editorial, music

Was Shibuya-kei just a watered-down version of the Japanese avant-garde?

Well, what if it was? What if “Shibuya-kei” wasn’t a unique movement at all, but instead was just a defanged copy of Japanese alternative? Could this be?!!!

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Details of the new album from Towa Tei

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Titled EMO, the METAFIVE member and prolific Shibuya-kei fixture’s eleventh full-length studio album (ninth as Towa Tei) has a special website up, bearing the upcoming release’s tracklisting and guest list. Featured performers this time around are an eccentric bunch even by Tei’s usual standards, although the presence of METAFIVE is hardly a surprise. In addition to his band, singers Hiroshi Takano and UA, author and artist Tomoo Gokita (who designed the album artwork), Inara George of indie-pop duo The Bird and the Bee, Ano of alternative idol group You’ll Melt More! and Chilean electronic musician Atom™ are confirmed, although the site teases that the full list is yet to come.

Those who like getting extra songs as preorder bonuses have something to look forward to with this one, as Amazon is offering a CD-R with the Takkyu Ishino remix of Tei’s “GBI” and Tower Records offers a download card with an alternate take on new song “REM.” Additionally, orders through HMV are entered in a chance to win a signed Polaroid from either Tei or one of the other collaborators on the record. EMO comes out March 22.

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music

Memories of Shibuya year-end wrap: 5 songs for 2016

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Few people are sad to see 2016 go, perhaps justifiably so – but it wasn’t all bad. This year had no shortage of wonderful music released, and so Memories of Shibuya is looking back on 5 of the best songs to come out in 2016. Streaming options aren’t available for all songs, but links will be provided where available.

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music, news

New videos from Negicco and For Tracy Hyde

As long-time readers will know, there are few things that Memories of Shibuya adores as much as T-Palette darlings Negicco; and if you weren’t already converted, perhaps new single “Ai, Kamashitaino” (physical copy due out December 20)’s charming retro-themed music video might be just the thing.

Additionally, YouTube channel Tokyo Acoustic Session has a new performance video up from Memories of Shibuya interviewees For Tracy Hyde, with the band members offering up a very different take from Film Bleu standout “Her Sarah Records Collection.” The whimsical acoustic version swaps out the fuzzed guitars of the original for a more folksy arrangement, complete with xylophone and mandolin – check it out!

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interview, music

For Tracy Hyde brings new life to Shibuya-kei on Film Bleu

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In a perfect world, For Tracy Hyde’s Film Bleu wouldn’t be such a rarity. Echoing the spirit of ’90s Shibuya-kei through its carefully curated set of music-nerd references and name-drops, rather than merely aping the boutique-pop sound as many Shibuya-kei inspired acts have saw fit to, it’s an album that could have fit right in during the height of the genre at the turn of the century. However, it’s coming out in December 2016, and the musical landscape has changed drastically in the years since Shibuya-kei ruled the scene.

I met with three members of the band – chief songwriter and guitarist Natsu-bot, bassist Mav and drummer Marcie – in the heart of Shibuya to discuss Shibuya-kei, their new album, and the contemporary Japanese music scene. Their thoughts, and the video for lovely single “Favourite Blue”, can be found below.

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music, news

Sayaka Tanimoto exploring new musical avenues, to great effect

Electronic music producer Sayaka Tanimoto‘s Maho no Ongaku was one of the strongest debut releases of 2015, with her 8-bit beats and charming vocals rendering her as a definite talent to watch in the chiptune genre. However, her ambition exceeds the confines of 8-bit production, and on a pair of new songs (“Turnover”, embedded above, as well as “Astrocyte“) she explores a much richer sonic palette than was to be found in her work previously. While a release date for her next album has yet to be announced, Tanimoto’s Twitter account teases that a new CD may be forthcoming – and updates will be found on Memories of Shibuya as they arise.

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