Suiyoubi no Campanella gets back on track with new single “SUPERKID”

Earlier this year, Suiyoubi no Campanella‘s Electro-pop made its long-awaited entrance into the mainstream scene, with several strong records under the belt as guarantee for a major label contract. Far from being a bad record, though, the debut mini album UMA didn’t fully convince the outfit’s ever growing audience, delivering good songs as well as numbers who felt uninspired and kinda rushed, a worrying signal considering the project’s well known meticulous attention for details.

From an artistic standpoint, transitions to major labels can be kind of problematic, and some artists need some time before adapting to what is undoubtedly a new reality: this is one of those cases.

Campanella’s new single, titled SUPERKID, indeed brings the project back on the high standards that spoiled us for the last four years. Featuring three new songs, this release is a short but pleasant showcase of the trio’s outstanding compositional skills, punctually framed by KOM_I’s unique charisma. Aladdin kicks in with a 80’s pop beat, following a linear structure that emphasizes vocals to boost the chorus’ entrance, while the bridge leaves space to an instrumental section, creating a good balance with KOM_I’s lyrical nonsense. Kamehameha Daiou tricks the listener with soothing vocals, while subtly implementing noisy effects and synths in the meanwhile, to then completely shift into Electronic madness towards the end, leading to an unexpected EDM drop that kicks in flawlessly: Connecting several influences and tempo changes between different sections has always been one of the project’s highlights, and it’s well represented in this track. Matsuo Bashou goes back to the classic Campanella formula, with the instrumental taking a step back to leave space to KOM_I’s remarkable interpretation, delivering the catchiest chorus of the single and a pleasant soothing vibe.

With SUPERKID, Suiyoubi no Campanella gets back on track, and sets the bar high once again for future releases. Everything that makes this project so unique is present throughout this single, and only high hopes are left for everything they have in store for us.

– Alex

Oyasumi Hologram – 2 | ALBUM REVIEW for Electric Bloom Webzine

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It took me six months, but finally I reviewed one of the records that I liked the most (so far) in this year: Oyasumi Hologram‘s sophomore album 2.

Oyasumi Hologram is an Alternative Idol duo composed by Kanamiru and Hachigatsu, two girls who are getting more and more recognition in the underground Idol scene, mostly for their catchy (yet deep) compositions and killer live performances.

What I like the most about this project, is the feeling of authenticity expressed in the music, of down-to-earth regular girls singing fragments of a life lived in a huge metropolis. Their live performances are worth of mention too, taking the form of relentless and extremely fun underground gigs worth-attending. These girls have talent, personality, and great tunes: hopefully, all of this will bring them to gain more and more recognition in the scene. In the meanwhile, be sure to read my review down below, and listen to this record: as always, let me know what you think about it!

Read my review of Oyasumi Hologram’s 2 on Electric Bloom Webzine

On a side note, a few interesting records came out last week. I’m already reviewing them, so be sure to stay tuned for more amazing Japanese music to discover 😉

Take care.

– Alex

Maison Book Girl get ready for Major Debut with ‘cloudy irony’

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Alternative Idol unit Maison Book Girl, born from the disbandment of BiS in 2014, is probably one of the most interesting projects of the last few years: bath room was a strong debut record, and this year’s summer continue EP a definitive confirmation of their potential.

As time goes by, Major labels are getting more and more interested in Idol and J-pop acts pushing the boundaries of their genres, trying to expose new and successful concepts to a wider audience. Maison Book Girl is ready to make this transition as well, with a Major debut single titled river, set to be released under Tokuma Japan Communications on November 30th.

In order to promote their mainstream debut, the four girls just released the Music Video for cloudy irony, first track off the upcoming single. In case you’re wondering, the title is not the only thing that sounds familiar here: the track too is pretty much a copy-paste of what the group did so far. Which is good and worrying at the same time.

