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  1. So it's end of the year best-of list time, and I wanted to get involved... but I realized with more and more streaming of music rather than mp3s, and more and more me being lazy and not really listening to as much new stuff as I should: my best of 2016 list would be incomplete and hard to make because what I've been listening to isn't as easily organized by year in Spotify. But I'm a narcissist who still wanted to get in on the fun and write *something* so I decided to highlight some of my favorite, or at least notable for one reason or another, looks from the VK world in 2016. Visual is in the name after all! I know hipsters, such as myself, say that the looks don't matter and it's all about the music, man... but I'll freely admit even though I'm not looking at a picture of the band for 98% of my listening to them, the aesthetics matter and part of the reason I like VK is that I enjoy looking at pretty boys in elaborate costumes rather than bearded dudes in black tshirts. With that in mind here is my partially tongue-in-cheek but also I seriously thought about it 10 Notable VK Looks of 2016: Garak’s Vocalist ジュリ I call this the James Dean x Jesus. Insanity Injection Vocalist Kyouka Because of that YouTubers react video, this look may be the VK shot heard ‘round the world. “Looks like Kerrigan” is pretty accurate shorthand for Kyouka’s possessed crab/snake cannibal spirit costume that is almost elaborate enough to explain what the hell he’s been doing for the last ten years. ペンタゴン Bassist Minpha The kawaii-ness is undisputed around these parts… I’m embracing dark Minpha and his crown of demonic scallop shells. 乙女国家 Band I know it’s a VK trope, but I seriously like it when band members all pick a different color and just commit. I’m never going to learn their names, so it helps to just be able to reference “the yellow one who borrowed some gloves from Ensoku’s This is a Pen PV”. Also for anyone else who’s been there: was this photo taken at the ramen ‘museum’ (read: food court) in Yokohama?? It kinda reminds me of that spot. Doak Band As a rapidly balding dude, I appreciate when even fake-baldness gets some shine in VK. Shout-out to the dude from Codoma A! Avelcain Vocalist Karma I bow at the altar of Avelcain… and I’m on the record as loving black-suit-wearing VK looks. Add some fucking palpable *zetsubou* and a sword for no real reason!?? I’m sold. Elysion Band They get my vote for best golden age Matina cosplay of the year. I saw them in June and there was just tons of vinyl and straps and lace and bare thigh and a frilly white dress and… there’s no joke here they just had an awesome/classic look. I don’t even remember what they sounded like, but I remember thinking their outfits and makeup had to take hours to get right before the show. Lack-co. Vocalist Tenten What you thought I wasn’t going to include this transcendent “it’s coming in nice” puberty mustache dyed red?? You don’t know me very well. He’s got some sort of black sequin freckles happening too for some Annie vibes. Nihilizm Band Just a look that I think really kills. Those red lace blindfolds are just cool IDK. The member with the bob is a cutie. ギャロ Vocalist Jojo I always love Jojo’s extremely sparkly lipstick…. And in this video (and others this year) he wins the award for most dangerously low-rise pants in VK. Got them side abs! I also don’t really understand his fork hat, but fuck it if you can’t get weird in VK where can you? Close but no cigar: Hollowgram's grown up/understated black looks, vocalist from More's curls and one satyr horn, Plastic Tree vocalist pushing the bounds of how cool he can make cutting his own hair look Purposefully Omitted: The Black Swan blackface, any boring not-quite Kamijo look Let me know why I'm wrong and what should have been on this list!
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  2. Jin can still sing with the flu... he's been doing it for 10 years...
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  3. Since everyone's waiting for someone else to kick things off, I'll do it lol. My list is divided into 3 categories, each with 10 of my favorite releases, max 1 per band per section. The categories are (a) singles; (b) albums and mini-albums; (c) non-regular releases, which include live-limited/distributed CDs, digital releases, CDs of session bands, units, shuffle bands, and so on. As before, a caveat: I listen exclusively to visual kei and my list reflects that. Also, this list is called “hiroki’s favorites”, which is to say, music that speaks most intimately to me on various levels and has the kind of sound I'm attracted to. I make no pretense of this being the best that the scene has to offer anyone, since that's something only he/she can seek out on their own. For me--and saying this will no doubt induce significant eye-rolling--2016 was by some distance the best year of visual kei in terms of music released (disbands are a separate matter). It took me incredibly long to assemble a list of 10 per category because in each case I could easily have cited 50 that would ordinarily waltz into my top 10 list any other year. The competition this time was unreal. I considered appending an honorable mention section to each category but I thought better of making an already lengthy list even more unwieldy. Lastly: even though I made this list more as a cathartic exercise than a serious attempt to make others fall in love with my bands, I'll be delighted if you decide to leave a comment. So please feel free to let me know what you think! ^^ Since it's apparently no longer possible to embed the mp3 directly I've uploaded snippets on Youtube (already a couple of copyright warnings so far). I'll keep my thoughts as short as possible; it's quite pointless to repeat 'I LOVE THIS SO MUCH' 30 times... Here we go! TOP 10 SINGLES #10 Blu-BiLLioN / S.O.S. BB leads the way among kira vk bands that have made it relatively big - a tough ask these days. They aren't even in my top tier of bands, but can I just say how proud I am of them?? Please make it to Budokan one day #9 ビバラッシュ / Merry-Merry-Merry-Go!!-Round☆ I'm glad to see the Vivarush guys expanding their repertoire from the signature Fukuoka electro-rock sound that characterized their previous band. 透明な影 is an example of something you wouldn't have heard in A≠ris (Ruimaru spoke of the difficulty he encountered writing lyrics to this song). It seems Osaka is currently experiencing a mini-revival for this style of vk so hopefully that works in their favor. #8 vistip / CONTRAST Probably the closest post-CHIMERA vistlip has come to giving me that feeling which made me fall in love so hard with them when they started out. The chorus of CONTRAST is classic vistlip; just listen to how Tomo duplicates the same 2-bar phrase over the IV-V-iii-vi progression. But theory-speak is unnecessary; their sound + Tomo's lyrics pull me into their world like no other band can and that's all the matters. I demand more of this magic for your 10th anniversary this year please. #7 Purple Stone / 歌舞伎町バタフライ If you've been around MH for more than 3 days you'd probably have realized that I kinda love Purple Stone. I have no freaking clue why they are only #7, but that just attests to how crowded the field is. Anyway, it's nearly impossible to choose between 歌舞伎町バタフライ and パニックパニック!. The latter definitely kills at lives, but 歌舞伎町バタフライ probably has the edge on record so I've gone for that here. The B-side "RIVER" is Purple Stone's grandest song, and "Paradise Dance" a fantastic live track that I've enjoyed every single time. #6 グラムヘイズ / 妄想スパイス There's only one reason why I’ve picked this single over ラストシーン for glamhaze: its B-side 優しい街 kills me every time I hear it. Satoru's dreamy love letter to a Tokyo that has mercilessly turned its back on him continues to tear at my heart. Musically this song fuses a sparkly cascading soundscape reminiscent of DOF with a controlled intensity to produce an experience at once subtle and epic. It's very difficult for fans to accept glamhaze's imminent disbandment, but at least we have Satoru's solo project to look forward to. #5 弾丸 NO LIMIT / ソノ嘘ホント I can't believe how much Dangan has grown in such a short period of time. They write memorable melodies with unbelievable ease and Miyuu sounds ridiculously good every single time. I'm also kinda obsessed with Yusuke at this point (oops). Everything about this single is perfect except its album art (what?). #4 Lydiar / the Elpis I wasn't too into Lydiar's first single, however a friend of mine loved it so much I told myself to stick with them a little longer. It turns out that it wouldn't be long before they decided to disband anyway, which was a real shame because their 2nd single was really everything I love. For that alone I'll always remember them <3 I suspect coyomi's almost-out-of-control vocals would be unbearable to some, but they work for me! #3 Ank lily. / 解けた糸 Every year a band emerges from nowhere and snags one of the top spots in my singles list and along with it a permanent place in my heart. Last year was DiCE and this year it's Ank lily. I've been a great admirer of Rui since Emu. and buccal cone but this single excels on a whole new level. Hopefully Rui comes out of his semi-retirement mode soon... #2 アンフィル / Step by step Definitely the hardest decision I've had to make on this list. Not with regard to the position, but which Anfiel release? It's almost scandalous that a release like ラヴァ doesn't make it, but a band can only blame themselves for releasing 1 very very good single and 3 very very very good singles in a single year, right? On a more serious note, the split second Shogo's vocals enter this song after the guitar intro has got to be one of my all-time favorite moments in visual kei. The very first sounds he makes shift the mood so dramatically that I’m still blown away each time I go back to the track. Have I told you that I love Shogo?? #1 BLESSCODE / Imperial City If #2 was the hardest decision, this was the easiest. Hyperbole alert: I feel rather strongly that Imperial City is the best visual kei song I've ever heard. SORRY NOT SORRY. Surprisingly I'm not the only one who feels this way *winks* Witnessing this single drop in April was the equivalent of watching a soccer match where one team has scored 20 goals by half-time. It isn’t even close. At this point I don't even feel like describing what is it specifically about this song that I like. I still get goosebumps when I hear the chorus. It has become trite to claim that one "loves everything" about a song, except that's literally true in this case. I simply cannot imagine a song in this style that's done better. 99.9/100, 0.1 penalty for their decision to disband.
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  4. ~Like every year the combination of images and videos is assaulting your web browser. Just give it a minute~ 2016 was an ... interesting year. I came to grips with my status as a visual kei fan of shit turn of the century disbanded bands and ojisan rock, but found new comers convincing enough to keep me around. Albums I had been waiting on forever finally released and invigorated my passion for music halfway through the year like it always does. A few surprises were sprinkled throughout the year and while I felt that the year was lacking in great music looking back it's not so bad. This year certainly left a better impression on me musically than any year since 2011 - and that's saying a lot for me since that's the year that I started doing these lists. Aphex Twin - Cheetah EP THE BLACK SWAN - OUSIA BUCK-TICK - アトム 未来派 No.9 The Dear Hunter - Act V: Hymns with the Devil in Confessional decays - baby who wanders downy - 第六作品集『無題』 Flatbush Zombies: 3001 A Laced Odyssey HIZAKI - Rosario IX -NINE- - NIRDVANDVA KEEL - Raison de etre et de sang 陰陽座 - 迦陵頻伽 Run the Jewels - Run the Jewels 3 Russian Circles - Guidance 有村 竜太朗 (Ryutaro Arimura) - 「デも/demo」 siraph - siraph Vektor - Terminal Redux Versailles - The Greatest Hits 2007-2016 ザアザア (Xaa-Xaa) - 中毒症状 Thanks for reading!
