J-Rock

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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KAMEN RIDER GIRLS: exploded

By Paris365 on March 25, 2014

KAMEN RIDER GIRLS: exploded

exploded opens with the vicious title track, which makes it obvious that the group isn't mellowing out or falling victim to any sophomore slump here.

As you may recall from my review of their single "SSS 〜Shock Shocker Shockest〜," Kamen Rider Girls is a J-Rock/J-Pop outfit that was created to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Kamen Rider Series. Each member is supposed to represent one of the heroes from the show. To that end, the girls often wear the "transformation belt" of the character they represent.

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LEO IEIRI: A BOY

By Paris365 on March 13, 2014

LEO IEIRI: A BOY

When I first heard A Boy, I wasn't quite sure what to make of it. While I'd thought the singles were good, they were mellower than the songs on LEO and not as immediately catchy. But they did grow on me after a few listens, so I decided to take some time to live with A Boy before reviewing it. And I'm glad I did because it really grew on me.

2013 was a huge year for Leo Ieiri, one of the youngest singer/songwriters to ever take Japan by storm. And she didn't slow down after she was done promoting the album. In no time, she was releasing singles again in the form of "Message," "Taiyo no Megumi" and "Chocolate." All three of these singles appear on her new sophomore album, A Boy, along with 10 additional new songs.

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LEO IEIRI: TAIYO NO MEGAMI

By Paris365 on November 20, 2013

LEO IEIRI: TAIYO NO MEGAMI

Leo Ieiri's 5th single finds her shifting slightly more in the pop direction. It also finds her using piano.

Leo Ieiri's inspired new single "太陽の女神" (or, phonetically: "Taiyo no Megami" - Google translation: "Goddess of the Sun") is the theme song to the highly anticipated new television drama Umi no Ue no Shinryojyo starring Shota Matsuda and Emi Takei. The song, which is her fifth single, begins with something you don't hear very much of in the acclaimed singer/songwriter's compositions: piano.

VAMPS: SEX BLOOD ROCK N' ROLL

By Paris365 on October 22, 2013

VAMPS: SEX BLOOD ROCK N' ROLL

VAMPS -- known as VAMPS (JPN) here in the States for Trademark reasons -- is a Japanese hard rock/metal group formed in 2008 by vocalist/rhythm guitarist HYDE of L'Arc~en~Ciel fame and lead guitarist Kazuhito "K.A.Z" Iwaike from Oblivion Dust. They've just released their first English-language album worldwide, including here in the U.S.

VAMPS -- known as VAMPS (JPN) here in the States for Trademark reasons -- is a Japanese hard rock/metal group formed in 2008 by vocalist/rhythm guitarist HYDE of L'Arc~en~Ciel fame and lead guitarist Kazuhito "K.A.Z" Iwaike from Oblivion Dust. L'Arc~en~Ciel is one of Japan's most successful rock bands of all-time, right up there with Dir En Grey, and they continue to release fantastic new music with the prolific HYDE dividing his time between L'Arc~en~Ciel, VAMPS and his solo career.

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HITOMI YAIDA: 123456

By Paris365 on October 16, 2013

HITOMI YAIDA: 123456

Hitomi Yaida can do no wrong. It's just not possible. Behold her latest release, 123456.

Produced by the acclaimed Kotaro Kubota, Hitomi Yaida's new EP, 123456 (pronounced 1,2,3,4,5,6), once again finds the Japanese rock singer delivering some truly inspired melodic pop rock gems.

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SAKURA GAKUIN: 顔笑れ!!

By Paris365 on October 14, 2013

SAKURA GAKUIN: 顔笑れ!!

Sakura Gakuin's new single, ""顔笑れ!!," is a bag full of tasty J-Rock fun. But the B-side, "Pumpkin Parade," is the perfect song for listening to while you're trick or treating, getting bags full of candy. At times it's just plain silly, but other moments are slightly scary. Ultimately, it's one of the funnest Halloween songs you'll ever hear and it's right up there with Tommy heavenly6's Halloween-themed songs.

