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Details of the new album from Towa Tei

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Titled EMO, the METAFIVE member and prolific Shibuya-kei fixture’s eleventh full-length studio album (ninth as Towa Tei) has a special website up, bearing the upcoming release’s tracklisting and guest list. Featured performers this time around are an eccentric bunch even by Tei’s usual standards, although the presence of METAFIVE is hardly a surprise. In addition to his band, singers Hiroshi Takano and UA, author and artist Tomoo Gokita (who designed the album artwork), Inara George of indie-pop duo The Bird and the Bee, Ano of alternative idol group You’ll Melt More! and Chilean electronic musician Atom™ are confirmed, although the site teases that the full list is yet to come.

Those who like getting extra songs as preorder bonuses have something to look forward to with this one, as Amazon is offering a CD-R with the Takkyu Ishino remix of Tei’s “GBI” and Tower Records offers a download card with an alternate take on new song “REM.” Additionally, orders through HMV are entered in a chance to win a signed Polaroid from either Tei or one of the other collaborators on the record. EMO comes out March 22.

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interview, music

For Tracy Hyde brings new life to Shibuya-kei on Film Bleu

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In a perfect world, For Tracy Hyde’s Film Bleu wouldn’t be such a rarity. Echoing the spirit of ’90s Shibuya-kei through its carefully curated set of music-nerd references and name-drops, rather than merely aping the boutique-pop sound as many Shibuya-kei inspired acts have saw fit to, it’s an album that could have fit right in during the height of the genre at the turn of the century. However, it’s coming out in December 2016, and the musical landscape has changed drastically in the years since Shibuya-kei ruled the scene.

I met with three members of the band – chief songwriter and guitarist Natsu-bot, bassist Mav and drummer Marcie – in the heart of Shibuya to discuss Shibuya-kei, their new album, and the contemporary Japanese music scene. Their thoughts, and the video for lovely single “Favourite Blue”, can be found below.

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Artist Spotlight: capsule, music

Artist Spotlight: Capsule (week three)

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Continuing with a look at one of Shibuya-kei’s most divisive figures – this blog earlier featured a post asking if his most famous group really counted as “Shibuya-kei” or not – Josh Anderson delves into Capsule’s commercial peak in the latter half of the ’00s in this installment of his guest series. Photo credit for this article, as with all of this series, goes to the “fuckyeahystk” tumblr – Anderson had included these credits for all earlier posts, but editorial decision had previously been to leave them out.

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music, news

Takeshi Nakatsuka to release new original album

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One of the most exciting figures in Shibuya-kei, the multi-talented Takeshi Nakatsuka (formerly of the perpetually underrated group QYPTHONE) is preparing to release a new album called EYE on the 16th of next month, featuring the fantastic lead single “JAPANESE BOY” and 11 other selections. EYE will be Nakatsuka’s first album of originals since 2013’s Lyrics, although the man has certainly kept busy – both as a manager of record label Delicatessen Recordings and as a musician.

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Artist Spotlight: capsule, music

Artist Spotlight: Capsule (week one)

 

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Every so often, Memories of Shibuya lets an outside writer do a guest series for the blog’s Artist Spotlight articles; this one comes from reader Josh Anderson, a long-time J-music buff and apparent Capsule superfan. Often one of the most divisive figures in Shibuya-kei, Yasutaka Nakata is still nevertheless one of the most popular names in the genre, and it is a pleasure to present a guest series from someone so knowledgeable and enthusiastic about this polarizing figure.

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Artist Spotlight: Hideki Kaji, music

Artist Spotlight: Hideki Kaji (week two)

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After Bridge’s disbandment, Hideki Kaji made the decision to set out and make his name as a solo artist; which proved to be quite a good call, as his releases under his own name consistently rank among the best examples of the Shibuya-kei musical style one is likely to hear. In week two of our spotlight, we look at the early years of his solo work, in which he stepped out from under the shadow of his peers in the Shibuya-kei scene and made his own identity known to the world.

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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 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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