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  5. Greetings, monochromians and netizens at large! I'm a bit late, but here are my top 20 Favorite Albums (and mini-albums) of 2016. In this list, I've made no distinction between Japanese and International releases, since I enjoyed much fewer non-Japanese albums in 2016 than usual. I usually never bother ranking my AOTY lists, but I wanted to give it a shot this year for fun. I do think the rankings reflect my general sentiments in a way, but...don't read too much into them lol. XD Lastly, Please note that this list isn't meant to be some kind of objective statement on the music released last year - this is simply a recollection of the albums I enjoyed most in 2016. So have a look around, and if you have any thoughts to share, please feel free! (I also made some short audio samples for each track, for those who might be curious!) Let's get into it! 20 The Heart Speaks In Whispers by Corinne Bailey Rae While this album didn't entirely live up to the lofty expectations set by 2010's The Sea, there was still a lot here for me to enjoy! Corinne dabbled in her usual pop fare, but it was the strong, classic r&b and soul influences throughout the record that truly struck a chord. I adore her usually refined and elegant approach to songwriting, but it was great to hear her stretch those fantastic vocal chords and really go for it at times too. 19 SECRETS by Deep Sea Diver At the risk of sounding like a complete and utter weeb, I must admit that's it's been incredibly difficult for me to find American indie-rock bands that cater to my taste. There are, of course, some that I enjoy, but on the whole, few seem to possess the kind of rhythmic and melodic sensibilities that I go for. Seattle's Deep Sea Diver are an exception, though. They're certainly not innovators by any means, but they do have an understated quirkiness that I find extremely charming! 18 TAXIS by koh nakashima I'm a bit surprised that there's not much mention of this guy in the Western Jpop sphere. For me, he's been one of the most impressive and promising newcomers to hit the scene. He seemingly came out of nowhere, dropping two EPs - RAFT and TAXIS - just a few months apart. I found TAXIS especially appealing for its nostalgic, yet refreshing blend of house, city-pop, uk garage, and pop. This also gets extra points for being one of the few releases where me and @beni's taste actually converge! 17 NIPPONNO ONNAWO UTAU BEST by NakamuraEmi Speaking of nostalgia - NakamuraEmi also won me over with an acoustic-pop style that hearkens back to early 00's jpop. Though, like Koh Nakashima, she brings a hip flair to her music and even skillfully incorporates a rap flow at times; which is something of a normal occurrence in Jpop these days thanks to acts like daoko and suiyoubi no campanella. Funnily enough, "NIPPONNO ONNAWO UTAU BEST" is simultaneously Nakamura's major debut while also serving as a best-of album for her indie material. This was my first experience with her (as it probably was for most people), and I'm nothing short of impressed. She already has a well established sound, honed from years of toiling away in obscurity, and I can't wait to hear what's next for her. 16 Word in the Petals by CHERRYBOY FUNCTION Unless you're some kind of Japanese club music aficionado, then chances are you probably haven't heard of CHERRYBOY FUNCTION. Hell, even if you're just a casual fan of electronica, coming across him or his music is unlikely given his sufficiently weak social network game and scanty remix work. Yet despite this, he's been quietly cranking out his bleeps & bloops via the small record label ExT Recordings for about a decade now, and also plays alongside more prominent electronic acts like DE DE MOUSE and TOFUBEATS. Word in the Petals is just another great dose of his colorful techno and house grooves. 15 THE NEWEST JOKE by VELTPUNCH Despite their prominence as one of the western fanbase's treasured indie bands of the 00's, I was never much of a VELTPUNCH fan. Even when I first listened to this album, I wrote it off as being decent, but nothing more. Yet for reasons unknown to me, I gave it another try and it actually began to click, growing on me with each repeat listen. With a whopping fourteen tracks, clocking in at over an hour, the album does drag on for a bit too long. I might have placed this higher in the list if the pleasant-but-forgettable tracks were omitted in favor of the stronger moments, but there's still more than enough raucous indie-rock fun here to keep me coming back! 14 LAST WALTZ by world's end girlfriend This was actually my first time listening to a WEG record, and to be honest, it just barely made my list. Not because I didn't enjoy it, but because it's simply a massive record and I felt I hadn't properly digested it yet. Though the fact that I still included it is a testament to the impression that's it's left on me. LAST WALTZ is an expansive amalgam of beautiful, cinematic landscapes, twisted distortion, and gritty electronics - right up my alley. I'll definitely enjoy continuing to digest this one in the year ahead. 13 freeform jazz by uyama hiroto Uyama Hiroto will probably be viewed as the spiritual successor to his peer and collaborator, the late Nujabes. However, with all due respect, I would say that this album has propelled him into a league of his own. While not technically "free-jazz", it certainly feels less bound than his previous works. It's a more musical effort overall, and the drumwork is especially more organic than before, as opposed to the straightforward boom-bap approach that similar artists take. In fact, you can hardly categorize this as just "jazzy hip-hop" anymore. Hell, the entire album only has one actual rap feature (and thankfully so, because I can't stomach cheesy backpacker rap!). It's an exquisite listen with fantastic vibes. 12 remix04 rem by Chouchou I've followed Chouchou casually for years now, but this album has completely cemented me as a fan. It's a self-remix album in the which duo have reworked their songs completely into ambient piano pieces, and it's astoundingly gorgeous! It's so well done that this albums feels like a new, cohesive work of its own, as opposed to an assortment of previously released tracks. I'd love for them to continue along this style. 11 DEEPER by HITORIE Wowaka's musical mind never ceases to amaze me. As a former vocaloid producer, he brings to HITORIE all of the colorful melodies and infectious riffs that I love, while thankfully leaving the actual vocaloid at home. If it weren't for the tail end of the album, DEEPER would have been much higher in rank, but the first half is so strong and has received SO MUCH playtime from me that it warrants a place on this list! 10 "inori de wa todokanai kyori" by JYOCHO The spirit of uchuu combini being resurrected in the form of JYOCHO was no doubt the biggest year-end surprise for me. For the most part, JYOCHO picks up exactly where the band left off, except this time adding a flutist into the arrangement. Even the new vocalist Rionos is barely distinguishable from uchuu's Emichoco. All in all, It's a lovely dose of math-pop, and just what I needed in my musical diet last year. 09 DISTORTION by THIS IS JAPAN These 4-piece alt. rockers appeared with yet another awesome debut EP last year. Citing influences such as Fugazi and Japanese indie legends NUMBER GIRL and Bloodthirsty Butchers, these guys play a style of rock that smashes together fun and catchy melodies with pure, spastic rawness! At a time where the smooth grooves of city-pop and the chilled sounds of western indie are trending in the J-indie world, THIS IS JAPAN is a breath of fresh air! 08 Floa by Mammal Hands With the emergence of acts like mouse on the keys and fox capture plan, bands fusing post-rock with piano-based jazz seem to be appearing more these days. Mammal Hands was my latest discovery in this style, and unlike their labelmates GoGo Penguin (who also released a solid album in 2016), this trio are a bit more loyal to their jazz influences. They have a pretty awesome saxophonist, which definitely supplements their jazzy predilections and gives them a more notable edge over similar bands. I like to imagine that Floa is what Uyama Hiroto would sound like if he went in a more jazzy and cinematic direction. 07 Flames & Figures by The Seshen The Seshen was another serendipitous new discovery for me last year. I stumbled across them while perusing one of my favorite UK music labels, Tru Thoughts, and I was enamored immediately. They make the kind of forward-thinking soul music that I love, with hints of electronica, synth-pop, and psychedelia all bundled into one, crisp, enthralling package. I've seen them described as "Little Dragon meets Erykah Badu", which is brilliant since I love those two. Apparently, they've also supported acts like Thundercat and Hiatus Kaiyote (who I also love!). 06 IKI by HITORIE No, you're not going crazy. This is, indeed, another HITORIE album on my list lol. They released two last year, and as you can see, I'm smitten with them both! IKI, however, is the second one to be released and also the better of the two. It doesn't have the powerhouse singles that DEEPER did, but it's the more cohesive and balanced work. Whereas DEEPER fizzles out towards the end, IKI is thoroughly engaging throughout. The amount of quality music that HITORIE released last year is just baffling! 05 A Moon Shaped Pool by Radiohead I'm most likely a fan of any Japanese band that you can describe as sounding Radiohead-esque - sleepy.ab, downy, trico, wooderd chiarie, ar - so it only makes sense that I'd be a fan of the masters themselves. I can't even tell you why I like them so much, but I guess their sound just speaks to my heart on a visceral level. This album is like the soundtrack to a dream of infinitely unravelling splendor. The arrangements are gorgeous and the production is as pristine and masterful as it gets. Amazing! 04 Ugly Slave Children by No Party for Cao Dong These Taiwanese rockers completely swept me off my feet after seeing what I'd easily consider my favorite music video of 2016. Admittedly, the album took a while to grow on me, with its unexpectedly danceable nature, but I've really come to love its uniquely passionate blend of grooves, mathy passages, and emo outbursts. 03 SONASILE by Shohei Amimori I was beginning to lose faith in PROGRESSIVE FOrM, my favorite Japanese electronic label, as the quality of their releases have been shoddy over past few years, but Shohei Amimori has completely dispelled my growing stigma with this album! SONASILE is an absolutely incredible sonic feast of colorful IDM and sunny glitch-pop. There are also hints of modern classical and jazz piano strewn throughout, and even some very strong Shibuya-Kei influences. I'm surprised that the western fandom seems to have overlooked this one! 02 dai roku sakuhin-shu "mudai" by downy As expected, downy's 6th untitled album is absolutely singular! It's much different from their previous album, yet just as good. Robin Aoki's vocals are more prominent than they've ever been, and the production seems a bit more earthy and natural, as if the album was produced specifically with live performances in mind. It's brought out a new kind of warmth to their otherwise stark and cold, dystopian sound. The general soundscape of the album isn't as varied as their previous releases, but it works in downy's favor here. Instead of going for an outwardly expansive sound, the album plays out like the band exploring their own inner workings, and it's a whole new world unto itself. I'm not sure how these guys do it, but they keep evolving while remaining a uniquely potent force. 01 siraph by siraph You know those "create your dream band" topics? Well, I've ruminated on those kinds of subjects quite a bit and never in a million years would I have thought to create a band as perfect as siraph. These guys are literally a dream come true - mostly due in part to the god-tier combination of haisuinonasa's Yoshimasa Terui and school food punishment's Masayuki Hasuo. Terui was the driving force behind haisinonasa and Hasuo was responsible for school food punishment's best material. With both bands in the throes of oblivion (the former appears to be on hiatus and the latter has been disbanded for years), their unique sounds seemed at danger of being lost to time. Thankfully, siraph has appeared with this godsend of a debut to save the day! The EP combines Terui's offbeat, math rock-sensibilities and Hasuo's eccentric synth grooves to brilliant effect. Both composers wrote three tracks each, and while their individual styles are obvious, they couldn't be any more complimentary as a unit. Singer Annabel completes the circle, bringing with her an anison charm that completely invigorates Hasuo and Terui's already imaginative compositions. With this EP, in addition to their demos and recent single, siraph has single-handedly made my 2016!
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  6. TOP 10 ALBUMS & MINI-ALBUMS #10 ASTARIA / 未来のその先 ASTARIA is one of those bands that had always lingered on the peripheries of my attention, but I’ve definitely got into them more after seeing them live some time ago. The atmosphere their music conjures is pretty special (and has been since Black Klaxon). That said, I still think Rey's vocals are an acquired taste so give them some time to grow on you #9 CLØWD / TENDERLOIN I still don't get the album's title. But that's a very minor footnote to my favorite release from them to date. Tomorrowland is a tour de force that showcases the range of things Kou is capable of. If Ryohei can continue getting the best out of the rest of the band with his composition they should go pretty far with DC's push. #8 GARAK'S / 革命 I wasn't sure how this band would work out when they formed with Juri as their vocalist (one of the airiest vocals in visual kei, with the possible exception of Rikuto) and syuma as their main composer (who generally excels at harder tracks). It's still early days, and only time can tell if this combination ultimately works, but their mini album was very promising. I hope Juri gets rid of whatever he's wearing on his head in the next look. #7 DOG inThePWO / Doggy Style 0 I wish @Tetora was still around just so that I can tell him I finally fell in love with DOG! For all his relentless promotion it took a Christmas song for them to win me over LOL. I mean, this is only the most fun Christmas song ever <3 Has Haru always sounded this good?? Anyway, DOG is poised to change their concept this year and I'm excited and terrified in equal measure. #6 Ichiyon / 140 Ichiyon's was a particularly painful disbandment for me to take because I always felt that they had the potential to do so so much more. They have a knack for writing melodies that I can't forget even if I tried. It's hard to say what went wrong but I really loved everything they have done. They also had some of the sweetest members. #5 Luccica / ButterfLux Another short-lived band that bit the dust before more people could get to know them. They didn't last long enough for me to form a strong impression of their band but this album was surprisingly refined and well thought through, especially considering they were newcomers to the scene. Bonus points for the pretty album art. I need Seiya back in a new band T_T #4 ペンタゴン / 絶叫! My interest in Pentagon took a slight hit after buying their full album (there were nice tracks but it just didn't work for me as a whole) but I'm glad I continued following them regardless because this mini is such a gem. 線香花火 is a perfect ballad and Teenage. is basically the kind of song I live for: autotuned vocals, the gradual buildup, the interruption by Chizuru's falsettos to summon words lost in the depths of memory to force himself to stand up once again... Teenage. sets up the liminal space of adolescence where one is forced to wake into a new tomorrow even as he indulges in the pathos of a backward glance. #3 FoLLoW / FoLLoW I don't think I need to provide a length commentary for this release since it speaks for itself. FoLLoW is an irreplaceable band for me and Masashi is just one of a kind. He's the sort of guy that draws in everyone around him (I mean, seriously, look at the number of bandmen who love him!!). When he talks/tweets/sings, everyone else listens. The album does a nice job at distilling the 3.5 years of FoLLoW and gives a nice taste of what the band is about, from their energetic rap tracks to heartbreaking ballads. So go listen. #2 弾丸 NO LIMIT / マズル Everything I've said about Dangan above applies equally here. Miyuu is magical. Every time I listen to him I die a little harder. Something about his voice really gets to me (in the good way). I need to see them live asap. I also need to see Yusuke asap. I hope they can fill O-West for their one-man next month because they deserve it. #1 叙情四重奏「カノン」 / 写実と空想 Probably the biggest surprise all year. I still can't really explain why this is #1 for me but I'll try. Firstly, Kanon's music isn't really the kind I typically get into. Its plodding retro sound is reminiscent of bands like Belle and Marco--music that I don't mind putting on in the background occasionally but hardly the sort I have a great deal of emotional investment in. Actually, I don't even think that You is an extremely accomplished vocalist (he's still a sweetheart though). Yet I can't name another vocalist who can better serve the idea articulated by this album. Just like a classic Bradbury story, 写実と空想 evokes a mood that waxes and wanes through the album, with individual tracks functioning like vignettes through which one glimpses at a totality that actually doesn't exist. The album's title (which translates into 'realism and fantasy' - echoing a famous work by the Surrealist painter Koga Harue) gives us a clue into what this album is about. Its ponderous style invites equal introspection from the listener. If you do just that, you might be rewarded with a moment at the limit of experience - there, one is suspended between past and present, teetering on the edge of fiction and reality, waiting for an eternity to be seized in an instant...
