J-Tunes

It’s a hard rock life: NINGEN ISU’s Shinji Wajima talks about songwriting, working with friends

After the awesome NINGEN ISU show we saw with Mr. Sato recently, we were exhausted but exhilarated. The band’s hard rock/heavy metal sound is great for getting the blood pumping and the performance felt like it ended as soon as it began—despite lasting well over an hour! It’s safe to say, these guys are the real deal.

So, when Mr. Sato asked if we wanted to come along for an interview with vocalist and guitarist Shinji Wajima, we didn’t hesitate in saying yes! Check out our fun (and fascinating) conversation with Wajima where we cover everything from camping and songwriting to being in a band with someone you’ve known nearly your entire life.

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The new Wagakki Band album is out! Let’s find out what the fans think!

It’s no secret that we’re fans of Wagakki Band here at RocketNews24. We’ve been sharing their music with you since 2013, and you can bet we’ll keep sharing their music until they get old and retire! So, as you can imagine, we were eager to get our hands on their new album Yasouemaki. And, now that everyone has had a few days to enjoy all the new tracks, let’s find out what Japanese fans are saying about the album!

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Antinomy: Talking to Urbangarde about their vision, music, and lying to fans

Urbangarde first caught my attention last year with the release of their video for “Sakura Memento”, a song off the 2014 album Utsukushii Kuni. I’ve been rocking out to their music and pondering their quixotic videos in the many months since then, enjoying their mix of pop, rock, and electronic music. So when a chance meeting resulted in the opportunity to sit down and talk with the band’s vocalists Yoko Hamasaki and Temma Matsunaga, I nearly popped out of my skin with excitement!

If you’ve ever wondered how they come up with lyrics, why they’re so “negative,” and whether they enjoy touring or recording more, read on. Also, be sure to check out their latest video for the new single, “Coin Locker Babies”, after the jump!

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New Kyary Pamyu Pamyu video “Crazy Party Night” makes Halloween cute and colorful…in August

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu is know for many things, but subtlety certainly is not one of them. The singer/model/crazy-in-a-cute-way-girl has released so many bizarre videos by now that we suspect the Oxford English Dictionary will eventually include a picture of her grinning face under the entry for “quirky.” And that’s why we love her!

So we were naturally excited when we saw that she released a new video titled “Crazy Party Night: Pumpkins Strike Back” today. The music was exactly as peppy and cute as you might expect, and the video was…well, it was definitely a Kyary Pamyu Pamyu video. Check it out after the jump!

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NINGEN ISU: This Japanese literary metal band will rock your butt off【Photos & Video】

When Mr. Sato asks you if you want to check out a band with him, you say yes. You don’t ask which band or check your schedule, you just say yes, because you know it’s going to be a good night. It also doesn’t hurt that I already knew he was talking about NINGEN ISU, whose name literally means “Human Chair,” a metal band in the vein of all our favorite old-school traditional metal heroes.

NINGEN ISU’s rise in popularity has been on a slow but powerful burn for decades, and with their upcoming performance at OzzFest this year, they are sure to be popping up on a quite a few radars. So check them out here now and get ready to tell your friends that you knew about these guys way back when!

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Wagakki Band announces second album, due to be released this September

We have great news for all our Wagakki Band fans: The group has officially announced their second album! To be released this September, the record will be titled Yasouemaki and will feature 14 tracks, including some new original songs by the band. Hardcore fans will want to be sure to get a first printing too, as it will included an extra limited-edition song. Read on for more information!

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Famikoto celebrates Nintendo with medley of game music played on traditional instruments【J-Tunes】

It should be no secret that we at RocketNews24 love traditional Japanese music. Whether its Ki&Ki with their tsugaru-jamisen songs or the Wagakki Band with their fusion of vocaloid-inspired rock and traditional instruments, we simply adore the sound. Of course, we’re also fans of Nintendo’s old video games–which is what makes Famikoto one of our favorite discoveries this season!

Check out this group’s music and get ready to take a walk down memory lane with some of Nintendo’s best theme songs!

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Awash in a sea of sound: The ambient electronic music of Sapporo artist Unii【J-Tunes】

We’ve covered a lot of ground with J-Tunes, from an underground grindcore band to mainstream melodic dubstep, and today is no different! We recently got a chance to check out a show featuring the Sapporo-based electronic artist Unii and were so impressed that we had to share her music with our readers!

Check out our interview with Unii, where we talk about her music, world-wide touring, and the state of experimental electronic in Japan and abroad. We’re sure you’ll enjoy her sweeping, ambient soundscapes and ethereal singing.

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Flagitious Idiosyncrasy In The Dilapidation: Japan’s awesome all-woman grindcore band【J-Tunes】

When people think of Japanese music, their thoughts usually turn to J-pop or BABYMETAL–and while nothing is wrong with that, there’s a lot more to be found! We’ve been exploring some of our favorite music in Japan over the last few months, but there’s still a massive universe of artists left to discover. Today, we’ll be breaking out the jackhammer and drilling deep into the world of underground Japanese metal, specifically grindcore and the internationally acclaimed (but still largely unknown) band Flagitious Idiosyncrasy In The Dilapidation.

