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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.

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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.

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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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New singles announced for Saku and Takeshi Nakatsuka

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As the second major single from neo-Shibuya-kei chanteuse extraordinaire Saku, “Shunshoku Love Song” (jacket photo pictured above) will be coming out on February 24, featuring new song “Onaji Sora” and an acoustic version of previous single “START ME UP” as B-sides. Saku’s career has been on the up and up since getting on the soundtrack to the hit film Biri Gal last year, and while the production lineup for the new single has yet to be announced, odds are very likely that regular collaborator Hideki Kaji will be involved in some capacity – and, perhaps, so will Kaji’s frequent partner Hirohisa Horie.

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Takeshi Nakatsuka has long been one of the hardest-working men in Shibuya-kei, putting out music at an exhausting rate and, with the obvious exceptions of completely mercenary projects like his staggeringly inessential (but likely lucrative) Piano Man Plays Disney albums, a surprisingly high level of quality. His next 7″, JAPANESE BOY, is looking to be a great one even by his usually elevated standards. Unchantable has previews of both the free-jazz inspired title track and its B-side, a velvety smooth cover of Sayuri Kokushou standard “Valentine Kiss”, and the single is due out on Feburary 10.

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Artist Spotlight: Hirohisa Horie, music

Artist Spotlight: Hirohisa Horie (weeks three and four)

As one of the background players who has been quietly but crucially forming the sound of Shibuya-kei for decades, the songs that have benefited from multi-instrumentalist Hirohisa Horie’s golden touch provide a portrait of an exciting and diverse genre; all the better to choose his work for a spotlight. Last installment looked at his work with Kahimi Karie and his own group Neil & Iraiza, and this week finds our attention directed to his work with another studio player whose influence can never be understated.

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Saku debuts a region-locked video for “START ME UP”, it’s probably very nice though!

“The uploader has not made this video available in your country.”

Why? Who knows. I really wish there was anything I could say about this new Saku video, but, alas, it’s region-locked and it is unknown at the time which countries it’s been made available to. It’s probably very nice, and those of you who are actually in Japan (instead of competing with an insanely overcrowded job market in which there are literal hundreds of applicants to even the most menial and pitifully-compensated of positions, and preference is given to already-landed folk with working holiday visas anyways) can surely enjoy it.

Feel free to leave a comment if you figure out which non-Japanese countries (if any) are allowed to view it, the effort would be much appreciated. The START ME UP single comes out alongside her FIGHT LIKE A GIRL album on April 29, and probably won’t be available in digital form to non-Japanese through any legitimate channels either. However, it is available for preorder on Amazon, for those of you who like paying more for international shipping than you did for the actual item you’re purchasing. My fingers are crossed for an OTOTOY release, but it’s always a crapshoot what does and does make it to that site – never a given, and it’s especially dicey when dealing with major-label releases.

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Fresh delivery of Saku news!

The first video from Saku’s FIGHT LIKE A GIRL, appropriately enough for the title track, is available for all to watch on YouTube (and you will all be watching it multiple times, I hope), complete with charmingly dodgy onscreen English translation to help out. Visual and lyrical references to Saku’s musical inspirations abound – including recreations of some famous album covers and an amusing line about how “it’s not about you and My Bloody Valentine.”

Not long after her first full-length, Saku will be reaching another milestone with START ME UP, her major-label debut single on Sony Music. Currently being used as the first of two songs in the commercial for upcoming movie Biri Gal (embedded above), the single will be coming out alongside the film’s release on May 1. You can find more information about the movie here, and a full video for the song itself should presumably follow sometime soon.

As a final note, BARKS has the full tracklistings for both FIGHT LIKE A GIRL and START ME UP – not that the titles necessarily tell you much about the songs, but it can still be fun to guess at what they might be like.

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FIGHT LIKE A GIRL has a nice cover, too!

The official cover art for Saku’s first full-length, coming out April 29th (mark your calendars!) on Space Shower Music, has just been revealed – and it would seem that the days of Saku album covers with endearingly sloppy illustrations instead of photos are dead and gone. They shall not be mourned, as the alternative is preferable by an incredibly wide margin. FIGHT LIKE A GIRL promises to be quite the album, with Saku’s new backing band consisting of Shibuya-kei veteran Hideki Kaji on bass, Hirohisa Horie on keys, Shuuichirou Satou of Analogfish drumming and WATARU.S of SISTERJET on guitar (although Saku will, presumably, be playing lead as per usual). It’s one hell of a lineup, and there could be no better frontwoman for such a group than the endlessly charming Saku.

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First full-length album from Saku to be called “FIGHT LIKE A GIRL”

SakuDo we have a tracklist? Nope. Album art? Not exactly! Title? Yup! We now know that Saku’s first full-length, due out on April 22 from Space Shower Music, will be called FIGHT LIKE A GIRL and that’s just fine. She shared some photos on Twitter from the hotel where the as-yet-unseen jacket art was photographed, and I really, really wish there was more to report here but there just isn’t yet.

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