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  7. indigo's unpopular favorites of 2016 It's a little after midnight here, so basically I missed the deadline, but it's still sunday somewhere! I'm not in it for the prize really, I just wanted to get this list out there for fun so I didn't really invest in creativity, it's just a simple list. I imagine these artists won't appear on many - if any - lists. It's good to have a bit of diversity too, right? Some of these videos might be blocked for you, my apologies for that! Here are the Japanese albums I enjoyed the most last year! #1 ムニムニ (Munimuni) - A KILLS A I feel like this album would be on a bunch of EOTY lists if it wasn't for the hmm... unique vocals. I have never been bothered by his voice, though. And he uses his lower register a lot more on this mini-album anyway. I must admit the vocal melodies and delivery can be for an acquired taste. Every time I hear someone say "I love the music but can't stand the vocals" about a band I enjoy, it makes me particularly happy for some weird reason. Few of us have been waiting for new Munimuni material for ages and finally we got a new mini-album! A KILLS A is only 17 and half minutes long but it's still something. And that something is 17 and half minutes of quality music: melancholic rock with fucking awesome atmospheric, wailing shoegazey guitar. Just listen to it on BIG MONEY or NEO SONG, for example. Third song &4 is the weakest point on the album but it's still good. Sample song Highlights: BIG MONEY, NEO SONG, KOGEN #2 Age Factory - LOVE I'm not entirely sure, but I like to think that this album is about a summer, two teenagers and first love. As you know, everything feels 10 times worse when you're a teenager, especially a break up. This album has that whole bittersweet, exaggerated end of the world atmosphere. You could almost cut these feels with a knife. I simply adore the vocalist's voice, I just want to give him a man-hug and say "it's alright". It's near impossible to pick a favorite song, they're all my favorites. This album needs to be listened to from start to finish as one consistent piece of music. For me "LOVE" hit hard, one of my favorite rock albums in a long time. Sample song Highlights: EVERYTHING, maybe with the exception of Veranda #3 iri - Groove it I stumbled upon iri's music randomly. I saw the cover art and was intrigued. A few youtube song samples later I was excited. After the full album I was hooked. The album is influenced by urban music; R&B, soul, funk, hip-hop. The production on the album is smooth and groovy. The list of producers include mabanua (ナイトグルーヴ), STUTS (Wandering) and Kenmochi Hidefumi (breaking dawn, フェイバリット女子) among others. iri's voice is soulful and despite her young age she sounds mature. There's even some parts where she is rapping but she is comfortable with it, it doesn't sound awkward or try-hard. Perfect music for a night drive in the city! Sample song Highlights: breaking dawn, Wandering #4 友川カズキ (Kazuki Tomokawa) - 光るクレヨン (Gleaming Crayon) Tomokawa has been around for a long time. He's been churning out albums regularly for 40 years and I think we're close to 30 studio albums by now. He's known for his avant-folk style of music and Gleaming Crayon continues on the same line. The most well-known characteristic of Tomokawa is his idiosyncratic voice, I'd describe his technique as "coughing-your-lungs-out". It's desperate, disgusting, intimidating. Most of the time his voice is accompanied by acoustic guitar. There's also some occasional instruments; distressing drums, scary strings, sporadic saxophone, you name it but which ever the instrument, it's always a harrowing feat. Sample song Highlights: つつじ, 愉楽 #5 SALU - Good Morning I remember when I saw the PV of first single Tomorrowland and thought to myself "this is trash". Well, since then I have changed my opinion a bit, it's still my least favorite song though but the rest of the album makes up for it. The opener "All I Want feat. Salyu" is a strong one. It's nothing like "Tomorrowland". It's an emotional song, with a piano-based beat. The subdued "la la la's" which serve as a chorus are beautiful and last minute lets Salyu shine. The production on this album is great for the most part, it's soulful. There's jazzy horns, piano aaaaand I just noticed that I love to list instruments. SALU flows on these beats effortlessly and he got some good hooks. There's surprisingly lot of singing too, like on "How Beautiful" and "Lily". All featuring artists do a great job, there aren't any rappers but singers Salyu and Mika Nakashima and trumpeter Kuroda Takaya. Especially Salyu almost steals the show on her feature. Sample song Highlights: All I Want feat. Salyu, How Beautiful, タイムカプセル #6 Yellow Studs - door There are bands that I wish would evolve with every album, and then there's bands like Yellow Studs. They have basically been doing the same thing since forming - garage-ish rock with hints of jazz - never really changing their sound, and damn I'm glad they haven't! They have nice melodies, raspy vocals and great instrumentation with catchy guitars, cool upright bass and some lovely keyboard/piano. I've always enjoyed their faster tempo songs the most, and this album proves it true again. おはよう (Ohayo) is a great example, it might be one of the best songs they've done so far and it's one of my favorite songs of 2016! It's simply a fun album which never fails to lift my spirits. Sample song Highlights: ガラクタ, おはよう
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  8. TOP 10 NON-REGULAR RELEASES #10 アルカネット / Answer I’ll be the first to admit that the recording quality is somewhat dreadful, although that takes nothing away from how wonderful they are live. Sora is such an endearing vocalist (and one of my favorite guys to bug on Twitter). I’m so glad I decided to drop by Hokkaido en route to a conference last year just to see them <3 This band has an amazing exuberance about them that I hope they will never ever lose. #9 FeniX / Rebirth FeniX was the new band of Lieluck’s vocalist You that somehow managed to last even shorter than Lieluck. I don’t have much to say about this band except that I love them while they lasted and if/when You decides to return with a new band he can be sure to count on my support. #8 Parxias / Ark Night Hikarito can’t seem to decide on the name of his band haha – Parxias was something like the 3rd of 4 names he has cycled through in 2016 alone. Before forming his first proper band AsteL, he was a roadie together with shun (vocalist of the unit Kakumei no Jouken) for vistlip and it isn’t hard to discern vistlip’s influence on his songwriting. I have absolutely zero doubt about his talents (he plays 5? instruments) and with time he will only become better. #7 Rides In ReVellion / Another… I always know what I’m going to get from RiR. Taji’s compositions are perfect for Kuro and this is no exception. A wonderful ballad that befits the occasion of their 1st anniversary oneman live. #6 アタック!アタック! / JUST A Virgin! First thought: Pretty sure Taku wrote this… I might love it. Second thought: I love it. Third thought: I really love it. The perfect song for everyone to sing along to at the Goemon summer event where Attack!Attack! was the opening act. My guess is that they will continue to play this at their label’s 2-man lives in future as a theme song of some sort. Even for a distro I wish the production had been better – usually when I say this it means that it’s pretty bad because I simply don’t care about production as long as it doesn’t get in the way of listening. #5 篠突く雨 / 葵 They already have like 4 distributed CDs since they formed but 葵 was by far the best of the bunch for me. A solid melody with the usual Japanesque elements you’d expect from Shinotsuku ame, it’s dramatic without being either brooding or cheesy. In truth, this isn’t even my favorite song from them – that would have to be 月光の檻, the B-side of 輝夜-kaguya-, their very strong debut release that I unfortunately couldn’t accommodate into my singles list above. #4 -真天地開闢集団-ジグザグ / 悪いのはバンドマン Honestly I still can’t warm up to 80% of zigzag’s discography. I also don’t find their bangya jokes particularly amusing. My opinion might change if I see them live… we’ll see. But this song has such a strong tinge of Ray℃ (dat chorus…) that I can’t help but love it. I can go on and on but it would be about Ray℃ rather than zigzag so I’ll spare you all of that. #3 FoLLoW / シアワセノカタチ FoLLoW performed this for the first and last time at the final oneman, so this song has the same kind of emotional gravity for me as SINCREA’s RED. I feel that this might not be the strongest melody that Masashi has written in his career, but that’s an extremely trivial and nitpicky point when weighed against the occasion and what Masashi had clearly wanted to convey through their last song. He definitely succeeded; and one might argue he succeeded a little too well. I cannot. #2 アンフィル / アクア アクア is kind of a companion song to ラヴァ and it was given out at their 3rd oneman. Shogo said in an interview that this song could only have been written at a precise point in Anfiel’s career and that they could never do a song like this again. You can probably understand why that’s the case if you listen carefully to it. I love how forward-looking Anfiel is and the fact that they’re never content with status quo. Also, Shogo’s vocals <3 Have I told you that I love Shogo?? #1 THE SINK. / Snow fall season THE SINK. has topped my ‘non-regular releases’ list for the second year running and I don’t know if that’s something I should be delighted or exasperated about. At this point I’m like 90% certain My Fairytale won’t be back anytime soon and I’m already bitterly resigned to that fact. The only silver lining is that neo is still sporadically writing new songs for Kate and THE SINK. is a semi-regular session (though for how long more… I’m unsure, after a grand total of FOUR people went to see them last month). I can’t remember the last time I’ve followed a session this closely. Give me more of this combination of Tokyo-Shitei-esque R&B beat with Kate’s soaring vocals taking flight, and I can only love them more (if that’s possible?)..
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  9. But what if a spent counterculture is actually more subversive than an active one? For me, there are two very different ways of thinking about countercultures and the transgressive work they are performing. The first is where you try to build rapport, get more people interested in the subculture, then flag it up as some kind of collective protest. In practice, this has always been the mode by which identity politics operated in the public domain--through aggregation, coalition-building, and ramping up the numbers. There are good reasons for this, but there are problems with it, especially for its cultural parallel. Some of us here might be familiar with a book published some decades ago by Dick Hebdige on British youth subcultures (punks, mods, etc.), in which he observed that every subculture that has historically evolved in ostensible protest against popular/mainstream culture cannot elude the inevitable fate of commodification by social and cultural institutions. This spells the death of that subculture either because the ‘transgressive’ force has by that point been entirely neutralized through its absorption into mass culture, or because the “angry young men” who are in them just to make a deafening aesthetic/political statement about themselves have migrated to another fledging subculture en masse before that could happen. I have a hunch that the "scene culture" today that Disposable alluded to might be linked to precisely this. Just look at how cultural scenes have become increasingly dispersed, and interest groups increasingly fragmented (and alienated from one other) since the last decades of the 20th century. The other way of thinking about transgression, I think, is to simply not concern oneself with it. This might sound somewhat counterintuitive but I’ve always been struck by how it’s actually incredibly difficult in this day and age to be totally useless. Think of NEETs who are sitting around at home relishing how they aren't contributing to society; but by being held up in the mass media as exemplary negative "case studies" that parents ought to dutifully warn their children about, they are nevertheless serving an important social function. All of this is a very laborious way of saying that even as we admit to ourselves that it's no longer possible to be radically transgressive in the way most of us had hoped to be at some point in our lives, at least the Wildean decadent who doesn’t give a damn whether the subculture he’s participating in is still relevant or subversive wouldn’t rehearse the problematic we encountered in the first case--where, by reacting violently against the mass culture we absolutely detest we’re in some sense being held hostage to it and playing by its terms. Which reminds me of something Slavoj Zizek said: sometimes, doing nothing is the most violent thing to do. He isn’t taken very seriously by most of his colleagues within academic circles, but I think there’s at least a grain of truth in what he said there. In any case... If nothing else, people who stick by visual kei even after it’s no longer the fad are usually those I enjoy talking to the most. I had an uncannily similar experience in classical music: over there, the same handwringing we’re having now in this thread had taken place approximately half a century ago and by this point everyone I know has basically given up trying to ‘make it relevant’. Thankfully, it’s always more fun associating with people who consume a cultural product because they genuinely enjoy it, and not because they want to appropriate it (consciously or not) as a proxy to make a conspicuous statement about themselves.
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  10. I'm surprised that 2009 was the peak. It was already around that time I was complainin' how there's no good shows to attend lol. With that said, those shows that we did have sold very well and a few bands could even venture to have gigs in the second largest city of the country as well. I reckon the pop culture peak of visual kei in Finland was in 2007-2008 when the odd few bands made the telly and got gifted some magazine space. Shows were packed, the fashion was wild, no koreans gnawing in on the real estate, events that were associated with visual kei could actually be held at relatively low risk. What's up for debate though, is how the new fanbase of the peak years wasn't able to recover from the crucial wave of hiatus', disbandments and stylistic changes that the most popular bands went through around the turn of the 2010's. Everyone should recall how often one heard people lamenting on the state of the scene with ambiguous claims of a lack of X, Y and Z, setting the scene for the gradual petering out either to the clutches of the koreans or just general normalcy. This is the way of the flesh for a fad certainly, and nobody is able to sustain creative output nor popularity for an extended period of time, but that's not all that there is to it. I suppose among great many other things, it's not unjust to consider public merely as fickle if their visual kei habit was dependent on the existence of Dio and Unsraw. Visual kei on the internet had good enough infrastructure to allow these people to discover new and old bands with relative ease, but one should still never underestimate the stupidity and the incapability of the rank and file to utilize such tools perfectly well in their disposal. There are still people who'll waltz into a conversation, feigning willful ignorance, saying "OH THESE BANDS OF TODAY AREN'T LIKE THE GIRUGAMESH OF YORE. SO WHAT HAPPENED WITH THAT VISUAL KEI?". This means that relative interest is there; they haven't forgotten about it, so what gives? A certain contributing factor that I don't think gets brought up enough is the bush league organising and the sheer ineptitude of the promoters. The fad really blew its wad during the two years it was at its peak, and it wasn't sustainable. Absurdly dumb, dead certainly set for failure, shows got booked even as late as 2015: and anyone with a lick of sense ought to know that in the long term a no-show is always better than a small-shit show. When you're flopping the proper course of action is never to keep on flopping until you can flop no more, but to change the approach. Rest assured a lot of money and contacts have been squandered by idiots already one foot out the door. Unsraw's European tour is a classic example, and Merry's a more recent one. If you're not able to project that there's no demand, and that by booking this there'll be no demand in the future, then you're simply not helping. The networking on the local level wasn't great and at its worst there were even open divisions between the fanbase of privileged rich blogger cunts and those who took the train to shows from their shit provincial towns who could barely afford the mcdonald's and second hand converse ( I confess my dislike of the former, but I'm not merely projecting it. I heard many other people voice it also, completely unprovoked by yours truly. ) When enough shows and events are abjectly booked to fail with a lack of camaraderie to match, the rot is aggravated to spread into the brain, and eventually even the life support in form of a Gazette european tour won't do you no good. Their 2016 show in Helsinki did not sell out. That's equal to the sky falling out in visual kei terms. A curious example of grassroots level organising seemingly done correct: take a look at the pictures of SANA's recent solo tour from from the backarse of eastern europe. Going through all those pictures you'll notice that while the central and western European crowds are only a handful at best, the Russian and Ukrainian shows pull a kind of a crowd that man of SANA's stature has no right of pulling. I'm terribly interested to find out how they've managed to do this. The only reason I can manage to come up with by speculation alone is that the fans of "Japanese stuff" are so organised, if not rabid, that when something is organised, enough effort is done that it'll pull enough solidarity to maintain the scene's health. I swear to God one of those Sana crowds has equal heads to what EAT YOU ALIVE or heidi had here in the past three years. It can't be that there's more fans of this shit there than in here just by sheer chance, luck and coincidence.
