Neo Kei

For fans of Japanese Popular Music. From para para to visual kei and every genre inbetween!


New Album from GLAY

Yesterday (5th November) GLAY released their latest album MUSIC LIFE

Keeping true to the Japanese way of not just having one regular version, there will be three versions of this album with two of these featuring a bonus CDs of the band’s best of ballads. BALLADE BEST – MELODIES has fourteen songs voted for by the fans, whereas BALLADE BEST – MEMORIES, has thirteen songs chosen by the band members themselves based on their own personal and emotional attachments. It’d be very interesting to see how similar the choices are.

It’s really interesting that the album’s artwork was designed by Klaus Voormann, who amongst other legendary things won a Grammy for his cover of The BeatlesRevolver. This is the first time he has designed for a Japanese artist, which I love. Klaus has a very distinct style that’s instantly recognisable.

If for some reason you’re still on the fence, listen to these two tracks from the album.

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Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s Pika Pika Fantajin Artwork and Tracklist

I’m really looking forward to hearing Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s new album!

Japan Addict INA

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Kyary Pamyu Pamyu has made a name for herself for being a quirky chameleon. It’s no surprise then that the cover artwork to her upcoming album “Pika Pika Fantajin” would feature her in outrageous poses. In one she even posed with, what do you know, a chameleon.

Along with the artworks, Kyary has also announced the full tracklist and bonus items to the album out July 9. The two limited editions will each carry different live footage from her “NANDA COLLECTION WORLD TOUR 2014”. Including behind the scenes and clips of Kyary enjoying her break, these footages can be considered as a sequel to the “100%KPP WORLD TOUR 2013 OFFICIAL DOCUMENTARY”, released this January.

Moreover, Kyary left this message to her fans:

This album is cute and packed with lots of shiny and sparkly stuff! A lot of the songs on this album are new, and written especially for this…

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My thoughts on Japanese iTunes

It had been a while since I bought any music, so I went onto the Japanese iTunes to find some new songs to add to my collection.

On UK iTunes I like to take advantage of the ‘Single of the Week’, where they give away a free song from an up-and-coming artist or artist with new material (previous artists include Alex Clare, Foxes, Naughty Boy and Tom Odell). So I had a little look around to see if I could find something similar. Then I spotted a section that had 00’s songs for 150 yen (87 pence approx), compared with 250 yen (£1.46 approx).

Yes the songs on Japanese iTunes are more expensive than the UK. But the UK has extremely few Japanese songs. For instance AKB48 (one of the biggest idol groups) only had 1 song, and that was only because they were on the ‘Wreck-It-Ralph’ soundtrack. There some new tracks I could find, which really helped me when I started DJing. But I couldn’t guarantee I would find the songs I wanted, and whether they were still current (no point buying a MIYAVI track 3 months after it was released in Japan). And even if I discovered an artist that I really liked (like Capsule or Aural Vampire), I wouldn’t be able to find any of their back catalogue. So the Japanese iTunes account is brilliant to have access to any artist I want.

Also I don’t have to worry about have to import music. Before iTunes I was purchasing my music through YesAsia. I do think it’s a brilliant site for the amount and variety of stock they have. But you pay the cost of importing. Literally. The prices are so much higher for albums and singles. For instance just looking on the site now, the most recent single of a artist I could find was SID’s  ENAMEL (Normal Edition)(Japan Version) is on sale at $14.25 (£8.44 approx). And that doesn’t include the DVD extras or photobooks they like to include. I couldn’t afford the latest music, so I would look at the reduced items of artists that I thought would be popular, even if the songs had been out of the charts for a while. I’d also buy music in bulk, because firstly it would take about 2-3 weeks at least to arrive, and also the purchases had to be over $39 to qualify for free shipping (which I’ve recently learnt can really bite, but more on that later).

I am still a traditionalist and I like to own the physical CD (but oddly I’ve never been interested in vinyl). So if I want to buy an album of an artist I really like, I will still want to buy it in the future. But as much as I love owning as much music as possible, it’s not practical to buy a physical single at over 5 times the cost of a download song. Plus, whilst I might get 3/4 songs with the physical, half of them might be instrumentals or TV edits (because songs are so often TV OPs) and really what people will want to hear is the actual single, not the extra song that came with it. iTunes allows me to buy the 1 song that I know I will include in my mixes (or at least heavily listen to and build my own musical knowledge), so I’d say that  purchase would have a 100% success rate, compared with may 25-30% with a physical single.

