Archive for 'Album Review'

Judy and Mary 15th Anniversary Tribute Album

15TH ANNIVERSARY TRIBUTE ALBUM

15TH ANNIVERSARY TRIBUTE ALBUM

Hot off the presses, the Judy and Mary 15th Anniversary Tribute Album, released March 18, 2009, was pretty awesome. Just as I had hoped. I really need to go back over the Judy and Mary discography, as so far I’ve fund some pretty cool stuff. I’ll keep this brief, but there are a few tracks that I wanted to give specific mention too.

The album starts off with Ikimono Gakari covering Classic. Ikimono Gakar’s sound is all over this one including their signature harmonica. One spot actually plays a bit like Kimagure ROMANTIC, intentionally I’m sure. Those little bits, plus an ever so slightly updated sound make this cover a really enjoyable one.

mihimaru GT takes a stab at Over Drive, and they do a great job. Thing’s start off simple and pick up a few more interesting sounds as things go on. True to form, mihimaru GT mixes in a little bit of their Hip-Hop thing. mihimaru GT is a group that I’ve heard about for quite a while, but have never looked much into their music. I’ll definitely be checking them out in more detail in the future.

The third track I’d like to mention is Lucky Pool, covered by HALCALI. I like HALCALI’s style and this song is another one where the group takes the original and adds just enough to make it their own. HALCALI of course, interjects a lil rap. It’s the same old song, but different enough that it’s fresh and new. Well, both versions are fairly new to me, but you get the point.

Ai Otsuka, HALCALI, Ikimono Gakari, Kimura Kaela, Midori, mihimaru GT, Nakagawa Shouko, Okuda Tamio, PUFFY, SCANDAL, school food punishment, SHIGI, SUNEOHAIR, Takeshi Hanzawa… whether or not you’re familiar with any one of the artists, I really recommend you check out this album. There’s not one track on here that I didn’t like to some extent.

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GO!GO!7188 – Futashika Tashika (+Antenna)

Futashika Tashika

Futashika Tashika

GO!GO!7188’s 15th single, released January 14th, 2009. Futashika Tashika is a fairly mellow song and I really like the flow of it . It concludes with a nice three minute instrumental, one that I can just sit back, listen to and enjoy.

The second track is a bit more upbeat, as is the third, which is more in line with their usual fanfare. Interestingly, the single features the track Bariburi, which has their drummer carrying the lead vocals. GO!GO! have done this before and it seems to work okay in this case. Overall not a spectacular release, but I still enjoyed it.

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I’m sure there’s some deep meaning behind the video, but I’m not too keen on catching that kind of stuff. The cover of the single has an Ashura which is also featured in the PV. It seems to illustrate some sort of life death evolution or some such. I’m sure that bit has some link to Ashura as well.

Antenna

Antenna

Antenna was released on February 4, 2009. Their 7th album features their latest singles Futashika Tashika and one of my favorites, Kataomoi Fighter, plus 10 new tracks. I have to say that I get the feeling of more of the same from this album, but at the same time, the tracks are unique and enjoyable enough that it doesn’t really matter.

The beachy surf rock style can be heard throughout, although only subtly at times. It’s this style and along with Yuu’s vocals that make the band for me, so it’s all good. I think someone new to GO!GO! can get a good feel for what this group is all about through this album. Their Best of from a few years ago has a good sampling as well.

Outside of the great single tracks, Chinton shan, Kuwazu Girai and Ame no Hi Dake no Koi stand out. Chinton shan and Kuwazu Girai for their upbeat tempo and familiarity, then Ame no Hi Dake no Koi for the interesting vocals.

With Ame no Hi Dake no Ko, GO!GO! again throws out some vocals to their drummer, Turkey. He doesn’t carry the whole song tho which creates an interesting dynamic between the whole of the composition. I’m really starting to like his voice, which I was a little bit hesitant on back when I first heard it on their cover album Tora no Ano 2. Hopefully they continue this trend, as it adds a good bit of variety and spice.

On the whole, good stuff.

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Mai Kuraki – touch Me!

touch Me!

touch Me!

It did give me a little smile reading the cover, not enough to produce anything like a laugh, but I though the title layout was a lil funny. Mai Kuraki’s latest album, touch Me! was released on January 21, 2009 and it’s one I was pleasantly surprised by. It’s peaked at #1 on Oricon and it looks to be on track to hold that position for the week. Tho that might not be a lot to get excited over, I don’t think there was too much competition album wise.

Mai kind of reminds me of a Koda Kumi or Namie Amuro type of artist, yet is plenty less on the intense side, which I prefer in a way. She apparently had some Whitney Houston influence early on and you can still kinda hear a bit of that. The only reason I draw the parallel is maybe for people who have an interest in the others, perhaps you’ll enjoy her style. Or may want to check it out, if you’re in a similar situation as myself. And then again, it may just be a bad comparison.

Ichibyou Goto ni Love for you, featured on the album was the first new single of Mai’s that I bought and it gets top points on the album. To be expected of singles most of the time I guess. I’m just really digging the upbeat sound to it. It’s unique in it’s instrumental aspect, when compared to a lot of her other stuff. Break the Tone was another good one, again more upbeat and has an interesting pop sound.

Didn’t I just put up a whole posts on how I’d like to see less cover songs this year? Jamie, what’s the deal? Well it’s not a single and the entire album isn’t dedicated to covers so I’ll let it slide. Covering Top of The World by The Carpenters, it’s kinda awesome in a way. I mean, it’s a great song, and she pulls it off while adding just enough to give it a bit of an updated feel. It’s one of the best songs on the album, but maybe that’s a bit of familiarity bias.

It’s not something I’ll put on repeat or anything like that, but a few great tracks and overall nice sound make this album a nice grab.

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Nakagawa Shouko – Magic Time

Magic Time

Magic Time

So many releases coming through to start up 2009, and Shokotan kicks it off right. Her second album, Magic Time, was released on January 1, 2009 and features seven new tracks and [another] Sorairo Days remix.

She continues to come up with more rockish sounding songs, which I really enjoy. While at the same time, she’s still keeping true to the poppy stuff her long time fans will like. Perhaps there’s not really distinction anymore, but I have read some reviewers who don’t like this shift, whereas others just don’t care for the happy go lucky stuff.

Of the new songs, Spiral and Ivy were the tops for me. Spiral has a nice mix of guitar and pop. It feels as if could have been used as an anime opening, game theme song or the like, which Shokotan is somewhat known for. Ivy features a do wop type of swing that transitions in a nifty kazoo tune at the end. It’s just fun without being overly so.

The Sariro Days mix isn’t anything special this time around. Where the last mix was a totally redone with 8 bit goodness, this one seems a to be a step back from the original. It’s kind of a mix of Tsuzuku Sekai and Sorairo, but it’s just lacking energy and variety on the instrumental side or something. That said, it doesn’t detract from the general quality of the album and is one of the better tracks included.

Overall I really liked the album and am definitely looking forward to following Shokotan this year. That’s both in the musical sense, and in whatever modeling, acting and other promotional spots she has lined up. She always seems to have something interesting going on.

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New Music Review: Sei -say- (misono)

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New Music Review: Tora no Ana 2 (GO!GO!7188)

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New Music Review: March 2008

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New Music Review: February 2008

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