YFCz, New Musical White-Meat

I have an idea, which I may or may not feel like taking down in writing and forwarding to GACKT: Like, maybe he should drop the whole band thing and found the GACKT Orchestra. Then he can have as many band members as he wants on stage and nobody will think anything of it.

I like to think of myself as an adaptable soul, and I’m pretty open to change. But I’m also pretty comfortable with the 5-member band formula, now that Visual Kei has pushed me out of the standard 4-man comfort-zone and into the whole almost-as-cool-as-it-sounds “dueling-guitars” thing.

But to have 7 band members just hurts my brain. And dear lord, what exactly does that coat on the chair symbolize? Surely not the potential addition of an eighth member? Seriously, this is not A-PeaceAnd I still can’t figure out for the life of me what Jon’s actual, serious purpose is in this group. I know all the fangirls who harbor tender teenage dreams of going to Japan and starting Visual Kei bands will hate me forever for saying it, but I’m honest-to-gawd just waiting for a logical explanation for his presence in this band.

I can’t figure out if GACKT is just working the edge, or trolling us.

Not able to scrape enough interest off the bottom of my boot to watch the PV for The End of the Day, after the redundant lyrics pushed me away initially, I will say that I’m not entirely disinterested in All My Love. The song sounds decent enough on its own. That being said, I’m not sure I’m tempted enough to pre-order a copy of YFCz’s new album, destined to drop early 2012.  Title is TBA at the moment, but I’m sure it’ll be something relating to the waning phase of a 24-hour segment of time.

GACKT will also be releasing a single (solo? As far as I can tell) on the same date (2.22.12), titled Until The Last Day. Still haven’t heard Graffiti, but my Jrock senses tingled as I passed the Christmas tree earlier, and I’m pretty confident it’s in my future, all thanks to myself Santa of course.

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GACKT writes on the walls for 40th single.

Although a lot of griping goes down during genre downtime, once we actually get to the other side of the drought– once we can begin to see a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel, I think there’s something to be said for being denied the very thing we most desire. Think about it, if every single day saw some ground-breaking single or album dropping, not only would you be completely cash-strapped, but you would also be a spoiled, jaded punk. Admit it.

Sometimes a little downtime can be good for us. It’s probably great for the artists who aren’t releasing, too. It means that when they finally release something, it has actually been crafted with care, and by the time it finds its way into our hands, our reception is more appreciative. So even though I whined along with the best of you, I find that now that there’s a smattering of awesome releases to look forward to as the cool weather starts waxing, I’m really just, I don’t know, ready for them. After months of lying in a grumpy heap on the floor playing 2008’s singles over and over again, the 4th quarter’s offerings come at the perfect time. I am ready to love them.

It would seem that GACKT is stepping it up and showering us with his generous goodwill by keeping a steady stream of releases lined up for the turning of the seasons. Still reeling from the impeccable swag of Episode.0, and still tentatively prodding September’s YFCz first single, we’re now also presented with the news that November 30th will lengthen Christmas lists worldwide with the addition of GACKT’s 40th single, Graffiti.

40 is a nice, round number. And if 40 isn’t an impressive musical-releases benchmark, I just don’t know what is. I remain continuously impressed by GACKT’s ability to sustain his commitment to quality throughout the creation and production of so much music, and I look forward to seeing his career continue on in the future with more excellent and thought-provoking material.

Is it just me reading into things too much, or does it seem like perhaps GACKT is making a slight aesthetic switch-up here? Somehow titles such as Episode.0 and Graffiti feel like era-ic titles. It’s different, and I like it. They feel urban and modern, which for some reason comes as a breath of fresh air after a long stream of poetic titles like The End of Silence, Lost Angels, and Flower.

 Although I hate to keep going on and on about it in such a shallow way, I also really hope the single brings a new hairstyle….But by golly I need this to not be it:

Graffiti will be released on November 30th, 2011, in the traditional 2 editions. Limited edition from CDJapan includes bonus DVD, etc, etc, and First Press editions include a poster. The single’s title-TBA B-side will be featured as a character song for the high school-club anime series SKET DANCE.