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  11. What's up everyone! I'm glad we are doing this again, last year was so much fun! So here's my list of best songs of 2016. I had to set a few rules to not overdo it, (and I don't think it worked that well, look at that wall of text below) which were: - At least one song per month; - Maximum of 20 songs; - Maximum of 3 songs per month; Below the champions there's a few runner ups that kinda deserved to be talked about, but would make this even bigger, so... Let's go! JANUARY DEZERT - A & Seion So, only having 20 songs to choose from, DEZERT got 2 on january because they fuckin earned it. "A" is a banger that has everything one expects from them: Heavily distorted guitars, chiaki alternating between his regular to screaming like a madman (which by the way, is one of the best screamers on the scene right now.) blunt, almost blowing the amplifier bass lines, strong, loud drums. Top notch recording makes it all sounds like they are playing in your room. All of this packed on a album intro of 2:42, that will leave you dizzied like being sucker punched. That ending is 02:17 is some real moshpit eargasm. "Seion" shows how diverse they can be. Saikou no Shokutaku is some proof that the boys can do some real emotional stuff without losing their characteristic heaviness. Chiaku lets his mates takes the spot here, miyako, sora and saz kicks so much ass. Highlights to that amazing bridge and mid breakdown, this is some real live anthem.And mad props for their sound engineer, it ain't easy to go full raw, rough-on-the-edges with the instruments and still making it sound clear and equalized.(I'm looking at you, Leda.) This whole album is so tight that if you live under a rock and haven't listened to it yet, do it right now. FEBRUARY NIA - PRAYER NIA is a favorite from years now, both auncia and ANSIA had some killer tunes, and certainly NIA wouldn't disappoint. "PRAYER" is textbook Hikari. The way he makes the orchestral arrangement an integral and cohesive part of the song is why I really appreciate his writing. It starts with Tatsuki almost chanting with some gorgeous feminine vocals, who really contrasts with him, making for a beautiful duo. Jin guitars gently guiding them into a powerful chorus, complementing the experience. The second verse is my absolute favorite part, it's impossible not to start humming along with them. it builds up on a rocker ending, creating a powerful and emotional ending for a real nice contrast. to top it of, some beautiful lyrics will surely make you go all "IIII NEEED YOOOOU HEEEERE" with Tatsuki by the end. My boy Rega really did them good, and its a fuckin shame they went on hiatus this year. But in Hikari we trust! MARCH DIV - sakura yume March was a bloody good month for japanese music, and was the only one I was adamant on having 3 songs featured. and "Sakura Yume" is the first one to be mentioned. I don't think the mini was as well received as the boys expected, cuz people do tend to freak out on bands trying new sounds. And they shouldn't in this case. "Sakura Yume" is THE PERFECT mix up of vk electronic rock that can make you dance like crazy and still give you all the feels in the world. that bridge, man. I can totally see the lightwork hitting and leading people into getting WILD when the chorus hits. Chisa SOARS in it, all being guided by some fantastic drum lines, which are not electronic, so props to them for stickin to their rock roots. Keeping it all real while infusing some house music vibes was such a wise decision. (SIDE RANT: BOO to Sakura and Chobi to quit the band.) This is the higher DIV reached when trying EDR, and I can't wait for what Chisa and Shogo got for us this year. SuG - Smells Like Virgin Spirit After BLACK, I never thought SuG would be able to do something as good as. Boy, I was wrong. "Smells Like Virgin Spirit" kicks so much ass I even have a hard time assimilating that this is the same SuG that did shit like "Gimme Gimme". It may not be their hardest song (I think MISSING still gets it), but this is the sweet spot between some raw emotion and punk rock vibes. Great bass lines and drums guides the whole song, while Takeru pours out during the whole song. The woooh oooh is so, so fuckin emotional I dare you not to sing along. Punk influences did a really good number on them, Shinpei drums improved so much, he really sets the foundation for one of SuG's best work so far. This is the side the boys should be exploring, not that embarassing edgy mess that was SHUDDUP. FAR EAST DIZAIN - inhale Oh Boy. Inhale. My mind was blown so hard when I first listened to this. FED certainly had not lived up to the expectations with their album, but such talented musicians could not have forgotten how to do good music. That intro, leading into that AMAZING drums and bass duel, pouring into such powerful vocals is what I've waited for my hole life. He pours his heart entirely in it, going with some AMAZING, real lyrics that resonates in a deep, personal level. I think we call all agree we've experienced what he talks about in some point in our lives, and it goes right in the feels for me. (SIDE RANT TWO: If you think Keita is a bad vocalist, you will totally pick a fight with me. I agree that FED may not get the best from him, but what that boy did in CodeRebirth should serve as enough proof that he is a GOD) There's so many things to talk about here. Leda does not try to steal the show, and guiding the song to more bass-y foundation was the best thing he could do. It really amped-up the emotions here. It has a small problem of of sound engineering decision, which is sometimes make the drums sounds really compressed, like it was all recorded in a bathroom. But this is a Leda trademark, so I think he actually likes it, go figure. But it does not make the song less powerfull. That brilliant chorus goes on, ending in some great shouts by Keita, and Sujk murdering some infidels ass, making up for the greatest FED experience so far. I hope for more Inhale, less Zenith in the future. Please, guys! APRIL LOKA - STAY We start april with LOKA. While I've always loved Kihiro's vocals, I also always thought LOKA's songs were good, but not really memorable. Until EVO:ERA. This mini really shows the boys stepping up their game. The electronic infusion is a really nice touch, injected life in their compositions that, while may not be that mind-blowing, really does enable Kihiro to show is prowess, and the amazing, AMAZING lyrics (which kinda reminds me of Ken Lloyd's works) makes for such a real, palpable experience that I dare you again to not sing along (thaaaanks @Seraphinne for sharing the scans, you rock!). Shout out to the drumming, kinda DnB-y, again showing that infusing electronic vibes really diversifies their sound. It's really all about the lyrics, guys. Most of the times it does not makes much difference, but here it amps up the song SO MUCH. The whole mini is amazing, so go check it out! the GazettE - UNDYING The other april pick is crowd's favorites the GazettE. Following up the not so great "UGLY" and the really great DOGMA, "UNDYING" is the perfect final piece of that project. That intro's soundwall is probably the heaviest GazettE ever done, and it's soooo good. leads to a punk rock inspired verse, that ends in one of my complaints of GazettE writing formula: the unecessary reliance on soft vocals, which does not add that much to the song. But it does not reeeally pull it down, as soon after, a real emotional chorus enters, and makes up for it. the verse on the second park ends in a freaking cathartic breakdown that elevates the whole thing to 11. Amazing drumming, above-the-standards competent guitars makes for a cohesive experience, that probably should have been part of DOGMA, but do hold it's ground as a single. MAY XENON - Alice da Vinci In may we had some pretty great releases, but I'll stick which a personal favorite of mine, that most of you probably won't even heard about: XENON's "Alice da Vinci". Yeah, I know it wasn't really released this year, but this is a new recording of it that completely overhauls and gives a new life to it, so it earned its place here. Simple composition and structure, with some classic electronic sprinkle that vk does, but with a special flavor: Leo's voice. The acoustic guitar sweeps nicely on the background, drum setting the stage to Leo shine. The dueling vocals on the bridge prepares for a beauty of a chorus, another sing-a-long (courtesy of Mr. @DarkPaladin, thanks so much for sharing that booklet!) gem that hits right in the feels. Leo's nasal tone may not be for everyone, but if you are familiar with XENON you know the man can sing. And the guys do chorus like few others, of pure, raw emotion. It ends up with some kick-ass heartfelt guitar solo, for an experience that's way shorter than it should be. Boys gotta come back SOON, miss them so much already! JUNE BOOM BOOM SATELLITES - LAY YOUR HANDS ON ME "LAY YOUR HANDS ON ME" secured their spot here mostly because of what this song represents. Some of you should know about Kawashima's hardly fought battle against a recurring brain tumor, that sadly won and took him over way too early from us, this year. But even being severely impaired by his disease, Kawashima was able to leave us a farewell present. Even with everything going on, "LAY YOUR HANDS ON ME" brings a bittersweet message of hope and happiness that, even when everything brings you down, you will get up, you should stand tall. It's a dancey, feelgood electronic song, that does not really convey the sense of grandeur BBS usually goes for, but completely fulfill its mission of celebrating BBS and their fans, urging you to go deep into your joy and cheerfulness, to fly out, just like that kiddo on the PV. We'll forever be BOOM BOOM SATELLITES! Hakujitsu no Yume - jirei 02 -oinori- "oinori" almost instantly caught over my attention as soon as I listed to the preview. I was absolutely sure this was the Shounenki I used to love. and I was right. This song conveys everything I love about the boys, specially Kou. While the song structure is partly inspired by the aesthetics of Hakujitsu no Yume (the talking lyrics are interesting, but this song deserved more) that corny, almost teenage-y angst that pours emotion that was Shounenki's mark perfectly describes this chorus. Kou goes over the top, singing his all, nodding all the brilliance previously shown in "WEAKNESS_MY BLOOD". Pretty great drums (PLEASE SHARE THE REAL RIP IF YOU HAVE IT, I BEG YOU), some vk bleep-blop on the right ammount leads to an ending part that is emotional as fuck, and secured my faith that Amai Boryoku's first single was just a bump on the road. JULY FoLLoW - Ningyohime I've reviewed "Ningyohime" before here, and the song still keeps getting better and better. When talking of soft, mellow vocalists, Masashi should be high on any vk list you make. Guy is so good. Add the fact that he's a hell of a songwriter, which perfectly sets the ground for him to shine. The way the song starts doesn't seems it will be such an emotional ride, but as soon as the guitar picks up you can feel what's coming. Sweet bass lines gives help Masashi slides through the verse, leading to brilliant, heartfelt chorus. All of that being steadly guided by some rhythmic, simple yet powerful drums, that makes the difference without stealing the show. This is all about Masashi's voice and lyrics that, my god. That's some absolutely great lyrics. (shoutout to @hiroki's INCREDIBLE translation, go check it out!) it all leads up to a classic vk up-in-tempo-second-half, creating a powerful, explosive emotional experience that I'm damn sad I'll never be able to check out in a concert. It's almost a crime Ningyohime wasn't featured on their Full album. girugamesh - period period is a song I'll never understand. chimera was not that great, neither was gravitation. How come the guys release such a jaw-dropping piece of music and call its quits right after? "period" is the culmination of the evolution girugamesh went through all these years. absolutely incredible main riff, drums blasting of your face, Satoshi screaming like a goddamn monster. Looks like the band gave all their best on the last release, they've never sounded so cohesive before. The whole heavy, industrial atmosphere, that ranges from Satoshi's sweet chant to all hell breaking lose in the end, taking you from a sweet safe spot to the dread and despair of that soulfelt break down. Jesus Christ. This is a fuckin testament to their skills, a last kick in the guts from a band that, if this indicates anything, had so much more to offer us. A damn shame. AUGUST Pinocchio - Zetsubou Drive This is another tune that probably flew under the radar of most of you. "Zetsubou Drive" is not an mindblowing song by any means, but there are several points here that are real proof of japanese unique catchiness when talking about compositions. Ryuuto's writing style is a mix of vk and mainstream, I feel Pinocchio could drop vk anytime and go full indie that nobody would notice. The way he plays with going on and off, melodic and straightforward with the guitars is so interesting and it's real nice to see a guitarrist focusing so much on bass, it really pump blood in the veins here. lovely guitar on the end finishes the song on a nice note. I get that his voice may not be a good fit for everyone, maybe he would do better forming a band instead of flying solo, but until them, Pinocchio is a treat for those who enjoy indie vibes on their vk tea. Pentagon - Senkou Hanabi Zekkyou! was my first time with Pentagon, and I wasn't really feeling it until Senkou Hanabi hit. It was a fun-ish, kinda dorky road until they hit me with some serious, emotional filled song, with some actually really great composition. Instruments here are all tight. probably one of the best bass lines of later 2016. I admit I don't see much appeal on the vocalist tones, but it really does not matter in the bigger picture. You can feel this is an honest, heart to heart piece. Gently guitars contrasting with a somewhat agressive, yet restrained drum line that kicks so much ass. He was REALLY inspired here, the are great in its wholesome, but the solo in the end is as great as it is innovative when talking about vk. just for that you should seriously check this song. SEPTEMBER Develop One's Faculties - Kanjou Treatment Another bloody good tune dropped by the jewel in the crown of VK music, and it does not waste time kicking you ass this time. Already launching it with some nice violins leading to a powerful chorus that hits all the right spots. Johannes, as genious as ever, sets the tempo masterfully, setting the scene for Yuya to double down on the feels with his slick guitar and emotive voice tone. Its quite straightforward piece that goes right to the point: to set an atmosphere of high, elevated feel-goodness that rushs through feelings leaves you dazzled by the end. All hail DOF. downy - Umi no Shijima Downy is a band I'm guilty of ignoring in the past, and boy I've been missing out on some incredible shit. absolutely brilliant Off-tempo drums, Robin's mellow voice that sometimes sounds like its talking directly to you, other times it's so cold that doesn't even notice your existence. Guitar lines that sometimes you may even miss and others kicking you in the nuts with their sleekness. I don't think a song can get more atmospheric than this, and I also don't think a band can cooler than downy. OCTOBER HEROINE - kashuu While I love nigu for starting this project, I also hate him for making kashuu more of a intro than a full-lenght song. The intro part is amazing as it is, some sweet guitar lines giving a mysterious, yet beautiful vibe. But when he starts singing, the magic happens. Nigu's characteristic low tune voice is quite delicate here, going up and down, bringing you together with everymove. Yuya's guitars indicates something is changing, and oh boy it does. It all comes together and explodes in a brilliant, beautiful chorus. Nigu's vocals, almost like an one-man choir, trancends into a uplifting yet full of sorrow singing that ends the song way too soon, but makes me more than excited for what's coming next. NOVEMBER RAZOR - ANOTHER The first thing that came to my mind when I saw RAZOR in the news was: "Hell yeah, thank god MBHI boys are back". I like Ryouga's vocals alright, but born never did much to me. The song starts already better than half of born's disco. Ryouga machinegunning from 00:34 to 00:48 sold me completely that the problem there was in their compositions. Needless to say Kouryuu SLAYS, man I've missed my djent vk fix. "ANOTHER" serves perfectly as a greeting card, one more hell of a sucker punch, this time MBHI style, to leave you on the floor for what the boys have in store for you. DECEMBER ZERO MIND INFINITY - BE PROUD When everyone tought 2016 couldn't deliver anymore, Juri and the boys give us one last gift. "BE PROUD" is exactly what DELUHI would've become if they lasted longer. The song already starts laying ground for some over usage of melodic shouts, which I warmly welcome. Juri alternates between harsh and clean vocals back and forth, while everyone goes crazy on the back. The chorus is all over the place, but I really don't mind. While the solo guitar is a bit over, the Rhythmic one is fuckin nostalgic, a great nod to pop-punk back in 00's and it absolutely fits. It fits so perfectly that I don't think they've planned that, lol. This song tries too much, I can see that. but it's absolutely honest. It's like the guys are figuring a direction, and you can see several pieces of brilliance here and there. Juri voice is as catchy as ever, chorus stick in your mind like glue, and its probably a banger live. What could you ask more? Can't wait for an official release version and their future releases, they can steal 2017 for them if they try hard enough. Runner ups: January: REIGN - Nemurihime / dadaroma - KURT / D=OUT - SM / Pinocchio - HELLO HOLLOW, Ryuusei LYRICAL February: DALLE - Asphalt / ANOMIY - You Complete Me March: glamhaze - chippoke na pride / Satsuki - Apocalypse / SHADOWS - Forest / LONDBOY - iris / More - The Hanged Man / LOKA - Half Past Late, Calling April: Neverland - Daydream / Develop One's Faculties - Seijou Towa, psychedelic modulation May: SCAPEGOAT - Kokuhaku_tokidoki, ame / sever black paranoia - Trap of Love (feat. Teeda), The Last Vengeance (feat. Kaname Akamine) / GRIMOIRE - Never End June: Kimi wa Surudoku. - Nabiku DRESS ni Temaneku Juuryoku July: MIGIMIMI sleep tight - Puputan, Wonder Wave / THE EGOIST - Red Ache August: ZIZ - Superbsaw[Reincarnate] / Kuroyuri to Kage - Sennou / ZON - Re:Night, Jellyfish / Pentagon - Teenage September: Buck-Tick - cum uh sol nu -フラスコの別種-, New World / TK from Ling Tosite Sigure - Wonder Palette, Addictive Dancer, White Out / Someday's Gone - She won't forget / SCAPEGOAT - Hedoro October: Yasutaka Nakata - NANIMONO (feat. Kenshi Yonezu) -extended mix- / MONOEYES - Get Up / Blu-BiLLioN - Kono te ni Aru Mono November: Dragon Ash - Hikari no Machi / Nothing's Carved In Stone - Adventures / xaa-xaa - Yomei / RAINDIA - Hekiraku no Higanbana / Arimura Ryutaro - Fuyuu / FIXER - Invade / DEZERT - Hentai December: 88kasyo Junrei - shikou