As you can see above, Sakura Gakuin's new single is called "顔笑れ!!," which is pronounced "Ganbare!!" At first I thought it was just a Japanese name for a person, but I decided to see what Google translate would spit out anyway and it gave me "RE FACE LOL." So, I'm thinking it's cyber slang. My best guess is that it means "laughing out loud in your face!!" The song definitely has a silly vibe, particularly in terms of the way the girls sing it. To that end, they sound completely adorable, as ever.

TOMMY HEAVENLY6: RUBY EYES

By Paris365 on October 07, 2013

TOMMY HEAVENLY6: RUBY EYES

Halloween is coming, so, of course, Tommy heavenly6 is back with a smash of a new single...

Tomoko Kawase, perhaps the most versatile J-Pop/J-Rock artist in the world, is back in evil mode with "Ruby Eyes," her blistering new single as her super dark alter-ego Tommy heavenly6. The song is currently being used as the opening theme for the TV drama Kiyoku Ranma and is the first single from her upcoming full-length album, Ice Cream Heaven Forever, which will be released on November 27th of this year.

YUKI: STARMANN

By Paris365 on August 21, 2013

YUKI: STARMANN

Yuki's new single "STARMANN" is an epic ballad that finds her singing in a much more serious fashion than she normally does. She also proves to have far greater range than anyone would have guessed. Amazing!

Yuki's new single "STARMANN" is the theme song for the new TV drama Kono Hoshi no Koi! Starmann, which is described as a sci-fi flavored romantic comedy. But it's easily one of Yuki's most serious songs ever. Well, actually, the lyrics could be quite amusing -- my ignorant ass would never know -- but, musically and vocally, it's nothing to be laughed at. Quite the contrary.

ERI KITAMURA: BIRTH

By Paris365 on August 20, 2013

ERI KITAMURA: BIRTH

With blazing guitars, rapid-fire drums and aggressive bass, Eri Kitamura's new single "Birth" kicks some serious ass.

You may recall that Eri Kitamura is a highly sought after voice actress and one half of the popular duo Artery Vein. "Birth" is the follow up to her highly infectious single "Miracle Gliders" from January of this year and it's just as impressive.

PASSPO☆: MOSO NO HAWAII

By Paris365 on August 15, 2013

PASSPO☆: MOSO NO HAWAII

PASSPO☆ go Hawaiian style on their new single "Moso No Hawaii," but, fear not, they'll still rock your socks off.

Back in May, PASSPO☆ announced that they would be releasing three singles -- one each month -- over the next three months. Released late last month, "妄想のハワイ" -- or "Moso No Hawaii" -- is the third and final single in the series.

LITTLE BLUE BOX: Mugen Myself

By Paris365 on August 08, 2013

LITTLE BLUE BOX: Mugen Myself

If you like high energy, infectious J-rock anthems then Little Blue boX's "Mugen Myself" is a must-have. Perfect for summer parties.

Little Blue boX, as they stylize it, is a Japanese rock band who mostly perform theme songs for the Danball Senki games and TV anime theme songs. Currently, the group is a duo consisting of Hisayo Inamori, who goes by hie, on vocals and yui on guitars. (More stylizing -- I'm not capitalizing their names because they apparently don't want anyone to.) Their music also features bass guitar and drums but they have not named an official bassist or drummer since parting ways with Youhei (bass) and Yuusuke (drums).

PASSPO☆: TRULY

By Paris365 on August 07, 2013

PASSPO☆: TRULY

PASSPO☆'s "Truly" finds them doing their own brand of J-rock again -- following the different styles of metal, rock and punk they did during their trip around the world project -- and the result is fantastic. And the B-side, "Thank You Birthday" is even more infectious. Definitely one of summer's must have singles if you like pop-minded J-rock.

Yes, another Passpo☆ single so soon after "STEP&GO." That's because the nine member girl group is releasing three singles in three months, May, June and July. "Truly" is June's single -- I'm just a little behind with reviewing it.