I ended up buying 7 songs. I wanted to talk about them all, and what was meant to be a very short introduction into Japanese iTunes turned into another one of my short opinion pieces! So I’ll share this first and write a separate post that just focuses on the music.


Neo Kei – 18 Jul 2012

Hi Minna,

How’s it going? More varied slices of news this week, including varied activities from artists and big news from Koda Kumi.

Artist News

  • In the lead up to the release of their Pachinko Game, members from the AKB, SKE, and HKT teams will form the new unit Team Surprise.
  • AKB48 member Kashiwagi Yuki has been appointed as the Satsuma ambassador, promoting her hometown Kagoshima.
  • Chemical Pictures will resume activities with a new mini-album.
  • Since CHEMISTRY has gone on hiatus, Kawabata Kaname will be going solo.
  • GRAPEVINE will celebrate their 15th anniversary with their 1st best of album, and their opening track list suggestions to fan voting.
  • On 18/07/2012 Koda Kumi has given birth to her first child, a baby boy.
  • HiGE member Suto Hisashi has launched his solo project, using the live name Suto Hisashi GATALI ACOUSTIC SET.
  • Tohoshinki have become the best selling international artist in Japan.

Live News

  • After the success of their live broadcast and their limited DVD release, exist†trace will be re-broadcasting their Just Like a Virgin live on 20/07/2012.
  • On 15/07/2012 GLAY members TERU and TAKURO hosted an impromptu live for disaster victims in Minamisanriku, Miyagi.
  • Goto Mariko will host her one-man live ‘299792458 TOUR  in Osaka and Tokyo in November.
  • Miyavi will be streaming his Day 1 “Premium Live” on 21/07/2012 through his YouTube channel.
  • On 17/07/2012 Momoiro Clover Z performed at an all-boys school to motivate the students.

Release News

  • 25/07/2012 B’z B’z (first English album)
  • 01/08/2012, 24/09/2012 THE MICRO HEAD 4N’SA BEGINNING FROM THE END (first album’s Japanese release, European release through Bishi-Bishi).
  • 08/08/2012 NMB48 – Virginity (single)
  • 08/08/2012 SMAP – GIFT of SMAP (album)
  • 08/08/2012 Ayumi HamasakiA Summer Best (compliation album)
  • 15/08/2012 AKB481830m. (album)
  • 22/08/2012 TOKIO – 17 (first new album in 6 years)
  • 29/08/2012, 11/09/2012 Tackey & Tsubasato-be-titled (single), to-be-titled (album)
  • 29/08/2012 YUKI – Watashi no negai goto (single)
  • 29/08/2012 Kiyokiba Shunsuke – Fighting Man (single)
  • 29/08/2012 GOTCHAROCKAHydrag (first single)
  • 05/09/2012 FLOWBraBlue (single)
  • 05/09/2012 Blitz – Wish World Rainbow (first single)
  • 05/09/2012 Plastic Tree – Shion (single)
  • 12/09/2012 ASIAN KUNG-FU GENERATIONLandmark (album)
  • 12/09/2012 SUGIZO – STAIRWAY to The FLOWER OF LIFE (live DVD)
  • 12/09/2012 BUMP OF CHICKENfirefly (single)
  • 19/09/2012 MERRY – MERRY VERY BEST – Shiroi Hitsuji / Kuroi Hitsuji – (best of album)
  • 19/09/2012 Porno Graffitti – KAGEBOUSHI (single)
  • 19/09/2012 BUCK-TICKyumemiru uchuu (first album release through their label Lingua Sounda)
  • 26/09/2012 Girugamesh(to-be-titled) (single)
  • 26/09/2012 BLACK LINELEGNA (single)

Be Genki (^o^)y


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Neo Kei News – 4 July 2012

Hi Minna-san,

Happy 4th July for any American readers or fans of the big U.S of A! Lots of more unsual news with info from award ceremony and artist-themed food …

Artist News

  • Line Up Changes – Tomoka Wakabayashi will be graduating from SKE48, drummer Korey will be leaving Signal, Shoken is leaving Romancrew and Paradeis will be disbanding. On the plus side Velbet have new guitarists.
  • Bassist of baroque, Bansaku, has been listed as an offical missing person, has he hasn’t been seen since 24/06/2012. I hope he’s found safe and sound soon.
  • D are expanding their fanclub to international members.
  • Kiryuuin Shou, vocalist of Golden Bomber, will release solo material in the autumn. He’ll also have a solo live, Hitori Yogari 2, on 08/07/2012, and will be shared via YouTube on 14/07/2012 (broadcasted in London at 12:00).
  • Japanese convenience store FamilyMart has created a meat bun in the style of Hatsune Miku. Can you see the ressemblance?
  • Mika Nakashima will be releasing the theme song for the Japanese release of the next Resident Evil film.
  • Johnny’s Entertainment group NYC are now the campaign characters for SEGA’s indoor amusement park Joypolis.
  • Utada Hikaru has twetted about writing a new song…about coriander.