For Future Reference

Holla, blogsphere, ‘sup? Can you believe it’s already the second week of August?

I know my summer is def flying by– it’s been a mixed bag so far, really. You know how as you age you kind of compartmentalize segments of time? For example, “the winter of indentured slave labor”, “the summer of The Perm”, and so on… Not to say it hasn’t been a good summer, because it has certainly had its high points, but I would best describe it as “the summer of taking one for the team”. There’s been a lot of dealing with it, and doing what needs to be done. I feel like when you live life under these conditions, you can become ruled by what if‘s and but‘s and eventually‘s. As always during these challenging points in life, there’s always a moment when I realize that I haven’t been listening to nearly enough music.

I think it’s the curse of humanity that we want the answers to all our problems to be complicated, esoteric riddles that we have to spend years of wallowing to unravel. Friends often tell me, “I just wish there was a simple solution!” And actually, 9 times out of 10 there is a simple solution. Someday, I hope, we’ll become OK with that.

In any case, tomorrow I’m catching a train to Philadelphia, where I’ll be able to unwind and just focus on having a great time. I hope the rest of you are having a brilliant summer….And for any of you who are also dealing with it (as well as those of you who are emotionally stable enough not to be in a perpetual state of crisis and self-reflection) this summer and have no idea what to do with the approaching threat of fall, I have some good news.

Although I’ve probably mentioned them on here once or twice (max), edgy, energetic rock group ONE OK ROCK is actually up there among some of my favorite Jrock bands. In the past although I knew of them and knew I enjoyed their music, I didn’t start following them religiously until a couple of months ago. One day they just kinda rose up in my awareness like a phoenix from the ashes of my own jadedness. The urge to whine about a lack of decent new releases was knocked right out of me by the PV for their new track Re:make.

Re:make was released July 20th as part of the double A-side, Re:make/NO SCARED, but the PV was actually revealed exclusively on OOR‘s official facebook. Although I’ll post a 30sec preview here, I insist that anyone who hasn’t seen the PV yet head over and check it out for a mind-blowing experience. You don’t need a facebook account to watch it, but most people have those nowadays, right? It’s one of those things, like cell-phones, that for some reason life has made virtually impossible (see what I did there?) for us not to have, but which “some people” leave turned-off and stuck in some dark corner of reality for as long as society will allow.

Re:make PV Link

Once you’re all done being devastated by the crisp innovation in PV production and only recorded example of the usefulness of facebook, there’s more.

ONE OK ROCK announced that they will be releasing a studio album on October 5th, titled Zankyou Reference. Their 5th original album, it will include the typical quantity of previously released material, including Re:make and NO SCARED. So glad I picked up that single. (Just kidding. Really, I am.)

For the benefit of those of you more geographically blessed than some of us, starting in November ONE OK ROCK will be setting out on a new tour, finishing with two performances at Yokohama Arena on January 21st and 22nd 2012. Check their OHP for details, or google it, or do whatever it is you do when I lack the energetic resources necessary in posting the relevant information.

Zankyou Reference
Released Date: 2011/10/05
[First Press Limited Edition] 3,150Yen (tax in)
[Regular Edition] 2,800Yen (tax in)

To pre-order: Zankyo Reference [Limited Edition] / ONE OK ROCK

Fina-effing-lly A Bunraku Preview

Finally the official preview for one of the Jrock community’s most-anticipated releases, the Hollywood debut of Japanese media’s HRH GACKT: Guy Moshe’s Bunraku. I live in envy of everyone who had the opportunity to see the premier at the INTL film festival in Toronto last year, where GACKT was in kimono’ed attendance.

All in all the movie looks pretty sweet. The catch-lines weren’t bad, although it was something of a pointless trailer given that GACKT had no lines. We’ve all seen him in acting roles by now (Moon Child, Furinkazan, etc), but it will be interesting to see him surrounded by whities, acting in a “Hollywood” production, all up in the mainstream and everything. You go, GACKT.

