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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
We all have some meaning about compilation albums, and I was wondering about what people here think about compilation albums in general as it seemslike best of's are usualfor "jrock/visual kei" bands. Would you buy a best of? Would you buy a collection of a bands' EPs, demos, split material and/or unreleased songs? In 2014, with everyone having internet and shit, I consider best of albums absolute worthless. They're usualy not what me or you consider the bands' best songs, so it's better just to make yourself one yourself. I never buy these. Best ofs was decent in the mid-late 90's when you didn't have internet and you didn't buy that much music. They were decent when checking out bands with huge discographies just to get an impression of where you should start. Today you can just do this on youtube, or just download the whole discography in four minutes and check out. So I don't get the need to release these anymore. And I don't get why so many bands still release these. They're so very, very unnecessary IMO. But I am very positive towards compilation albums that collects EPs, demos, split material and unreleased songs onto one/two/three discs/LPs/tapes. Varathron's "Genesis of the Unaltered Evil" is a very good example of what I am talking about. It's a compilation of everything they did before their first album (two demos, an EP and a split) as well as three other songs. These are the type of compilation albums I was OK with, and would buy. C comiplation such as Sargeist's "The Rebirth of a Cursed Existence" is also a very good example. I wouldn't buy this myself as I don't care for CDs, but it's a great release since there's a lot of people who doesn't care about vinyl and/or tapes. It's a CD that features all Sargeist songs which were previously available solely on vinyl, tape and compilation releases. Great release! What's your thoughts on different types of compilation albums?