7 February 2016

Round-up: The music I've been listening to recently.

I've been away from blogging for a while. Perhaps after the incident I mentioned last time I got tired of my internet presence and cut it down massively.
However, my love for Japanese music never lessened, so I decided to pick up blogging again and will focus more on new and intriguing artists from Japan, as well as reports of live shows I've visited, as much as that's possible.

Taiko Super Kicks

Do you all remember @taikoband? Probably you do, because their debut EP was a fest of blues guitars, Tom Waits melancholy and Pavement’s greatness, refined with playful guitar licks and surfer indie rock melodies it made for one of the most exciting things to come out of Japan in 2014.
And even if you don't, don't let it worry you. Their first mini-album is still available on bandcamp and offers much richness and diversity.
Now fast forward to last year December. Taiko Super Kicks finally released their first album and, boy, what an album.
The playful sound has been enhanced, constructed bit by bit the melodies feel more vivid which makes for one of the freshest albums in recent indie rock history. It’s a bit slow, like the album naming song “メニイシェイプス”, but it makes up with a jazzy basis and an almost sexy refrain to force you sing along. I feel the outstanding songs on this album are “流れる” and “別れ”, which surprises with minimal instrumentalisation, but so much heart and dedication packed in soothing vocals. A must listen.
A plus, they are touring right now! 
Check out their first real PV here:

twitter: @taikoband
hp: http://taikosuperkicks.tumblr.com
buy: jp http://j.mp/20iMrtB

Get Well Soon

Konstantin Gropper’s project “Get Well Soon” released their new album “LOVE” in the end of January and this is the latest promotional song from it. The video was shot by the BildundTonFabrik from Cologne who are also responsible for successful TV shows like Böhmermann & Schulz, Neo Magazin Royale and others. Gropper has tuned up his sound and added an 80s layer of synthesizers to blend in effortlessly with the already established dark, sometimes folk based approach. They used to deliver more heavy and often stoic songs, but with Love compositions have become a lot rounder and Gropper’s melody crafting adds a range close to that of Morrissey to enrich their songs even more. One of the most creative projects from Germany and definitely worth a listen.

LOVE is out on Caroline Records /Universal Europe and can be bought on itunes here
or on CD elsewhere. You know where, don’t you!

Hasunuma Shuta is back with a new album after his Fusion Philharmonic project “Time Is Playing” from 2013. He took it one step further this time and added various soul, jazz and Hip-Hop influences to Melodies. He worked closely with musicians from detune, which can be heard. The opening track, Acoustics has a nice Jackson 5 vibe, which is followed by the very jazzy The Original. Hasunuma’s vocals became an additional instrument, rather than a sparce extra to be thrown in every now and then which makes the song production a lot rounder and gives the songs a wider appeal. The experimental sound is not gone though, yet enhanced with a variety of music styles. “New” or the low-toned “Stroke”, the latter which has a serious “Badly Drawn Boy” like chorus represent the experimental side of Hasunuma. Among the 10 tracks you will also find slow and emotional songs, so basically all you can hope to find on a modern piece of music. Plus RAPPING! and not too bad either. I figure his sessions with 環ROY or 口ロロ’s Miura Koshi inspired him to try this out and with success. I highly recommend this album and would rate it a 9/10 for its musical range and creativity. 
Please buy it either on itunes or the usual sources. https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/melodies/id1075789268

That's all for now. 

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