This dub album came out a year or three ago. I remembered it recently when I read that International Observer is actually former ’80s pop star Tom Bailey, of former ’80s pop idols The Thompson Twins. And now he seems to live in New Zealand, just like me.

His album reminds me of a more understated version of The Orb. That’s not a bad thing, but it just doesn’t really stick in my memory.

It just makes we want to move, and even throw my hands in the air like I just don’t care. It’s pretty cheesy, but I really like the nagging, nagging, nagging synth lead, the nice autotune harmonies and the whole good-time vibe. I also like the absence of rapping, which tends to be the weak point of Capsule’s songs.

Source: Japanator Radio 124

A female vocal/male choir epic with some odd effects on the backing and some pretty full-on lead vocals. Epic. Almost histrionic. And then the drums and guitar kick in and we have J-Pop! The histrionics return towards the end, with added guitar/bass/drum/piano chaos. It sounds like a whole album in four minutes — exhausting, yet exhilarating.

Source: Japanator Radio 124

She’s still going strong, still with that distinctive voice (in italics). There’s always been a slightly scary, unhinged edge to even her poppier songs, so this cover of an old Cabaret Voltaire track works pretty well. It seems to feature vocals from original CV vocalist Stephin Mallinder too. There are about a zillion remixes available, plus another CV cover: “Just Fascination”, which is more melodic and BRMy than the original.

The Depreciation Guild are the premier exponents of the shoegaze-chiptune hybrid known as Chipgaze. (Actually nobody calls it that except me. But it’s a catchy name. Better than “shoetune” anyway.) This track, from the excellent Nautilus EP, is packed with perky drum fills, bleeps and chiming guitar chords. It’s instrumental, but what passes for a chorus is lifted by a thrilling discordant, um, chord, leading back into that jumpy drum (machine) fill…

I have to go and listen to it again now.

I think I have remarked earlier on this band’s jauntiness. The title “Cosmic Glider” sounds like the name of a video game and the track has the feel of a game soundtrack, though it probably isn’t. But it could be. It’s a hard trick to accomplish that feel without resorting to chiptune effects, but PINE*am manage it. My feet are tapping uncontrollably even as I type this.

Source: Japanator Radio

A slow rock song with some twangy C&W flavours. So soft and quiet and yet such a big, lush, soaring chorus. Absolutely beautiful.

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More fairly unremarkable synthy J-pop from this would-be diva. Unremarkable, that is, except for its title. Where do they get these titles from? Somewhere strange and apparently inexhaustible. At least, I hope so.

This new single sounds like a slowed-down and pitched-down Perfume song. Listenable, enjoyable even, but not much fun — the production is so smooth that any individuality or quirkiness is polished away. Their old stuff was much better than this — Endless Night almost admits this by quoting Twinkle Star, the title of an earlier and much more fun song.

Source: Japanator Radio 120

A irregularly repetitive echoing piano riff with spooky off-kilter bass and plaintive ghostly choirs. Turn this up loud and unhinge your mind. The other tracks on the album 12 Monsters are named after other “monsters” such as Josef Stalin, Alistair Crowley and Bill Gates. I’d like to hear it.

Source: Adventures in Modern Music, 17 Dec 2009