music

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

metafive

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

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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Artist Spotlight: Hideki Kaji, music, Uncategorized

Artist Spotlight: Hideki Kaji (week one)

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Hideki Kaji’s name may be an obscure one to Western audiences, but as one of the architects of the Shibuya-kei sound, his influence on Japanese music would be nothing less than utterly irresponsible to overlook. While he is rightfully known as a songwriter first and foremost, the multi-instrumentalist Kaji has worn many hats across his four decades as a musician – and is every bit as notable as a solo artist as he is for any of the various other projects he has contributed to.

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music, The Canon

The Canon: Pizzicato Five – Bossa Nova 2001

bossa nova

Although the origins of the style we now know as Shibuya-kei can be traced back to the late 1980s (with acts like Original Love and the first incarnation of Pizzicato Five serving as the prototype), it is worth considering that the actual phrase itself wasn’t coined until the early ’90s – and that, despite Flipper’s Guitar being considered as the first Shibuya-kei group by many, the duo of Kenji Ozawa and Keigo Oyamada had already broken up before people were even calling their music “Shibuya-kei.” In this sense, Pizzicato Five’s Bossa Nova 2001, released in 1993, represents one of the earliest essential examples of Shibuya-kei as a musical movement with a name and defined ideology – and, as such, no attempt at forming a Shibuya-kei canon would be complete without it.

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music, news

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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music, news

New album from Towa Tei? New album from Towa Tei!

His first full-length release since 2013’s Lucky, Towa Tei’s new album will be called CUTE – and the guest list  alone is certainly worth getting excited about. Boasting contributions from the likes of post-rock darling Leo Imai, frequent Tei collaborator YUI of Bakubaku Dokin, Yoshinori Sunahara of Denki Groove, and Shibuya-kei veterans Keigo “Cornelius” Oyamada and ASA-CHANG, he’s moving away from the international cast of contributors that had graced recent releases and focusing exclusively on Japanese talent – not, in any way, a bad thing.

The album comes out July 29 on Tei’s own MACHBEAT label, and Natalie has a full tracklisting.

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