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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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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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Get hyped for the new METAFIVE with “Musical Chairs”

Boasting more of a dance-pop sound than most of what we’ve heard from the Japanese alternative’s biggest supergroup, METAFIVE’s “Musical Chairs” has been uploaded to YouTube in advance of their new album METAHALF. While the first METAFIVE album sounded closest to Cornelius’s solo work out of any of the high-profile musicians involved in the project, this one seems to be shaping up to bear more resemblance to a Yellow Magic Orchestra album; but, of course, we’ll just have to wait and see how the finished product turns out when it’s officially released tomorrow.

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Want Negicco on Blu-ray? T-Palette’s got your back

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Negicco, Niigata prefecture’s pseudo Shibuya-kei alternative idol darlings, have a high-definition release upcoming, sure to please any videophiles out there. Coming out on November 29, their 13th-anniversary show “Road of Negiiiiii: Otodaima 2016 Summer at NHK Hall” (doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, does it?) is getting the full Blu-ray treatment, although some may be disappointed to find out that there will not also be a DVD option available this time around. Either way, Negicco live shows are always a pleasure, and the increased audio/visual fidelity of the Blu-ray format should definitely appeal to some.

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Album trailer for new Tomita Lab release up, is wonderful

Multi-talented producer Keiichi Tomita’s latest collaboration-heavy album, Superfine drops November 30, and as a teaser his label has uploaded a lovely sampler of the diverse sounds on display. Boasting collaborations with hot talents such as alt-pop darlings Avec Avec, Suiyoubi no Campanella and Kirinji, Tomita’s iPhone contacts list is most certainly an enviable one.
And it’s one that’s been well-earned, too. Along with like-minded artists like Yasutaka Nakata, Shinichi Osawa, and naturally the Shibuya-kei scene, Tomita was instrumental in bringing a touch of worldly sophistication to Japanese pop in the late ’80s and has continued to be a strong presence, with an extensive production discography in addition to a long history under his “Tomita Lab” moniker.

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Most new music is unbelievably terrible, new Sakanaction single isn’t


Do you crave nice things? Is your life lacking in goodness? Sakanaction understands your trouble. New single “Tabun, Kaze.” seeks to remedy your ailments through the beautifully processed guitars, dance beats and driving synthesizers that the Hokkaido-based group made their name on. Most new music is horrendous and the world may indeed be going to hell, but one can dance in the flames to the sounds of Sakanaction.

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Takeshi Nakatsuka to release new original album

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One of the most exciting figures in Shibuya-kei, the multi-talented Takeshi Nakatsuka (formerly of the perpetually underrated group QYPTHONE) is preparing to release a new album called EYE on the 16th of next month, featuring the fantastic lead single “JAPANESE BOY” and 11 other selections. EYE will be Nakatsuka’s first album of originals since 2013’s Lyrics, although the man has certainly kept busy – both as a manager of record label Delicatessen Recordings and as a musician.

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New video from Saku, single details from Negicco and more!

Can’t wait to hear the new Saku single? Live in Japan and/or know your way around a VPN? Saku’s cute new single “Shunshoku Love Song” has a full promotional video available on YouTube for your viewing pleasure, in which the smiling Saku plays acoustic guitar while a high school girl falls in love and takes pictures of things. It’s sweet.

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Love Negicco and Asako Toki? Never thought you’d hear of a collaboration between the two? Well, you’re in luck – it has been revealed that the former Cymbals singer is writing the lyrics for the new Negicco single “Mujun, Hajimemashita” (coming out March 29), thus further cementing Negicco as the most Shibuya-kei of idol groups. Additionally, the single’s LE version will come with a bonus disc featuring Shibuya-kei inspired acts Yakenohara and Yuri Miyauchi’s remixes of “Space Nekojaracy” and “Oyasumi”, respectively. The bonus tracks will also be available with OTOTOY‘s lossless, DRM-free digital version, as is the norm for that most wonderful of websites.

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Meanwhile, those who had given up on a revival for long-dormant singer-songwriter Kenji Ozawa’s illustrious musical career have reason to be excited. The Flipper’s Guitar founder has teased at a live tour and new material on its way, and Takao Tajima of Original Love says that the new songs are sounding great – being cooler than all of us, naturally Tajima was invited to Ozawa’s secret invitation-only live event earlier this month.

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Finally, Clammbon fans who had been waiting to get any of their previous albums on disc have good reason to hold off for another few days, as Columbia is reissuing a series of eight of the group’s previous albums on February 3. The reissue series contains 2003’s imagination, mono and stereo versions of 2005’s Ten, 2007’s Musical, 2010’s uncreatively-named 2010, 2009 remix album Re-clammbon2, 2006’s cover song collection LOVER ALBUM and its 2013 sequel LOVER ALBUM 2.

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New singles announced for Saku and Takeshi Nakatsuka

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As the second major single from neo-Shibuya-kei chanteuse extraordinaire Saku, “Shunshoku Love Song” (jacket photo pictured above) will be coming out on February 24, featuring new song “Onaji Sora” and an acoustic version of previous single “START ME UP” as B-sides. Saku’s career has been on the up and up since getting on the soundtrack to the hit film Biri Gal last year, and while the production lineup for the new single has yet to be announced, odds are very likely that regular collaborator Hideki Kaji will be involved in some capacity – and, perhaps, so will Kaji’s frequent partner Hirohisa Horie.

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Takeshi Nakatsuka has long been one of the hardest-working men in Shibuya-kei, putting out music at an exhausting rate and, with the obvious exceptions of completely mercenary projects like his staggeringly inessential (but likely lucrative) Piano Man Plays Disney albums, a surprisingly high level of quality. His next 7″, JAPANESE BOY, is looking to be a great one even by his usually elevated standards. Unchantable has previews of both the free-jazz inspired title track and its B-side, a velvety smooth cover of Sayuri Kokushou standard “Valentine Kiss”, and the single is due out on Feburary 10.

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New videos from Towa Tei and Negicco

The first video from CUTE is out now, with an appropriately old-school clip accompanying the star-studded “LUV PANDEMIC” – with Haruomi Hosono, Yukihiro Takahashi, Keigo “Cornelius” Oyamada, Leo Imai and actress Yuka Mizuhara providing their faces and voices to the incredibly bad song. It’s absolutely horrendous by all means, possibly the worst single Tei has ever put out, but just look at all those guest stars!

For those who prefer their music videos with far less wasted talent, Negicco and Sachiko Kobayashi recently revealed their “Niigata☆JIMAN!” video, a cute song made to promote tourism in Niigata city (soon to be home of the next regional expansion of Yasushi Akimoto’s ongoing 48G project). Negicco fans, rejoice! Everyone else, continue to be confounded by the continued presence of this only tangentially Shibuya-kei group’s presence on Memories of Shibuya!

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