Bunraku is destined for release on Sept 1st (VOD), and September 30th (theatrical release). I hope it’s shown nationally.

A mysterious drifter (Josh Hartnett) and an ardent young Japanese warrior Yoshi (Gackt) both arrive in a town that has been terrorized by outrageous and virulent criminals. Each is obsessed with his separate mission, and guided by the wisdom of The Bartender (Woody Harrelson) at the Horseless Horseman Saloon, the two eventually join forces to bring down the corrupt and contemptuous reign of Nicola (Ron Perlman), the awesomely evil “woodcutter” and his lady Alexandra (Demi Moore), a femme fatale with a secret past. This classic tale is re-vitalized and re-imagined in an entirely fresh visual context, set in a unique world that mixes skewed reality with shadow-play fantasy, a place where even the landscape can betray you. Heroes triumph here only because the force of their will transforms and transcends both space and time. The world of BUNRAKU is past and present, fantasy and reality, Samurai and Western all combined. Like SIN CITY and 300, it gives classic conflict a whole new graphically supercharged dynamic. Resonating through a wide range of cultures and showcasing a mind-blowing array of martial arts disciplines, BUNRAKU is a fresh arena for breathtaking fight action.

*Synopsis taken from the video info.

REMEMBER THE URGE Peripherals

I’m skipping the whole New Look comment-fest this time around because I think by now everyone’s seen The GazettE‘s new look and probably guessed what my opinion is about it anyway. To summarize: everyone looks the same. Any enhanced coolness of the mug-shots this time around is thanks to cool lighting and enigmatic, indirect poses (way to not look at the camera, Ruki. I never do either.), as opposed to innovative new outfits/styling. I don’t really mind either way if they wear crazy outfits or choose the subdued a-typical Visual Kei monochrome uniform of choice, so no complaints in that area.

Moving along, today is the REMEMBER THE URGE (to write all in caps? To smash your electric guitar? To start tearing off your clothes?) EDITION of GazettE Overwhelms The World With More Mediocre Releases Week.

Optical Impression....

 Tracklist:*

01 – REMEMBER THE URGE
02 – CLEVER MONKEY

*Plus DVD containing PV and making-of footage.

  Even if I rarely end up actually listening to the music anymore, I still find myself drawn to The GazettE‘s sense of aesthetics. The albums and singles always have cutting-edge styling, and the imagery is ironically pretty sweet and different from a lot of the stuff out there. Looks like they’re drawing on a similar general concept to their last release, Vortex, by using the same ambiguous-paint-splatter concept, this time in black. Not sure who picked out the kid’s camo trunks, but it’s cool man.

And Auditory...

 Tracklist:

01 – REMEMBER THE URGE
02 – CLEVER MONKEY
03 – Chiyou

I actually really appreciate how they tied the two covers together. In the first cover, the kid is smashing the guitar, and it’s like the guitar is spewing this deluge of black…blood? Paint? Oil? And in the second cover, the guitar’s blood? Paint? Oil? is raining down on the character in a black shower. Sick.

As always, I wish I could approach the preview with as much enthusiasm. Perhaps I should go into being an amateur art-critic and give up on music altogether (you were thinking it– don’t deny it). Actually, I’m choosing to withhold judgment until the PV is released in full….But trust me, you will be hearing from me when it is.

 

 

GazettE’s So TOXIC, I’m Slipping Under

…I don’t know who I’m more ashamed of, those of you who get the reference, or myself for making it. But what can I say; I mean, it’s the world we live in. Some things once seen, cannot be unseen, and for some reason they always come into focus when I’m typing in titles. Holy hell I’m corrupt.

