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Zac Bentz


Goodbye Japanator Radio

Jul 30
// Zac Bentz
Sorry this took so long. Some of you have already noticed, but for those of you who haven't, you are no longer able to download any episodes of Japanator Radio. That is because the show is no longer in production and is no lo...

Japanator Radio 169

Jun 22 // Zac Bentz
00:00 Omodaka- "Honjou Oiwake (Instrumental)" - Favorite Games - EP [BUY] 01:01 Versailles - Flowery - Holy Grail [BUY]04:53 Cinema Staff - Shiroisabakuunomarch - Cinema Staff [BUY]08:38 Metro-Ongen - Voyager - Eden [BUY]11:33 Portal 2 OST12:31 Toddle - Thorn - The Shimmer [BUY]15:26 Usotsuki Barbie - Neko-ko - nininini [BUY]18:40 GULSHABU - Mikoshi no Giburi - GULSHABU [BUY at HearJapan]20:45 Portal 2 OSTArtist Spotlight: 9mm Parabellum Bullet 22:47 9mm Parabellum Bullet - Endless Game - Movement [BUY]26:20 9mm Parabellum Bullet - We Are Innocent - Vampire [BUY]28:56 9mm Parabellum Bullet - The Revolutionary - Revolutionary [BUY]32:18 9mm Parabellum Bullet - Punishment - Termination [BUY]34:54 Portal 2 OST35:32 Macdonald Duck Eclair - Beep Sweep - kono tokimeki ima sugu [BUY at HearJapan]38:08 Devo - Don't Shoot (Polysics Remix) - na 41:44 Supercar - Strobolights - RE:Supercar 2 [BUY]45:54 Omodaka- "Honjou Oiwake (Instrumental)" - Favorite Games - EP [BUY]

Boy, sure does seem like it's been a long time since we were last together, no? Hey, let's not get all sentimental here. Look, I brought you a present! It's a new Japanator Radio! Toddle! Supercar! 9mm Parabellum Bullet! All your favorites! See? It's like we've never been apart. Enjoy! DOWNLOAD EPISODE 169 FEED ZUNE @[email protected] Track-list and links after the jump!

Japanator Radio 167

May 11 // Zac Bentz
00:00 Omodaka- "Honjou Oiwake (Instrumental)" - Favorite Games - EP [BUY] 01:28 Imaginary Flying Machine - "Yasashisa Ni Tsutsumaretanara (feat. Destrage & Yoko Hallelujah)" - Princess Ghibli [BUY]06:08 Satanica - "The Traitor" - After Christ, The Devil Comes [BUY]11:26 TsuShiMaMiRe - "Doing Nothing" - Giving Blood [BUY at HearJapan]14:27 Break: Catherine OST [BUY]15:28 Gekitetsu - "Bachigai" - Geki [BUY at HearJapan]17:39 Mowmow Lulu Gyaban - "Hello!! Mr. Coke-High" - BeVeci Calopueno [BUY]22:16 Psysalia Psysalis Psyche - "Death to My Friends" - X is to Y as Y is to Z [BUY]26:27 Break: Catherine OST [BUY]Artist Spotlight: Plasticzooms28:01 Plasticzooms - "Bug" - Bug 30:54 Plasticzooms - "Under///Black" - Charm [BUY]33:32 Plasticzooms - "Shutter" - Charm [BUY]36:47 Plasticzooms - "Witch" - Witch 39:50 Break: Catherine OST [BUY]40:23 Chara - "Yurashita Garu" - Dark Candy [BUY]44:19 Supercar - "Lucky" - RE:SUPERCAR1 [BUY]48:52 Boom Boom Satellites - "Stay" - Experienced [BUY]56:25 Omodaka- "Honjou Oiwake (Instrumental)" - Favorite Games - EP [BUY]

Time again for me, Zac (that's my name!), to take the reigns of the Japanator Radio, um, train? and fly it into the...hmm. Sure has been a while, huh? Anyway, while I try and collect my thoughts and remember how to make words...

Japanator Radio 165

Apr 06 // Zac Bentz
00:00 Omodaka- "Honjou Oiwake (Instrumental)" - Favorite Games - EP [BUY] 01:19 Maximum the Hormone - "Maximum the Hormone" - Greatest the Hits 2011-2011 [BUY]06:14 Sex Machineguns - "Machinega A Theme" - 37564 [BUY]09:43 Versailles - "Judicial Noir" - Philia [BUY]14:00 Break: Catherine OST [BUY]14:51 Puffy - "Ai no Odessy" - Thank You! [BUY]19:18 Lillies and Remains -" Effectual Truth" - Transpersonal [BUY]22:20 Bloodthirsty Butchers - "Jet Ninjin" - GO!GO! A GO!GO! [BUY]28:11 Break: Catherine OST [BUY]Artist Spotlight: Polysics29:44 Polysics - "Bleeping Hedgehog" - Oh! No! It's Heavy Polysick!!! [BUY]32:29 Polysics - "Jumping Up and Clash" - Oh! No! It's Heavy Polysick!!! [BUY]35:34 Polysics - "Bungu" - GO!GO! A GO!GO! [BUY]39:06 Polysics - "Computer Obachan" - Rock for Baby [BUY]42:06 Break: Catherine OST [BUY]43:53 Boris - "Spoon" - New Album [BUY]48:16 Sakanaction - "Rookie" - Rookie [BUY]53:35 L.E.D. - "I'll (feat Ikuko Harada)" - I'll [BUY at HearJapan]59:36 Omodaka- "Honjou Oiwake (Instrumental)" - Favorite Games - EP [BUY]

Hello again! Time for another action packed episode of Japantor Radio! Action packed? Is that even possible on an audio podcast? I don't know. But if it is, then this is it! This time we've got all new music from the likes of...


Jake Adelstein exposes NatGeo's exposure of yakuza

Mar 07
// Zac Bentz
Tokyo Vice author, video game reviewer and journalistic bad-ass Jake Adelstein has recently tore National Geographic Television a new one over what he sees as reckless endangerment of sources. He was part of NGT's new documen...

Japanator Radio 163

Mar 04 // Zac Bentz
00:00 Omodaka- "Honjou Oiwake (Instrumental)" - Favorite Games - EP [BUY] 01:17 HaKU - "Tag" - astronautS [BUY]05:44 Winnie - "Tomorrow's Sign" - Synchronized [BUY]09:11 Miyavi - "What's My Name (feat. Yoshida Ichiro)" - What's My Name EP [BUY]12:07 Break: Final Fantasy - Distant Worlds - Returning Home [BUY]13:10 sleepy.ab - "Donguri" - Mother Goose [BUY]17:22 800 Cherries - "Le Papillon Et La Fleur" - Opuscula [BUY]19:15 Roly Poly Rag Bear - "Pepper Mint Rainbow" - Hana [BUY]22:33 Break: Final Fantasy - Distant Worlds - Returning Home [BUY]Artist Spotlight: Mo'some Tonebender [Check out Japan Nite!]24:00 Mo'some Tonebender - "Hammmmer" - Struggle [BUY]29:15 Mo'some Tonebender - "Youth" - Struggle [BUY]33:43 Mo'some Tonebender - "Green and Gold" - The Stories of Adventure [BUY]38:34 Mo'some Tonebender - "Synchronicity" - SING! [BUY]43:35 Break: Final Fantasy - Distant Worlds - Returning Home [BUY]44:13 Shinichi Osawa - "Cyclone" - Cyclone 49:20 Capsule - "Happy Life Generator" - Nexus-2060 [BUY]54:15 Halcali - "Marching March (80KIDZ Remix)" - Tokyo Connection [BUY]58:04 Omodaka- "Honjou Oiwake (Instrumental)" - Favorite Games - EP [BUY]

Hello again, music lovers! It's time to kick off the month of March with a new Japanator Radio! This week we take a closer look at Mo'some Tonebender, as well as a ton of both new and old music from all over the spectrum. Oh ...

