Category Archives: J-Pop

New Dempagumi.inc: “Chyururi Chyururira”

A large part of manic pop outfit Dempagumi.inc’s message up to now has been a desire to go worldwide – see the still definitive “W.W.D.” – but on their latest single, they turn a bit inward. “We are Japanese” goes one part at the end of the chorus, though the traditional-leaning instruments popping up all over should be more than clue enough. Not a bad move, considering they are gaining momentum domestically…might as well drive it home completely with one celebrating all sorts of corners of Japan.

Thing is, the group’s defining sonic feature – the pinballing approach to pop – is still in place (and check those 8-bit bloops lurking in the verses). Plus, those dramatic interludes!

New Perfume: “Hold Your Hand”

I’m very, very on the fence about this song – on the one (wait for it) hand, it is way better than the preview suggested, the chorus in particular being a far more intriguing addition to this song than originally hinted at (the way it swoons! When Kyary Pamyu Pamyu described the music of Perfume as “the sound of an innocent girl falling in love,” this is what she meant). On the other…you know…it is still very straightforward and reeled-in, a lazy jog of a song during the verses. Still trying to make sense of it, to be honest…

…but the video is undeniably cute, and worth a watch.

New Lovely Summer Chan And Yoshino Yoshikawa: “Starlight”

Singer Lovely Summer Chan has been working with a lot of artists as of late – she’s a member of For Tracy Hyde, has sung with shoegaze bands and even popping up on a Tofubeats single. Yet her collaboration with producer Yoshino Yoshikawa remains her best endeavor to date – her sweetly delivered vocals glide best over his twinkly, shifty tracks. “Starlight,” which title-wise is a nice follow up from the earlier released “Moonlight,” is a jaunty run that seems deceptively sparse – Yoshikawa leaves plenty of room for Lovely Summer Chan to do her singing, yet he also adds in great little details – like wind-chime-like ringing and bouncy bleeps – to the verses. Yet the real power of their team lies in how they wrangle out catchy, sugary pop music without ever turning infantile (just listen to all the bells and bloops here…weaker squads would turn childish quick).

The pair are currently running a crowdfunding project to turn this song into a single, so you should go and help out if you can. Click here.

Too Sweet: Curumi Chronicle’s “Candy Trip”

The J-pop landscape features so many idols and idol groups with gimmicks it is practically its own sort of novelty to come across an artist devoid of one. That’s neither a knock against themed outfits (we love them around here when they have the music to back it up) nor an immediate endorsement of the regular, but Curumi Chronicle is striking because of how straightforward she seems. The Osaka idol does have a loose schtick – she documents her idol journey on social media – but otherwise, she’s tough to box in. “Candy Trip,” a preview of a forthcoming release, doesn’t mess around either – it is a swirl of synths leading almost immediately into the hook, a tooth-ache-inducing bit of sweetness. The verses offer up more playful runs – she practically raps at various points – but the core here is that gooey chorus, a pop beast. Listen below.

Avec Avec Remixes Yun*Chi: “Your Song”

The steady influx of Internet-centric producers into the ranks of J-pop has been exciting to watch…check the Maltine Girls’ Wave project, or Tofubeats getting to shine further with Lyrical School, or Schtein&Longer’s work with Especia…but one guy who deserves a bit more room to work is Avec Avec. The Osaka beatmaker (and one half of Sugar’s Campaign) has worked with rising pop singer Yun*Chi before, creating two of the songs on her album from last year…one of which was especially a highlight. Right now, Yun*Chi turns to a lot of different producers for her songs…but the hit-or-miss quality of her music to date hints that maybe she could use a unifying sonic identity (and one not tied to Vocaloid producer k(z), who will always be the Vocaloid guy). This remix of last year’s “Your Song,” appearing on her forthcoming Starlight mini album begs for more Avec Avec. It’s a loopy rework done in the hyperactive fashion of Australia’s Wave Racer, boosted by vocal samples (dog bark! Jersey House signifiers! lots of voices!) that always keeps the song on its toes. A big improvement, listen above (and to the original below).