Last we heard on SG in regards to The GazettE, I’d begun tentatively shifting positions from thinking the continued mystery of Reita’s likely-disfigured nose just isn’t enough to disguise the band’s obviously-disfigured sense of good music  into an amiable appreciation of their latest single, Vortex. The single’s bounty certainly whipped it up (after the band spent a good few releases dragging their creative heels, trying to hide their brewing incompetence by increasing the coolness of Ruki’s outfits and covering their heels economically by shipping poor Kai off to work in catering. Not cool.), for a refreshing change of pace, leaving those few left unglamored by The Goddess’s imperturbable charm while still unable to acknowledge Red‘s existence on musical-earth, at least back in the GazeRock conversation.

Whew that was a long paragraph.

Well, if nothing else, plenty can certainly be said for The GazettE‘s persistence. GazettE singles seem to drop with the frequency of lunar tides — the only thing left wanting (aside from maybe a break long enough to replenish their creative juices?) is the eclipse of releases, the original album.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. They’ve been kind enough to give us a headstart so we can begin arranging the loans most of us will have to take out in order to actually afford the album (a nasty exchange rate, plus the fact that you’ll most likely want the ltd. edition with the DVD, paired with shipping costs from Japan will bring the album well over $60). So, literally, the release is so toxic we’re (economically) slipping under.

Just because we get a headstart doesn’t mean they’re cutting us any slack– if you want to be a true fan, you’ll most like want the single that’ll drop at the end of August, titled REMEMBER THE URGE. Released 8.31.11 in 2 versions (is the Auditory Impressions/Optical Impressions thing becoming a new trademark?), the single should tide Gaze-Minions over until October.

The GazettE‘s first original album since 2009’s DIM will overwhelm fangirls (and Reita still won’t take his mask off) on 10.05.11, in two editions (think more Budget and Luxury, rather than Auditory/Optical), and bears the title TOXIC.

I wonder if the title track is a collab? Sorry. I couldn’t resist.

Pre-order the ill shizz here (TOXIC) & here (RTU).

YFCz: Read As “WTFz”

According to the announcement on GACKT’s official FB as well as the YFCz OHP, GACKT’s grungy side-project is really getting crispy this summer. Not only did GACKT step up his international activities with a considerably more substantial European tour this summer, but he stated another interesting release to put on the list right under Disney x Visual Kei for September: On the 14th, the first-ever official YELLOW FRIED CHICKENz single is destined to drop.

YELLOW FRIED CHICKENz 1st Single

2011.9.14 Release

THE END OF THE DAY

●Limited Edition (CD+DVD) /¥1,890

●Regular Edition (CD) /¥1,260

It would seem that, for reasons I have yet to fully comprehend, YFCz also buffed up its members by….adding a few? Unfortunately this means saying goodbye to Jun-Ji and Chirolyn, but GACKT’s backup have always seemed relatively temp.
Apparently 4 new members have joined ranks: bassist U-ZO  (MIYAVI), guitarist TAKUMI (SUGIZO,  MIYAVI), drummer SHINYA (Luna Sea), and (WTF moment of the week? Month? Century?) vocalist Jon (formerly of Fade).

I realize that was a lot of parentheses. It’s alright to take a breather.

 This “new format” has been described as “triple guitars and double-vocals”, and is, for a purist and strict GACKT-ian conventionalist such as myself, an absolute and utter blasphemy. I can’t imagine what exactly GACKT plans on doing with this white boy, but as far as I can see, it can’t possibly be Visualist-kosher. And thus, under the weight of this intense suspicion, I will at least (based on my promise to myself to trust GACKT and his decisions enough to not read any books by any covers) try it before I denounce it entirely.

 That being said, I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea– absolutely no disrespect is meant to Jon or Fade, or GACKT for that matter, and I respect and admire the “gaijin” who make it in the Japanese music industry… It’s just that GACKT + a second vocalist (especially an English-speaking one) is not a concept that computes. While collabs come and go, this “new lineup” is, in my eyes, one experiment that may have gone beyond my ability to accept.

YFCz has also been added to the prolific V-ROCK FEST ’11 lineup. The festival takes place at the Saitama Super Arena in October.

Seriously, though.

YFCz official website