Listen Back 02-10-11

Feb 10 // Zac Bentz
Kristina Pino GReeeeNKiseki It's been a GReeeeN sort of day. I first heard of them through a friend while abroad, and this is the first song of theirs I ever listened to. You've all probably seen this at some point, but I'm bringing Kiseki back because it's a cute and heart-felt song that got me hooked on the band. They have a lot of other good stuff, and all of their music videos are nice to watch at least once cause they tend to tell a story, more so than what we're used to from J-videos (just a whole lot of weird and funky stuff and an explosion of colors). This is the only video I'm showing today since this song was my gateway to their other stuff. Colette Bennett I LOVE GReeeeN SO MUCH. AAAH. Sometimes, I go the extra mile after watching a j-drama and get the score, if I really loved it. It always makes me feel nostalgic to do so. I've been rewatching one of my favorite romances from a few years back, Buzzer Beat, and listening to the score. It's been awesome. Also, lots of Blaise Plant, which is a self titled side project from one of the two singers of Monkey Majik. I can't get enough of his voice! Mike LeChevallier IsoléeWell Spent Youth I share Zac's sentiment that quality new J-music is pretty difficult to come by right now, so I asked myself, why deprive the Japanator readers of sublime tunage from other worldly destinations simply because Nippon isn't delivering notable products in this department? I couldn't adequately answer that, so this week I'm recommending German minimalist electro-house producer Rajko Müller's third record under the Isolée moniker.Well Spent Youth is Isolée's first LP in almost 6 years. 2005's We Are Monster is a hard act to follow; a work that effortlessly volleyed between dark melodic arrangements that made the brain twitch and lighter, more melancholy tracks with slower rhythm sections. That being said, Well Spent Youth is a work that is very sure of itself, displaying an uncompromising confidence stretched across 11 tracks, 10 of which are nearly 6 minutes in length or over. For a record that takes pride in its decreased calm, Well Spent Youth demonstrates that not all house music has to be confined to boisterous beats that shake the bones. The most notable aspect regarding Müller's latest is that it carries itself like the burden of playing ugly stepsister to We Are Monster is practically non-existent; it leaves the door open while that previous effort slammed it shut. In the electronic field, this is a rare feat that deserves recognition, even for a modern veteran such as Müller Tim Sheehy The Mornings Save The Mornings! Unlike Mike and Zac, I happen to believe that there are plenty of quality releases out there -- assuming you have a large enough palette. That means occasionally branching into the eclectic, and if you ask me, that's never a bad thing. This week, I've been listening to the debut album from The Mornings -- a Japanese post-hardcore art rock act that's gained a significant following in the Tokyo's underground scene. They're known to put on some crazy performances, and really interact with the crowd. Stage diving? Yeah, that's pretty common at their shows. They've even managed to dislocate a bone or two in the process. "Amazon Surf" is pretty accurate as far as what you can expect from the rest of their album. It's a little crazy at times, but the fact that they're actually able to perform these songs on a regular basis should speak volumes. I believe my wife made the comparison to the kind of melodies you'd expect from an obscure Famicom boss theme -- which, may or may not be an accurate description, though if you ask me that sounds pretty amazing. Again, you'll need a taste for the eclectic to truly appreciate it, but at least it's something different for once.

Back again with another Listen Back to what the Japanator staff have been listening to this week! Confession time: I haven't been listening to any Japanese music lately! Not sure why, exactly. Nothing's really been wow-ing me...

Listen Back 02-05-11

Feb 05 // Zac Bentz
Colette BennettGenki Sudo Boy Meets Girl  Ok first off, I am madly in love with Genki Sudo thanks to an intro from Zac Bentz who now apparently knows my music taste well enough to recommend specific bands. Yay my life!  NoanowaLittle Heart  My friend and podcast co-host GK Loki over at Gaijinkanpai also recommended Noanowa, a band I was unfamiliar with up to now.  Jeff Chuang Miku HatsuneCOLOR   This is the OP to boobalicious TV anime Freezing, actually. The original artist for the song goes by MARiA, but I don't know who she is. All I know is that the Miku cover is more amusing than the original version. It's not to say the original isn't good, it just lacks...a little something. Kind of amusing (and sad at the same time) when my ears are preferring a synth over some real vocal chops. As an aside, the single doesn't come out officially until the end of the month.  Mike LeChevallier  The Go! TeamRolling Blackouts I love The Go! Team. They're just one of those bands that make me smile whenever I even think about their music. Their first two records, 2004's Thunder, Lightning, Strike and 2007's Proof of Youth are tremendous works of energetic pop that I would recommend to anyone who appreciates creativity within a field than can occasionally be bereft of it. The problem (though it would be a stretch to label it a legitimate one) some critics had with Proof of Youth was that it was essentially retreading a pathway that the first record, a masterpiece, had already extensively explored. My rebuttal to that issue is this: what's wrong with remaking awesome? Absolutely nothing, that's what. The group's third proper full-length release, Rolling Blackouts, basically does what Proof of Youth did with the formula previously constructed by Thunder: improve upon everything while maintaining the core feel of an outfit that really knows what it's doing. This time around, Go! Team captain Ian Parton drafts some key indie talent to assist with the festival of win. If you've been following Listen Back recently, you know I'm a huge fan of Deerhoof, so discovering the one-of-a-kind vocals of frontwoman Satomi Matsuzaki on "Secretary Song" is a pleasant surprise. I so want Bethany Cosentino to be the mother of my children (Best Coast's material is pretty much impossible to dislike), and her guest spot on "Buy Nothing Day" elevates it to pure bliss; it could easily be a chart-topper if radio stations would only give it the opportunity to shine. Other highlights include the intergalactic playground chant of "Apollo Throwdown" and Dominique Young Unique's magnanimous display of free-flowing prowess on "Voice Yr Choice". There's so much depth on Rolling Blackouts that its re-playability level places it right alongside Go! Team's prior work. Three albums in 7 years may appear a bit meager but the content is what matters. The earth only has one sun, and that's all we need to subsist. Truly, The Go! Team is the sun of their genre.   Josh Tolentino Orange RangeOshare Banchou Given that most of my music listing tends to happen when connected to something else, usually something visual, it should be no surprise that I stumbled upon this song attached to a Persona 4 MAD. It's pretty rad, and appropriate to Persona 4, since the characters in the game (in Japanese) address the protagonist as "Banchou".  Kristina Pino FUNKISTvarious    My listening this week is all FUNKIST. They have produced the first and third openings for anime Fairy Tail, which is my current favorite running show. The openings really stand out, and it got me YouTube-ing their stuff to hear what else they've put out. "Snow Fairy" is the first song I heard of theirs, as it's the first OP for Fairy Tail. The third opening is called "ft." as I understand it, and I fell in love with that song when I heard it. It's like Japanese meets ska, but it's still so, so very Japanese. If you haven't heard any of their stuff and you like a little punk-like (yet still sometimes groovy) sound to your Japanese music, they're a group you might want to check out. 

Yes! It's time once again to take a listen back to what's been heating up the ears of the Japanator staff this week. This week, hot J-boys who move like robots, hot J-girls who sing like robots and who knows, maybe even some actual robots? I don't know! You'll just have to see what lies after the jump!

Japanator Radio 161

Feb 02 // Zac Bentz
00:00 Omodaka- Honjou Oiwake (Instrumental) - Favorite Games - EP [BUY]01:21 Yousei Teikoku - Baptize - Gothic Lolita Agitator [BUY]04:43 Special Thanks - Morning Coffee - Seven Lovers [BUY at JapanFiles]07:51 Bremen - Blue Line - Skin [BUY]12:08 Break: Distant Worlds music from FINAL FANTASY Returning home [BUY]12:45 NICO Touches the Walls - Diver - Diver [BUY]16:45 Broken Little Sister - Colour - Memories, Violet & Demons [BUY]22:16 Susumu Hirasawa - Ashura Clock - Totsugen Heni [BUY]27:08 Break: Distant Worlds music from FINAL FANTASY Returning home [BUY]Artist Spotlight: The Pillows 28:10 The Pillows - Give Me Up - Horn Again [BUY]30:39 The Predators - This World - This World [BUY]33:47 The Pillows - Doggie Howl - Horn Again [BUY]36:27 The Pillows - Advice - Happy Bivouac [BUY]38:43 Break: Distant Worlds music from FINAL FANTASY Returning home [BUY]  40:28 Hoshina Anniversary - Technodildo - Panty & Stocking OST [BUY]44:52 Nagimiso.sys - Alcoholoid2 - Hammer [BUY]49:24 Shinichi Osawa - Zingaro - Zingaro [BUY]55:14 Omodaka- Honjou Oiwake (Instrumental) - Favorite Games - EP [BUY]

What's this? Can it be? It's been so long...but yes, I think it is! It's a new Japanator Radio! Yes, it's been over a month but we're back! Back with another round of musical selections both new and slightly old, all mooshed ...


Our man in Japan

Jan 31
// Zac Bentz
 Dale, Dale, oh Dale.