Release News

  • abingdon boys school will be making their first release in 2 and half years with the single WE aRE on 05/09/2012.
  • The next single from Aqua Timez will be Tsubomi, out on 22/08/2012.
  • GILLE major debut album I AM GILLE, out on 18/07/2012, will feature covers from a variety of artists, including AKB48, GReeeeN, Bruno Mars, Kimura Kaela, Adele and LMFAO.
  • The theme song for anime Total Eclipse will be Koda Kumi‘s track Go to the top.
  • Justice from MATENROU OPERA will be getting it’s European album release through Gan-Shin Records on 06/07/2012.
  • SMAP‘s 48th single, Moment, will be TBS’s London Olympics theme song.
  • ZAZEN BOYS will make their first release in 4 years with the album Stories.
  • ZUCK will release their first album Iden Algorithm, produced by Janne Da Arc’s kiyo, on 18/07/2012.

Live News

  • Alice Nine will be hosting 2 sets of lives this winter. Under the concert series Court of “9” #3, BLACK PERIOD will be exclusively for fan club members, whilst WHITE PERIOD will be open for non fan club members.
  • Even though they split in August 2010, all 5 members of Ayabie reunited for one live on 29/06/2012, to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the live house Takadanobaba AREA in Tokyo.
  • GReeeeN held their first fan event at NHK Shibuya Hall, whilst maintaining their private identities using virtual live technology.
  • The MTV Japan Video Music Awards were held in Chiba on 23/06/2012. My favourite winners include Namie Amuro (Best Female Video for Love Story & Best Collaboration for make it happen), EXILE (Video of the Year for Rising Sun), KREVA (Best Hip Hop Video for Kijun), and hosts Perfume (Best Dance Video & Best Choreography for Laser Beam).
  • NEWS will host their first nationwide tour in 3 and half years, starting in 14/08/2012.

Be Genki (^o^)y


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Neo Kei – 13 June 2012

Ohayo,

How’s everyone doing? After the last couple of boo-boos on the posts I’m going to make sure all the news items are properly styled before publishing. But this week hasn’t left a lot of free time so if the post looks a little thin on the ground, don’t worry, it’ll be packed with lots of news soon.

This week there seems to be a lot about both anniversaries and break-ups and of course a healthy dose of new releases, including some for Europe!

Artist News

Line Up Change News – On 29/06/2012 Moran will have 2 new members, but Sleepy.ab are losing their drummer, TRIGGAH are losing 3 members, School Food Punishment have split and Kro:nos, Matenrou Opera are going on hiatus. YELLOW FRIED CHICKEN’z are also split with their last live YELLOW FRIED CHICKENz 煌☆雄兎狐塾 -破秘婆酒日解散祭-泣くのは辞めな、笑ってサヨナラしましょうねぇ- [Happy Birthday Break-up Festival ~ Don’t cry, let’s say goodbye with a smile] and on Gackt’s birthday (04/07/2012).

  • Japanese music company avex are offering a massive opportunity by auditioning for LA performers to be represented and perform in Japan and throughout the world.
  • The Birthday frontman Chiba Yusuke has a number of projects lined up, including a solo album with album-inspired film and fronting a supergroup as well as other The Birthday projects.
  • 10,000 people came to the Flower Tribute Ceremony to say their goodbyes to Dragon Ash bassist IKUZONE.
  • MONKEY MAJIK are planning an English Best of Album, and are opening the tracklist to public vote. So if you want to hear your favourite MM tracks in English, make sure you speak up!
  • Utada Hikaru has reacted to Yahoo Japan featuring her recent tweets as headline news. I know it’s a bit comical that I’m also reporting to, but I’ve also been missing her since she started her hiatus.
  • Tackey & Tsubasa are opening up their best-of album to public vote.
  • THE YELLOW MONKEY have set up their own YouTube, Facebook and Twitter as part of their 20th anniversary celebrations.

