A9 mini-album review and an important announcement

I’m going to start with my announcement first.  It’s been a long time coming, but I was waiting to finish up some posts that keep getting delayed for logistical reasons.  After I wrap up two long-term projects, I’m going to stop updating this blog.

My interested in Japanese pop culture has waned, and it’s been so long since I’ve been a JET.  As much as I want to keep promote about diverse representation and social justice, I’m tired of fighting about it on here.  I don’t have the time to maintain this blog along with others I run/contribute to.  I will still write for JRock247, NekoPOP, and Drama-MAX.  There just won’t be updates or original content here.  You can also find me in the other sites linked in the right hand column.  Like I said, I have a couple more original posts that I plan to write (once my brother and I finish our collaboration).  Once those are finished, I will make an official announcement along with where to find me.  That being said, I probably won’t look at comment here anymore.

In the meantime, please enjoy my review of A9’s (formerly Alice Nine) latest mini-album Ginga no Woto on JRock247.

The aptly-named first track, “Phoenix”, is a rock number with Hiroto’s skillfully-layered arpeggio’s and Tora’s hard-hitting riffs. Show’s voice balances the edge with a touch of gentleness and falsetto, and there’s a surprise acoustic section to show off Saga’s bass skills. “Spiegel” also contains fantastic hard rock guitars, accompanied by Nao’s rapid drumming.

Click here to read the rest of the review (and see the “Spiegel” video).

Listening to: “Nijikan no Dake Vacance” by Utada Hikaru feat. Shiina Ringo

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Me review on NekoPOP

I reviewed Jin Akanishi’s full-length album Me, released this past summer, for NekoPOP.

NekoPOP-Jin-Akanishi-Me-review

Akanishi opens with the sweet “Let Me Talk To U”. The child’s voice in the beginning is a reminder that this party guy is a family man too, and the inclusion of banjo gives the song a homey feel. The next song, “Good Time”, makes a perfect summer party anthem with its catchy beat and cheerful lyrics. “Miss California” is an instance where Akanishi has clearly been listening to a lot of American Top 40.  The whistling and guitars resemble the intro to Maroon 5’s “Moves Like Jagger”.

Click here to read the rest.


Listening to:
“Let Me Talk to U” by Jin Akanishi

Me / Jin Akanishi
Jin Akanishi

Kinematograph review on JRock247

Visual kei band umbrella released a new mini-album earlier this summer.  Their single caught my attention, and I decided to check out Kinematograph and write about it for Jrock247.

JRock247-Umbrella-Kinematograph-review

The latest mini-album from visual kei quartet umbrella opens with the cranking sounds of an old-fashioned camera projecting film. Indeed the aptly-named Kinematograph does provide a glimpse into the past—the early 90s to be exact, when shoegaze was all the rage. Those hazy guitars float from the intro, “Lumiere”, to the very end, yet umbrella manages to break free from the wall of sound to have a modern rock sound.

Click here for the rest of the review.

Listening to: “Keihaku no Hito” by umbrella

Kinematograph / umbrella
umbrella

Roclassick2 review at JRock247

Since BIGMAMA’s conceptual album, Roclassick2, made my Best of 2014 list, I decided to review it for JRock247.

JRock247-BIGMAMA-Roclassick2-review

BIGMAMA has done it again, blending classical and rock in a completely unique manner. Rather than covering or sampling from classical music pieces, the band has used them as inspiration for original songs. Roclassick2 reimagines some familiar pieces from childhood piano lessons or high school band days that will please fans of any genres…

Click here to read the rest.

Listening to: “Swan Song” by BIGMAMA

U review at NekoPOP

In 2011, Yu Shirota decided to make his debut in the J-pop world as U… with an EP titled U.  (If that wasn’t confusing enough, there’s also song called “U”.)  I decided to do a retro review of it for NekoPOP.

The EP starts off strong with “Sisyphus”. U’s powerful voice rises above the prominent rhythm. He draws out notes in anguish while the guitar adds a Latin flavor, heightening the drama.

Click here to read the rest.

Listening to: “Worth Fighting For” by U feat. Howie D