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New Shiggy Jr.: “Ghost Party”

Buried in the Make Believe Melodies post graveyard is a very very long-winded entry about Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s “Crazy Party Night.” The not-600-word version — I get what it is doing and I think it is a smart move commercially, but woo boy is it so clearly her worst single to date. Part of me wanted to nail the forced Halloween theme for that…but hearing Shiggy Jr.’s “Ghost Party” reminds that, actually, the problem with “Crazy Party Night” is that it is just a phoned-in song. This is every bit as ghouled-up as a seasonal single can get, yet it remains stupidly catchy come the hook. They even sing the word “zombie” and it isn’t an embarrassing bit of baiting, it actually sounds nice. Japan’s pop scene, ultimately, demands numbers like this, the sort of thing that can be tied to specific themes and sometimes dates. And there are plenty of masterpieces tied to solitary days to back this up — a great pop artist doesn’t mail it in even when they have to do something, they find a way to make it memorable and not be corny.

So yeah…if you need a big Halloween pop song for Oct. 31st, consider Shiggy Jr.’s “Ghost Party.” Listen above.

Olive Oil Teams Up With Busdriver For “Skipping On The Sea”

Western Japan’s beat scene and Los Angeles’ music world have had a lot in common over the last few years, so it seems fitting that there has been a bit of collaboration between artists from both sides. The latest comes via Twin Capital’s first installment in a new “Los Angeles X Asia collaborative series,” and finds Fukuoka’s Olive Oil teaming up with long-running LA rapper Busdriver for “Skipping On The Sea.” And, given the wonky nature Olive Oil’s beats can embrace, the end result is a nice balance. Get it here, or listen below.

New Taquwami: Moyas EP

It’s finally here — the long-awaited Moyas EP from Taquwami. We’ve focused on half of these songs before, and you definitely should listen to the whole thing because…well, Taquwami is always ahead of the pack. Get it here, or listen below.

New Boys Age: “Good Yesterdays”

Always good to check in on Boys Age and see what the prolific duo are up to. That means one new collection in September, with another on the horizon, geez. Let’s focus on one song, the melancholic “Good Yesterdays,” as the band released a new video for it last week. It’s a sweet tune, a reminder that for all the weirdness and psych freakouts they’ve wheeled out over the past year they are also capable of calmer sentiments. Listen above.

New Move: Yokos’ “B.O.U.N.C.E.”

The new move in Japanese music is women rapping. This is, of course, not a new development, but it’s really easy to figure out when the Japanese music industry senses something might be able to work and goes overboard with it. This moment has been building for a bit — artists such as, Daoko and (poised for the biggest success, with a new album out in November) Suiyoubi No Campanella have been getting attention for the past few years, while the idea has also been applied to groups such as Lyrical School and Rhymeberry, hip-hop idol groups. Now some of these artists are really hitting their strides and achieving increased commercial success — and the industry sees a potential trend to capitalize on, one compilation at a time.

This proto-scene is now entering a phase where new units sprout up and, in an effort to stand out, play around with sound. It’s a little like the middle of the recent “idol boom,” when the music attached to groups was every bit as good as their imagery, and it seemed like produces often ignored by the J-Pop mainstream had found a backdoor in. This past summer saw the debut of Chelmico, who shared two excellent songs thus far, and also the arrival of Yokos, who shared their first song “B.O.U.N.C.E.” online yesterday. The group’s sound is produced by Usagi Disco, an electronic producer probably best known for his work with Curumi Chronicle. And it does stand out — “B.O.U.N.C.E.” boasts a post-Nakata sheen, clearest on the chorus, but makes space for the duo to rap and sing, with a few trippy moments thrown in as well. It’s catchy, and a good starting point for this unit, as it manages to stand out from the fledgling “women rap” niche and the electro-pop world chugging along.

In what direction this trend goes remains to be seen, but it is currently at a point where good songs are actually flowing out. Enjoy it before it is potentially ruined. Listen above.