Listen Back 01-27-11

Jan 27 // Zac Bentz
Zac BentzMouse on the Keys I got onto something of a Mouse on the Keys live video jag the other day. I'm not into everything that they do, but seeing them do it live really completes the experience. It helps that the drummer is a killer. Crazy good! Plasticzooms"Witch" This is the latest single release from Plasticzooms. Not as strong as some of their other recent singles, but I'm nevertheless looking forward to a full album sometime. We are getting one, right guys?Jeff ChuangVarious ArtistsExit Tunes Presents Kamikyoku wo Utattemita 3 It's another Exit Tune's Vocaloid cash line. For the uninitiated, Utattemitta (lit. I tried to sing) is kind of a umbrella term Japanese internet people use to describe covers, namely anime songs and Vocaloid stuff. There's a whole scene going on, with some bigger names than others, and it includes the random individuals belting it out. Some have turned pro, and some of the fancier covers even rearrange the pieces they do, which is kind of neat. The other thing is that Exit Tune has been doing a lot of Vocaloid-related albums trying to cash on the Vocaloid rage these days. The "Exit Tunes Presents Kamikyoku wo Utattemita" line are basically covers for Vocaloid songs, so it's like they're milking money from a cow that milks off another cash cow.  That meta-weirdness aside, I've had a soft spot for Wotamin for a long time, ever since I heard her take on a (now) old-timer classic, "Koi wo Sensou." She contributes a track on Exit Tunes Presents Kamikyoku wo Utattemita 3, which is why I've been listening to the album in the first place. If you are curious, yes, there had been three of these already. Yes, they sold, which is why there is a fourth one coming in March. As for Utattemita 3, it's a bit of a mixed bag, but there's good variety and even a couple pretty okay male vocals. "Star Mine" aside, I'd have to also dig up for Ayumi Nomiya's "Fiesta."Kristina PinoKen HiraiWish Upon A Star So the Ken Hirai sickness continues. I hadn't really listened to him until Pedro and Colette decided to infect me with this dude, and I didn't go looking for him after that, either. Pedro however, thought it grand to send me a link to this YouTube video of Ken Hirai singing "When You Wish Upon A Star" (from his album titled Ken's Bar). There's a reason behind it; I love all things Disney. When I heard this song though, I didn't really know what to think. At first, I was just surprised. It's a sweet cover though, even if it's totally cheesy and in surprisingly good English. We've heard lots of covers of this song before, from N*Sync (It's a good one, don't look at me like that) to Louis Armstrong, so it's cool to get another distinct take on the classic dreamer's tune.   Colette BennettYamashita TomohisaSUPERGOOD, SUPERBAD Well, after dropping a bunch of singles, Yamapi's finally put out his album, and I have to admit I'm pretty much enjoying it so far. It's well produced, it's got some really danceable tracks on it, and best of all it sounds more mature then his work with NewS, which I definitely appreciate. Sure, it's guilty pleasure pop, but I think if I haven't come to terms with the fact that I really dig this stuff by now, well, I'd have a much harder life. So, nice job, Yamapi!Mike LeChevallierAsobi SeksuFluorescence Many people take pride in trash-talking dream pop, calling somewhat of it a lazy genre, "All you have to do is sustain a couple of chords, one vocal range and add an electronic overlay!" While I'm not going to turn this into a full-on defense of space rock, what I will say is that doing shoegaze proper justice within the modern music era is not a simple task to tackle. When ethereal wave type bands began to form during the late 80s/early 90s, listeners had little to compare them to. Now, after the the glory days of synth came and went, the outfits that have stuck around, I feel, deserve some recognition for their efforts. Asobi Seksu is based out of New York City, yet lead singer Yuki Chikudate brings the refined elegance of a Nippon songstress into every song she commits her voice to. The group's 2006 album Citrus is their masterwork, and since then have been struggling to deliver a record on par with that one (Hush and Rewolf aren't bad, per se , they just suffer from a lack of overall direction). While Fluorescence (set for a mid-February release) is generally uneven, it has a number of standouts that allow the entirety to shine while listening to it all the way through. These highlights include the classically arranged (in drone style) "Trails", the breezy ballad "Leave the Drummer Out There", the Japanese-sung "Trance Out", which sounds like it could easily be an OP/ED for your soon-to-be favorite anime, "Perfectly Crystal", a lovely track that should become our own Crystal White's entrance theme and "Pink Light", Fluorescence's triumphant closing number, a shout out to devotees of the atmospheric-alternative field. Asobi Seksu wholeheartedly thanks all of you for sticking around.

Once again it's time to gather 'round the Internet machine and take a listen to a little of what the Japanator staff has been listening to for the past week.I don't know about you, but I think the girls are trying to kill me this week. You can check it all out below. How about you? What's new in your audio universe?

Listen Back 01-20-11

Jan 20 // Zac Bentz
Zac BentzMo’Some Tonebender“Hammmmer” / “Youth” I’ve been listening to these two new Mo’some Tonebender videos over and over. Both songs are from the Struggle album released last month somehow without my knowledge. And of course now we’ve heard that the band will be headlining the Japan Nite tour in the US this year. It’s an embarrassment of riches! Plasticzooms“Pink Snow” / “Bug” I’ve also really been digging these two new songs from Plasticzooms. They’re quite a bit different than their previous stuff, “Pink Snow” especially. But I’m really liking them, so I’m all for it. More, please!Colette Bennett A friend kindly gifted me all the Shin Megami Tensei scores that I did not already have, so I've been thrilled to lose myself in a world of the sounds of SMT.  One of my favorite tracks is this one from Persona FES, which only intensifies my insane obsession with Shoji Meguro! Jeff Chuang Maaya SakamotoYou Can't Catch Me   Maaya Sakamoto's new chart-topping album is the next logical evolution from her last one. I think overall she is still searching for a sound, but this time she does a much better job, just by being a vocalist at the hands of all the talented composers that contributed to her album. She sums up her album much better than I could, in an interview, passionately fan-translated here. I am horrible at name-dropping so I won't try, but this album is more than just a little bit of everything. It comes together pretty well despite each of the contributing composers are showing off their signature styles just as much as Maaya is. I imagine a large number of fans of this album probably also have CDs from the other artists that worked on it, so it is a commercially conservative way to approach a new album in my opinion. Tim Sheehy Do As Infinity Eight     Do Infinity's eighth studio album recently hit Japan and I couldn't really wait to give it a listen. I'm not their biggest fan, but I've been very interested to hear how they've managed without their former member and long-time composer Dai Nagao. Needless to say, those worries were put to rest the moment I heard the album.   To be honest, you can't even tell he left. The songs not only have quite a bit of his aesthetic, it just goes to show that the remaining members were largely responsible for what made them sound the way they did in he first place. Like their last album, there are quite a few upbeat tracks, though their latest single "Hand in Hand," is more of a pop ballad. Still, I'd recommend giving it a listen. It can be a bit nostalgic at times. Kristina Pino Maaya Sakamoto"Kiseki no Umi" Speaking of Maaya Sakamoto, she's one of the first Japanese artists I ever really listened to back in the day. Besides the boys like V6, Gackt and Hyde, the first female artist I took a liking to was her, when a friend of mine lent me her single album Hotchpotch. I recognized two songs on this album that I'd seen in anime. The one I'm showing you here is full version of the opening to Record of Lodoss War. The other anime OP in that album is from Escaflowne. Record of Lodoss War is also among the first anime I watched. I remember seeing it when I was about 15 on VHS (I would hope most of you readers know what a VHS tape is). I have my days that I want to just relax and listen to something slow, and this song is usually on that playlist.   Pedro Cortes Panty and Stocking OST I can't get enough of the P&S soundtrack. It's pretty bat-shit bonkers and has something for just about any occasion. The one track that's getting a lot of play is Tenga Step. It's got an awesome beat and good dubstep is always welcome in my ears. I'm also quite fond of the Scanty and Knee socks Theme.  Mike LeChevallier  DeerhoofDeerhoof vs. Evil I've been following Deerhoof since their formation--they're easily one of the most consistently inventive bands of their genre. I remember being 9 years old, and while most my classmates were listening to whatever volume of Now That's What I Call Music! was out at that time (likely one of the first collections), I was spinning The Man, the King, the Girl within the dark confines of my room. Ever since 1997, Deerhoof has steadily been releasing, for the most part, very satisfying albums every couple of years or so. Their newest effort, set for an official U.S. release on January 25th, is among their finest works to date. In fact, it may be their most thoroughly solid all-the-way-through album yet.  Typically a Deerhoof record will contain a throwaway track or two, often skipped over when playing the record in its entirety, but every single song on Deerhoof vs. Evil is a real winner. The group is as tightly-orchestrated as ever, with the one-of-a-kind vocal stylings of Satomi Matsuzaki bouncing off the noise-scapes of her fellow bandmates. I received my press copy of DvE a few weeks ago, and I haven't tapered down my exposure to it in the slightest. I highly recommend this album to any fan of intelligent, highly melodic music, especially select Japanator folks as Matsuzaki-chan does harmonize in her native tongue on occasion. It's only the first month of the year, and I have no doubt this record will be on my Best of 2011 list.

