Aug 31 2015

URBANGARDE Visits Psychiatric Hospital for Special Concert


Members of Japanese rock band URBANGARDE accepted the invitation of a Nagano hospital to perform for patients in the psychiatric ward and nursing home on August 21. Vocalist Yoko Hamasaki and keyboardist Kei Ohkubo performed songs requested by the patients plus some of URBANGARDE’s original songs.

One of the doctors explained, “The world of URBANGARDE is closely related to the field of psychiatry.” URBANGARDE eagerly accepted the invitation, but it was the first time the members had actually visited the institution, so both the doctors and performers were eager to see the result. “Normally, only families of the patients could visit the closed ward,” the doctor continued, “so this was a special opportunity to inspire creativity.”

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Aug 30 2015

Onmyouza announces live DVD/BDs Fujin Live and Raijin Live


Japanese rock band Onmyouza has announced the simultaneous release of two concert DVD/BD’s Fujin Live and Raijin Live, recorded at their tour finals in December 2014 and February 2015 at Tokyo Dome City Hall.

Each video contains a different set list from their recent albums Fujin Kaiko and Raijin Sosei, and limited editions come with a band-designed Onmyouza hand towel. Fujin Live and Raijin Live are slated for release on September 9, 2015.

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Aug 27 2015

umbrella – Kinematograph (Review)


Review by Jen Wang


The latest mini-album from visual kei quartet umbrella opens with the cranking sounds of an old-fashioned camera projecting film. Indeed the aptly-named Kinematograph does provide a glimpse into the past—the early 90s to be exact, when shoegaze was all the rage. Those hazy guitars float from the intro, “Lumiere”, to the very end, yet umbrella manages to break free from the wall of sound to have a modern rock sound.

The strikingly romantic “Keihaku no Hito” features staccato violin and breathy vocals. The chorus breaks out of the softness but remains catchy enough to be perfect for a TV show or commercial. It ends powerfully with Yui’s voice going into an ethereal falsetto. The next song, “Skyfish”, layers on each band member’s role. Although there is dissonance, the repetitive melodies help maintain some sort of order. That is, until Shu hits a noisy guitar solo that is a bit jarring. The album continues to get heavier and faster, as Yui’s voice goes to a lower pitch for “Tenohira drop”. Sho’s drums go into an ominous march-like pace that adds to the dark mood.

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Aug 25 2015

Budo Grape releases trailer for third set of 2015 singles


Nagoya’s Budo Grape has release a video trailer for their latest singles “Unmei no bus” and “Angou”. This is the third time this year that the Japanese new wave indies band has released a pair of new songs, following “4-3-2-1 Hi o Tukero”, “Zankoku Na Yasashisa”, “Hakase ni Soudan”, and “Kyou no kare Ashita no watashi”.

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Aug 25 2015

Kamijo Releases LINE Stamps


KAMIJO, who is celebrating his 20th anniversary from his debut this year, will release his first official LINE stamps. His official LINE account will open on the same day. The official LINE stamps will feature a charmingly cartooned KAMIJO with various expressions and phrases including his fan-favorite phrase, “Bonjour!”.

The KAMIJO stamps are on sale worldwide in the LINE app’s Creator’s Market as of August 20. 40 stamps will be included in the pack. KAMIJO’s LINE stamps are the first by a Warner music Japan artist to be released globally.

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