The Aprils' debut album "Astro" was released on Usagi-chang Records in 2003 and had long been discontinued. Now it's back all newly remastered and reworked using the latest technology, sounding better than ever before. In addition, rare bonus tracks such as a cover of Flipper's Guitar's "Blue Shinin' Quick Star" and theme songs made for drug store Create SD are also included.
Also be sure to check out the Aprils' latest single "Horror Survivor"!
The Aprils "Astro +Early Works"
エイプリルズ 「ASTRO +EARLY WORKS」
3. kinsei Rocket
4. Poolside Star
6. hajime no owari
8. HELLO WORLD
9. BLUE SHININ' QUICK STAR (hoshi no kanata e)
10. Create SD no Theme (2003)
11. Create SD no Theme (2015)
"ASTRO" (from 2003)
Izumi Ookawara (Qypthone) has a new song out now digitally! P.O.P's trackmaker Saitō Ryōji and the twin rappers collaborated to make this groovy disco track, to which Izumi wrote the lyrics. Check it out on iTunes worldwide, Spotify, etc.
Izumi Ookawara x P.O.P "How I met you" (Download)
大河原泉×P.O.P 「How I met you」
Wakita Monari has a new single out this week! Her new funky jazz tune "Wingscape" was written and produced by COUNTJOKE (aka jōdan hakushaku, unit of Maezono Naoki and Arai Toshiya) (Facebook page) and features Smooth Ace on chorus! The B-side is a cover of CountJoke's own "LED" (single, which Monari had often been singing on stage for a while since her solo debut a year ago. Lyrics of the A-side were co-written by Monari, and "LED"'s lyrics were also tweaked just for her.
Several in-store events will be held, including ones at Tower Records Ikebukuro on release day November 22 from 19:00, at HMV record shop Shinjuku Alta on November 25 from 17:00, HMV record shop Shibuya on November 26 from 12:00, and at Tower Records Shibuya on November 30 from 21:00. There's more, so find the whole list here.
Wakita Monari "Wingscape / LED" (CD+7")
脇田もなり 「WINGSCAPE / LED」
3. WINGSCAPE (Inst.)
4. LED (Inst.)
Francis, the solo unit of Ori Makoto (ex-The Collectors), has started a new collaboration unit with Tajima Haruko. Here comes a first mini-album limited to 300 copies. Included is a cover of France Gall's "Der Computer Nr.3". Tajima Haruko who also released a solo album on the same label earlier this year.
The duo can next be seen at event "Shout Essence" on December 4 at Shibuya Roots.
Francis avec HARUKO "Jamón, jamón"
1. Jamón, jamón
2. Der Computer Nr.3
5. Da Du Da Di décadence
Small Circle of Friends can next be seen live on November 18 at event "DUBPOPNIGHT 08" at Bar Eight in Shinjuku, and also on Wednesday November 22 at Organ Bar's 22th anniversary event. Find details and their whole schedule here
STUDIO 75 "Over Your Shoulder"
1. O'Keeffe's cactus
3. Chime's Ren
4. Ride jet on the slope
5. mackerel sky
6. stroll along in a daydream
7. Indigo bubbles
12. view of cathedral
13. 9 times knock
14. Inside chimney
15. Over Your Shoulder
On Saturday October 21, 2017 was held a very special music event for Shibuya-kei music fans. Shibuya ward organizes annually a music festival called "Shibuya ongakusai" (or "Shibu-on", official site) and for its 12th edition this year they invited Nomiya Maki (ex-Pizzicato Five) and Kaji Hideki to curate the event. For a year and a half these two have been hosting a Shibuya-kei-themed radio show every Monday from 5pm to 7pm on Shibuya's community radio "Shibuya no Radio" (of which the studio can be seen from outside). In this special collaboration, they made a dream-like event for any Shibuya-kei fan. Titled "Shibuya no Radio no Shibuya-kei Festival", the show was held at Sakura Hall, inside Shibuya Cultural Center Ōwada, a seated venue most often used for classical concerts.
First let's have a look at the amazing line-up: Nomiya Maki, Kaji Hideki, Kaseki Cider, Takano Hiroshi, Vanilla Beans, and DJs Konishi Yasuharu (Pizzicato One, ex-Pizzicato Five) and Halfby! Until the show started it was unclear whether each artist would do their own set in turn, but there had been word that some collaborations were to happen. Nomiya Maki has collaborated with singer Takano Hiroshi on her brand new album "Holiday Shibuya-kei o utau.", and Kaji Hideki has collaborated with Kaseki Cider before, and also written a song and lyrics for Vanilla Beans ("Muscat Slope Love" (2013) and "LOVE&HATE" (2009) respectively). And of course, the two members of Pizzicato Five were to be on the same bill officially for the first time since they quit in 2001!
