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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!

She Knows Tech is an organization of women professionals in the music industry, and if that immediately makes you think secretaries, receptionists, and gophers, you completely missed the point. The She Knows Tech Summit is a multi-day all-female line-up conference to celebrate International Women’s Day, which takes place on March 8th. The Summit happened this year from March 5th through the 8th, and brought together a new generation of multifaceted producers, artists, songwriters and music professionals. Their goals include:

1) To provide a platform for women to give and receive training in music technology.
2) To highlight female-identifying professionals in the music technology industry as role models.
3) To create a safe space for open discussion in closing the industry’s gender gap.

This year some of their members created music live from their homes and studios, which was hosted at the Spitfire YouTube Channel. That link will take you to their full playlist, but I wanted to share a few of my favorites here. The first tune is from Dominique, her song Use Me, a very tasty role reversal. The second track is from Ling Ling, and I love the fact the skyline behind her is also something she created electronically. I thought I recognized several of those buildings, and if so they came from different cities. Next we have dolltr!ck with her song Destiny. The final video is one of their promotional spots, telling you a bit more about the organization.

INFO: I posted the She Knows Tech entry back in March in honor of International Women’s Day, but like many posts I did in the past 2 years it evaporated when I moved to the new server a few months ago. The organizations work was too important and the music was too good to leave out, so this is the replacement post. I know there are hundreds of entries which are gone from this site forever, but as I identify the missing ones I will do my best to get them reinstated here.