music, news

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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music, news

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

negi-negi

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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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, music

In the Mix: DJ Hayato’s “Tonight J-Pop Mix”

Working with a “night drive” theme, DJ Hayato of Choudoii Records spins a wonderful mixture of Shibuya-kei and Japanese pop tunes on “Tonight J-Pop Mix.” With Negicco, paris match, m-flo, Takeshi Nakatsuka and others in the mix, it’s a top-notch selection that’s sure to brighten up any night – even if you’re not driving through Tokyo in a vintage sports car.

Tonight J-Pop Mix by Dj Hayato on Mixcloud

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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

Negicco’s Megu featured on happy machine song

Described by Natalie.mu’s delightful copywriting as “a Frenchman who loves Japan”, happy machine makes music that makes not descending into snark incredibly difficult. Making his debut in the netlabel scene before signing to Tower Records’ in-house label (no, not T-Palette – the one people don’t care about, the label that’s just called “Tower Records”) and snagging Megu from Negicco for a guest appearance, this is as much of a bio as I can be bothered to write and you can feel free to look up the rest yourself if you care. The short version of the resulting track is embedded above, and if you actually like this for any reason you’ll probably be happy to know that happy machine’s building the machine comes out on July 8.

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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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music, news

News from Negicco, Cornelius and Konishi

Something for everyone here, no matter what permutation of Shibuya-kei you find yourself preferring. For those who favour the quirky, unconventional alternative sound that characterizes Shibuya-kei’s more experimental extremes, Penguin Cafe Orchestra has just the thing. They recently did a cover song exchange with Shibuya-kei pioneer Keigo “Cornelius” Oyamada, and have shared a video for their cover version of Point highlight “Bird Watching in Inner Forest”, rechristened  “Birdwatching in Silent Forest” and accompanied by footage of birds in silhouette against a striking backdrop of fluid imagery.

If the pop kitsch of Negicco is more your speed, they recently released a live album as an exclusive to Japanese music destination OTOTOY – happily free of any pesky DRM and regional restrictions. Titled “Negicco to Gakkou”, the album captures the girls’ performance at the “alternative art space” 3331 from October 10 of last year, available in a number of lossless formats as per OTOTOY standard. The girls also have an announced release date for their next single, which is as yet untitled and will be coming out on August 11. As with all of Negicco’s recent singles, it will be available on 7″ vinyl in addition to CD and DVD options, although, in an unconventional move for the group, both A and B-sides will be getting the music video treatment. A version with a bonus disc containing three remixes will also be available, as was the case with Hikari no Spur – most likely this version will make its way to OTOTOY, as such was the case with the aforementioned single as well.

Old-school fans should get a kick out of the announcement of Yasuharu Konishi’s new album as “Pizzicato One”, his second full-length under the name and first release as P1 since 2011’s One and Ten Very Sad Songs. The new album, titled Watakushi no Nijuu Seiki (“My 20th Century”, for those of whom are understandably miffed by the fact that Memories of Shibuya never translates titles for things) features contributions from a guest list that, true to form, is dominated by fashion models and actresses – Konishi is, after all, still Konishi – and is written and produced in its entirety by the man himself.

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Maybe we don’t live in the best of all possible universes

Idol Bakari Pizzicato, what happened? The initial announcement seemed so clear – Yasuharu Konishi was producing, as very well should have been the case. Yet things took a turn recently for the incredibly disappointing, as it has been revealed that the only involvement Konishi has with the compilation is that the songs were all originally written and produced by him. The actual music will be handled, for the most part, by the same people T-Palette Records trots out every time they have a new album to make and don’t particularly feel inclined to get any big names involved. The video above has a preview edit of a few of the album’s thus-far incredibly underwhelming songs, but hopefully the complete lack of anything interesting in these initial previews is somehow misleading.

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Yasuharu Konishi and T-Palette Records releasing compilation album, we are living in the best of all possible universes

Some branches of parallel universe theory posit that there are an infinite number of possible universes, in which any combination of factors can be true – and now, we at Memories of Shibuya present you with incontrovertible proof that the universe in which we live in is, in fact, the best of all these possible worlds: the T-Palette Records and Yasuharu Konishi tribute album “Idol Bakari Pizzicato.” Produced entirely by Konishi and featuring T-Palette groups Idol Renaissance, Vanilla Beans, lyrical school, One Little Kiss and, of course, Negicco, the album finds the girl groups paying tribute to the legendary producer through a variety of cover songs that will be coming out on April 22, a day that will presumably come to be observed as a holy day throughout Japan in commemoration of the event.

(By the way, we’ve been on the fence about Idol Renaissance, lyrical school and One Little Kiss: comment if you’d like any or all three of these groups covered here.)

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