The show started at 5pm with a DJ set by Halfby, who played some Shibuya-kei classics and songs that influenced its artists. I was happy to hear Saint Etienne's "You're In A Bad Way", Lio's "Le banana split" and France Gall's "Poupée de cire, poupée de son". That set a very good mood for starting the event.
Kaji Hideki was the first to perform, starting his set with hit song "amai koibito" (from album "Lollipop", and also heard in movie "Detroit Metal City") followed by "Ice Cream Man". Guests Vanilla Beans were called on stage, but instead of performing the expected song Kaji wrote for them before, he chose to have them sing their 2nd single "Nicola" (2008) which he described as being of true Swedish pop taste. They were accompanied by just his guitar and cajón, which gave for a very unique performance! Next Kaji called rapper Kaseki Cider to sing "shakunetsu shōjo" (aka "Tropical Girl", also from "Ice Cream Man" (2014)) for which he wrote the lyrics. Then the roles were reversed and Kaseki Cider got to sing "Kung-Fu Dance" (from latest album "Onigiri University" (2017)) during which Kaji danced and sang chorus. The last song of his set was hit song "La Boum ~My Boum Is Me~" (1997), for which he called Vanilla Beans and Nomiya Maki on stage. Vanilla Beans had covered this one before and got to sing some verses.
DJ Konishi Yasuharu was introduced and asked what kind of set he would play, and he said "Shibuya-kei!" without hesitation. He started with "Theme From The First Question Award", and Kaji who had started to walk out of the stage just had to run back to sing and dance along. That was followed by Cornelius' "The Sun Is My Enemy" and then Ozawa Kenji. The set indeed has a very high dose of Shibuya-kei songs, including ones such as Negicco "Idol bakari kikanai de" (written by himself), Takano Hiroshi "niji no miyako e", Pizzicato Five "Let's Spend The Night Together", Vanilla Beans' cover of P5's "It's a Beautiful Day" (from the "Idol bakari Pizzicato" compilation (2015)), P5 "I hear a symphony", Kahimi Karie "Mike Always Diary", Roger Nichols & The Small Circle of Friends "Don't Take Your Time", P5 "Baby Portable Rock" & "Twiggy Twiggy"... and a whole lot more, all in Konishi's fast mix style using only 7"'s.
The last song of his set was a brand new version of "Tokyo wa yoru no 7ji" (aka "the night is still young") that he newly produced for Vanilla Beans' upcoming greatest hits album "Vani Best II" (to be released on December 6). It was played for the first time at this show! After a verse Vanilla Beans came on stage to sing it live, obviously very excited about being on stage with the hit's composer, and towards the end of the song Maki also appeared to sing and dance along, making that dream Pizzicato Five reunion happen!!! Yes!!! That was such a wonderful and priceless moment. It is to note that Vanilla Beans are this year celebrating their 10th anniversary!
Next it was time for Nomiya Maki's own set! She said that her set would consist of Shibuya-kei standards that Konishi Yasuharu translated to Japanese for her recent albums. She first sang "What The World Needs Now Is Love" (from the album of the same name (2015)), "Wonderful Summer" (from "Vacances Shibuya-kei" (2017)) and "Un Homme et Une Femme" (from "French Shibuya-kei" (2016)). She then invited Takano Hiroshi on stage, and together they sang Towa Tei's "amai seikatsu" (aka "La douce vie") on which he had played guitar. He then played two of his songs on his own, "180°ree;" from his new album "Everything is good" (out Oct. 25) and then hit song "niji no miyako e" (1990). Maki came back and together they sang "Winter's Tale" in duet as heard on her new album.
Maki continued her set with "The Bell That Couldn't Jingle", a Christmas song by Burt Bacharach which was also translated by Konishi, during which she shook two different sets of bells, one with a weak sound, and another that had a bright and beautiful sound. Maki finished her set with two Pizzicato Five favorites: "Twiggy Twiggy" and "Sweet Soul Revue"!
There was still the encore to go! Nomiya Maki and Kaji Hideki appeared again on stage to sing "You Make Shibuya" (YouTube), a beautiful theme song they made commissioned by Shibuya city. Then came a big surprise, a cover of Roger Nichols & The Small Circle of Friends' "Love so fine" with original freshly written Japanese lyrics by Konishi! That was just wonderful, and I really hope that it will get released eventually.
