We wanted to make a post to share some of the tracks we are listening to just now. Of course when it is Mr P and I, you know there will some surprises and also some artists you can probably predict. We had a lot of fun writing it and we hope you enjoy the post ! ! !
This week we have chosen some of our favourite “up to the minute” ( more or less) artists to share with you. We hope these give a little taster of what we cool, trendy young folks listen to when drinking our Horlicks. I hope you enjoy them.
Sakura - Stereopony – Stand By Me
Okinawan girl rockers Stereopony had a tough year last year. The drummer Yamanoha Shiho was ill for much of last year and they were unable to tour. But this year they have had a great start to the year. They released a really great album, made a mini tour of the West Coast of the USA and now are releasing this single which is going to be the theme to the anime series EUREKA SEVEN AO. They launched the international version of the anime with a concert at Sakura Con in Seattle in the USA which was streamed live on Nico Nico. They are now with Sony music main label and not the G8 Records indie label of Sony and this has meant there is more investment in them and you can see this is in the video production compared to previous videos. This is their current single and was released 30th May this year. I think this will be a great year for the girls ! ! !
This group always seems to get a good reaction when mentioned on RR and with good reason. I think Sakura’s right, this song shows an increased sophistication and budget which , hopefully, will see the band become even more successful. I don’t know what they put in the water in Okinawa but it certainly seems to make for a “feisty” kind of girl !
Pairubu - Puffy - Tomodachi no Wao! (Wow your friends!)
Puffy ! Fluffy ! Wuffy ! What can you say about this well known duo ( who have to call themselves Puffy Amiyumi in the States so as not to confuse with an overweight rapper !). They are pure “pop” but often with a bit of spice in there too. This is as catchy as all get out and a real current fave of mine.
Puffy are pure J-Pop these days and seem to have concentrated on the kids market in the last few years. Our special good will ambassadors to the USA are really popular here and overseas and this track is one of the best kids pop songs from them for a long time. I really love it actually! ! ! It is their current single and is used as the theme for the kids anime hour on TV. It is a real earworm actually and if you are not singing Wao ! Wao ! Wao ! before the end of the song then I will be surprised ! ! !
Pairubu - Ebisu Muscats – Banana Mango High School
Perhaps an unusual choice for me. This is a “stumbled upon” group ( how can you resist a title like “Banana Mango High School ?) . I was somewhat attracted to their talented performance here and subsequently found out the the girls are all individually talented in other areas too ! Their latest single is a rather rocking “swing” number. This is an older track but a lot of fun ( especially for old pervs).
Ebisu Muscats are the hostesses of the TV show Onegai! Muscat which is a comedy and variety show. The girls host the show which features guest appearances from comedians, entertainers and musicians. On the show they do comedy interviews, introduce guests and play games which normally feature some costume “accidents”. I think this track is great fun and a typically cheesy J-Pop tune. It is definitely made for fun and is not meant to be more than that, but I think that is what pop music is meant to be ! ! ! I like it a lot ! ! !
Sakura - A Lonely Dog – Machu
This track is from the EP A Lonely Dog. I found the CD a few weeks ago in a shop in a flea market that sells second hand records and CDs. I actually bought it because it had a track on it called RR ! ! ! I do not know very much about them except that they are from Fukushima and the EP was released in 2007. It seems to be their only release unfortunately. I really love the energy and fun in the track and I really like the punk – garage rock style they have. I have been playing them quite a lot these days ! ! !
A great find by Sakura ! They remind me a little of Indian-Hi ( a great Okinawan band). I love this kind of simple, straightforward punk. It reminds me of my long past youth. A very enjoyable sound.
Sakura - YUI - Your Heaven (Cruising DVD)
The Cruising tour was very different from YUI’s typical tours. It was designed for smaller venues and toured in smaller cities where she had not played before. It is designed as an intimate concert and works really well in small venues although the DVD was filmed in the 14,000 seat Tokyo Budokan. The DVD was released in March and I have watched many times ! ! ! The concert starts with her rocking numbers and then there is a much longer than normal “acoustic corner” part of the concert which is actually about half the set. She normally ends with some rock numbers but this time she finished the set with some moving slower tracks. It is avery emotional concert actually. This track was the last song of the regular set (she played seven tracks in the encores after) It was released as the other A side to It’s My Life but does not appear on any albums and she rarely plays it live so it is very unusual that she ended the concert with it. The song is a love song about visting the home town of her lover but the ending is ambiguous and you are not sure if they ended or not. I love this track so much ! ! !
I had never heard of Yui until last year when someone, I can’t remember who, began nominating her songs on RR. She has definitely “grown” on me. A very talented artist,I think. She will go far. This is a really good performance. She puts gallons of emotion into singing this song. Perhaps that’s why it doesn’t feature too often. I would hazard a guess that it’s a bit too “painful” for her. It’s amazing that it was only a “b” side, I think it’s definitely “single” material. I’d buy it !
Pairubu - Tamurapan - New World
I adore Tamurapan. Not sure quite why. I think it’s her “quirkiness” and her voice that do it for me. As Sakura says she got her start in the business on Myspace , released a couple of indie albums ( if anyone has these….I need them….!!) and is now celebrating 5 years of music making. This is her most recent single and a total earworm for me. I love it when Japanese artists drop the occasional English word in to their lyrics. At least I can understand those bits ( usually !).
Tamurapan is the performance name of Tamura Ayumi. She became popular self -publishing her songs on the internet, mainly on MySpace where she achieved 18 million streaming views. She moved to Columbia records in 2008 and has been popular and successful ever since. I really admire how she made a new way to success on her own ! ! ! This track is more a classic J-Pop track than many of her tracks and nice summer pop song. I like this track a lot ! ! !
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We hope you have enjoyed the post and some of our current favourites. We had a lot of fun making the post and hope you enjoyed it as much as we did ! ! ! We have a request for a post about Enka which will make soon, but if you have topic about asian music that you want us to make a post about please tell us in the comments ! ! !
So there you have it. Contemporary Japanese sounds at their best ( we think). Rather ironic , really, that this time round Sakura has gone all “Rock Chick” and I’ve gone all “Senile J-pop fan”. Oh Well ! It’s good to branch out sometimes.