Release News

  • The Bishi-Bishi group are giving two European album releases for seiyuu Horie Yui and Momoiro Clover Z on 04/07/2012 through their digital store and other stores like iTunes.
  • exist†trace‘s first full album VIRGIN is now available on iTunes in thirty countries, including the US and UK.
  • KinKi Kids will be releasing a DVD/Blu-ray of their 01/01/2012 live, King • KinKi Kids 2011 – 2012.
  • Seiyuu Minori Chihara (aka Yuki Nagato in Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya) is releasing her 15th single ZONE//ALONE on 11/07/2012.
  • Johnny’s Entertainment group NEWS will be releasing their single Chankapana on 18/07/2012.
  • ONMYO-ZA  have a new album called Kishibojin, and through GANSHIN it will be released in Europe on 20/06/2012.
  • SPYAIR have recorded the theme for The Amazing Spider-Man 3D film. 0 GAME will have multiple releases, inclduding 28/06/2012 in Europe and 03/07/2012 in the US.
  • In time to celebrate their fifth anniversary, Versailles will release their single ROSE on 04/07/2012.
  • ZUCK will release their single Hoshi no Nai Sora online via dwango.jp on 18/06/2012 and via iTunes on 27/06/2012.

Live News

  • BUMP OF CHICKEN will be performing at the MTV VIDEO MUSIC AWARDS JAPAN on 23/06/2012.
  • Record label Crow Music are celebrating their 15th anniversary with 2 lives featuring artists such as  RavanteD, REVINE, BORN and OZ.
  • The artist line up has been announced for GIRLS’ FACTORY 12 in Zepp DiverCity TOKYO.
  • MERRY will release a DVD of their 10th anniversary lives, entitled MERRY 10th Anniversary NEW LEGEND OF HIGH COLOR -6DAYS-
  • VAMPS will be getting into the summer spirit with their own beach party live BEAST ON THE BEACH in Aichi prefectures in August.

Be Genki (^o^)y


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Neo Kei – 6 June 2012

Hi Minna!

Firstly big apologies for publishing last week’s post with a lot of loose hyperlinks. In my commitment to keep the blog updated regularly I set a publishing timer, but didn’t finish formating before the deadline. In future I’ll make sure all the news and info is up-to-date before sending it out into the big wide world. And then once I took out the publishing deadline, I managed to skip a whole week! I will be more diligent with the posting in future.

Now onto the double-dose of latest news. It’s great that there’s so many artists not just celebrating their anniversaries in special ways, but also are open to their fan’s opinions and act on their voting. Plus check out an unsual cover coming soon. Enjoy!

Artist News

  • After the news about their single on Neo Kei XBOOM BOOM SATELLITES will be collaborating with video sharing website Nico Nico Douga for upcoming single BROKEN MIRROR for a remix contest. Fans can use track parts from the release and submit their remix via Nico Nico Douga: Zero, and in early August the group will choose the winning track that will feature on their upcoming remix album  due in September. Exciting stuff!
  • Kanjani8- have announced their plans to celebrate their eight year anniversary, with the Fan Gratitude CD Special Free Event at their hometown Osaka on 08/08/2012, and their fan festival 8 Festival ~Bokuramo 8cchai, 8cchake Matsuri in August.
  • Kyary PamyuPamyu has reached Number 1 in the ORICON Daily Charts, American, French and Belgium Electronic iTunes charts with her first album PamyuPmayu Revolution. She has also been featured in Jigoku no Misawa’s manga Kakko-Kawaii Sengen.
  • After their last world tour date on 31/05/2012 in Honolulu, the day was established as L’Arc~en~Ciel Day in the city. They are the third Japanese act to have a day established for them, after TUBE and Arashi. Also L’Arc~en~Ciel are letting their fans vote for which countries they visit on their next world tour. Voting started on 01/06/2012, check it out and vote for your country, or the UK!
  • On 25/05/2012 Moritaka Chisato announced a number of activities for her twenty-fifth anniversary. First she has her YouTube project 200 Songs Self Cover Project with archive and new videos, including cover videos of all the songs released between 1987 and 1999. Her singles are available digitally for a limited time in Chaku-Uta form through Recochoku. And finally her single collection album The Singles is out on 08/08/2012.
  • For MUCC-Day (MUCC‘s 15th anniversary live) on 09/06/2012, the band are looking for 69 reporters to cover the event and share on their personal blogs.
  • Acapella group RAG FAIR will make their December 2012.
  • Morning Musume‘s manager has announced a new project, an all-girl rock band for member Reina Tanaka.
  • Tokyo Jihen have launched a special website. It includes video clips, photos and liner notes, so check it out.