Good because their sound is strong and enjoyable, something the track successfully represents: loud percussions and layers of acoustic guitars create a solid rhythmical base, where joyful piano melodies and the cold singing of the girls merge together pleasantly, creating a sound that’s fresh and easily enjoyable. What’s worrying, is the fact that the track sounds extremely similar to what these girls have been doing so far, especially in their latest EP, and it’s something that could easily discourage those who’ve been following the group for a while.

Still, it’s an understandable choice: the girls are taking their step in the mainstream world for the first time, and coming up with a track that sounds pure Maison Book Girl is a fair choice, sure that it will do the right job at introducing new fans to their music. Plus, the fact the label didn’t interfere in any way in both their sound and artistic direction is a very positive sign.

It’s clear that Maison Book Girl is playing it safe with this Major Debut single, and it’s totally understandable. After this release, though, fans will probably expect some kind of renovation; Their sound is fresh and easily malleable, so there’s definitely space for creativity. Knowing the talents representing this project, we keep our hopes high its future.

– Alex

Sakanaction’s new single ‘Tabun, kaze.’ sets the bar high for new album.

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When someone asks me of the reason behind my love for Japanese music, Sakanaction is usually among the first few things that come to my mind. As one of the main Synth-rock/Electronic outfits of the industry, I’ve been enchanted by their sound right away, whom I discovered while driving by night through the highway connecting Kawasaki to Tokyo. The transition from the atmospherical intro Inori to the beautiful Music in their latest record, made me love their perfect hybrid of Rock merged with Electronic music immediately, giving me a pleasant sense of freshness and uniqueness.

That’s why every time Sakanaction releases new material, my day unavoidably gets better. And finally, after a two-months delay, the talented group led by frontman Ichiro Yamaguchi, released today its long awaited 12th single ‘Tabun, kaze.’ : As always, it didn’t disappoint.

The tracks in this single leans more on the Electronic side, a good choice after a series of (very good) singles that mostly relied on Rock sonorities. The title-track ‘Tabun, kaze’ is a fantastic showcase of the band’s sound, featuring synths perfectly merging with guitar melodies during the verse, developed on the solid bass lines provided by Ami; The whole track is incredibly atmospherical, and both the chorus and the bridge create immersive soundscapes, emphasized by Emi’s synths and Yamaguchi’s on-point interpretation.

This track is beautiful, emotional, huge, and a showcase of what Sakanaction can do best: impressive and atmospherical compositions disguised as simple, synth-rock numbers. Hands down one of their best compositions in the last three years.

The B-side moon will probably ring a bell to fans, since the track has been used several times in live shows from 2014 on, precisely during the highly acclaimed live sets the group always sets up halfway into the show: It’s an enjoyable, linear number that serves the purpose it was created for, which is to be implemented in mixes. The last track is a remix of the band’s classic Rookie made by Hiroshi Fujiwara, but except for a few passages here and there, it’s not something I could care about that much.

Overall, ‘Tabun, kaze.’ is yet another addition to a series of great singles from Sakanaction, who are now more than ready to drop their long awaited new album. The band never sounded this powerful and confident, and I’m anxiously looking forward to their next studio record. And if this series of singles is any indication to go with, it’s probably going to be amazing.

– Alex

Hands on Necronomidol’s “NEMESIS” Vinyl (And a few considerations on the state of Alternative Idol)

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It’s no secret that the Alternative Idol scene, started in 2010 by BiS and BABYMETAL, brought a fresh breeze of air to a genre that was unavoidably getting old. This rebellious concept had such a huge impact in the Idol world, that the overly cheesy up-beat pop that contaminated the entire 2000s became outdated: Throwing a few formulaic melodies here and there, and setting the DAW to 120bpm, just isn’t enough anymore. But most importantly, it doesn’t sell as it used to, which is why groups refusing to adapt to the times (like AKB48) are seeing a huge decrease in popularity.

But as all trends and currents in music, after six years, we came to a point where there are so many “Alternative” Idol groups, that in a few years we won’t probably call them like this anymore: They will just be recognized as regular Idols. And when a niche gets so crowded, it also gets a little bit… same-y. Meaning that groups with plastic Metal riffs, high-pitched synths played at the speed of light, and teenager girls screaming even when they shouldn’t, are slowly becoming a shallow standard lacking personality. It happens all the time in music, and it’s just part of the process.