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  13. Noticed something interesting when I was exploring worldwide trends for the search term "visual kei" on google - that tiny spike earlier this year just happened to be when youtubers react to visual kei came out: So visual kei is dead. And at the rate it is going now, will be even dead-er; A scene stagnating on the same looks and sounds, rarely venturing out musically if at all. But it wasn't always that way. Although it would be appropriate to refer to the 90s golden era of vk to remind us of how opulent the scene once was, I want to bring back memories of 2009. In October 2008, Kerrang ran a feature on jrock, publishing an article predicting jrock to go big in Europe in 2009. And sure enough, google trends highlighted the correlation clearly, confirming that the search terms "j-rock" and "visual kei" did indeed peak between January and March 2009. However, following vk's brief global success was a period of near-exponential decline - to what we see now as the lowest point of popularity vk has ever experienced in a 12 year time-span. Even that spike in August wasn't enough to break above 2004's lowest point. Personally, I'd been a passive fan of visual kei for many years prior to 2009, but it wasn't until 2009 that I became fully engaged. One prominent catalyst was Japanese blogging platform Ameba launching its virtual community ‘Pigg’ that year, becoming a game changer in the way fans and bands could interact. Popular musicians were also given accounts powered by ameba, a la twitter's verified personalities. I remember 2009 as a year that several vk bands were going major and gaining international recognition. It was no surprise that vk reached its global height by being much more accessible through social media and other digital channels. This momentum seemed to be gaining quickly until 2010 brought a sharp turn of unfortunate events within the scene and the emergence of kpop poached a large part of the international vk audience. However, the situation in Japan is a bit different, as vk has been pretty steady since it had already declined by the turn of the century. The search term "ヴィジュアル系" on google trends says as much. A few years ago, major labels published all those visual kei cover albums probably in an attempt to raise the relevance of visual kei, but the hype had pretty much died by then. The drought of talent and variety meant that each band was no better than the other, and was enough for many people to lose interest. Stricter piracy laws also meant that music had become less accessible, with people being reluctant to pay the exorbitant prices of some CDs. Not to mention the discontinuation of many vk magazines as an indication of the scene's current degradation. Marketing and business models that worked in the 90s and early 00s struggle to find significance in the present day, yet management has not evolved to adapt to current trends (or have done so poorly). Now that the last of the influential underground vk labels is defunct, vk doesn't have the backing and budget as it once did. X Japan and Luna Sea are like the only lifeline left for vk - there can't even be a vk festival without either X Japan or Luna Sea in the lineup. I remember reading an interview where Yohio mentioned that he kinda killed western interest in vk, but I don't particularly attribute that to those western vk acts damaging the reputation of this uniquely japanese scene. Bands such as D'espairsRay, girugamesh, the Underneath, Rentrer en Soi, Dio, UnsraW and Black:List etc who laid the groundwork for vk to make its mark in the west are no longer around. I'm surprised lynch. didn't carry the torch. I don't want this thread to sound too much like #resurrectvk, but instead I want ignite a discussion (and maybe create a dialog) - how did the vk boom of '09 affect you in your country, what could've been done differently, or the best things to come out of that little modern renaissance of vk history.
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  14. Xaa-Xaa will release an albm called 「不幸な迷路」(fukô na meiro) on 2017.03.15. TYPE A : 3500 yens + taxes CD : 1.入口(iriguchi) 2.不幸の始まり(fukô no hajimari) 3.ぐちゃぐちゃ(guchagucha) 4.排水口(hasui guchi) 5.気付いて(kizui te) 6.人殺し(hitogoroshi) 7.ラストダンス(last dance) 8.落とし穴(Otoshiana ) 9.交尾をしてよ(kôbi o shite yo ) 10.ユメオチ(yumeochi) ? 11.最後の歌(saigo no uta) 12.出口(deguchi) DVD : 1.ぐちゃぐちゃ( MUSIC VIDEO ) (guchagucha) 2.オフショット集 (off-shot collection) TYPE B : 3100 yens + taxes CD : 1.入口(iriguchi) 2.不幸の始まり(fukô no hajimari) 3.ぐちゃぐちゃ(guchagucha) 4.排水口(hasui guchi) 5.気付いてk(kizui te) 6.人殺し(hitogoroshi) 7.ラストダンス(last dance) 8.恋人ごっこ(koibito gokko) 9.寄り道(yorimichi) 10.落とし穴(otochiana) 11.交尾をしてよ(kôbi o shite yo) 12.ユメオチ(yumeochi) 13.最後の歌(saigo no uta) 14.出口(deguchi) To promote the release of the album, an one man tour called 「ソォルドアウト2」 will begin on 2017.04.07 at 名古屋ハートランド and will finish on 2017.04.30 at 大阪MUSE
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  15. took this before i cut my hair (which i immediately regretted orz)
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  16. This incident was just absolutely revolting. I've been seeing/hearing the whole "black ppl can't be racist" rhetoric around for years now (both on and offline) and as much as I understand and empathize with the pain and strife of living as a black person, I think this is an INCREDIBLY heinous notion that would be better off eradicated from the collective conscious. It's an idea that's yet to do any good for black people, or society as a whole - just like our vehement grip on "the N word" - where we've employed equally ridiculous double standards (but I guess that's another can of worms). I think this event serves as very unfortunate evidence that blacks can, indeed, be racist and hateful. I have no idea where this country is headed, but I can only hope that people wake up, start thinking for themselves, and stop subscribing to all of these extraordinarily divisive ideologies. I understand perfectly well how easy it is to get sucked up into the emotional aspects of everything, but I think it's important that we all try to remain grounded and suitably objective in these cases. I think we also have to stop allowing the media to rouse us into these states of utter chaos and letting them control the narrative - especially when the common good and the well-being of the people are not on their agenda. Seriously, I mean...the amount of hate that erupted when Trump won the presidency was staggering. Most of my friends on the left became as hateful and intolerant as the same people on the right that they were opposed to. But I digress. When it comes to race relations, we REALLY need to have some open and honest talks about it as a collective - free from political correctness, and free from everyone jumping at "racist" shadows. I do think there are racial differences, but it's become racist in and of itself to even mention or acknowledge these differences. It reminds me of when I posted a profile pic with my afro out on FB - a white woman commented saying that she'd like to touch my hair, and a black woman quickly chimed in with, "that's racist". See...this type of shit can't happen. I'm a black male - my hair is super thick, and extremely curly - it's a completely different grade and texture than that of your average white woman's hair. How could I fault her for being curious about how it feels? That doesn't make her racist at all. Hell, even if we were in person and she touched my hair without permission, that wouldn't be racist either - it would just be incredibly rude lol. We can't keep shutting down the conversation before there's even any dialogue. And this doesn't just go for black people, or white people, or leftists, or conservatives - this goes for everyone. There has to be some REAL effort in this country made for people to open up and truly try to understand each other, but as of now, I know a push like this will neither come from the government nor the media - there are too many people profiting off of the chaos, and too many people have careers depending on these divisive narratives.
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  17. (Before that, I’m so sorry the length of this introduction reads like an essay but please bear with me ><) I have many interests, but let’s talk about visual kei as this is the one constant that has taken up most of my life. 2009 was a time of change for me and visual kei. Ameba launched its virtual community Pigg, which instantly sucked the life out of me and as it turned out, so many vk bandmen had no life as well. t's embarassing to talk about it now, but as teenagers with nothing better to do with our time, my friends and I would send as many friend requests as we could to band members and ‘stalk’ them whenever they logged online. Suddenly vk had become so much more intimate as we could interact with vk bandmen in real-time like never before. But pigg was more than that. Some of my fondest memories have been the designated VK showroom where you could stream youtube videos to a crowd, meeting new people in the club rooms who share a common interest and of course having to witness the silly antics of some of those bandmen. I got to know a lot of bands that I would otherwise never had found out about, had conversations, learning about their personalities and interests. I also got to learn that some of the musicians in the darkest and heaviest bands have the cutest personalities behind the keyboard, fawning over the colourful array of virtual fashion items pigg had to offer. (Asanao from lynch. case in point) It was a fun and unique experience. And at the same time, information was not only more accessible than ever before, but more abundant as well, and keeping up with blogs, news, forums, and playing pigg consumed every moment of my every day which back then, I had the time and youth to do so. But eventually, I burnt out. I attributed my losing touch with vk to information overload. It’s been more than 4 years since I stopped going on pigg and ameblo for good, but those few years of intense dedication, even today, felt like an aeon. I used to make a lot of parodies of bandmen, and loved deduction and connecting the dots - which bands had photoshoots at which set and making 6-degrees of separation connections between members of different bands and loved hearing stories from the past. I also had a enthusiasm for drawing, having drawn over a ton bands over the course of 2 years between 2011 and 2012, but suddenly it’s 2016 and all I have are 3-year-old drafts and unfinished sketches. Everything had been halted because life kinda got in the way… shattered-tranquility had long stopped being my home page and my internet’s search history doesn’t remember vkdb.jp anymore. Hmm. So in that gap between about 2012 and now, I had the mother of existential crises, questioning whether I was really going to follow vk for life. But my passion in the music is genuine and still alive. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’ve been disconnected from the community that I love for far too long, and I don’t want that. I don’t want to forget the memories I’ve made, the bands that I’ve followed, the stories I’ve heard and the things I’ve learned along the way - be they good or bad. I don’t want my interest of VK to die, and I don’t want to stop making funny content about VK forever. (And most importantly, I don’t want to be the only VK fan in Australia that I know. So if you’re from Sydney, please hit me up so I don’t feel lonely :3) I want this to be the place where I can share my knowledge about vk so ask me anything and I hope to relearn what I’ve lost these past few years. And once again, I’m astronomically sorry about the length of this introduction (I hope it was bearable). Merry Xmas btw
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  18. session band "◯▶︎□" has changed to new formal band "NIL UNDER RAIN" after their live at Shinsaibashi FANJ on 2016/12/24, and they will hold their presents live "嘲笑う世界に、復讐を。" at Shinsaibashi FANJ on 2017/02/23. Their distributed single "Rebirth" will be released through ZEAL LINK stores and at their live on 2016/12/24. "NIL UNDER RAIN" members: Vo.叫真-kyoma- (ex-Vardinal-->RevleZ) Gt.柑奈-kanna- (ex-Xepher(朔羽/sakuha)) Gt.弐嘉-nika- (ex-Vardinal-->Xepher(艶/yoshi)) Ba.七音-nao- (ex-Shellmy) Dr.彗-kei- (ex-Free Aqua Butterfly(support)(さとし/satoshi)) [track list] 01.Rebirth 02.AGILITY 03.INSIDE OUT http://nil-under-rain.com/
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  20. it's gonna be klaha's new band bookmark this post
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  21. Time moves on and irrelevant art forms and their instruments get thrown into the very crowded dustbin of history. If you have any doubt about this, I'd like to ask you to name the top 10 premier bebop musicians today, or how about something that sounds like it was from the paradise garage? how about poodle rock? is anyone playing like Weber lately while painting like Monet and catching the salon by storm? They're all gone from the popular consciousness and live as mere perverse retro curiosities ( new post-punk and goth rock fucking eww ) for a handful of people. Scenes, genres and movements always come, go and never come back in the same form. If you ask an enthusiast he'll no doubt tell you about all the killer up and comers, but that's all bunk and they know it too. Nobody's touching Billie Holliday, there's not going to be a new Beatles, nobody's turning back the clock and doing nu-Bach in a manner that won't be scoffed upon by anyone who's serious and in the know. Visual kei in that regard is, to be quite honest, finished. I'd say its creative, artistic peak ended right when the turn of the millenia labels dissolved, and the European boom was caused both by the hot air from that period and the aptness of visual kei musicians to appropriate the emo/scene stylings as mentioned before (see the mallgoth act D'espairsray and nu metal Girugamesh for proof of this ). Visual kei's adaptability has given it such a lifeline for sure. There's not a whole lot of genres that can keep moving the needle and making money both domestically and internationally the way that it has. We've literally outlived and survived the deaths of hair metal, goth and mallcore. Probably only the general metal subculture can boast such a staying power, and they too have been struggling to stay on the surface since all that Anthrax skate metal and the alt-rock Metallica boom faded away. Now even big names can't sell out in fucking _Finland_ and underground classics struggle to pull. In my pessimistic thinking we are at the tail end of this rock guitar saga, and it's due to the gradual withering away of rock music's cultural and demographic base. I have my own fantasies about the evolution of visual kei as an active counterculture as opposed to a dull consumer culture. Agendered danger lurking in the metro stations near you; they'll know us by the trail of blood and the smell of hairspray. It's all complete fantasy however that I entertain with like three people max. In reality I know we're over and done with as a seismic cultural force. This however doesn't mean that everything is lost. While I don't think MH contributed to the fad beginning or ending, I certainly think MH has contributed massively to the staying power of visual kei on the internet in an age where everything else is disappearing. That Japanese indie analogy is an apt to make, because there's no reason why we shouldn't be in that same position had there not been these stalwarts of vk culture like MH have withstood the storms of the passing time. This was achieved by the unending dedication and efforts of the core-group that keep coming here year after year after year. If there were double the people with as much heart, perseverance and ability, who knows where we would be. Could the boom period had been extended by the valiant and most importantly of all, smart and applicable endeavors of a few dozen dedicated enthusiasts? I don't know. Bless this website either way and all you people who keep coming and contributing. I won't dare to wager ( but i'll haughtily speculate ) why the laptop took over rock 'n roll, but stuff like the global demographic shifts were just too much for it overcome. The popular sphere has drastically diversified both nationally and racially. The stuffy dadrock crowd is losing their death grip on the entertainment zeigeist and big festival lineups are a testament to this. The rock bands pulling the big crowds are really fucking old, and the audience is only a notch younger. Sure the vk bands can draw a garage-full of people and enjoy the company of a few snappy young women — that's it though, no one else cares. The faucet has dwindled down to a point where it is increasingly harder for bands to sustain themselves. It just happens to be a form of music that doesn't speak to the majority of people anymore, not to the young person in school or the higher cultural crowd either for that matter. Electronic music is thriving both commercially and artistically, even hip hop is still doing a fabulous job of innovating itself; all the while one of our biggest newcomers ripped off a decade old deathcore album just last year. Even selling CD's in this day and age is dated, and labels are dying to adjust before the inevitable fall. The electronic underground, even hip hop has managed to adjust and evolve to a degree in the way music is released and spread ( a lot of the big names aren't even releasing full LP's anymore. Just songs, for free on youtube and whatever ). I'd honestly like to know what kind of social factors contributed to the rise of scene culture. Remember those bands like BrokeNCYDE, BOTDF and etc.? Where were we at the time, as a culture, that stuff like that was tapping into our consciousness. Nothing happens in a vacuum and people don't just decide what to think, feel or do out of the blue. There are reasons for everything in the social and economic fabric of societies and It's an interesting question fo' sure. I know my way enough that if I want to make an impression, I wouldn't go telling a cool stranger by four euro latte's that my taste in music is essentially the Japanese Poison and Coal Chamber. I'd embarrass myself either way if I left it at that or started nervously flinging my hands and explaining how deep down this culture is really gr8 and transgressive art. My heart stays true to bijuaru kei either way. I'm going down with the ship and I'll keep on making-a-fool of myself on a daily basis. So that's why this is my favorite thread, because I have a hard time of letting go of the glory days of my youth and its music, endlessly try to rationalise it by intellectual gymnastics. While my death slowly approaches and even the last patches of grey hair are falling out, in my mind I'm still young and full of cum, ready for adventure.
