music, news

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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Vanilla Beans covering Kahimi Karie, all is right in the world

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Love Vanilla Beans? Love Kahimi Karie? We assume you said ‘yes’ to both of those, since you’re reading Memories of Shibuya and all, so this news should be right up your alley. Those who purchase tickets for Vanilla Beans’ May 8 show at Shibuya clubasia get a special CD single along with their purchase, featuring an as-yet-untitled new song as well as a cover of Kahimi Karie’s “Humming ga Kikoeru”, a Cornelius-penned number that was previously featured in Toshiya Sekine’s “BOY MEETS GIRL” mix from earlier this month. The single is produced by Tooru Hidaka of THE STARBEMS, who also co-hosts Music Nyt on NOTTV along with Shibuya-kei darling Saku. No plans for a wider release for the single have been announced as of yet, but hopefully news of such a release will be coming soon.

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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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Vanilla Beans IV announced, set for a February release date

T-Palette Records’ Vanilla Beans, the charming duo with the Pink Lady-esque tendency to sing and dance in unison, are set to start off their 2015 with a bang – their new full-length, called Vanilla Beans IV and adorned with the incredibly bizarre cover pictured above in its regular edition (the deluxe version’s cover is no less off-putting), comes out February 3. IV compiles previous singles “Uchouten Girl”, “Kitto Ii Basho”, “Watashi… Fukou Guse”, “Please Me, Darling” and “Muscats Slope Love” in addition to 6 new songs (including a cover version of Belle & Sebastian’s “Funny Little Frog“) and a remix of “Uchouten Girl”. Credits for the new songs have yet to be announced, but, as is usual, we will be keeping up to date with any new announcements as they come up.

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Tower Records and the Shibuya-kei revival

As any Shibuya-kei history inevitably points out, the HMV store in Shibuya was often considered the epicenter of the movement; hallowed ground where its staff recommendations formed the basis of a bold new sound that pushed aside the stagnant dregs of post-kayokyoku idol music and reinvented J-pop as the cultured realm of jet-setting musical pioneers who broke down boundaries and made defiantly new music by reappropriating the old. Whether this was in any way true is completely unknown, but when the former HMV closed down and was replaced by “fast fashion” retail giant Forever 21 in 2010, it inevitably seemed like the end of an era, the true death of Shibuya-kei.

While it is indeed true that the Shibuya-kei sounds of Flipper’s Guitar and Maki Nomiya-era Pizzicato Five (Adam and Eve, essentially) had fallen somewhat out of favour in recent years, HMV Shibuya’s former rival has been making a concentrated effort to bring sexy back, so to speak – if the first wave was HMV’s to claim responsiblity for, the new Shibuya-kei revival can call Tower Records in Shibuya its home base.

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