Luckily, though, this niche can claim an impressive number of talented artists and units, who shine not only for their quality compositions, but also for their strong personality: NECRONOMIDOL is one of them.

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Formed in 2014, the “Ultradark Idol Unit” merges both extreme and classic Metal influences with Idol vocals, in a successful combination with a great balance of sounds as highlight. The unit’s first album, NEMESIS, brings both a collection of previously released songs and new tunes, spacing from classic Heavy Metal all the way to the cruelest 90’s Black Metal. Showcasing all the process that formed the sound of the unit (that later brought them to release the amazing from chaos born EP), NEMESIS is a valid introduction to the sound of NECRONOMIDOL.

I recently got the chance to get my hands on the vinyl version of NEMESIS, thanks to the guys at Specific Recordings: Not only it looks stunning, but listening to LAMINA MALEDICTUM on vinyl made me feel so trve kvlt, that I had to cut off Bibi’s head off and put it on my bed like every good Italian would do.

Just kidding of course. Bibi was my first teddy bear when I was a child. I’d never destroy my childhood like that.

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Jokes aside, if you’re a Necroma fan living outside Japan, then this is the right chance to get a physical copy of their debut album on vinyl without the painfully expensive shipping from Japan (and consequent custom taxes). You can get it on the Specific recordings shop here.

That’s it folks. As you know, I’m always up to support overseas labels trying to spread Japanese Music in the world, and I think it’s important to help them for their great work. So if you love Japanese music… support the artists and the labels bringing these records to us!

– Alex

BiS keep trolling fans with new song “Human After All”

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The rebirth of Alternative Idol group Brand new Idol Society, pioneering act of the niche, is still seen with suspicious eyes from the audience: To this day, many fans still question the necessity of reforming this historical unit, especially when BiSH’s success is growing bigger by the day. The “behavior” shown so far by the newly reformed unit hasn’t helped as well, with new members (recruited by leader Pour Lui) faking horrible vocal performances on stage for months, to then suddenly sing properly from one day to another. Of course, there’s also the story of the “rival group” SiS, who performed live once and then got immediately disbanded, to then be merged with Idol group GANG PARADE.

Simply put: the management behind these groups (a.k.a. Junnosuke Watanabe) just loves to troll and have fun seeing fans going crazy. Which is nothing new, really.

Whatever is going to happen next, for now BiS keeps on going with live shows, and new music as well. The unit just released a new song on Soundcloud, Human after all, which is nothing more than a Halloween-themed song with rock bits here and there: Thanks to a linear progression and a chorus kicking in unexpectedly, the track features a nice contrast, and thanks to a catchy lead melody it somehow works pretty well in being a light-hearted, ironic track. Be sure to listen to it down here.

It may not be what BiS fans were looking forward to, but it’s undeniably a fun track. And probably another joke by the girls and their management.

– Alex

Utada Hikaru – Fantôme | ALBUM REVIEW for Electric Bloom Webzine

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Took me quite a while, but finally, my review for Utada Hikaru‘s new album Fantôme is online, on English website Electric Bloom Webzine.

I thought this was a pretty solid record. Not your typical pop collection of songs (there’s a lot of sadness and melancholy, but also a bit of joy), and it has a few flaws here and there… but still, it’s a good and very enjoyable record. Not the new Deep River, nor her new-era masterpiece, but definitely a good record that Hikki’s fans will enjoy.

The reason why I reviewed it two weeks after its release, is because both this record and me needed time. Time to absorb these songs and avoid a rushed judgement, like most headlines out there are apparently doing: I’ve been hearing a lot of complaints, framed by words like “boring”, “uninspired” and even “useless”. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions of course, but the feeling is that many journalists and bloggers jumped on the “bash Hikki to look pro” bandwagon just cause it’s cool. Whatever…

Read my review of Fantôme on Electric Bloom Webzine!