To finish things right, there was a medley of Shibuya-kei songs. It started with "Baby Portable Rock" sung by Vanilla Beans, a song that they often cover in their own shows. This was followed by Kaji and Kaseki Cider who sang Flipper's Guitar's "koi no Machinegun" (aka "Young, Alive, in Love"), and then Takano Hiroshi's with a moving cover of Original Love's "tsuki no ura de aimashō" (aka "Let's Go To The Darkside of the Moon"). The two last songs we sung with everyone on stage: Ozawa Kenji's "bokura ga tabi ni deru riyū" and Pizzicato Five's "Tokyo wa yoru no 7ji"! The whole audience finally ended up standing and dancing, something that had felt hard to resist during the whole show.
That was a truly perfect and amazing show! The whole had live music backed by Nomiya Maki's band of the recent years, credited as "Les Romantiques" in her albums. They have a great Shibuya-kei sound and the skills to play Pizzicato Five songs live! I really wish for a second edition (and more!) of this great event. One thing that's sure is that Shibuya-kei is definitely happening in 2017!
Pictured is the official T-shirt designed by Kaseki Cider. For show photos, check out this official report on Nomiya Maki's label site.
VIDEOTAPEMUSIC, a talentful artist who is both a prolific video director (using old video tapes for source) and also makes exotic music with pianica sounds, has a brand new album coming this month! There's an appearance by female rapper NOPPAL, and the many guest musicians include Tsuruoka Ryū (aka LUVRAW, behind the Image Cluv label), Arban Sachs, Arauchi Yū (cero), members of Omoideyaro A Team, The Gossip of Jaxx (support band of Ego-Wrappin') and more.
Amazon and HMV give away a promo sticker (while supplies last). For those in Japan, Tower Records gives away a bonus promo CD.
VIDEOTAPEMUSIC "On the Air"
1. On The Air
2. Sultry Night Slow
5. Devils in a Jungle
6. Hot Sand Beach Rumba
7. Motor Pool
8. Her Favorite Song
9. Her Favorite Moments feat. NOPPAL
10. Fiction Romance
"Sultry Night Slow"
Two classics from Les 5-4-3-2-1's excellent first mini-album "un" (1993) are being released on 7"! The A-side is a cover of France Gall's "Le coeur qui jazze" with lyrics in French and Japanese, and the B-side is original song "otoko no ko onna no ko". A must!
Les 5-4-3-2-1 is a Shibuya-kei band led by bassist Sally Kubota (SOLEIL, Sally Soul Stew, ex-Phantom Gift) with singer Hitomi.
les 5-4-3-2-1 "le coeur qui jazze / un garçon et une fille" (7")
les 5-4-3-2-1 「ジャズる心 / 男の子女の子」
(Japanese title: "Jazz-ru kokoro / otoko no ko onna no ko")
A. le coeur qui jazze
B. un garçon et une fille
"le coeur qui jazze"
Singer Aono Rie (who also fronts band Aono Rie & hums, and has sung in aoyama and Frog) has a first solo album being released! The whole has a cool city pop sound produced by Seki Yoshihiko with songs co-written by Inoue Kaoru (Blue Peppers). Check out the digest clip below.
Musicians also include guitarist Yamanouchi Toshio and drummer Kitayama Yūko (misola, lake), both who have played in Ryūsenkei, with also bassist Iga Wataru (lake), synths by Yoshida Jirō (Halmens X, Jollits) and strings arranged by Hase Yasuhiro (Yume to Cosme).
Aono Rie will play short live sets at event "wamono Light Mellow Summit" on October 20 (from about 21:40) and November 17 at Shinjuku Kabuki Lounge.
Rie Aono "Pastoral"
3. On the Radio
4. Love Always
After a 2-year hiatus, techno-pop singer Aira Mitsuki had been slowly coming back since 2015 and released 4 digital singles. Now it's finally time for a full-length album! "Pyramidal" has just been released also digitally. The whole is sound produced by IzeMac (of NUXX), and Xianfu Schweitz also did some guest production.
A release party will be held on November 11 at Daikanyama Loop, with Saoriiiii, Vanilla Beans and Xianfu Schweitz. Tickets are on sale here.
Aira Mitsuki "Pyramidal"
1. Future in Loop
3. Chewing on Love
6. Detective A
10. I'll Again..
"Future in Loop"