It has been a while since I posted about ASIAN KUNG-FU GENERATION, so it’s time to look at a few of their recent pieces. The first track is their new song Empathy, posted about a week ago on July 22nd and already pushing the 400K views mark. Since this year marks the bands 25th anniversary, the cross-generational message embedded in this video seems most appropriate. The next track is their classic hit Soranin, the version from THE FIRST TAKE project, posted on July 23rd, and already exceeding 1.5 million views. Not bad for under a week, but then it is a long time fan favorite recorded in a single take, with no do-overs. The third track was posted October of 2020 (nine months ago) and roughly translates as I want to touch I want to confirm, and sits at just over 500K views.
The last post I did for AKFG was in 2019, but like a third of the posts from that year and all but about 6 posts I did for 2020, it evaporated when I tried to migrate the site to the new servers. My best guess is the pandemic lockdown interfered with the hosting services on site backup processes for the 2020 entries, the way it has been doing with all aspects of everyone’s daily life since it slammed into us a year and a half ago (with no end in site as new infection rates once more skyrocket). But I did find several earlier entries survived just fine, if you want to check out a few more tracks out of the hundreds this excellent band has put together you can See Them Here.
Belle herself, voice actress Kaho Nakamura, sings in Millennium Parade’s song U in Mamoru Hosoda’s latest masterpiece Belle. The film opened at the Cannes festival on July 15th, where it received a 14 minute standing ovation! It opened in Tokyo the following day, immediately taking the number one spot at the box office. The second track here is a song from the film just posted online yesterday by Toho Studios, and the third is one of the trailers. It made me smile to see the Beast to this Beauty was a dragon this time around. While I don’t know the opening date for North America, I do know it will be in the hands of G-Kids, who I trust when they say it will be coming soon to theaters here. After all, it has to play before we run out of December in order to qualify for the next Oscar nominations; and considering the reception it received at Cannes I would say Hosoda is an even more serious contender to bring home a bunch of Oscars than he was when his last film Mirai was nominated for both the Oscars and the Golden Globe Awards.
Live on KEXP has been one of my favorite radio programs from North America for quite a while, so I thought it appropriate to mention it here (which I have done multiple times before). The show puts a large number of the best bands in the world in the spotlight every year, granting each one time to show off their talents. Here are a few of the ones I liked recently, to give you an idea why they are worth checking out.
The first one in this small set is Los Bitchos with their full segment from March 2020; the second is Dinosaur Jr from June of this year, with both the music and interview segments. The third is Japanese Breakfast from just a week or two ago. Enjoy!
There were just too many SCANDAL songs I wanted to post on Part 1 of this entry, so I decided to break them apart and created this second post. This one continues the Pre-pandemic selections, first with 2014’s Awanaitsumorino Genkidene, and then what may be my favorite song by them: 2012’s Shunkan Sentimental! And the oldest track of all included in tonight’s collection: Shojo S, from their high school collection!
SCANDAL got their start in 2008 with the release of their first single DOLL, when they were all in high school together, and they have created a bunch of killer tracks since then. What they have been doing since is nothing short of amazing, and every year they are better than the year before. For those of you who don’t already know them, I wanted to share a few tracks.
The first song in this set is Eternal, their 27th or so Single (they have so many, and my Nihongo is so shady, that I can’t be sure if what I think I read was even close to correct), which was posted on March 2nd of 2021. The reason I intend to pick up this two track single rather than waiting for it to come out on an EP or album? Simple: While the 2nd track is also Eternal, it is the TOWA TEI REMIX (of Yellow Magic Orchestra and METAFIVE fame), which has to be world class! The next track is Tonight from February of 2020; While I would love to say these two songs are the bookends around the Japanese pandemic, I would be lying. Being closer to China than the US is, their pandemic started earlier than ours did, so by Feb2020 it was already in full swing; and it is still going strong today, with the Olympic Committee declaring no fans can attend just a few weeks ago or so because of the risk of contagion. A
Pre-pandemic selection is next, 2018’s Departure. Enjoy!
Tessa Violet has been cranking out a wide range of new music during the pandemic, but I seem to have lost the majority of my postings about her since it began. I can’t make up for the 20 or so postings I have lost with a single entry, so expect to see her listed here again very soon! First off, 2 versions of her song Games (2nd studio version, then first and only punk variation), out of the 3 studio and at least 4 live variations I have seen so far. I had to add Bored after that, since she sang that on pretty much all of her twice a week (and often more frequent) Pandemic webcasts since she wrote it a little more than a year ago. And lets face it, there is no song that expresses the mood of every one trapped at home during the previous 16 or so months than that one. And then for perspective one of my favorite songs from before the Pandemic, I Like The Idea Of You. It has been a hell of a couple of years, but I am very grateful for artists like Tessa, who just kept working their asses off even when in isolation, to help keep the rest of us from going batshit bonkers!