing. I didn't even finish listening to the whole album. Besides, how could I review it when I wasn't even sure if these two young women meant for it to be taken seriously? Maybe it was meant to be a comedy album.

FERRI: A BROKEN CAROUSEL

By Paris365 on June 21, 2012

FERRI: A BROKEN CAROUSEL

A Broken Carousel was produced by Ferri's labelmate Daichi Mori of Aureole, but it's very, very different from Aureole. While both Ferri and Aureole use ambient sounds and electronic beats, Ferri's songs are far more abstract. Ferri's songs are not structured "verse chorus verse" compositions. They're more like film score. Sometimes beautiful, sometimes chilling film score.

üka: LULLABY FOR THE EVIL

By Paris365 on June 14, 2012

üka: LULLABY FOR THE EVIL

Singer/songwriter üka's Lullaby For The Evil is the sort of debut that dreams are made of. A debut should sound new, fresh, exciting and unlike anything you've ever heard before. But we all know it doesn't often happen that way. Usually you hear an artist and can immediately tell who they are trying too hard to sound like, or maybe they're just very generic or boring. But üka's debut actually *is* like a breath of fresh air, a brilliant work by an extremely talented artist in the true sense of the word. üka's music is lush and amazing.

MIHIMARU GT: THE BEST OF MIHIMARU GT2

By Paris365 on June 13, 2012

MIHIMARU GT: THE BEST OF MIHIMARU GT2

Mihimaru GT is a Japanese duo comprised of songwriter and rapper Miyake and singer, rapper and lyricist Hiroko. They have been releasing music since 2003 when they released their first single, "約束, Promise," though it was 2006's "Kibun Jojo" that saw their popularity skyrocket. "Kibun Jojo" was used in two popular commericals, including one for music.jp, and soon rose to #7 on the Oricon charts. The Best of Mihimaru GT2 includes all of their singles released since May 2007.

HALCALI: ハルカリノオカワリ

By Paris365 on June 08, 2012

HALCALI: ハルカリノオカワリ

HALCALI -- they always use all caps -- is a female Japanese hip-hop/pop duo from Tokyo, Japan. The first names of the women are Halca and Yucali, hence the name HALCALI, combining the two. They have been releasing music since 2003 and were the first female hip-hop artists to crack the Oricon chart's top 10 when their debut album HALCALI Bacon reached number 5. They have even performed in the U.S. a couple of times, once at the anime convention Anime Central in May of 2008 and later that June in Central Park, New York as part of a Japan Day Festival.

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