Category Archives: CULTURE

Top 25 Releases of 2018: No. 20 – 16

half kill - half kill

CD, Too Circle Records, 2018

No.20 – Half Kill – Half Kill
This Shizuoka-based punk band produced one of the best punk albums I heard this year with this ferociously lo-fi album. The yobbish/snotty male-female vocal interplay gives a lot of songs a call-and-response dynamic, with the spindly guitar lines and occasional intrusions of synth edging many of these one-and-a-half-minute songs into postpunk territory. It all sounds like it was recorded in a bathtub, but that’s part of the charm.

struggle for pride - we struggle fgor all our pride

CD, WDSOUNDS / AWDR/ LR2, 2018

No.19 – Struggle For Pride – We Struggle For All Our Pride
One of the most unusual albums of the year, We Struggle For All Our Pride ricochets between the band’s familiar blasts of heavy, noise-drenched hardcore and breezy hip-hop instrumentals courtesy of DJ Highschool and Bushmind, interspersed with vocal interludes and covers featuring (among others) Kahimi Karie, Yoshie Nakano of jazz-pop ensemble Ego-Wrappin’, and folk-punk act Ohayo Mountain Road. I have no idea what the guiding creative impulse of this album was or what the band hoped to achieve with it beyond hanging out with their eclectic array of mates, but the result is wild and deeply entertaining.

klan aileen - milk

CD, Hostess Entertainment, 2018

No.18 – Klan Aileen – Milk
Noise-rock is a kind of music that Japanese bands have traditionally been great at but which has rarely made much of an impact on …continue reading

    

Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari Episode 4 Impression

Source: Supaku Blog
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On this episode, the king hosts a wave victory party. Later, Motoyasu challenges a duel against Naofumi to free Raphtalia.

So re-seeing the duel as animated was plain cool and especially how Naofumi got advantages. But, Malty is somewhat annoying with more of her twisted evil schemes against the shield hero. Other than that, the near ending between our male lead and Raphtalia got me heart warmed again. Now what’s going to happen next? I’ll be looking forward to it. Overall, awesome duel action and a heart warming ending.

Conclusion: Awesome duel action and a heart warming ending. …continue reading

    

Japanese Manhole Cover Festival Coming to Tokyo

Look down, not up, as you walk. But only if you’re headed to the Japanese Manhole Cover Festival happening in Tokyo. If you love Japanese manhole covers as much as we do, you’ll be excited to learn that the extravaganza will include everything from actual manhole covers and manhole cover goods (like doormats, miniatures, collector […]

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Top 25 Releases of 2018: No. 25 – 21

the neso - new me

2018 was a good year for new music releases in Japan, although as usual very little of it received much attention beyond the usual underground word-of-mouth circles. There were a handful of releases that I was anticipating intensely, like the Falsettos’ full length debut, and some nice surprises like the Doodless EP, but the story that ended up colouring this list most strongly was a number of strong releases in that loose category at the intersection of postpunk, post-hardcore, psychedelia, krautrock, industrial and experimental rock that for the sake of convenience I’m increasingly just bracketing all together as noise-rock. There were a lot of releases I enjoyed this year, though, and no doubt past visitors to this site will recognise personal favourites who keep cropping up in my year-end reviews.

In past years, I’ve posted these reviews individually, but this time round I’m doing them in batches of five. Partly this is because a fair few of these are very short as I wrote longer reviews over the course of last year, partly this is to accommodate a slightly longer than usual list, and partly it’s because a busy calendar with my own musical activities and those with Call And Response Records means I don’t want to still be posting these updates a month from now.

Cassette, self-released, 2018

No.25 – The Neso – New Me
Tokyo-based trio The Neso finished the year out by shedding two thirds of their members, but not before finishing this top-notch new cassette EP featuring four new jittery postpunk tunes in a Delta 5/Au Pairs/Kleenex mould. The songs Fasting and Dawn also serve as powerful reminders of what an effective instrument the xylophone can be in a postpunk or new wave song (see also Electricity by OMD, Gone Daddy Gone by Violent Femmes).
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