Back after a brief hiatus, it's once again time for the attractive and powerful staff here at Japanator World Headquarters to take a moment out of our sexy lifestyles and tell the tales of our past couple/few weeks of audio a...


Mo'some Tonebender to headline Japan Nite 2011

Jan 17
// Zac Bentz
Well well well, here's some unexpected but very happy news: Mo'some Tonebender is going to headline this year's Japan Nite tour! Excite!In case you've missed it here before, we're always excited to see what the Japan Nite tou...

Listen Back - Best of 2010 edition

Dec 31 // Zac Bentz
Colette BennettVola and the Oriental MachinePrinciple  I like albums that make me shamelessly rock out, and Principle did just that and more. "Thank You My Force" was the first song to hook me, but overall it's one of those things I could listen to over and over and never get tired of. World's End GirlfriendAir Doll OST I waiting patiently for the film to come out, and the moment it did I fell in love with this score. It's simultaneously so sad and so beautiful, and before I knew it I had listened to it hundreds of times and knew every tiny nuance. I also loved Seven Idiots, which they also released this year, but this album just stuck with me in a much more enduring way. Zac Bentz Ling Tosite SigureStill A Sigure Virgin PlugnetSelect I know I've probably talked about both of these albums many times over the past few months, so I'll keep this short. Two of my favorite albums from 2010 are Ling Tosite Sigure's Still A Sigure Virgin and Plugnet's Select. Both of them spent a lot of time blasting in my car, and both of them have that "just what I needed" feel. They are always the "right" thing to listen to, especially when I feel totally burned out on music (which happens all-too-often.) Sure, as albums they couldn't be much more different from each other. SASV is very serious post-rock with a deadly edge, screaming vocals and incredible musicianship, while Select is 100%, retro-chiptune fun from start to finish. But to me, these two albums, more than any other, represent the best of 2010. Sure, there are many, many, many, many more, but these two are at the top.  Mike LeChevallier Shugo Tokumaru Port Entropy Asian Kung-Fu Generation Magic DiskI'll be honest, this wasn't a really spectacular year for Japanese music. It was, on the other hand, a fantastic year for American/UK music (check out my Best of 2010 list here). Plain and simple: going back and grabbing a couple top-notch selections from an otherwise lackluster group was kind of a difficult task. In the end, I selected the two albums that had retained the highest playcounts on my iPhone's foreign playlists: Shugo Tokumaru's Port Entropy and Asian Kung-Fu Generation's Magic Disk. Musically, Shugo Tokumaru's most recent effort doesn't quite hold a candle to 2007's masterful Exit, but that's an arduous act to follow. What I will say about Port Entropy is that it's Tokumaru's most well-produced project and one of the best multi-instrumental bedroom pop albums of the year, from any region of the world. Listening to Tokumaru's arrangements is like watching a Wes Anderson film with only your ears (if that makes any sense). Every song is quirky and creative without being overbearingly so. When Tokumaru adds his featherweight vocals to the mix, as can often be distracting in a commonly all-instrument genre, they fuse with the musicality so well that you scarcely forget he's singing along. Sometimes light, breezy records are the cure-all for blandness. [Best Tracks: "Tracking Elevator", "Rum Hee", "Straw"] I can't tell you how many times I've started to speak to people who claim to be Asian Kung-Fu Generation fans about Magic Disk and am met with a blank expression and a comment akin to "Wait. They released an album this year?" Yes, indeed, they did release a record in 2010 and it's one of their strongest sets in quite some time. What makes the record so enjoyable is the pure creative, playful energy and experimentation of varying styles that Gotoh and his crew aren't afraid to develop. This band has been around for almost 15 years now, and the fact that they stay so fresh with each release is a testament to their mastery of the craft. Magic Disk, to me, seemed to fly under the eyes of fans who hadn't moved past the group's earlier work. There's no shame in that, but look at all this greatness that's waiting for you when you're ready to embrace it. This is the allure of music. It has no problem wait for you; it's not going anywhere. [Best Tracks: "Shinseiki no Love Song", "Rising Sun", "Yes"] Tim Sheehy  School Food Punishment amp-reflection  Chemistry regeneration    I feel bad picking favorites, and I had quite a few this year. But, I guess since I had to pick two, I'll try to list two that really stood out in my mind. The first was easy. School Food Punishment's major label debut, amp-reflection. It's packed with fantastic musicianship and a ton of songs worthy of their own singles. I had been listening to them for awhile and while I hadn't been as impressed with their indies work, I felt their latest album shows quite a bit of growth and polish, making it well-deserving of a spot on my list. The single "light prayer," reminded me exactly why I used to love piano driven rock so much. Now, if only we could get them to capitalize the names of their songs and albums.   I had a really hard time making a second pick. Initially I wanted to give the second spot to Abingdon Boys School, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that Abingdon Road wasn't quite as good as I had remembered it being. Don't get me wrong, I loved every track. I just didn't think it held up to a continuous play-through of every track from start to finish. I also considered ONE OK ROCK's Niche Syndrome and STRAIGHTENER's Creatures but met with similar results.   I finally settled on Chemistry's regeneration -- an album that, once again, shows both polish and growth. When compared to this latest album, their earlier work is a far cry from what they've come to produce. Not only are the tracks an enjoyable listen, they're compositionally sound. I would recommend checking out both versions of their track "Life Goes On" -- throwing both on the album  instead of forcing us to buy a single was pretty sweet of them. Jeff ChuangHoukago Tea TimeHoukago Tea Time II It's anime music, but it's packaged like an M&M--sweet on the outside and sweet on the inside. And considering how it's a fictional band I'm half surprised that Oricon lets people vote for Houkago Tea Time for its annual choice awards. Seriously though, I've just been hooked on K-ON for the past year and its music speaks to me both as pieces of music and as something beyond simply enjoyable tunes that keeps me all fuwa fuwa on my commutes. At time it plunges into the uncanny valley that most seiyuu works resides, but the songs themselves are at worst amusing (both in good and bad ways) and at best inspiring and simply fun to listen to. It melts your brain and your heart at the same time.

OK, time for one more mega end of the year top whatever list of our personal favorite albums of 2010! You may already be familiar with my own favorites, so this is a chance for the rest of the Japanator crew to  champion...

Japanator Radio 160 - Best Japanese Albums of 2010

Dec 29 // Zac Bentz
Perfume - "Love the World" - Single [BUY]  Mass of the Fermenting Dregs - Rat - Zero Comma, Irotoridori no Sekai [BUY]Mass of the Fermenting Dregs - Zureru - Zero Comma, Irotoridori no Sekai [BUY]Vola & the Oriental Machine - Thank You My Force - Principle [BUY]Vola & the Oriental Machine - Panic at the Disco - Principle [BUY]Break: Final Fantasy XIV OST [BUY]Avengers in Sci-fi - Delight Slight Lightspeed - Dynamo [BUY]Avengers in Sci-fi - Future Never Knows - Dynamo [BUY]Miki Furukawa - Saihate - Very [BUY]Miki Furukawa - New Days - Very [BUY]Break: Final Fantasy XIV OST [BUY]Plugnet - Good Flight - Select [BUY at HearJapan]Plugnet - Toberu-hou - Select [BUY at HearJapan]Perfume - "Love the World" - Single [BUY]  

Well, here we are, at the end. The end of the year, at least. And it's been a doooozy!This week we've got the second and final installment of the Best Japanese Albums of 2010. Hooray! Did your favorites make the list? If not,...

