Perfume — Natural no Koi Shite

This actually sounds slightly different to all Perfume’s other songs. The beat is nice and chunky and, for a change, not straight 4/4. Instead it’s on the hip-hop tip, as the kids used to say when I was one of them. The girls’ voices are sounding more and more robotic though; the autotune is taking… Read more »

Capsule — The Music

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… Read more »

Tokyo Jiken — Ikiru

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… Read more »

PINE*am — Cosmic Glider

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… Read more »

Posted by .

Saori@destiny — Ethnic Planet Survival

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.

Posted by .

Halcali — Endless Night

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… Read more »

Posted by .

Ai Otsuka — Sakuranbo

Ai Otsuka’s big hit is as sweet and fresh and zingy as its titular cherry. I may be the thousandth person to say this, but at least I am the first to use the phrase “titular cherry” while doing so. It’s been re-released on her hits and remixes album LOVE is BEST, with the emphatic… Read more »

Posted by .

Shonen Knife

Shonen knife are a great straight-ahead guitar pop band with female vocals. They sing in English as well as Japanese. I have a remix CD of theirs, which is one of my favourite CDs — there’s a juddering Alec Empire remix, and the Bis remix of Wind Your Spring is as absolutely mighty as you… Read more »

Posted by .


I heard this band first on, and recently heard a few more of their songs on Japanator Radio. Jaunty! Lightweight! Quirky! It’s that Shibuya sound that I just can’t get enough of. Love Giraffe for example — cute, sweet and fun, and that’s just the title! Then there’s Red Car, which is much more… Read more »

Posted by .

Buffalo Daughter — Galactic S-O-U-L

This long song is all spacious live drums and nice deep buzzing basslines. Female vocals wash through the mix. It’s immersive and just great if you like that sort of thing. And I like that sort of thing. This tune is from the game soundtrack for Katamari Forever. I don’t have time to play games… Read more »

Posted by .