music, news

New videos from Cornelius, Original Love and color-me frog

If Keigo Oyamada seemed a little less busy than usual last year, he’s more than making up for it in 2015 – the latest update to his Kokakua Sound page is a “studio live” version of his laid-back Ghost in the Shell theme song “Mada Ugoku”, featuring vocalist Maaya Sakamoto and the Cornelius band. No YouTube mirror as per usual, but thankfully Kokakua Sound’s generic video player works perfectly fine. Which is a lot more than can be said for some pages, or anything that ever used RealPlayer. Why did anyone ever think that program was a good idea?

If soul is more your thing, Takao Tajima has you covered – a digest version of the upcoming Original Love album Lover Man has been helpfully made available to the most popular video-sharing site on the web, containing previews of each song on the new release – including Tajima’s own version of “Sunshine Nihonkai”, a song written for Negicco and previously featured on the girl group’s Rice&Snow album.

Perhaps most excitingly, Shin-ichiro Aoyama’s color-me frog has released their first music video, a sparingly-animated clip set to the binaural sounds of Aoyama’s most musically daring work to date. Echoing the work of Shibuya-kei pioneers like Takako Minekawa and Kahimi Karie, “Sky Holic” marries Sayoko Nagamuu’s gorgeous vocals to a warm, summery musical backing that only makes the vocals’ unconventional mixing that much more striking. Girl on the Train is yet to have an official release date, but it should be out by the end of the Summer – definitely a release to look out for.

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Indie spotlight: color-me frog

As you may have noticed while reading Memories of Shibuya, we often focus on the songwriters – those crafting pop songs from behind the scenes – far more than the singers themselves. With this in mind, color-me frog makes a perfect choice for this month’s indie spotlight, as the project is one of the very rare cases where a songwriter is front and center. Shin-ichiro Aoyama, a music-industry lifer who has worked on everything from Kamen Rider to Mega Man, broke with convention to start up his own netlabel, Honeyeater Records, and as color-me frog he’s been seeking to bring lyrical creativity back to Japanese pop music.

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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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