Japanator Radio 159 - Best Japanese Albums of 2010

Dec 22 // Zac Bentz
Perfume - "Love the World" - Single [BUY]  Ling Tosite Sigure - I Was Music - Still A Sigure Virgin [BUY]Ling Tosite Sigure - Can You Kill A Secret - Still A Sigure Virgin [BUY]World's End Girlfriend - Les Enfants du Paradis - Seven Idiots [BUY]World's End Girlfriend - Ulysses Gazer - Seven Idiots [BUY] Break: Final Fantasy XIV OST [BUY]Ogre You Asshole - Balance - Ukarete Iru Hito [BUY]Ogre You Asshole - Race Course- Ukarete Iru Hito [BUY]Break: Final Fantasy XIV OST [BUY] Wienners - Japan Holi -CULT POP JAPAN [BUY]Wienners - Idol -CULT POP JAPAN [BUY]Polysics - How Are You? - eee-P!!! [BUY]Polysics - Mach Kanjin - eee-P!! [BUY]Perfume - "Love the World" - Single [BUY]  

Well, here we are. At the end. Well, ok, almost the end. That can one mean one thing: Time for another Best Japanese Albums of the Year show(s)!That's right. For the next two weeks we'll be taking a look back at the best Japa...

Listen Back 12-18-10

Dec 18 // Zac Bentz
Zac Bentz WiennersCULT POP JAPANMow Mow Lulu GyabanKuro Nara Kekou Desu I haven't really been listening to anything new this week since I've been trying to get a bunch of old stuff together for various Best of 2010 lists. Plus there hasn't been much in the way of new releases anyway. But in the interest of sharing, above are a couple peeks into what may or may not be on the short list for Best Japanese Albums of the Second Half of 2010. SalemKing Night One non-Japanese album I was finally able to check out was King Night by Salem. I've been hearing about it here and there over and over for a while now. Anyway, I've heard it, and while I do like the general sound, and I think that "Frost" (above) is cool, it's actually a pretty terrible album. So, I've got that off my Bucket List, at least.Kristina PinoKimura Kaelahappiness!!! Unfortunately, I can't seem to find any of her music videos on YouTube any more; but I really like listening to Kimura Kaela when I'm in a good mood. This song in particular is one of my happy songs, and I was in a really good mood today. Generally, I would say her music is pretty groovy and off-beat as far as J-Pop sort of stuff goes, and I think it's because she isn't 100% Japanese. She's got some foreign influences with her work, so it makes for some interesting music most of the time. The video that I've linked here is probably one of the better performances I could find, and feel free to just cut it once you reach the end of the song (because it carries on with an interview after). LM.C "BOYS & GIRLS" If you've watched Katekyo Hitman Reborn! you've probably heard these guys before. They tend to have really catchy songs, and they definitely fall in the "cute" category when it comes to their lyrics. Maybe I'm just a sucker for Japanese pop stars with funky music videos (except, what Japanese pop stars don't have weird music videos?). In any case, I really like their style, and I like to drive down the street with LM.C blasting on a good day (Which is most days; and yes, I am that person that you see on the road next to you singing to the music making a fool of myself). Guess what I was doing today while driving around on errands? I'll give you three guesses and the first two don't count.  Pedro CortesDr. Dre featuring Snoop Dog and Akon"Kush" Dr. Dre's 2001 was in my CD player all of my freshman year of high school, so hearing a new Dre song from a new Dre album pleases me to no end. It's pretty standard stuff, what with pot talk, but it's entertaining and the beat gets me moving. I can't wait to hear the full Detox album when it drops next year. Fire BomberTotsugeki Love Heart  In my on going mech education I recently finished the main story for Macross 7. While I got very sick of "Planet Dance," I loved just about about every other song that got featured in the show. Of them all, "Totsugeki Love Heart" is my favorite, so much so that I can listen to it multiple times in a day and not get tired of it. It's relentlessly upbeat and it brings my spirits up whenever I listen to it. Ken Hirai"Pop Star"  Ken Hirai still own me.Jeff ChuangYukari TamuraCitron no Ame   Yukari Tamura is probably the hottest cutesy-otaku-seiyuu ticket right now, in terms of the particulars of her appeal and the fact that I don't want to mess with her pink-lit, rabid fans. I hear she puts on a good show, at any rate. Citron no Ame is her latest album from this past September, and I still have a billion items on my back log... The song came out late last year, but "You and Me" shows how low will Eurobeat go. At least it's as catchy as the rest of them, and for someone who is really just known for her strange gap moe and outright cuteness Yukarin does a pretty good job putting together some catchy pieces on the album. And by outright cuteness I mean the kind of cute that makes me stab my eyes out. Click on the videos, you know you wanna.  Mike LeChevallierGold PandaLucky Shiner Cycling back through many of my favorite albums of the year in order to compile some sort of a cohesive list of the top 20, I find that the records continually missing the cut are more often than not within the electronic genre. Gold Panda's Lucky Shiner is a commendable piece of work, and is quite appropriate for Japanator being that the man behind the moniker, UK producer Derwin Panda, spent a good deal of time living in Japan and thusly studying at the School of Oriental and Asian Studies in London. The Asian and Indian influences come through in his music, each song working its way through a maze-like route while still absorbing the places it once journeyed. Basically wordless, these tracks tell an essentially vivid story of family, friends and remembered landscapes. This is typically an arduous task with verbal skills, let alone programmed sounds.

Here's the look back at what the staff at Jtor Central have been listening to this week!We've got prossibly the most diverse collection of music this time around, so make sure to check it all out. What have you been listeneing to lately?Coming up next time: Our collective look back at our favorite albums of the year! Excite!

Japanator Radio 158

Dec 15 // Zac Bentz
Perfume - "Love the World" - Single [BUY]  Bump of Chicken - "Akira Tooru Airship" - Cosmonaut [BUY]The Pillows - "Movement" - Movement [BUY]Plastic Girl in Closet - "Rabbit House" - Rabbit House Break: Final Fantasy XIV OST [BUY]UVERworld - "Wakasa Yue Entelechia" - Qualia [BUY]Alice Pack - "Forest" - sfanm [BUY]Go!Go!7188 - "Mugendai" - Acoustic Operation [BUY]Break: Final Fantasy XIV OST [BUY]Artist Spotlight: PolysicsPolysics - "Boil" - eee-P!!! [BUY]Polysics - "Three O Three O Man/Donuts" - Kaja Kaja Goo [BUY]Polysics - "Super Robot Monkey Team Hyper Force Go Theme" Puffy AmiYumi - "Teen Titans Theme (Polysics' CR-06 Mix)" - Splurge [BUY]Polysics - "Rock Wave Don't Stop" - eee-P!!! [BUY]Break: Final Fantasy XIV OST [BUY]T.M. Revolution - "Save the One, Save the All" - Save the One, Save the All [BUY]plugnet - "Super Morio Rap (Tap Tap Mix)" - SELECT [BUY at HearJapan]The Aprils - "Boku Uchuu" - Back to the Future Music [BUY]Perfume - "Love the World" - Single [BUY] 

Time again for another rollicking, frolicking episode of your favorite Japanator radio show, Japanator Radio!No guest DJ segment this week (boo) but we do have a slightly extended Polysics Artist Spotlight to make up for it (yay!). Oh, and lots of other stuff, of course.  Enjoy the show! DOWNLOAD EPISODE 158 FEEDZUNE @[email protected] Track-list and links after the jump!  