Release News

  • Singer/songwriter aiko is making her first release in two years with her tenth album Toki no silhouette on 20/06/2012.
  • An Cafe will be releasing their first mini-album in two and a half years on 08/08/2012. No title yet, but I am really looking forward to it, I might just pre-order.
  • After providing for the first game, Ayumi Hamasaki will be providing the theme song for the video game Tales of Xillia 2.
  • BONNIE PINK has a double release planned, with her single Machi no Namae due on 04/07/2012, followed by her twelfth album Chasing Hope on 25/07/2012.
  • A number of rock and visual kei artists such as MERRY, MUCC and Acid Black Cherry have covered BUCK-TICK tracks for their tribute album PARADE II–RESPECTIVE TRACKS OF BUCK-TICK, out on 04/07/2012.
  • Hip-hop group Caramel Peppers‘ third mini album LOVE LOVE LOVE SONGS 3 is out on 18/07/2012.
  • D=OUT will release their mini-album high collar on 15/08/2012 in three editions.
  • Denpagumi.inc will release their single Kirakira Tune / Sabotage on 18/07/2012. An idol group covering this Beastie Boys track?
    This I must hear.
  • The latest album from the GazettE will be DIVISION, out on 29/08/2012.
  • KAT-TUN‘s latest single will be TO THE LIMIT on 27/06/2012.
  • L’Arc~en~Ciel will release their best-of live DVD LIVE TWENTY and tribute album L’Arc~en~Ciel Tribute, both on 13/06/2012.
  • lynch. will make their major debut with the album INFERIORITY COMPLEX, out on 27/06/2012.
  • Another major debut is planned for Vision Factory performer Miura Ryosuke with the single Natsu dayo HONEY!! on 11/07/2012.
  • Moi dix Mois are releasing Reprise on 11/07/2012 for their tenth anniversary. It features new versions of songs voted for by their fans.
  • MUCC released two singles, ARCADIA FEATURING DAISHI DANCE and NIRVANA , digitally on 25/05/2012.
  • Female rockers Negoto will release their single Lightdentity / Re:myend! on 08/08/2012. Both tracks will be used as theme songs, Lightdentity will be in the CM for a nurse recruitment website and Re:myend! will be in the anime movie  After School Midnighters, out on 25/08/2012.
  • If there aren’t enough AKB48 sub groups, new unit NO NAME will make their debut with their single Kibou ni Tsuite on 01/08/2012.
  • Sadie have releases due, first their DVD with all their thirteen PVs since forming, CLIPS-13 is available from 11/07/2012 . Then the single METEOR will follow on 25/07/2012.
  • Morecover album news, V-ANIME ROCKS!, due on 01/08/2012, features some of the most current visual kei artists with themes from classic anime such as DRAGON BALL Z, Sailor Moon, Neon Genesis Evangelion and YuYu Hakusho. I know not everyone who enjoys Japanese music enjoys anime, but I imagine a lot of people were introduced to the music like me through anime. I’d love to play some of these tracks at a Neo Kei event.
  • On 27/06/2012 ViViD will release their album INFINITY.

Live News

  • Her first dome tour in fifteen years, Amuro Namie will be embarking on namie amuro 5dai Dome TOUR 2012 ~20th Anniversary Best~ in November and December. Twenty of the set list songs will be voted for by the fans through the twentieth anniversary website.
  • Angelo will host their first featured event Angelo Presents – THE INTERSECTION OF DOGMA on 17/08/2012 at SHIBUYA-AX and will also include girugamesh, lynch., MERRY and Sadie with a live-battle. Fighto!
  • On 10/06/2012 BUCK-TICK will host their at the NIGHT SIDE 2012 performance at Hibiya Open Air Concert Hall and it will be available live online on NicoNico NamaHousou.
  • DJ Kentaro will appear at London’s XOYO on 14/07/2012 as part of his European tour.
  • GLAY have revealed they will release their live DVD s just revealed that they will be releasing a new live DVD on July 25th, GLAY HIGHCOMMUNICATIONS TOUR 2011-2012 ‘RED MOON&SILVER SUN’ at Nippon Budoukan exclusively through their mail-order website G-DIRECT from 25/07/2012
  • Between December and January, LUNA SEA will be touring with their one-man live LUNA SEA LIVE 2012-2013 The End of the Dream.They will be at Osaka-jo Hall and Nippon Budokan for the first time in twelve years.
  • Perfume will release their live DVD Perfume 3rd Tour ‘JPN on 01/08/2012, featuring footage from the second day in their hometown.
  • the GazettE, ASIAN KUNG-FU GENERATION and Perfume have been added to the line up for The RISING SUN ROCK FESTIVAL in Hokkaido.

Be Genki (^o^)y