Here’s my review. Hope you enjoy it, and be sure to let me know what you think about it! There’s no score, but i’d give it a 8 / 10.

There’s a new article and a review coming here on my blog this weekend, so be sure to stay tuned!

Take care.

– Alex

BiSH – KiLLER BiSH | ALBUM REVIEW for Electric Bloom Webzine

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As I hinted in my last Blog post, I wrote a review for the new BiSH record, KiLLER BiSH.

For the first time though, I didn’t write it for my blog, but for another website: Electric Bloom Webzine, an English website entirely focused on Japanese Music, with some interesting features, such as interviews with well-known acts, reviews and news.

I just started collaborating with them, and some of my reviews will be featured in the site. Don’t worry about the content, or the style: they’re written exactly as if they should get published here on my blog (as you will notice in the link below). So no compromises. Of course my blog will constantly be updated with articles and reviews as well 🙂

Anyway, enough talk. KiLLER BiSH is a super nice record: surely a strong 7.5 / 8 score. You can read my review at the following link.

[ALBUM REVIEW] BISH – KiLLER BiSH

I’ll see you guys soon, with a new article that will be up next week.

Stay tuned! 🙂

– Alex

[BLOG] Summer is over. Finally.

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Hey guys, it’s Alex!

As you may have noticed, I’ve been pretty much inactive for the last three months. Living in a tourist costal area translates into super busy and chaotic summers, which means working 12 hours a day, with little to no time to concentrate on pretty much any other thing. Well, except for nocturnal Pokémon GO adventures with my friends. Getting closer to our 30’s, yo.

Anyway, that doesn’t mean I haven’t wrote anything at all (keeping it for later) or completely ignored music: I have observed everything with a vigilant eye, just like Oliver Sykes stalks MOA-METAL around festivals.

To make it short, here are my thoughts on the last three months in Japanese Music.


Short and superficial recap of Summer 2016 in Japanese Music.

Hikki‘s new songs are nice. I think Fantôme is gonna be a good album, something that we’ll eventually verify in just three days. It’s gonna be a big event, and you will find a review of the record here on the blog. Oh, and of course it’ll top the Oricon chart… with some pretty big numbers.

– One of my favorite ex-indie acts, DAOKO, a girl that’s getting way too hot by the way, has been pulling out very shallow and uninspired music lately. Her latest track with TeddyLoid (the one who probably granted her the entry to the mainstream world) is particularly bad. Not surprised there, to be honest. Not even Skrillex cares about *woobz* anymore. C’mon bro…

Perfume killed it in the U.S. with their COSMIC EXPLORER Tour. And Team Perfume crafted an incredible performance for the closing ceremony of the Rio Olympics. Forever proud.

SMAP disbanded. ’bout time.

Sakanaction‘s new single release has been delayed to October 19th. That’s ok, I just need the new album. No problem Yamaguchi-san. No problem at all. *loops Rookie*

BiS are back with new members and leader Pour Lui. They performed live twice, and it was so embarrassing I almost cried: imagine if me (drunk) and KOHH (on acids) were together on stage trying to sing nerve: yes, it’s that bad. I still hope this is some kind of bad joke.

– BiS’ sister/rival group SiS has been created, too. And… yeah. That’s it for now.

BiSH recruited a new member, Ayuni D, and she’s adorable. They also dropped a new album, KiLLER BiSH, that I just finished reviewing right now. The article will be online next Wednesday on an English website. You’ll find a link here in my blog, so stay tuned!

– The Perfume x OK Go track I Don’t Understand You was… meh. And barely featured any Perfume vocals. Whatever.

Spotify is finally coming to Japan next week… things are starting to change for Japan too. As expected. I’ll talk about this later.

– There was a Bikini Night at ageHa just tonight… and I’m here posting Idol pics on Facebook.


That’s it for this short recap! There are some interesting releases for this last part of 2016 that I will review, and more arguments to talk about, which means more articles. Long story short: summer is finally over, and I will be back writing again as usual. When I’m not out playing Pokémon GO, of course.

Joke. Love ya.

– Alex