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Listen Back with Japanator 08-19-10

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Welcome back to our weekly look back at the music that's been blowing up our [insert music player of choice here] for the past seven days.

Massive post this week, and it's only our second one! I hope you have some time to sit back and enjoy, 'cause we've got a heaping helping for you. 

Hit that jump and prepare to bask in the glow of our favorite Japanese music from lately!

Colette Bennett

Livetune
Re: Miku



Revsitng the Livetune remixes of Re:Package this week starring my girl Hatsune Miku. I still like them a tad less than the original release, but overall it's still a really enjoyable release.

Koda Kumi
Alive




Koda Kumi's "Alive" single has also seen heavy rotation in my iPod this week.

Zac Bentz

Wienners
Cult Pop Japan




You can probably get a fair idea of what I've been listening to for the past week from Japanator Radio. So it shouldn't come as any surprise that Wienners has been this week's major player. It's 15 tracks but clocks in just under 20 minutes long. It's pure new-wave punk pop insanity from start to finish! And their name is Wienners, for godssake!

Melt-Banana
Bambi's Dilemma




I also rediscovered Melt Banana's last proper studio album Bambi's Dilemma. Sort of the same idea, only more crazy metal and chirping.

Fallout 3
OST




Speaking of rediscovery, I fired up Fallout 3 again recently in the hopes of "finishing" it before New Vegas drops. I'm 100 hours in and almost done with all the DLC stuff, but I still have maybe 40% of the wasteland to explore! Anyway, so yeah, you could say I've been more or less listening to the OST non-stop.

Jeff Chuang

Yasuharu Takanashi
Fairy Tail Original Soundtrack, volumes 1, 2






I am neither way about long-running shounen anime, besides that my short attention span and lack of free time rarely allows for them. Fairy Tail is one of those things, but I heard its soundtrack was top notch so I took a belated peek. (Both came out earlier this year.)

And yes, the Fairy Tail soundtracks are top notch, even when standing alone. So far there are two volumes of it out on the streets, but either one will fill you up with some very grand sounds with a bit of an Irish flare. Produced by Yasuharu Takanashi, the music from Fairy Tail is playful, exciting, fun, and it has even a rock version of "Pomp and Circumstance" in there for some reason. This is of those rare cases where regardless of how you feel about the anime, the music kicks all kinds of butts, enough to get you going all by themselves. My faves are the main theme and its two rearrangements on the second volume, Natsu's theme, and Mahou Taisen.

Brad Rice

Sophia
"Kimi no Uta", Yume




I can't get enough of this song, honestly. It's one of those songs that just manages to calm me down and I stop worrying about life for three minutes. This live performance version is even better, in my mind, than the original -- it just invites a sense of calm and peace. I listen to a bunch of Sophia's stuff (thanks Tim!), but this is always going to stick out as my favorite.

Ben Huber

Kinniku Shoujo Tai (KING-SHOW)
Tsuta Karamaru Q No Wakusei, Shinjin, & Season 2




After being severely out of the loop on what Otsuki Kenji has been doing the past couple of years, I decided to look him back up and find out what I'd missed, and boy did I miss a lot. Most people know the incredibly catchy Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei openings, but have never heard any of Kenji's other work. If you're already a fan of what he did there, his band isn't too far away from that same style: loud, fast, and insanely entertaining. Some of their stuff still feels like they have 80s cobwebs hanging off of them, but to me that gives them their charm.

Good Luck Heiwa
Thunder


Good Luck Heiwa is a fun band that recently made its way into my library. They're light and little experimental, but something about them keeps me coming back. If you like jazz and are up for something a little different, try GLH out.

Anamanaguchi
Aurora (Single)


 

I'm also listening to this. "Densmore," the b-side, is great, probably better than "Aurora" itself. But I'm the kind of guy who prefers the b-sides to the main song, so take that as you will.

the telephones
We Love Telephones!!!




More the telephones is always welcome, with their crazy brand of rock. Songs like "SAITAMA DANCE MIRROR BALLERS!!!" embraces the telephones' crazy/retro side fully, while even the stuff I like less, such as "My Girl" is somehow getting stuck in my head days later.

Mike LeChevallier

OOIOO
Armonico Hewa




When all is weighed against each other, I'm probably more of a fan of OOIOO than its mother band Boredoms. Don't get me wrong, Boredoms paved the way for many a noise rock Japanese act to follow and are a no doubt a seminal group. While the Boredoms have an almost mind-bogglingly prolific output, Yoshimi P-We's all-female side-project OOIOO has only released six records since their formation in 1995. Their most recent full-length, 2009's Armonico Hewa is something I modestly enjoyed when I first heard it last year, but only listened to it roughly two times (other OOIOO records had stayed in my rotation for much longer). Feather Float is a tremendous record, Gold and Green is a sharp as a knife and 2006's Taiga was a kick in the face to a genre that needed some re-wiring (I'm not too partial to 2003's Kila Kila Kila). Writing for Listen Back recently allowed me an opportunity to revisit Armonico Hewa, and I must say that it's slightly stronger than I remember it being.

The record's title combines two languages (Swahili and Spanish) for a loose translation of “harmonious air", which the album presents in OOIOO's usual random yet melodic manner. Standout tracks like "Uda Hah" and “Irorun” combat wild tunes against a chilled yet funky rhythm section, a ballsy contrast that has one visualizing a safari ride morphing into a city sprawl (think the stampede scenes in Jumanji). “Polacca” evolves wavering guitar lines and battling piano chords into Indonesian festival music, while “Konjo” amalgamates robust electronics with plucky strings that recall the more massive execution of Taiga. Armonico Hewa is no doubt a "smaller" album than Taiga, but it feels glossier and more willing to experiment. Coming from musicians birthed by Boredoms, that's definitely a noteworthy accomplishment.

Tim Sheehy

Speed Metal Sound
Vanishing Village



If you recognize the album it's suppose to be parodying, you're probably going to laugh when you see this cover. Others of you might be a bit freaked out by it -- completely understandable. The album is a terrible mash-up of Touhou and X-Japan covers, mostly from Vanishing Vision. It was on sale at Comiket last weekend. The music itself leaves a lot to be desired, but those of us who recognize the image, or some of the music for that matter, will at least get a good chuckle from it. It's a novelty at best.

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