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: 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

Details for Clammbon’s ninth studio album revealed

clammbon_GoogleClammbon recently announced yet, their first single of 2015, but what would a single be without an album to promote? Well, we now know what the album is called and when it comes out – the bizarre triology and March 25, respectively. Columbia’s Clammbon site has a full tracklisting (although no album art is available as of yet), as well as the album’s somewhat unconventional list of release formats. In addition to the regular version, the album will also be available with a bonus DVD of the group’s February 11 performance at Yoyogi Park, as a 12″ vinyl LP, or, strangest of all, as a Blu-ray audio disc. I suppose it makes sense to have albums on Blu-ray, since a Blu-ray disc is essentially limitless far as file size is concerned, but it’s still strange to see it as an option.

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music, news

New Clammbon single coming February 11, and HMV has a bonus

Continuing their 20th anniversary celebration (that included last year’s wonderful Why Not Clammbon!? tribute album and a compilation DVD of all the group’s music videos) with their first single since 2012’s Rough & Laugh, Clammbon recently announced the ambiguously-titled yet. The new single continues the retrospective theme of their 2014 releases with a remix of their 2001 single “Surround” as its coupling track, and lucky buyers at HMV will be able to snag a bonus version with an extra 7″ – those lucky, lucky folk. The 7″ has “yet” as its A-side just like the CD version, but rather than the “Surround” remix it features a cover of Fujifabric’s song “Akaneiro no Yuuhi” on the B-side. The single will be out everywhere else on February 11, and HMV Shibuya will be doing a pre-release on February 4 because they’re HMV and they get to do things like that.

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music

The Shibuya-kei Year in Review 2014, part two: Albums of the Year

This was originally supposed to go up tomorrow, but as a Twitter-sharing faux pas led to a false promise of “the albums of the year” being made on the Memories of Shibuya account, we’re jumping the gun and bringing the album post to you ahead of schedule. Enjoy!

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music, reviews

Album review: Various Artists – Why Not Clammbon!? ~ Clammbon Tribute

Shibuya-kei and cover albums have a very peculiar relationship; while tribute albums are the bane of most musical genres, most commonly the province of artists using their versions of familiar songs in the often-vain hope of sparking interest in their original material, tribute albums often serve as a useful “who’s who” of Shibuya-kei at the time of their release. The Shibuya-kei tribute album also serves as an endorsement of the artist whose songs are being covered; Gainsbourg Made in Japan is just one of many examples of this phenomenon in action. So, for veteran Shibuya-kei outfit Clammbon, whose Why Not Clammbon!? celebrates 20 years, the accomplishment is doubly significant; it lets them throw a musical reunion of sorts, while also passing the torch to a new generation of Shibuya-kei inspired performers. How do the performers fare, though?

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music, news

Hear samples from the new Clammbon tribute album

Veteran Shibuya-kei group Clammbon is celebrating their 20th anniversary in style – December 3 sees the release of Why not Clammbon!? ~ Clammbon Tribute, a collection of luminaries from the Shibuya-kei and J-pop scenes alike (veteran pop producer Tetsuya Komuro makes an appearance alongside Shibuya-kei acts like Buffalo Daughter and TOKYO No.1 SOUL SET) covering or remixing songs from the band’s two decades together. In addition to the “album trailer” above, you can hear samples at the Columbia Records Clammbon site, which also features short comments from all of the contributing groups and artists.

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