music, news

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.

negi negi

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.

ozawa

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.

lover album

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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in the mix

In the Mix: DJ Choudoii’s “Summer Jam ’15”

With more of a hip-hop flavour than most Memories of Shibuya mixes, DJ Choudoii (which he translates as “DJ just the right”) brings a smooth mix of rap and Shibuya-kei on “Summer Jam ’15”, with Asako Toki, Scha Dara Parr (whose “Summer Jam ’95” gave the mix its title), HALCALI and Kahimi Karie all making appearances. The considerable overlap between the laid-back styles of ’90s J-urban – influenced far more by the likes of early De La Soul than by the more confrontational hip-hop that was more popular in the West – and Shibuya-kei makes perfect fodder for a mix, and Choudoii’s selection should be more than enough to appeal to fans of both genres.

There could hardly be a better soundtrack to lazy summer days, and those interested in hearing more from the talented Choudoii can check out his personal and Choudoii Records Mixcloud pages – naturally, he’s on Twitter, too.

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in the mix

In the Mix: Marteen Lu’s Whiteboardjournal Mix

As international coverage of Asian music is almost entirely dominated by the discussion of Korea, Japan and India – disregarding outliers like Malaysian singer-songwriter Yuna and the occasional pop idol from Taiwan or Hong Kong – to much of the world, the music scene in Southeast Asia is something of a mystery.

One of the most interesting things to happen in this rarely-acknowledged part of the musical world is a quiet Shibuya-kei revival; when the Thai indie-poppers in Smallroom covered Flipper’s Guitar’s Three Cheers for Our Side in its entirety, it could easily have been something of a random curiosity, but in SE Asian acts like IkkubaruChocopurin and Sacrophonic the spirit of Shibuya-kei is being kept alive – which brings us to this month’s featured mix, from Jakarta, Indonesia’s Martin “Marteen Lu” Lusuandie.

Serving as something of a Shibuya-kei primer, featuring both the genre’s influences (such as Francophone chanteuses Cathy Claret, France Gall and Vanessa Paradis) and a wonderful selection of Japanese artists, Lusuandie’s mix is intended as the soundtrack to a cultural revolution; bringing forth the lessons from Shibuya-kei’s heyday and applying them to contemporary Indonesia. And, of course, if you like what you hear, you can check out more from Martin at his Mixcloud page.

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music, news

New Asako Toki song debuts in Zojirushi commercial

asakoContinuing a long, if not necessarily proud, tradition that goes back to the very beginning of the movement, Shibuya-kei affiliated singer Asako Toki has, not for the first time, nor likely the last, contributed a song to a television commercial. The product is Zojirushi’s chic “My Bottle” thermos, and the commercial is a 30-second spot featuring a song that name-checks the product being sold explicitly. The song is called “Ganbaru no Uta,” and if you feel that what your day really needed was a thermos commercial set to Asako Toki then it’s sure to be the best thing you see all day. She also recently worked on a number of songs for compilation album Women’s Liberation (which came out on January 7), continuing the trend of English-language jazz covers that she’s made her bread and butter recently. Perhaps that should have been the headline instead of the Zojirushi thing, actually, come to think of it…

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music

The Shibuya-kei Year in Review, part four: what was Shibuya-kei in 2014?

The concluding portion of Memories of Shibuya‘s year in review deals with a very valid question – isn’t Shibuya-kei dead and gone, like the HMV in Shibuya (there’s a new one there now, but it’s not the same) and Cornelius albums that don’t sound like Otomo Yoshihide outtakes? Are any boys, in fact, still firing the tricot? What did that line even mean? Well, read on to find out! Except for that bit about “Boys, Fire the Tricot”, that song is still a mystery.

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music, reviews

Album review: Asako Toki – STANDARDS: In a Sentimental Mood

After her band’s dissolution in 2003, former Cymbals frontwoman Asako Toki reinvented herself as a jazz singer; this year’s STANDARDS: In a Sentimental Mood is a commemoration of the 10-year anniversary of STANDARDS, her debut as a solo artist. Like that 2004 album and its 2005 follow-up STANDARDS on the SofaIn a Sentimental Mood finds the singer performing light jazz versions of English-language pop standards – much as Maki Nomiya’s live album from earlier this month tackled Shibuya-kei selections with a jazzy touch.

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