Listen Back 12-10-10

Dec 10 // Zac Bentz
Zac BentzPolysicseee-P!!!This is a bit of a cheat, since I really just got this on Wednesday of this week, but I've listened to it enough times in a row to more than make up for lost time. This is the fist release since keyboard player and must cutest member Kayo left last year after over ten years with the band. The short review is that this is the same Polysics we've come to know over the last couple releases, namely very clear, sharp as hell and really poppy. It's a solid release, but maybe a bit light on hooks. Having said that, the electronics on it are incredible. It would seem that getting rid of the possibility of having to actually play the keyboard parts live has allowed Hiro to just go nuts and make them not only unplayable but downright otherworldly. And the songs generally rock harder, like more of the power trio they've become. Both "How Are You?" and "Rock Wave Don't Stop" are the most listener friendly and catchy, while the other three tracks are more complex, noisy and more or less just the band showing off their love of weird time signatures and spazzy shifts. Not a problem for me, since that's what I love most about them. The closest comparison to eee-P!!! that they've released is the Kaja Kaja Goo EP. That EP is one of my favorite releases from Polysics as each song has its own perfectly realized feel, yet the entire EP is very well defined and has its own personality. It's a brutal release and I don't think the new clean and poppy sound that the band has cultivated since then is able to carry the same weight. That's a lot of blathering and analysis for a small, 15 minute EP, but I think that just proves how much these guys mean to me. I still think they're fantastic and I look forward to their next move with great anticipation, as always. (Oh, and the DVD with the interview and behind the scenes gear documentary is great, mostly because of the English subtitles. More of this, please!)Kanye WestMy Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy Album of the year.Now, I don't know anything about hip-hop or rap. It's a genre that's never struck a chord with me, aside from a track or two every now and then. Mostly it's because I've never cared much about lyrics, which is what hip-hop is all about, and cared much more about music, which hip-hop is certainly not about. And, despite the media shenanigans and hype (and the fact that Japanator is Kanye's favorite site on the internet,) I don't know anything about mister Kanye West. Well, other than what we've covered about him here, here, here, here, here and here. But somehow I kept hearing about this album in the strangest places (like NPR), and what I was hearing actually sounded interesting, musically speaking, so I checked it out. And boy oh boy, am I ever glad I did. First off, the production is jaw dropping. This is not a hip-hop album, at least not as I understand them. To use a really hackneyed comparison, it's like Sgt. Pepper's compared to Hard Days Night. The songs are unapologetically musical, touching on techno, rock, soul, classical, tribal, and yeah, regular old hip-hop. It's like going from gray to full on 3D, Technicolor, Wizard of Oz shit. And that's saying nothing about the lyrics, which are both hilarious and deadly serious. From religion, fame, drugs, money and women, it hits on just about everything in grand fashion. Most notable are both Kanye's self-deprecation and self-aggrandizing. He loves himself and hates himself in equal measure, which makes him much more relatable than the usual MC just reading his own press releases into the mic. And then there are the various samples and nods to bands like King Crimson, Black Sabbath and Aphex Twin. There are the guest spots by Jay-Z, The RZA, an incredible performance on "Monster" by Nicki Minaj, a stunningly funny Chris Rock bit and, oddly enough, Bon Iver, just to name a few. None of the tracks ever fall into a rut or sit still. Sure, some of the songs run a bit long at times, like the epic "Runaway," which is an amazing track but nine minutes is pushing even that. But the staggering energy, sheer epicness and introspection of most of the songs easily makes My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy the album of the year. Colette BennettKen Hirai"Popstar" I'm having a Ken Hirai week. It's because I have Pedro in town and I said "Hey, you want to hear the gayest Japanese music of all TIME?" And he was like, "YES." So I played him Ken Hirai's "Popstar" (which I wouldn't know about it in the first place if it wasn't for Dale North). Jeff ChuangRasmus Faber presents Platina Jazz - Anime Standards Vol.02 My grandma likes Barry Manilow. I'm not so big of a fan. So I call this a compromise. I see her a lot during December, since it's the holidays and all, and I think these jazz arrangements do fit the season, sort of. If you didn't know (and I didn't), Faber is a Stockholm-based producer/DJ and somehow he was able to round up a bunch of jazz types to do these arrangements and sell them in Japan. In this second edition more popular pieces get poached, from the first Toradora opening to folksy pieces like Hajimete no Chuu to random things like RahXephon ED yume no tamago (although that one is jazz-rooted originally) and older pieces like Skies of Love from Legend of Galatic Heroes and HELLO, VIFAM. My favorites out of the bunch are Yoko Kanno's Ai no Field from Brain Powered and FOR FRUITS BASKET. Check out their videos. I thought that was more interesting than the jazz renditions themselves. For a track list (what you really want), CD Japan has it. Tim SheehyGackt"12gatsu no Love Song"  I listen to this song every year around this time. I'm not sure if I can call it amazing, but it's really fun to sing along with while driving in my car. It also has a touching little PV that goes along with the song. I'm not sure how many different versions he's recorded to date, but there's a bunch. The re-recorded Japanese from 2004 and his Chinese duet with Leehom Wang are among my favorites.Mike LeChevallierWild NothingGolden Haze EP When I did my Japanator Radio guest DJ set a few weeks back, one of the songs that people consistently tweeted me about for more information was Wild Nothing's "Summer Holiday". Gemini is unquestionably one of my favorite records of the year, something akin to listening to late 80s/early 90s shoegaze for what feels like the first time all over again. The band's new EP, Golden Haze, is a terrific companion piece to that full-length with songs that actually shy away from the more upbeat tone of "Summer Holiday" and lean towards a slower, more contemplative mood. The title track is a standout, but the closing number "Vultures Like Lovers" is a close second. Every song on this album is fine-tuned and passionate, allowing me to recall a time when I skipped out on less-than-important high school classes because I was trapped in my car, entranced by the likes of My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, Ride, Cocteau Twins or Chapterhouse. Why has this kind of music taken so long to resurface properly?

Woof! Computer problems and losing my will to live sort of made this week's Listen Back post a little late. But, good news everyone! Everything worked out just fine and I'm still alive and here we are.So what has the staff be...

Japanator Radio 157

Dec 08 // Zac Bentz
Perfume - "Love the World" - Single [BUY]  Yoko Kanno - Guilty (w/Telephones) - Surely Someday OST [BUY]Hartfield - Today Forever - L.I.B.R.A. [BUY]Envy - Rain Clouds Running in a Holy Night - Recitation [BUY]Break: Final Fantasy XIV OST [BUY]Artist Spotlight: Buck-TickBuck-Tick - Gekka Reijin - Razzle Dazzle [BUY]Buck-Tick - Mugen - Razzle Dazzle [BUY]Buck-Tick - Long Distance Call - Kyokutou I Love You [BUY]Break: Final Fantasy XIV OST [BUY]Guest DJ: Colette BennettPerfume - Nee - Nee [BUY]NewS - Fighting Man - Fighting Man [BUY]Wintermute - Jupiter  Pop - Straylight [BUY at HearJapan]Ken Hirai - Aishiteru - Aishiteru [BUY]Break: Final Fantasy XIV OST [BUY]Adapter - Boku no Life - Boku no Life [BUY]Chix Chicks - Kylie Minogue (Sexy Synthesizer Remix) - Re: Electro Chix [BUY]Antennasia - Gynoid - Qus-cus [BUY]Perfume - "Love the World" - Single [BUY] 

Bam! Another Japanator Radio, all set to bring pleasure to your ears in ways better left unspoken. This week we've got lots of great new music, Some Buck-Tick in the Artist Spotlight (again?) and the one and only Colette Benn...

Listen Back 12-02-10

Dec 02 // Zac Bentz
Zac BentzPolysics"How Are You?" This is our first real look at the new Polysics since Kayo left the band, and I'd have to say it's reassuring. Mostly because it sounds exactly like Polysics always has. Some people have mentioned the empty keyboard stuff in the video and thought it was done out of respect for the missing Kayo. Well, I've seen some of their recent live performances and to me it just looks like their regular stage set-up. Bass player Fumi also uses a keyboard from time to time, as well as guitarist Hiro (you can see him hit the sampler thing at one point), so I think that these keyboards are just their regular equipment and nothing more. Nevertheless, cool new song! KimonosKimonos I just found out about these guys (featuring Mukai from Number Girl and Zazen Boys) this past week. That first song called "Soundtrack to Murder" has been playing in my head non-stop ever since. I wish I could say the rest of the album was as great, but I don't really think it is. Still, they've got a refreshing sound. "Teen Titans Go With the Flow" Puffy Ami Yumi's Teen Titans theme vs. Queens of the Stone Age's "Go With the Flow." What more can I say?Colette BennettMika NakashimaStar All I am really listening to this week is Mika Nakashima's Star album, which is really good. Theres already some wonderful covers of the songs too out there -- I added a piano version of Always that I am loving in particular.Jess ChuangAi Nonaka Cheer Ru-Ga It's totally cellphone ringtone material. During the summer I had a copy of Someone Else as my ringtone and it never failed to draw a reaction when someone called me up at a con. This is similar, just not so extreme. That said, avoid the rest of Nonaka's library if you want to protect any dignity you've got left musically. Or at least, tread with caution. She's quite the squeaker, being a voice actress and all.Oratorio The World God Only KnowsGod Only Knows It's an abrupt turn from standard generic anime OP/ED pop. I believe Elisa gave her English vocals to this piece, complete with the high-pitched, ethereal chanting that she can do. It's a good match with her tall, ethereal looks that is so drastically different than the average anison personality. Anyways, the song itself is more mashup than melodic, employing some drastic segments that are cobbled together with rhythm changes and flow build-ups. It's refreshing, at least, for an OP to an anime about otaku wares. It's long, at 8 minutes or so. Give it a listen (and then read about it in the cblog). Ben HuberSambomasterKimi ni Kirei no Kizuite Okure This song is so awesome I'm sure how to describe it. It's fun, puts a smile on your face, and you can just tell the band is having a blast playing it. May'n & Nakajima MegumiSilent de Nanka Irarenai Oh boy, here comes the Christmas music. Something about the the combination of May'n (Sheryl) and Megumi's (Ranka) voices and the trumpets makes this song really catchy to me. The whole album isn't too bad as far as Christmas music goes, especially stuff based off anime. And of course, I've been listening to the new Polysics song as well. SO GOOD.Mike LeChevallierTrent Reznor and Atticus RossThe Social Network So I've been sitting here trying to take in the Tron Legacy soundtrack for a review, and all I can think about is how much it pales in comparison to the also electronica-focused OST for The Social Network. I'm not a huge fan of Trent Reznor's work, but damn, this is easily the best original score of the year (yes, I'm including Hans Zimmer's Inception in the context of that statement). Reznor and Ross have put together an incredibly atmospheric set of music that compliments all aspects of David Fincher's film, easily one of the best of the year as well. There's something for everyone on here: soft ambient piano-based tracks that evoke the kind of sadness and isolation felt by the film's hero are placed right alongside bumping, groove-heavy songs emulating the frantic energy on display as the movie's restless characters bounce off each other in a time of chaotic technological expansion. It hasn't left rotation in my car since September. Josh TolentinoSupercell"Kimi no Shiranai Monogatari" (Vocaloid Chorus ver.) What better way to celebrate the official announcement of an English Vocaloid than to hear a human song covered by a bunch of Vocaloids? It's Supercell's "Kimi no Shiranai Monogatari" (aka the Bakemonogatari ending song), as sung by the Crypton trio of Hatsune Miku, Megurine Luka, and Kagamine Rin, alongside Heartfast's Miki and the 2ch-born UTAUloids Gumi and Namine Ritsu, with a surprise appearance by the song's original human, Nagi. For bonus transhumanity points, note that this song was the first non-Vocaloid single by Supercell, whose breakout was aided by its for-Vocaloid compositions,and sung by Nagi, a vocalist whose breakout was helped by her Vocaloid song covers. Positive feedback loops rule. Side note: You may want to turn the volume down a bit. The high notes threatened to blow out my laptop speakers. Hey, I might think they're awesome, but they still ain't human.