From overseas touring to being a woman-only band in a male-dominated scene, this interview is sure to keep even Top 40-loving readers interested.

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Rick Rack: The teenage girl rock band that is way better than they have any right to be【J-Tunes】

Playing in a band as a teenager isn’t exactly a big deal. Don’t get us wrong though–when you’re in high school, playing a local battle of the bands is probably one of the most thrilling things you can do! But when it comes right down to it, there are tons of high school bands in the world, and most of them sound like, well, high school bands. Of course, there are exceptions, but we think it’s still fair to say that there aren’t too many bands that both sound good and can’t buy their own alcohol.

As you have probably guessed, today we’re showing you one of those notable exceptions. The Nara Prefecture three-piece rock band Rick Rack–and their lead singer/guitarist Serina–have absolutely blown us away with their energetic songwriting and catchy hooks. You’re sure to have a couple of these songs stuck in your head until the end of the week!

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New video from Wagakki Band “Hanabi” is an original, awesome song【J-Tunes】

When we introduced you to the Wagakki Band last year, we were pretty sure they might end up being a big deal. And, as it turned out, we were definitely right about that! After releasing a full album to rave reviews earlier this year, the band has been on the road touring both in Japan and at the Japan Expo in Paris. But despite their busy schedule of rehearsing and performing, they’ve had time to work on a new, original song. While they haven’t released a full video yet (you’ll have to wait a few more weeks), you can check out the short version below!

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Namakopuri: The inexplicable “art idol” group you will hate yourself for loving【J-Tunes】

Japan is known, fairly or unfairly, for weird music. We’ve introduced plenty of bands that simply produce great music and other groups that are a bit out there. And make no mistake–we love them all! Sometimes “weird” is just part of the music–after all, David Bowie wouldn’t be David Bowie if he didn’t leave us wondering what planet he was really born on.

Namakopuri, an “art idol” group that consists of two young artists dressed in nurse costumes, is certainly on the weird end of the spectrum. In fact, we might even go so far as to say that their new video, “Namakopuri’s Trap,” is the weirdest thing we’ve seen all week. It’s also insanely catchy; we promise you’ll be hearing it in your dreams–or maybe nightmares–tonight!

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A brief history of Japanese rockabilly: Not just for your grandparents!【J-Tunes】

The Japanese music world is as fascinating as it is occasionally bizarre. While groups like AKB48 might dominate the radio waves, there are myriad talented bands and underground genres to be explored. And, like anywhere in the world, genres and bands in Japan flow in and out of favor with the tide. The history of visual kei should be proof enough of that. But when it come to the ebbs and flows of popularity, one genre stands out among the others: Rockabilly.

Though you may not associate the country-tinged rock genre with Japan, you definitely should. Even before the Internet was born, rock music was making its way overseas and dominating the charts–and Japan was no exception. If you’re looking for a new take on classic rock or just appreciate a good bit of weirdness with you coffee, you’ll definitely enjoy our trip through the history of Japanese rockabilly.

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Math, art, and music: Sputniko! reimagines J-pop【J-Tunes】

J-pop usually brings to mind images of teenage girls dancing in unison while singing songs about…something resembling love. It’s about as saccharine as you can get without actually pouring a sachet of sugar directly into your ear. But there’s an exception to every rule, and we today we have for you some of the most fascinating pop music–and videos–you’ll likely ever see.

Even if you’re not a J-pop fan, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of Sputniko!, the artist name of Hiromi Ozaki, and her delightful take on popular music. One of the recipients of Vogue Japan’s 2013 Women of the Year award, this mathematician-turned-artist is not at all what you would call an idol–in fact she’s almost an anti-idol! Her music, voice, and videos, though, are just as enjoyable as anything you’ll find on the radio and far, far more thoughtful. Oh, and did we mention that she’s a professor at MIT?

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Knocking on your door: Kiyoshi Sugo’s beautiful, melodic dubstep【J-Tunes】

May is almost over and summer is about to kick into high-gear. Business people are slipping into their “cool-biz” outfits, and the air conditioners on the trains are coming on full blast now. Pretty soon you’ll be able to find us all at the beach fanning ourselves while slurping down the finest kakigori money can buy. And what better way is there to go into summer than with some sick new tunes?

That’s right, we’re back with more J-Tunes for you! And today we have one of Japan’s best electronic music producers, Kiyoshi Sugo. If you like dancing, lush melodies, fat basslines, or sick drops, you need to check this out.

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Pleated skirts, Kewpie dolls, and death: The wild music and videos of Urbangarde【J-Tunes】

It’s been a good few months for weird music videos, hasn’t it? With BABYMETAL, Avril Lavigne, and Die Antwoord all confusing us in good and/or bad ways (seriously, Avril?), it might seem like there’s no room for crazy music left in your head. But you’d be wrong, because today we have for you the most recent offering of the electro-pop-rock band Urbangarde. And the video isn’t just visually striking–the music is guaranteed to get stuck in your head for the next couple of days! It’s a problem we haven’t figured out to solve yet.

Though, we have to admit that we’re not trying very hard.

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