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  22. I don't have time to write fully detailed reviews, so I'm just going to share with you my favorite releases and songs from 2016 with short blurbs. Also, these aren't best to least best, they're all equal to me and it'd be pretty hard to choose one over the others so they're not in any specific order except maybe alphabetically. Enjoy and thanks for reading! ---------------------------------------------------------------------- ・FAVORITE RELEASES・ 甘い暴力 - 嘘キス Honestly, fucking phenomenal. 10/10. This is the new unit that was formed after the disbandment of 黒姫の夢遊病 and 白日ノ夢. I can't wait for them to release more music in 2017 because this song is lit. ----- AmyDolly - creation Literally disgusted at myself for liking this. There's something super addictive about it even though it sounds atrocious. I just can't get enough. Both songs are cringeworthy yet bangers at the same time??? ----- アンフィル - アクア This is probably my favorite Anfiel song EVER. Shogo's voice is so smooth and sexy like milk and it just flows nicely throughout the entire song. ----- Axkey - アイシア/DAHLIA Both songs are super catchy and the vocals suit the music perfectly. Pretty perfect release to me <3 ----- BLESSCODE - Imperial City I DIDN'T EVEN KNOW IT WAS POSSIBLE TO MAKE A SONG LIKE THIS. FROM THE CHORUS TO THE SOLO, EVERYTHING IS PERFECT. I THINK THIS WAS THE SINGLE OF THE YEAR THAT I WAS MOST HYPED FOR EVER SINCE I HEARD THE PREVIEWS EVEN NOW WHEN I LISTEN TO IT, I'M STILL LIKE "OH FUCK" The 2 other tracks on this release compliment the single exceptionally. This release is just so well-rounded and hot like fuck omg ----- DECAYS - Baby who wanders More like "Baby who fucks me up" This was a nice surprise this year. I normally wouldn't have given this a listen, but a lot of people were saying such good things about it and I can see why. I can get down with any song that has a violin in it tbh. ----- dexcore - The Dead Sea This was probably right under Imperial City for single I was most hyped for. I'm really not into harsh and brutal vocals, but when they're paired with hot, angelic clean vocals, then I'm into them. The chorus in The Dead Sea is fucking phenomenal. It's also my ringtone. Mistake and Hunger are fucking lit as well. I can't wait to hear more from these guys! ----- FoLLoW - FoLLoW If you haven't listened to FoLLoW yet, do yourself a favor and listen to this album. I know the album art is atrocious but their music is SO GOOD. Ever since hiroki showed me プラネタリウム, I've been hooked. It's a shame they decided to disband. ----- 白日ノ夢 - 白き記憶 I don't even know what to say other than THIS MINI ALBUM IS FUCKING AWESOME. Kou is for sure one of my favorite vocalists and every release is phenomenal. I can't think of one release that I didn't like between Shounenki, Hakujitsu, and Kurohime. 事例03 -策略- from this release is a fucking B A N G E R ----- Kra - 宇宙トラベラー [CELL+CORE] Another band that has yet to release something that I didn't like. While these are 2 separate mini albums, I'm counting them as a whole because they're equally brilliant. Songs like Eclipse are highly reminiscent of Kra's earlier songs and I'm glad they revisit earlier sounds. ----- 黒姫の夢遊病 - リィザ SLEEPING BEAUTY, NIGHTMARE KISS PAINFUL PRINCESS RIZA SLEEPLESS BEAUTY, FEAR, EVIL KISS DARKNESS BEAUTY RIZA RIZA SAVE ME RIZAAAAA ----- 凛 - 「the end of corruption world」 Kisaki pls come back All my jams packed into one release ----- MAN WITH A MISSION - The World's On Fire Whoa... something that's not vk. This is probably my favorite album by MWAM. The first 3 tracks are so explosive that I couldn't help myself but to venture further into the album. ----- ピノキオ - Melancholy box Someone made a status about this album, so I decided to check it out and I was extremely pleased. Pleasant album from start to finish with some really stand-out tracks! ----- RAINDIA - トラッシュジュウス Another release that surprised me this year. I listened to this single on repeat for 4 hours while I was on a plane. I can easily listen to 碧落ノ彼岸花 on repeat all day. ----- RAZOR - RED INVISIBLE After losing interest in BORN in 2012, my initial thought was: "I'm going to hate this." Did I? Not at all. Surprise surprise. I literally found all 6 tracks enjoyable. PRIMARY and RED ZONE are my favorites. ----- SHIVA - 救世主-メシア- UH........ RIDICULOUSLY GOOD. LIKE DAMN. ----- 少年記 - TIMELESS BANG ME one last time. ----- vistlip - Snowman I haven't enjoyed a vistlip single in its entirety since CHIMERA. Either the singles weren't that great, or there was a B side I didn't care for. With Snowman, I could get behind all 3 tracks which is the first since 2013 LOL ----- パノラマ虚構ゼノン - XENON BEST SELECTION YAAAAAAASSSSS SO MANY BANGERS ----- -真天地開闢集団-ジグザグ - オキラ Dude this release was crazy good especially 本当はね、私わるい子。 -----
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  23. Greetings, monochromians and netizens at large! Here are my Top 30 Favorite Songs of 2016! Every year, there are tons of amazing songs released that, while not belonging to my fav. albums of the year, still heavily impact my musical experience. So for once, I wanted to highlight these songs! Unlike my AOTY list, every song here is Japanese. I also chose not to include songs by artists that made my AOTY list. As I mentioned in my AOTY thread, I usually never bother ranking lists, but I wanted to give it a shot this year for fun. These rankings are super erroneous, though, as I could prefer any of these songs over another on any given day. XD So...yeah, don't read too much into the actual ranks, ahaha. As always this, list isn't meant to be taken objectively. If you have any thoughts, please feel free to share! And if you're curious about any of the songs, please do check out the short sample clips I've created! Shall we begin? 30 "UNDYING" by the GazettE the GazettE's 'Dark Age' has been...same-y to say the least, but "UNDYING" has stood out as one of my favorite songs from this era - probably because it sounds like a mess, with the band trying their hardest to be progressive. It's an enjoyable mess, though, and as usual, it never takes much for Ruki an co. to win me over. 29 "KEIREN" by qujaku THE NOVEMBERS have been on a mild decline since 2014's Rhapsody in Beauty, and qujaku are slowly creeping in to capitalize on all of that lost potential. the loud, pummeling art-punk of "KEIREN" is captivating, and I can't wait until this band releases a proper debut! 28 "matsuo basho" by suiyoubi no campanella suiyoubi gave me a scare with the release of UMA, wherein the group's characteristic sound was subverted by incorporating several different producers, but they quickly followed up with "matsuo basho", reviving my hopes in the process. As long as Hidefumi remains the sole producer, I doubt they can go wrong. 27 "2772" by ZA FEEDO Experimental pop outfit ZA FEEDO has a plethora of talent and potential, but unfortunately, they've yet to truly find their sound. The groovy and soulful "2772", however, is a fantastic indicator of where they should focus their efforts! 26 "gods" by mothercoat Sadly, mothercoat released only this single last year, but it's the band doing what they do best. Quirky, upbeat indie-rock that's both buoyant and super infectious! 25 "gourmet kikou" by fujin club Organic pop with bright melodies and crisp, colorful instrumentation = instant love from me! I like to imagine this song as the musical equivalent to a Ghibli movie. It's cozy, endearing, pure, and full of wonder! 24 "sayanora anata" by ayano kaneko Young indie singer-songwriter ayano kaneko made an instant fan out of me with this one. "sayonara anata" is the perfect blend of carefree indie-pop and adorably earnest folk-rock. 23 "LAST HERO" by BLUE ENCOUNT BLUE ENCOUNT are amongst the kind of major-label rock bands in Japan that I don't typically gravitate towards (stuff like ONE OK ROCK, KANA-BOON, KEYTALK), but I'd be damned if "LAST HERO" isn't one of the most catchy and fun tracks that I've heard in 2016. That and, I blame @benifor bringing my tastes full circle and getting me to appreciate the poppier side of life again. 22 "Sunshine Freeway" by I love you Orchestra In spite of their brilliant line-up, I love you Orchestra has yet to truly strike a chord with me, as I found their work a bit too erratic and unfocused, but with "Sunshine Freeway", the band has found a great balance between their spastic tendencies and accessibility; making this a coherent and easily memorable track. 21 "wither mind" by girugamesh I'm only familiar with girugamesh's material from about 2013 and on (shout out to @togz for actually getting me to listen to them), so while I can't compare their early works to their recent stuff, I've come to enjoy the synth-laden alt. metal that seems to be characteristic of their final days. "wither mind" sums this sound up perfectly, and it was the highlight of their farewell mini-album for me. 20 "tabun, kaze." by sakanaction This is your average sakanaction song: danceable, synth-driven rock with big, sing-a-long choruses - and thankfully, 'average' for sakanacation means that's it's frikkin' great! It's been about 4 years since their last original album, and I'm practically salivating for more! 19 "short hope" by akai ko-en As bright and talented as the girls in akai ko-en are, their music has been hit-or-miss in my book - a sentiment that became especially true for me after they went from inventive indie-upstarts to a full blown Jpop band, seemingly overnight. They definitely get things right on "short hope", though, showcasing a kind of hip and smooth, r&b-esque side that I've yet to hear from them. Not to mention, I'm in love with Chiaki I'm in love with Chiaki's vocals! ^_^;;; 18 "voice" by SOSO BREAK THE WALL I'm still thanking @Hakoniwafor indirectly introducing me to this band, as I most certainly would not have heard it about them otherwise. "voice" is the kind of dark, mournful female-fronted alt-rock that I've been craving since me-al art's third album and the demise of REDЯUM. SOSO released a solid EP last year, but I need MORE! 17 "Talisman" by Boris Forbidden Songs, the 2nd disc from Boris's reissue of 2006's Pink, is comprised entirely of unreleased songs, and it could have easily been released as a brand new album on its own. The songs are just that good. "Talisman" is an absolutely crushing stoner-doom number that harkens back to 2002's Heavy Rocks, but is equally apt as an extension of Pink. 16 "The UNreal" by Silhouette from the Skylit I've been casually following this band for a few years now, and while they're consistently solid, every now and then, they put out a song that really sticks with me. "The UNreal" is a charging tune done in their usual electro alt-rock fashion, and it's both funky and commanding. 15 "yotaka" by kiryu I'm super new to Kiryu, as I've only heard their material from 2015 and on, but they've been one of my favorite VK discoveries of recent times. Admittedly, I wasn't too impressed by their full length last year, but I loved the entire single for "irodori". "yotaka" was the first b-side for this single and its frantic, cacophonous mix of metal, traditional Japanese motifs, and VK melodrama is everything I've come to love about Kiryu! 14 "kami-iro awase" by binaria 2016 has been a busy year for Annabel. Not only has she continually wowed me with her work in siraph, but she also released a solo EP in addition to cranking out both a single and an album with binaria. I actually consider binaria to be somewhat of an anison supergroup, with both Annabel and the renown Nagi Yanagi on vocals. I like to imagine that they're this generation's Maaya Sakamoto and Akino Arai, respectively. "kami-iro awase" serves as the OP for an anime called "Danganronpa 3", and it's a brilliantly penned track with subtly ingenious instrumentation - very similar to some of school food punishment's material. 13 "EDGE" by nowisee Speaking of anison, nowisee (pronounced "noise") is a rather enigmatic audio-visual project that specializes in creating songs with their own, unique animations, so it surprises me that they've yet to actually do a song for anime. They've been highly prolific over the past 2 years, but the recently released "EDGE" has become favorite track from their rapidly expanding catalog. It's an electronically infused pop-rock power-ballad, with graceful verses and a monumental chorus. And yes, I fully accept my inner-weeb. ; ) 12 "Shandy" by TK from ling tosite sigure TK has been a flat-out disappointment these past few years, so it should come as no surprise that the best song he released last year is actually a re-recording of a classic ling tosite sigure song from 2010 - back when he was at the top of his game. Surprisingly, TK hasn't altered the original too much, and he hasn't watered it down either. Instead, it's a more organic version that faithfully captures the same epic intensity of the original. Hopefully, TK will begin to take a few more cues from his past. 11 "Mother Fucker" by Limited Express (has gone?) It's so refreshing to hear these veterans of the Japanese underground still kicking ass after nearly 20 years in the game. Their latest album All Ages was a wild, alt-punk ride that showed the band is still as vital and crazy as ever. "Mother Fucker" stuck with me in particular, but it's emblematic of the entire album: turbulent drums, chaotic sax, groovy post-punk basslines, erratic riffs, and YUKARI’s ear-piercing vocals! It’s noisy, it’s bonkers, and it’s a hell of lot of fun! 10 "F.A.K.E." by lynch. "Listening to a Lynch album all the way through is like the musical equivalent of living on macaroni for an entire week." said one @Disposable some time ago, ahaha. I'll never forget that line. I agree with him, but I do enjoy lynch. quite a bit. I think it's due to their creative stagnation that I've come to expect at least one major jam from them with each new album. In 2015, it was "EVOKE", and last year gave me "F.A.K.E.". I also have to thank @Flame-Xfor making this song infinitely cooler by using it in his awesome AMV for Gundam IBO. Now I inadvertently associate it as the actual opening theme for that anime, and it's glorious. 