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Listen Back 09-23-10

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Wow, looks like I chose a bad time to decide to take a month off from Japanator Radio! A ton of great music has been released just this week! Ah well. That's whet we have Listen Back for!

This week the Jtor staff has a huge wad of music to shoot at you. I hope you've got a comfy chair and a nice sound system.

Sit back, crank up the volume and let's Listen Back after the jump!

Zac Bentz

World's End Girlfriend
Seven Idiots

Ling Tosite Sigure
Still a Sigure Virgin?






One of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to music is when people talk about how "out there" and "crazy" and "noisy" a band is when in fact the band is just about as mainstream as they could be. To quote Inigo Montoya, "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

What I'm trying to get at is that when it comes to noise and chaos while still maintaining a traditional song structure, both World's End Girl Friend and Ling Tosite Sigure are two of the best bands you'll find. I'm not talking Merzbow levels of noise here, not even close, but both bands really push the sonic limits while still producing traditional songs.

I've been obsessively listening to World's End Girlfriend's Seven Idiots and Ling Tosite Sigure's Still a Sigure Virgin? for the past week. Seven Idiots is a strong contender for my Album of the Year, the honor held by Ling Tosite Sigure last year. I don't think Still a Sigure Virgin? is nearly as strong as last year's Just A Moment, but it's still really, really good.

If you're looking for a bit more of a challenge while still having some great songs to listen to, check both of these out right away.

Colette Bennett

Mika Nakashima
"一番綺麗な私を"




I've been trying to class up my act a bit this week and leave the cheesy J-pop behind as I'm a bit burned out on it. First off, I am also digging World's End Girlfriend's new album as Zac is, but I'm also enjoying Mika Nakashima's new song "一番綺麗な私を". I'm always a fan of her stuff but this one definitely sticks out for me as one of the better ones she's done in a while.

Kalafina
"Kagayaku Sora no Shijima"


 

The new Kalafina is also gorgeous. I like to listen to them on rainy days for some reason. It's been raining a lot here lately so the new song has been getting a lot of play.

Mike LeChevallier

Menomena
"Lunchmeat"




When you find that band that becomes your go-to for filling in those blank spots within playlists, they tend to stay with you forever. I can see myself, 50 years from now, as a frail old man rocking back and forth in my futuristic chill-chair with the incomparable sounds of Menomena flowing through whatever is left of my working ears. The group's newest album, Mines, isn't as instantaneously declarable as a masterpiece as 2007's Friend and Foe. It takes a good amount of solitary-confinement listens to fully experience the scope of each song. Anyone who's a fan of Menomena knows that their particular breed of sonic brilliance lies within the tiny details, the slight shifts in tone and structure buried within each song. No other act out there sounds like Menomena. Really. Every ounce of their execution is original, almost foreign the first time you hear it, but further exposure allows the material to become part of your very being.

I don't know what the hell "Lunchmeat" is actually about, as is the case with most of Menomena's catalog; they allow you to paint your own image as the track transpires. So, I've come to gather that this is a song about certain on-goings regarding life within the boundaries of Japanator. The aria is short, only two verses, but they pack a load of detail. Animals were heading north when we heard the news report / There were tremors in Japanese ocean trenches / There were devils in the sand. There it is. Right there. North. Dale "I Recommend Curry" North? Japanese seas, news and nonsense swimming across them like soon-to-be-slaughtered dolphins. The devils in the sand, in the comments: spammers, trolls plaguing our community with retarded fashion adverts. Sirens sing in monotone / harmonized in deathly drone / Leave the tables, the curtains, the computer's useless / Leave the lunchmeat for the sharks. Colette is the siren, quite possibly, her J-Boy addiction is the monotone which we must endure day-by-day, collected and poorly combated in harmonious clamor by the pining of Brad, Ben and whoever else wishes to throw their cap in the ring for a piece of dat ass. In the end, our computers are truly useless. How can we gain what we want from this clicking, this scrolling, this typing? What the f*ck are we doing here? Why do we clock countless hours yammering on about bullsh*t no one cares about? When cut comes to stab, what defines us? What makes us whole? Just rip us up. Feed us to the sharks, our competitors. At least something out there will be gaining sustenance.

Ben Huber

Ling Toshite Sigure
Still a Sigure Virgin?


I've also been listening to this album and really enjoying it. I'll agree with Zac that it's not as good as Just a Moment. That said, it's the album I'll probably be spinning most frequently this week.

Deepsea Drive Machine
Forma




Entertaining light electronic rock that's very echo-y and relaxing to listen to at times, while also having a few songs with a bit more punch.

Danger
09/14 2007


 

Yes, that date is the title. And, yes, this EP is ridiculously awesome. Yes, it's sorta Japan-related! I think. Okay not entirely.

Jeff Chuang

Yorico
Cocoon




Beyond some casual TV tie-ins, nobody knows about Yorico. I know this only because a couple of her albums are often on my MP3 player; it's the kind of music that I pull out once a blue moon for a spin, but consistently year after year. Most notable in the Japanator sense, Yoriko did one of the ending themes to Speed Grapher and the opening theme to Black Cat. Yoriko is a typical singer-songwriter type with an established indie track record. After signing by EMI, Cocoon is her first major label album.

And, well, the music has that particular healing property that I am fond of, it is the sort of music I can relax to. I guess that would be the one fault with the album--it's entirely too "low-tension." Aside from "Break the Cocoon" there is just not much tension in the music. It is melodic, fun at times, and it has a funny happy birthday jingle in it. Besides that, it's largely your standard fare as you'd expect from a female solo singer-songwriter act. Sometimes it feel that she relies on her voice a bit too much; it's a bit high pitched for a large voice. That said, Yoriko's music has a cleansing effect, and is entirely pleasant. It's hard to say no to that after a long day's work.

Tim Sheehy

Dirty Old Men
somewhere




Some of you might recognize these guys from 2009's SXSW Japan Nite line-up. Dirty Old Men -- seriously that's the name of the band, awesome right? -- are one of those bands who have grown in popularity due mostly to their actual music, as opposed to having it tie-in with an anime, or some other medium. That said, while they're a rock band, they're built on strong, pop-oriented melodies, similar to bands like Beat Crusaders, Acidman or Flumpool, no doubt making them popular with the kids. Given their dedicated shelf space I witnessed at Tower Records last week in Tokyo, I imagine it won't be long before we see them contributing a song or two to an anime or Japanese film. Their latest mini-album somewhere hit stores last week, and I haven't heard a bad track on it yet. Check out the video for the single "Hotarubi," above.

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Zac Bentz
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