Time to Listen Back to what the Japanator staff has had burning up their ears for the past couple weeks! As December descends, thoughts inevitably turn to staying warm and cozy, as well as the obligatory Christmas music delug...


Video captures Japan slipping through time, monkeys

Dec 02
// Zac Bentz
File this under "everything old is new again" if you want. It's new to me and, I suspect, new to most of you.Buried deep in a recent Boing Boing post featuring a simple but neat high-speed video effect was a mention...

Japanator Radio 156

Dec 01 // Zac Bentz
Perfume - "Love the World" - Single [BUY] Samurai Jack Universe - "Crying Swan" - Babel [BUY]Going Under Ground - "Long Way To Go" - Long Way To Go [BUY]Puffy - "Jet Love" - R.G.W. [BUY]Break: Final Fantasy XIV OST [BUY]Kimonos - "Soundtrack to Murder" - Kimonos [BUY]Hikashu - "The Model" - Tokyo Mobil Music P-Model - "The Great Brain" - In A Model Room [BUY]Break: Final Fantasy XIV OST [BUY]Artist Spotlight: Base Ball BearBase Ball Bear - "Band Girl's Spiral Days" - Cypress Girls [BUY]Base Ball Bear - "Electric Summer" - C [BUY]Base Ball Bear - "Gokusaishiki Imagination" - High Color Times [BUY]Base Ball Bear - "Transfer Girl" - Detective Boy [BUY]Break: Final Fantasy XIV OST [BUY]Fear, and Loathing in Las Vegas - "My Dear Lady, Will You Dance With Me Tonight?" - Dance & Scream [BUY]Blood Stain Child - "Exotic-6-Coordinator" - Mosaiq [BUY]X-Japan - "Jade" - Jade Perfume - "Love the World" - Single [BUY]

Happy December! Well, as happy as this crazy month can be, at least. I've already shoveled the driveway more times than I'd like. But I digress... Time for some music!No special guest DJ this week, so you're stuck with me for the entire hour. You'll live! Enjoy the show, and stay warm! DOWNLOAD EPISODE 156 FEEDZUNE @[email protected] Track-list and links after the jump!  


Free Boom Boom Satellites and Xam'd stuff, for now

Nov 24
// Zac Bentz
You like music, right? And you really like free music, right? How about girls? Anime girls? And robot things? And images of said girls and robot things? Yeah, I thought so. For a limited time you can head on over to this...

Japanator Radio 155

Nov 24 // Zac Bentz
Perfume - "Love the World" - Single [BUY] Anarchy Stone - Rouge no Dengon - Ghiblirock [BUY at HearJapan]General Head Mountain - Azami - Butterfly Effect [BUY]Flip - Koi Naraba - Mulu Mole [BUY]Break: Perfume - "Love the World" - Single [BUY] Artist Spotlight - World's End GirlfriendWorld's End Girlfriend - Les Enfants du Paradis - Seven Idiots [BUY]World's End Girlfriend - Galaxy Kid 666 - Seven Idiots [BUY]World's End Girlfriend - Birthday Resistance - Hurtbreak Wonderland [BUY]Break: Perfume - "Love the World" - Single [BUY] Guest DJ - Brad RiceToshihiko Sahashi - Tema I - Gunslinger Girl [BUY]Joe Hisaishi - Ave Maria - Okuribito [BUY]Kiyoshi Yoshida - Summer Night (Long Version) - The Girl Who Leapt Through Time Taku Iwasaki - Tsuki to Hoshi to A-ta-shi - Gurren Lagann [BUY]Break: Perfume - "Love the World" - Single [BUY] Polysics - How Are You - eee-P!!! [BUY]Aira Mitsuki - ??? - ??? [BUY]Miki Furukawa - New Days - Very [BUY]Perfume - "Love the World" - Single [BUY]

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Or, if you're not into that, happy Another New Episode of Japanator Radio Day!This week, lots of incredible new musiuc, including the new Polysics single! Yay! Oh, and the always hot hot hot Brad Rice brings us an extra special Guest DJ set. Yay!Let's eat! DOWNLOAD EPISODE 155 FEEDZUNE @[email protected] Track-list and links after the jump!  

Listen Back 11-21-10

Nov 21 // Zac Bentz
Colette BennetGirl TalkAll Day  Girl Talk's new album, All Day, has me mesmerized. I've listened to it at full volume at least half a dozen times and it just keeps getting better. Also, it was 100 percent free. Makes me want to give this dude some money just for being rad. Also been in the mood for The Brilliant Green. This song especially. Mike LeChevallierStereolabNot Music If you happened to listen to my guest DJ spot on this week's Japanator Radio, you'll recall I played a track from Laetitia Sadier's solo album The Trip. It's just coincidental that the band that made her a well-known musical commodity back in the mid-90s, Stereolab, released a sort of odds-and-ends compilation of the Chemical Chords sessions this week. Honestly, I can't say one bad thing about Stereolab. In fact, they're one of the few indie/pop/electronic bands who deserve all the praise they've received over the last 20 years. For being a record consisting essentialy of "Oh this is stuff we didn't put on the last album and we haven't really finalized any new material because we were on hiatus and all doing our sideprojects so yeah" tracks, Not Music is a solid piece of work. True, it doesn't feel like a one-hundred percent from-the-heart effort from the likes of Sadier, Tim Gane, Simon Johns and all the rest, but it will definitely hold me over until the next full-fledged Stereolab album sees the light of day. Whenever that is.Zac BentzLing Tosite SigureStill A Sigure Virgin I've probably mentioned this one before, but the truth is that I'm still listening to it every week. Even though I still think their previous album Just A Moment is their best work, Still A Sigure Virgin always manages to be the "right" thing. Gotta respect that. Since Colette mentioned Girl Talk previously, that means it's ok for me to say that I'm a big mash-up fan. Above are three of my recent favorites. Mildly interesting aside: I follow @bootiemashup on Twitter. They're a site that features an ass-load of awesome mash-ups every month and offers them up for free. Anyway, it seems they aren't really down with Girl Talk's style of a zillion micro mash-ups a second. Instead, they feel the longer, complete songs are the way to go. Me? I like both. I talked to them a bit about in on the Twitters and they certainly aren't trying to start a turf war or anything, and in a way I can see their point. But in the end, as a music lover and a consumer, I'm just happy to have so much great new free material, so I think it's a win/win. Tim Sheehy  OKAMOTO'S OKAMOTO'S ni Muchu    I had the opportunity to see these guys live at last year's Japan Girls Nite, despite the fact that they had no women in their act. I'm not sure why they were touring Japan Girls Nite, but I imagine their awesomeness probably transcends gender-bias. It's either that, or the fact that the lead singer causes panties to instantly drop -- he's a bit of a showman, as I'm sure Colette can attest. They recently released an album back in Japan, and thankfully it sounds a million times better than the EP they had on hand at the Japan Girls Nite shows. In addition to the quality recordings, the album contains several tracks in English and Japanese, including a nifty cover of the Aerosmith/Run DMC hit "Walk This Way." Needless to say, the album is full of raw energy and classic rock fans will probably adore it as much as I do.