09 "lost/stand/alone" by cinema staff 2016 was a great year to be a cinema staff fan. They released a super solid album and an excellent single/EP, both of which showcased their range and continued viability in being both talented rockers and compelling pop songwriters. I thought "lost/stand/alone" was the perfect example of this duality, with its catchy emo riffs, coercive drumming, and Mizuki's bright, soaring vocals. I've yet to hear anyone I've liked better doing this style. 08 "Youth" by Young Juvenile Youth Young Juvenile Youth, consisting of vocalist Yuki and producer/beatmaker Jemapur, are fairly new, but they already stand out within the greater Jpop landscape. Not exactly trip-hop, and not exactly electro-pop either, "Youth" sports a sound that I can name no contemporaries for in Japan. It's the kind of sleek, minimal electronic music that you'd sooner expect to hear out of London than Tokyo. The synths in "Youth" are meticulously layered and arranged, and the beat is just chill enough to garner a contemplative head-nod. It's also accessible, but not overtly poppy. This duo definitely has my attention, and I'm curious to see where they go in 2017. 07 "shirobara no lullaby" by aoi teshima Aoi Teshima's image has always been a direct reflection of her music. Her songs exude the same level of elegance, class, and modest beauty that she does, and as such, her most recent album Blue library was expectedly lovely. "shirobara no lullaby" was particularly extravagant. It's a stunningly somber, psych-folk song that harkens back to 70's kayōkyoku ballads and even reminds me a bit of Douji Morita. Exquisite! 06 "I Love You" by Chocolat & Akito I feel like Chocolat & Akito have gone grossly underrated by the western Jpop fanbase. While most overseas Jpop fans were praising Seiko Oomori for including hints of Shibuya-Kei on her latest album as if she single-handedly revived the genre, Chocolat & Akito -actual vets of the movement- were busy releasing quality music as usual. The married couple's latest venture saw them team up with Californian surf jazz twins The Mattson 2 and the results were lovely. "I love you" was an instant favorite for me, as Chocolat & Akito did a fantastic job of merging their beautiful vocal melodies and their sunny, shibuya-kei flavors with the jazzy psychedelia of The Mattsons. 05 "Nightseeing" by Klan Aileen I was instantly mesmerized upon watching the original video for this song, and sold even more on this band after hearing the re-recorded version. They left such a big impression that I'd automatically shoehorned them into a spot on my AOTY list without even hearing the album yet. Sadly, the it didn't turn out the way I'd hoped, but "Nightseeing" has a permanent spot on my playlist. It's a riveting, noisy psychedelic-rock track with killer riffs. Hopefully they do more of this style in the future. 04 "M.U.T.E" by PELICAN FANCLUB According to some fans, OK BALLADE wasn't PELICAN FANCLUB's strongest release, but it was the first one in which any of their songs were able to leave a significant impact on me. "M.U.T.E" has this surprisingly smooth and groovy, western-indie feel to it. I can't really explain why, but it just feels "right", aha. I may not be as devout a fan of these guys as @fitear1590or @seurong, but "M.U.T.E" has provided me with a fantastic incentive to sign up to the "FANCLUB". 03 "Tokyo" by ame no parade ame no parade has been...highly conflicting for me. Kohei has quickly become one of my favorite vocalists, and I enjoy the band's general sound and aesthetic, but my gosh, their songwriting has been incredibly stagnant - especially after going major in 2016. "Tokyo", however, is one of the best songs they've ever written. It takes on their usual format of minimalistic verses, and big pop choruses, but actually manages to be engaging in the process. Not only that, but the song just has a really amazing vibe to it. I think the PV, where Kohei is openly singing and dancing through the streets of Tokyo on what seems to be a beautiful evening, perfectly sums up how this song feels. 02 "blues" by Galileo Galilei Galileo Galilei called it quits last year, as they left us with their final album Sea of Darkness. The album wasn't as gloomy as its title suggests, though. In fact, it was full of the light and airy pop-rock that their career was known for. However, the aptly titled "blues" was the most emotionally poignant moment on the album for me. It's an enthralling track with amped-up instrumentation and a passionate vocal performance from Yuuki Ozaki. In a farewell message from the band, they expressed that they put all of their last thoughts into this album, and in this track, you can literally feel the heartache and sorrow that they've experienced on their road to the end. 01 "us" by Aimer Annnd finally, my number one track! If you've bothered reading this far, then bless you! I love Aimer's powerful croon, but she's the type of artist whose music quality depends on who she works with. Her vocals are like a hollow reed through which the intent of the producer flows. She's released some amazing tracks alongside the likes of Yoko Kanno, Hiroyuki Sawano, Androp, and Taka from ONE OK ROCK, but her most stellar work comes from a collaboration with none other than TK from ling tosite - which is ironic considering how I just ragged on him for the declining quality of his own music. In "us", TK employs all of his signature touches, but with Aimer at the helm, his songwriting feels fresh and new, as if the two of them have unlocked an entirely new dimension to their respective sounds. "us" is a beautifully haunting and epic pop-rock song. I can only hope that these two will continue to collab in the future!
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  24. To be frank at the beginning, this year was a tedious sit-through when it came down to Japanese music. Having heard most of my favourites by the end of March, the later months were a hit-and-miss, deviating between top-tier acts and absolute distastrous music that I could not find it within myself to swallow. It was therefore a heinous task to collect two handfuls of releases that I appreciated enough, resulting in a high spike of listening hours throughout the month of December where I was desperately scouring and ransacking the internet for things that I had perhaps missed. Doing so for international releases was equally as difficult, as I simply returned to the roots of my listening-experiences too late and began exploring beyond the borders of Japan again somewhere in the midst of August. Catching up and gaining a proper impression of everything wondrous released this year did not lie within my capabilities, as there was too little time left. I therefore worked with what I knew and felt comfortable with, rather than outstretching too far out of my comfort zone to perhaps pick up a few ambigious releases here and there. Japanese Picks: 「01. "地球" by 摩天楼オペラ」 Without second thoughts, "地球" may be named 摩天楼オペラ's greatest effort to this very date. There is no smothering the tremendously burgeoning acceleration with which this band grows in power metal's theatric scene — it is therefore as predicted how this group is now making a renowned name for itself outside of visual kei's tight fingers' grip, and continues to conquer the seas beyond Japan, surprising more and more ears around the world. 01. PANDORA 02. BURNING SOUL 03. 致命傷 04. YOU&I 05. 君と見る風の行方 06. Good Bye My World 07. 青く透明なこの神秘の海へ 08. FANTASIA 09. SILENT SCREAM 10. ether 11. 讃えよう 母なる地で 12. 地球 13. 嘘のない私で 「02. "SOLOIST" by 清春」 This year, a much larger fondness for soloist 清春 grew immensely through the first magical spin that was given to this warm, seasoned record. It provides every bit of a crackling ambience experienced around a large bonfire set on a secluded piece of beach, yet where flames would normally take over, it is the man's very own voice sending tepid musical streams through one's system. 01. ナザリー 02. 夢心地メロディー 03. EDEN 04. DIARY 05. ロラ 06. 瑠璃色 07. FUGITIVE 08. MELLOW 09. MOMENT 10. QUIET LIFE 11. 海岸線 12. メゾピアノ 13. 麗しき日々よ 「03. "心・技・体" by ダウト」 Issued in January, "心・技・体" remained a durable favourite throughout all of 2016. Holding steadfast to their jazz-influences and soft-rock incentive, ダウト waver not and refuse to yield to the overwhelming turmoil inhabiting visual kei's current questionable, and unstable state. Emotive and tight on the heart's strings, especially the latter half of the album exceeds expectations. 01. 心技体 02. OH! MATSURI MONSTER 03. ダァァティィ・ロマンチッカァァ 04. 53 05. 恋ができない 06. 綺麗事 07. 華麗なる外道 08. 傷心パラドックス 09. TAXI 10. おねだり 11. 国立競技党 12. SM 「04. "アトム 未来派 No.9" by BUCK-TICK」 The paramount, anointed kings of Japanese music continue their succesful streak of outstanding musicianship without a visible end in sight. Blessed be us, as the legendary BUCK-TICK's presence in our midst would be sorely missed. Fresh and tireless energy pours yet again from "アトム 未来派 No.9", a genuine and heartfelt succession to the veterans' longlasting, exemplary career. 01. cum uh sol nu -フラスコの別種- 02. PINOA ICCHIO -躍るアトム- 03. DEVIL’S WINGS 04. El Dorado 05. 美 NEO Universe 06. BOY septem peccata mortalia 07. 樹海 08. THE SEASIDE STORY 09. FUTURE SONG -未来が通る- 10. 曼珠沙華 manjusaka 11. Cuba Libre 12. 愛の葬列 13. NEW WORLD -beginning- 「05. "Baby who wanders" by DECAYS」 Exiting the catastrophic and bitter era of 2016 with an arrangement of fireworks was definitely not too problematic a task for the ambitious movement that DECAYS brings us. Bringing the two further ends of the Japanese music scene together, Die combines a plethora of talents and conjures up the enthusiastic "Baby who wanders", an all-purpose, all-around jewel in the rough. 01. Aesthetics of the transgression 02. Zero Paradise 03. 愛と哀を遺さず… <Baby who wanders Ver.> 04. Drifting litter 05. Where are you going? 06. Vagabond 07. Imprisonment Leaving 08. シークレットモード 09. HELLO! NEW I 10. Eve 11. Rana 12. D/D 13. 綺麗な指 「06. "ULTRA" by SCHAFT」 It would be criminal not to include this ambigious industrial outfit awoken from slumber after nearly two decades of what appeared to be eternal hibernation. And awarded we are, for "ULTRA" is packing harsh volume and distortion that the unit composed of the legendary 今井寿 and 藤井麻輝 —who are no longer held by the restraints of an assemblage of guest-musicians— have convincingly made their very own cohesive sound. 01. The loud engine 02. Vice 03. drift 04. SAKASHIMA 05. Der Zauberlehrling 06. Anti-Hedonist 07. ReVive 08. swan dive 09. Adam’s rib 10. Leidenschaft 11. 魅 「07. "WILLS" by HOLLOWGRAM」 Ryo and the myth of Midas are two apples from the same tree; everything they touch, turns to pure gold. "WILLS" is a short, yet emotional rollercoaster miraculously withstanding the unquestionable weight that Ryo must be feeling upon his shoulders with the amount of tasks at hand. It floats beautifully and does not stray from its dream-like purpose, not for even a mere second. 01. Lucent room 02. ラブレターレイン 03. indicencia 04. Kalmia 05. Where you go 「08. "CORD" by Angelo」 Already anticipating for Angelo's new work to fly far under the radar, there did not happen to arise any bewilderment whatsoever of how disproportionately this album was received. A pity, as the super-group devised a praise-worthy, foot-to-the-ground hard rock record uncompromised by dilly-dallying or any further nonsense. A sublime effort, and uncontested by many of their successors. 01. Umbilical cord 02. Cut 03. リテラシー 04. PROTOCOL 05. 嗤う月 06. Sorrow tomorrow 07. JUDGMENT 08. FIELD OF GOD 09. Daybreakers 10. CONNECT 「09. "憧憬、睡蓮と向日葵" by cali≠gari」 While appreciating cali≠gari not only for their peculiar oddities and quirks at random, but instead taking to their chance encounters with beautiful simplicity, "憧憬、睡蓮と向日葵" hits the hammer right on the nail's head; with melodies aplenty, the mini-album is a positively upbeat joy that doesn't take too many hours to grow in to, but then again can be repeated for many long evenings. 01. 薫風、都会、行き行きて 02. ギラギラ 03. 陽だまり炎 04. 蜃気楼とデジャヴ 05. アレガ☆パラダイス 06. 憧憬、睡蓮と向日葵 「10. "Grimoire" by forCroiX-フォークロア-」 Out of thin air, forCroiX-フォークロア- entrusted us with their headmost (and unfortunately, likely determinative) release after a four-year silence. While formed in 2012, the group has lived mostly out of our field of vision (and remains there, for they immediately dove deep yet again) — regrettably so, as their album "Grimoire" bears a courtly sound reminiscent of the magnificent days of a more gothic-redolent age of visual kei. 01. resent 02. Limited Governor 03. Distracture 04. 傀儡destination 05. Rusty 06. Dystopia~断罪の聖堂~ 07. Vagrant 08. 