After posting the last entry, a number of other release dates popped up. These artists have been covered by Musicwhore.org before, but I’m not necessarily interested in them. You may be.
(Except the Cocco release. My feelings on that are quite known.)
Cocco, “Onsoku Punch”, Feb. 22
I have to say the techno beat I heard on the Speedstar web site clip had me cringing a bit. But then that guitar started up, and I thought, “Huh. She’s really going to shake expectations on this one.”
Singer Songer was already shocking, relative to her solo work from five years back. This comeback should prove illuminating.
Spitz, Cycle Hit 1991-1997, March 25
Spitz, Cycle Hit 1997-2005, March 25
Kusano Masamune has a beautiful voice, and hearing him duet with Shiina Ringo on her cover album, Utaite Myoori, made me wish Spitz were something of a harder band. But they’re melodic and bright, and the first singles collection, Recycle (released back in 1998), was enough for me.
I haven’t followed the band much since then, so I’d probably check out Cycle Hit 1997-2005 out of curiosity.
Remioromen, “Taiyoo no Shita”, March 18
I didn’t warm up to Remioromen’s second album at all, and the first album, while showing potential, didn’t strike me as being as strong as it should have been. Like Spitz’s Kusano, singer Fujimaki Ryouta has the kind of appealing voice that makes it easy to forgive shortcomings in the music. But to a point.
Art-School, TBD (single), April 2006
I’m probably going to put a review of Paradise Lost in a round-up, but I just wasn’t moved by it the way I was Love/Hate. Kinoshita Riki is an accomplished songwriter, but I have to say, the chemistry of the Love/Hate line-up was very palpatable.
Straightener, Dear Deadman, March 8
Title didn’t quite do it for me, but I’m still interested to see how this band progresses. Or not.
ASIAN KUNG-FU GENERATION, Fan Club, Feb. 15
I like them, but I don’t love them. There are other bands with far more impressive songwriting chops than ASIAN KUNG-FU GENERATION, but the band has an asset in singer Kita Kensuke. His appealing voice comes close to the abandon of eastern youth’s Yoshino Hisashi without going overboard. ASIAN KUNG-FU GENERATION’s second album, Sol-fa, was released in the US by Tofu Records. With any luck, they’ll make getting this album just as easy.
Van Tomiko, TBD, March 29
The first solo album by ex-Do As Infinity singer Van Tomiko — man, do I not envy that position. Van is a charismatic front woman, and Do As Infinity had an eclectic enough pop style. But on her own, she’s most likely going to be “handled” by producers, and I’m skeptical of what may result.
Yorico, Second Verse, Feb. 15
Yorico’s major label debut, Cocoon, was distinctive not for her writing but for her willingness to throw curves. The middle of the album is marked by a traditional song, while the end of the album climaxes to a hard rock song in sharp contrast from the piano balladry of earlier tracks.
Yorico is still a young writer, and you can hear her trying to navigate her own voice. I don’t know what to expect from Second Verse, but I’m intrigued enough to want to hear it.