Little late this week, but yes, here we are! Once again recounting the past week's auditory bliss. This time around we talk a bit about the ever expanding and ever more popular world of mash-ups,some old (and not so old) favorites well as the usual J-rock stuff.What's been burning your ears off lately?

Japanator Radio 154

Nov 17 // Zac Bentz
00:00 Perfume - "Love the World" - Single [BUY] 00:51 The Local Art - "Love Song" - Kibou [BUY]03:21 Triceratops - "Can to Can't no Passport" (w/9mm Parabellum Bullet) - We Are One [BUY]07:13 Kahimi Karie - "Time Travelers" - It's Here [BUY]11:41 Break: Final Fantasy XIV OST [BUY]Guest DJ: Mike LeChevallier12:09 Hannibal Buress - "Balling Out of Control" / Brian Eno - "Emerald and Lime"14:44 Wild Nothing - "Summer Holiday"18:50 Shad - "Rose Garden"21:37 Laetitia Sadier - "One Million Year Trip"26:43 !!! - "Jamie, My Intentions Are Bass"31:33 Shugo Tokumaru - "Rum Hee"35:12 Etsuko Yakushimaru - "COSMOS vs ALIEN"36:40 Menomena - "Five Little Rooms"41:26 Tsutchie + Kazami - "YOU"46:21 Break: Final Fantasy XIV OST [BUY]46:52 Scandal - "Daydream" (Judy & Mary) - R-Girl's Rock! [BUY]50:37 exist trace - "Owari No Mai Sekai" - TWIN GATE [BUY at]54:25 The Predators - "This World" - This World [BUY]57:45 Perfume - "Love the World" - Single [BUY]

Another week, another Japanator Radio! What makes you so special all the time??This week we've got a ton of new music, but most special of all is guest DJ Mike LeChevallier! You are not ready for what he has in store.So, as always, sit back and crank it up! DOWNLOAD EPISODE 154 FEEDZUNE @[email protected] Track-list and links after the jump!  


Japanator Doesn't Recommend: Eden of the East [Blu-ray]

Nov 15
// Zac Bentz
First off, cool down. Don't let the title of this post get your panties in a bunch. You'll see what I mean in a minute. Second, for the purpose of this review please first refer to Lauren's in-depth run-down for all the deta...

Listen Back 11-12-10

Nov 12 // Zac Bentz
Zac BentzOgre You AssholeUkarete Iru Hito This one has been out for a while, but the more I listen to it, the more I "get" it. I have to admit that at first I thought Ukarete Iru Hito was a bit weak and maybe even too weird for what I was expecting from Ogre You Asshole. It's certainly is a bit more experimental and there aren't any really rockin' songs on it. But after listening to it many times, something finally clicked. PlugnetSELECT I don't think I've mentioned Plugnet here yet. Their album SELECT was sort of the soundtrack to my late summer. They are an INCREDIBLE chiptune rap group. They fire off a million words a minute and their production is amazing. DethklokOh, and of course I've been listening to Dethklok more or less non-stop. Bonus: My wife loves them as well, and we often find occation to listen to them in the car rather loudly and yell about how awesome they are while driving real fast and freaking other drivers out, because we are mature adults. Colette BennettPerfume "Nee" I've been listening to Perfume's new single "Nee", which I like a lot better than their last album. NewS"Fighting Man"  Also, I have been disappointed overall with NewS over the last few releases, but "Fighting Man" is my favorite single they have done in a while. Lots of silly J-pop this week!Jeff Chuang  Something neat I came across today. It's by all means Yet Another Touhou-inspired Piece Of Music, but it's strikingly memorable. Goes well with cold weather.Ben HuberChatmonchy"Koko Dake no Hanashi" The Kuragehime opening... it's so adorable and simple, but it has a little punch to it as well. This'll probably be looping in my iPod for a while.Perfume"Nee"  OH MY GOD I CAN'T STOP LISTENING TO IT SOMEONE HELP ME I like Perfume better when they're doing catchy, 8-bit-esque pop. "Night Flight" was the only good song on their last album...and "Nee" is more in line with that. Fine by me!Josh Tolentino Sakura Wars V Episode 0 ~The Samurai Girl From The Wild West~ OST"Samurai Damashii"   For some reason I found myself digging through my old Sakura Wars soundtracks and picking out choice songs for listening. This one's the ending theme from the unreleased (in English) prologue to Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love. It's a little bit sad that, for a series which puts so much stock in its character songs, vocal performances and music, only a few ever actually represented in the games themselves. It's likely thanks to the storage limitations of the time, but in the end all most people got were some silly BGMs that can't even match the range of a modern cellphone ringtone. Mike LeChevallierShugo TokumaruPort EntropyNormally I wouldn't make a beeline for my Japanese playlists when it comes to multi-instrumental bedroom pop, but for the last seven years Shugo Tokumaru has been delivering some of the sweetest, catchiest chamber music around. His 2007 record Exit was on repeat in my car for roughly a year, and while his new album Port Entropy isn't quite as magical as that earlier work it's still an incredibly rewarding listen. There's not a sub-par track on here, each one is more thoughtful than it needs to be for this genre, allowing my mind to casually formulate dreamlike scenes in my head as the melodies carry along at a brisk pace. Check out the delightfully quirky "Lahaha" to see what I'm getting at. If the music doesn't grab hold of your attention right away, the eccentric video should; it reminds me of Fantastic Mr. Fox but with way more papercraft.

Welcome again to Listen Back, where we, your humble editors, gather to regale you with tales of what we've been listening to this past week!This time around it seems like everyone is all about the new Perfume single "Nee...

Japanator Radio 153

Nov 10 // Zac Bentz
00:00 Perfume - Love the World - Single [BUY] 00:45 Bump of Chicken - "Motor Cycle" - Uchuuhikoushi He No Tegami / Motor Cycle [BUY]04:36 Chatmonchy - "Second Present" - Awa Come [BUY]08:06 Spitz - "Polar Bear" - Togemaru [BUY]11:32 Break: Final Fantasy XIV OST [BUY]Artist Spotlight: Vola & the Oriental Machine12:36 Vola & the Oriental Machine - "The Empire of Vola" - Principle [BUY]14:43 Vola & the Oriental Machine - "Thank You My Force" - Principle [BUY]19:04 Vola & the Oriental Machine - "Self-Defense" - Halan'na Darkside [BUY]22:01 Vola & the Oriental Machine - "Panic at the Disco" - Principle [BUY]25:17 Break: Final Fantasy XIV OST [BUY]Guest DJ: Ben Huber26:05 Tokyo Jihen - "Kenka Joutou" - Adult [BUY]29:04 Paradise Lunch - "YES=NO" - Here's Paradise Lunch [BUY]34:23 Mouse on the Keys - "Double Bind" - an anxious object [BUY]38:23 Boom Boom Satellites - "Vapour" - To the Loveless [BUY]45:31 Break: Final Fantasy XIV OST [BUY]45:52 Perfume - "Nee" - Nee [BUY]50:09 Redalice - "Crush Out" - Hardcore Syndrome 4 [BUY]54:30 Tropico Q - "Jump" - Hard Rock Pafe [BUY at HearJapan]57:51 BREAK: Perfume - Love the World - Single [BUY]

Raaaawr! Computer problems make angry!..Oh! Hi there. Don't worry, it's all OK. Everything's fine. Here's a new show!This week, Vola and the Oriental Machine in the Artist Spotlight and a special guest DJ set from the Ben Huber. Huzzah! Oh, and maybe a glitch or two. Consider them Easter eggs!Enjoy. DOWNLOAD EPISODE 153 FEEDZUNE @[email protected] Track-list and links after the jump!  

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