月ノ涙 International Picks: 「01. "Jumalten aika" by Moonsorrow」 With no contestant over the course of the year, "Jumalten aika" easily takes the highest spot in this list, overpowering with immense soundscapes and epic structures stretching far across tundra and frozen lands, reaching not only to the Scandinavian shores, but far beyond. Moonsorrow capture the essence of life and the spirits that give life, doing so through unbelievable legends and tales woven together into yet another Finnish magnum opus. CD-1 01. Jumalten aika 02. Ruttolehto incl. Päivättömän päivän kansa 03. Suden tunti 04. Mimisbrunn 05. Ihmisen aika (Kumarrus pimeyteen) CD-2 01. Soulless (Grave Cover) 02. Non Serviam (Rotting Christ Cover) 「02. "Triangle" by Schammasch」 There are no intelligible words for the monstrous enormity that is Schammasch's "Triangle", a superlative journey through the spiritual cosmos and yonder of the mere corporeal body. The avant-garde Swiss ensemble has not merely created a record; the three-way genesis is a bible —with the possibility to change one's view on existence— to those who can decipher its intentions, with an ability to transcend the human mind. CD-1 01. Crepusculum 02. Father's Breath 03. In Dialogue With Death 04. Diluculum 05. Consensus 06. Awakening From The Dream Of Life CD-2 01. The World Destroyed By Water 02. Satori 03. Metanoia 04. Above The Stars Of God 05. Conclusion CD-3 01. The Third Ray Of Light 02. Cathartic Confession 03. Jacob's Dream 04. Maelstrom 05. The Empyrean 「03. "Dust Bowl Jokies" by Dust Bowl Jokies」 Coming from Sweden are the sleaze-infested Dust Bowl Jokies, but with their hearts lying not far from West Hollywood's notorious Sunset Strip, home to many an 1980's glam rock outfit. As their moniker implies, the young group seems to take inspiration from the dry desert and its gypsy-like superstition and legends — the record therefore has an impeccible design where it serves like a movie script, rather than a mere album alone. 01. Mama Cocha 02. The Moon Hanger Grove 03. Borderland 04. Old Fashioned Country Canvas 05. Pink Flamingos 06. Rawbone 07. Bad Juju 08. Hogs And Heifers 09. Son Of The Sun 10. Lulu 「04. "Night Hides The World" by Spellcaster」 The fairly recently established juniors in Spellcaster bear the legacy of traditional heavy metal acts upon their backs as if this were a weightless matter. Their most novel endeavor comes by the name of "Night Hides The World", a young take on the traditions of old — and to be fair, the production quality is the one single element separating this group from their mighty predecessors thirty years foregoing. 01. Aria 02. Night Hides The World 03. The Lost Ones 04. Betrayal 05. I Live Again 06. The Accuser 07. The Moon Doors 08. Prophecy 「05. "For Crying Out Loud" by Shiraz Lane」 As an absolute blast from the past, Shiraz Lane have emerged from their Finnish time-machine in long hair, denim shorts and high-top sneakers. With a close absence of modern influences, the group still manages to take hold of an entirely individual style, procuring themselves a place in the hearts of those reminiscent of their youths, and the ones longing back to an era where music, —perhaps— was spoken more truly. 01. Wake Up 02. Momma's Boy 03. House Of Cards 04. Begging For Mercy 05. Same Ol’ Blues 06. Mental Slavery 07. Behind The 8-Ball 08. For Crying Out Loud 09. Bleeding 10. M.L.N.W 11. Kill Me (With Your Love) 「06. "False Highs, True Lows" by Plebeian Grandstand」 Positively vile and absurd, Plebeian Grandstand might very well be the next sludge-metal act to arise upon the scaffolding they so deserve. While their previous releases were purely chaotic mixtures of hardcore and violence, "False Highs, True Lows" has mutated through an exposure to raw black metal influences, turning it in to an absolutely distraught and murderous apparition from the very depths of the nine circles of hell. 01. Mal Du Siecle 02. Low Empire 03. Tributes And Oblivions 04. Volition 05. Mineral Tears 06. Oculi Lac 07. Tame The Shapes 08. Eros Culture 「07. "Post Pop Depression" by Iggy Pop」 A tribute to the late David Bowie, or a complete musical interpretation of Iggy Pop's longlasting legacy? Perhaps being a little bit of both, "Post Pop Depression" siphons just that what its title refers to; it is moody, oblique and hypnotic, a middle-finger to the very world and yet so relatable on a multitude of levels (perhaps that being exactly why). What a powerful farewell, what a glorious and complete manifesto. 01. Break Into Your Heart 02. Gardenia 03. American Valhalla 04. In The Lobby 05. Sunday 06. Vulture 07. German Days 08. Chocolate Drops 09. Paraguay 「08. "Mystical Future" by Wildernessking」 Black metal from South-Africa — this is a correlation not often predicted, and therefore did Wildernessking meander within the musical scene without too many loud exclamations. However, upon the very first listen to "Mystrical Future", it became clear that these men from below the equator have conjured up something truly unpredictable and magical, something belonging only to themselves. 01. White Horses 02. I Will Go To Your Tomb 03. To Transcend 04. With Arms Like Wands 05. If You Leave 「09. "The Armor Of Ire" by Eternal Champion」 Eternal Champion are journeying toward their grasp on might and glory, with a sword in their right hand, and a shield in their left. Thunderous and heroic, the epic "The Armor Of Ire" rampages over a battlefield drenched in blood, while it gets ours pumping and running coarser through our veins. The United States have not yet given up on their challenge declared to their contestants in the ancient Europe. 01. I Am The Hammer 02. The Armor Of Ire 03. The Last King Of Pictdom 04. Blood Ice 05. The Cold Sword 06. Invoker 07. Sing A Last Song Of Valdese 08. Shade Gate 「10. "Kodama" by Alcest」 One does not have to enjoy atmospheric black metal to understand that the talent behind Alcest is unquestionably a musical mastermind. His subtle handling of musical instruments and ethereal phonetic accentuation give life to transcendental French creations truly as beautiful as thousands of individuals claim. If we had some knowledge on the voices of angels, Neige would come close to turning myth into certainty. 01. Kodama 02. Eclosion 03. Je suis d'ailleurs 04. Untouched 05. Oiseaux de proie 06. Onyx 07. Notre sang et nos pensées
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  26. what do you mean? what download section?
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  27. hello, it is your favourite 5 year old (with a new hair colour & weeb filter to boot)
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  28. Yeah I'm a man. Many people here know who I am but have never seen a full face photo of me so yeah.
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  30. now all arlequin has to do is open a fanclub named PIERROT and we'll go full circle
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  33. This never existed. It was all a lie. Somebody has been lying to you and that is not okay.
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  34. 游彩(Yusai) is their new band and they began on 2017.01.01. A first single will be released on 2017.03.01. It is called 『アイラク偽心』 (Airaku Nise Kokoro). TYPE A : 1944 yens CD : 1.アイラク偽心 (Airaku Nise Kokoro) 2.色暮 (Shoku Kure) DVD : 1.アイラク偽心(Airaku Nise Kokoro) TYPE B : 1620 yens CD : 1.アイラク偽心 (Airaku Nise Kokoro) 2.色暮 (Shoku Kure) 3.地団駄序曲地団駄序曲 (Jidanda Jokyoku) Here is their website : http://yusai-web.net/
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  35. can you spot your favorite bands?? (((o(*゚▽゚*)o)))
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  36. Friendly reminder: Don't be an asshat. Some of you seem to have forgotten, but we DO have rules here. Don't be surprised when they're enforced. Do yourself a favor and actually think about what you're about to post before you post it. Be sure to look over the official rules if you're confused: Have a good day, and maybe help make someone else's day while you're at it. ^__~
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  37. masaya's official disbandment comment: The rest are similar in essence to his, so I haven't translated them. And here's masaya's blog entry from this morning: This is such a huge loss i can't even begin to put it into words. I've followed them since they were standing along the streets outside tiny Hiroshima livehouses giving out free music to random strangers because no one cared about them, and they had to work so so so hard to get to where they are now. But if it's down to member differences (which I believe is the truth) then I guess it can't be helped. I'll be there to see them off at their last live ♡
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  39. ラミエル(ramiel) new single "with you" (4 songs, 1500 yen, limited 300) will be released on 2017/02/22.
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  40. It was announced at DADAROMA 2nd Anniversary One Man Tour Final 「造花とカラシニコフ」 (1/14) that they will release their 3rd mini-album '「dadaism♯3」' on April 19. In addition their tour 'MASTURBATION.' will begin on 5/20 (SAT) at Shinjuku RUIDO K4 (Yoshiatsu's birthday live) until the tour final on 7/9 (SUN) at Shinjuku RENY. Pictures on Twitter but I'm too lazy to copy them. If anyone has the setlist from tonight I'd love to see it.
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  41. I got new lights today so immediately I had to use them on something....
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  43. I think your looking for one of those shady blog websites, this is a honest community and I am highly offended
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  46. So since I already released the MH Discord server into the wild last night in this thread on a whim, I figured I might as well make an official thread for the thing. What is Discord? So basically it's a skype/teamspeak alternative, it includes both text and voice chat. Don't let the gaming eccentric vibe throw you off, since the tool has been proven to be great for communities like ours as well. You can join our server and create a discord account by clicking the banner above, from there you have several options on how to access the room. You can use discord straight form your browser, download the desktop app (recommended), or you can download the official app on android and IOS. If anyone has any questions or suggestions, please use this thread to discuss. I'm currently the owner of the server and am running it atm so any help is greatly appreciated.
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  47. the GazettE BALLAD BEST ALBUM 「TRACES VOL.2」 【the first limited type】 12 songs / digital pack product number: SRCL-9336 price: 3,611yen+TAX  [contents] song list has not decided 体温 (TAION) 絲 (ITO) 枯詩(KAREUTA) reila Cassis D.L.N WITHOUT A TRACE CALM ENVY 紅蓮 (GUREN) 白き憂鬱 (SHIROKI YUUTSU) PLEDGE UNTITLED 【regular type】 10 songs product number: SRCL-9337 price: 3,056yen+TAX [contents] song list has not decided 枯詩(KAREUTA) reila Cassis D.L.N WITHOUT A TRACE CALM ENVY 紅蓮(GUREN) 白き憂鬱(SHIROKI YUUTSU) PLEDGE UNTITLED
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  48. I think I'm going slightly off-topic here, so I apologize for that, but this seems like a good time to mention this anyway. I've always found it a little perplexing that people often tend to consider electronic software, turntables, and other things associated with electronic music to somehow not be instruments. I mean the literal definition of an instrument is "a tool or implement, especially one for precision work". In a musical context that essentially just means a tool that you feed inputs to to generate music. A voice, a flute, an acoustic guitar, an electric guitar, and musical software are all instruments; they're just tools you feed inputs to generate a desired sound. The only thing that changes between them is how 'artificial' they are in the sense that some are entirely driven by natural means (the voice), some are a fusion of natural and artificial elements (an electric guitar), and some are primarily artificial (musicial software), but all of them still need a good talented musician feeding them inputs to create truly good music. I think by arguing that, due to the increasing prevalence of electronic software and the like, musicians are is a bit of a dangerous train of thought. Mainstream pop music has been doing this for quite a while now, long before electronic software became as extensive as it is today. The fact that mainstream pop is incorporating more and more electronic elements shouldn't be conflated with the mistaken belief that all music made with electronic instruments follows this approach of making music. The truth is that great musicians will produce great music no matter what tools they use, and if anything the only thing determining their choice of instruments should be the aural qualities of the music they're trying to make. There are plenty of really talented musicians making really brilliant, primarily electronic music. At the same time there are plenty of musicians making music with more traditional instruments that, as @Zeus said, is utter garbage. Basically I think we should pull away from assuming that the development of electronic music is one of the main contributors to the decline of VKs popularity; at least not in the sense that music created with these sorts of tools is inherently more simple, catchy, and poppy than music created with more traditional instruments - that just feels snobby to me. It could have contributed in the sense that musical fads have transitioned from the emo/scene music of the mid 2000s to the DJ/Club music of today, but implying that this transition is the result of some sort of inherent flaw in electronic instruments versus traditional instruments feels wrong to me.
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  49. ”the GazettE結成15周年。全曲再録による初のバーラドベストアルバム。” This says it would be their first re-recorded ballad best album.
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  50. loool. You don't look like yourself at all! How about drinks in couple of weeks? Selfie with my cat! My nose is soooo big that it is comfortable to sleep against.
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