PASSPO☆: STEP&GO / CANDY ROOM

By Paris365 on June 26, 2013

PASSPO☆: STEP&GO / CANDY ROOM

PASSPO☆'s "STEP&GO" has the big, flailing guitar riffs of L.A. hair metal, the up-tempo, kick ass speed of German metal and a dash of Japanese punk rock attitude.

Nine member J-pop/J-rock girl group Passpo☆ is back in flight and soaring through the sky like a big jet plane with their new double A-side single "Step&Go" / "Candy Room."

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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MAY'N: RUN REAL RUN

By Paris365 on June 17, 2013

MAY'N: RUN REAL RUN

MAY'N's new single is a perfect blend of rock and pop with fast and intense beats that alternate between live drums and programming.

Japanese artist May'n's first few singles were released using her full name, May Nakabayashi. The first two, "Crazy Crazy Crazy" and "Sympathy," didn't make it onto the Oricon charts, but her third single, "Fallin' in or Not" featuring SEAMO did chart, although it only reached #159 on Oricon's weekly chart. She has done much, much better since she started going by the name May'n in 2008. Part of her success can be attributed to the anime series Macross Frontier, on which May'n provided the singing voice of the character Diva of the Galaxy, Sheryl Nome.

FTISLAND: FREEDOM / オレンジ色の空 - DIGITAL SINGLE

By Paris365 on June 05, 2013

FTISLAND: FREEDOM / オレンジ色の空 - DIGITAL SINGLE

FTISLAND's "Freedom" has a fantastic groove and an uplifting vibe sure to have you fist-pumping, singing along or both.

FTISLAND's new digital single, "Freedom," will be on their new album Rated-FT, their third Japanese-language album, which will be released by Warner Music Japan on June 12, 2013. The album comes year after the pop rock group's hit album 20 [Twenty], and features the top 10 singles "Top Secret," "Polar Star" and "You Are My Life."

SPYAIR: NIJI

By Paris365 on May 30, 2013

SPYAIR: NIJI

Spyair's new single, "Niji," is colorful, energetic and melodious.

Nagoya rock band Spyair's last single, March's "Sakura Mitsu Tsuki," was the Gintama 13th opening theme, the band's singles having previously provided songs for everything from The Amazing Spider-Man soundtrack to the television series Don Quixote and Gundam Age. In fact, the band has become so popular that last December they held their fist concert at Nippon Budokan and it was a huge success. (This concert was DJ ENZEL's last show with the band; they've yet to replace him.)

LEO IEIRI: MESSAGE

By Paris365 on May 29, 2013

LEO IEIRI: MESSAGE

Leo Ieiri returns with her first single of 2013, "Message," which is an energetic, mid-tempo pop rock tune with the sort of sunshiny melodies we've come to expect from her.

Leo Ieiri returns with her first single of 2013, "Message," which is an energetic, mid-tempo pop rock tune with the sort of sunshiny melodies we've come to expect from the critically acclaimed, multi-award-winning young artist, who's just 18 years old now. The especially vibrant song is currently being used as the theme song to television drama Kakusho – Keishicho Sousa San-ka, starring Eikura Nana.

FACT: BURUNDANGA

By Paris365 on May 19, 2013

FACT: BURUNDANGA

FACT's unique sound incorporates elements of several different genres including post-rock, hardcore, metal, metalcore, electronic, punk, skatepunk, death metal, visual kei and even pop.

FACT released their self-titled major label debut in Japan in 2009 -- a decade after they were formed in Japan's Ibaraki Prefecture -- and quickly gained a strong national and international following. They have since become one of Japan’s biggest and most-loved rock bands of the decade. In fact, their first two albums reached the top 10 in Japan and their popularity has only grown since, their third album, In the Blink of an Eye, debuting at number 6 on the Oricon weekly chart. Burundanga is their third album and their long-awaited U.S. debut.

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