Alice in Wonderland…Move over!

Seriously! For Visualists, there’s a new Alice now. Although not a bland blond promenading through psychedelico and British humor nobody else understands, Visual Kei has a new aural wonderland and an Alice to go with it, the Visual boy-band PSC Company offspring, Alice Nine is taking the Jrock world by storm.

They will summon up a (sort of) new wonderland for us on March 24th with the release of their greatest hits album, Complete Collection 2006-2009. The album will feature their hits songs released during the respective years of activity….The happiest news of all is, CDJapan is offering an exclusive promotion for the release. Not only will pre-orders placed before March 18th win the external bonus poster (while first-press is available), but they will also include a band photo, and a member photo of your choice. (Photo size: 18.0 x 12.8 cm)

In addition, the members of Alice Nine will autograph the band photo for 40 lucky purchasers who preorder the CD before March 18, 2010 11:59pm (Japan Standard Time). AWESOME! The 40 lucky winners will be chosen at random from orders placed before March 18th etc, and will not be announced.

**Click: Alice Nine greatest hits release promotion**

Good luck!

As the Crow Flies…

2009 was certainly a year of many changes in the Jmusic scene. New bands formed, many indies bands failed (unfortunately), and several popular bands decided to go on hiatus. However, 2009 and these fresh new days of ’10 have also seen several promising solo and side projects popping up in relation to some of the greatest bands out there today.

One of these side projects which is not to be missed, is the darkly named KARASU. KARASU, which means either “withering”, or “crow/raven” in Japanese, is the session-project of some of the most respected names in Visual Kei. Vocals are provided by the renowned Tatsurou of moody metal shredders MUCC, guitars by hiroto of Alice Nine and Mizuki of Sadie, bass by dunch of jealkb, and last but not least, the backbone of a band: drums by Kenzo of Ayabie. With this stunning lineup of talented and well-known musicians, this dark, moody Visual Kei group promises to tear up the music turf with a tornado of sound starting today, January 27th,with the release of debut single, Lastica.

In honor of their debut, the band will be appearing with interviews and spreads in Visual Kei publications including FOOL’s MATE and SHOXX. They will also make appearances on various live radio programs and on television, as a special spot on NHK General Program’s MUSIC JAPAN.

Get your copy now and check these guys out.

Note: Not to be mistaken with the already-established band by the same name. Man…didn’t these guys have a good Japanese dictionary lying around when they came up with a name..?

+VK+#3 Visual Kings

The most extreme levels of visual expression in Visual Kei probably have to, per mercy rule, be ceded to the drag-gang and “Manpires” of Youshikibi, the beauty of form aesthetic sub-culture.  But, although it is extremely popular, youshikibi is indeed a sub-culture, and is not for everyone.


Therefore, next up in the VK series: The sort of over-all, all-encompassing, original scope of Visual Kei; the most abused by Youtubers posting Jrock videos, and Wikki-woks BSing their way through a new page, and probably the most well-known style of Visual Kei– normal Visual Kei.

Yes, I just used those three words in the same sentence.

Visual Kei gets difficult, and you can understand why we’re still all arguing about what is Visu’all right’ or Visu’all’ wrong, because it does have a very wide genre range, from pop to Gothica. The reason I refer to this particular style as normal Visual Kei is because it does not fit distinctly into the Youshikibi, Oshare, or Gothic sub-cultures of Visual Kei. It’s where everyone else goes. This aspect of VK culture was more or less founded by the PS.C company (which pretty much owns all the popular VK bands anyway). PS.C currently “owns” Alice Nine, the GazettE, Kra, Kaggra, among others. It was previously known to have found a home on shelves for eccentric idol Miyavi as well, but in late 2009 Miyavi founded his own label and flew the nest to join EMI Japan.

Although historical elements and androgyny are indeed present in normal Visual Kei (hereby referred to simply as “Visual Kei”), it is more likely added as accents and themes, as opposed to entire ensembles of dandy glory. Cross-dressing and drag is practically non-existent, although in a few cases it can get a little border-line.

The idealism theme is much less apparent as well, although androgyny still reigns supreme. In VK this is expressed in a general “prettiness” of the rockers. However, don’t let their porcelain profiles deceive you. These guys may be glamorous, but they can tear up venue turf with some serious tunes.

Reita of the GazettE

It’s not punk, it’s not Goth, but it’s not the kind of stuff GACKT and T.M. Revolution wear. It’s classy- flashy. It’s Visual Kei. These outfits are visual, without being costumes. The point is to be flashy, to stand out, to be Visual rockers. But these bad boys aren’t putting on dresses and prancing mutely around like our gothic youshikibi friends. This is it’s own genre of fashion entirely, and it’s difficult to describe exactly where it came from.

Duel Jewel

Because this is a bit of a melting-pot of styles, fashions, and genres, the musical sound qualities are allowed to vary liberally from band to band (unlike Youshikibi, which has much more of a set genre). The most common styles are probably hard-rock and metal, but the pendulum swings in a wide arc from hardcore (D’espairsRay, the GazettE), to pop (Ayabie, Duel Jewel, The Kiddie)….With pretty much everything in between. The interesting part is following images or videos which depict hardcore or gothicy looking bands, which end up playing upbeat, pop-ish music.

In the end, Visual Kei is about creativity. The best way to learn more about the different genres, where they come together and where they separate again, is to listen to the music, look at the bands, and immerse yourself in the culture as much as possible.


Visual Kei is flashy, badass, sometimes a bit intimidating, and elegant all in one. Argue about it all you want, but those, at least, are total, irrevocable, facts.

Alice in Wonderland

And I don’t mean the blue-skirted bumpkin of psychedelic children’s book fame! Last month Visual Kei poster-boys Alice Nine confirmed 8 dates for a Spring ’10 Japan tour.

Alice Nine + Alice Nine Tour 201o  The Reason of Geometry『幾何学ノ理』+ *

3/22(月・祝)CLUB CITTA’川崎 (Kawasaki)
3/27(土)新潟LOTS (
3/31(水)Zepp Sendai
4/3(土)広島CLUB QUATTRO (
4/4(日)福岡DRUM LOGOS (
4/6(火)Zepp Osaka
4/8(木)Zepp Nagoya
4/10(土)Zepp Tokyo


Details will be added soon.

So, going down the rabbit-hole?


Official Website

+ Note: I’m not sure about the title of the tour, but I’m pretty sure it’s The Reason of Geometry +lit: Geometry’s Reason+. -gp

It’s Legit! Visual Exists!


Light some black candles, Visualists, to commemorate the advent of a beautiful thing. October will bring to Japan (naturally– after all, it would be exceedingly unnatural for any VK to appear intl. god forbid.) V-Rock Festival ’09 on the holy dates of October 24th & 25th, 2009.


Ali Project

The lineup currently includes Marilyn Manson, the GazettE, Ali Project, D, D’erlanger, Alice Nine, Angelo, Abingdon Boys School, Ayabie, LM.C, Kra….and everyone else you’ve been dying to see live. Complete lineup info available here

Makuhari Messe was designed by Fumihiko Maki, constructed in 1989. The building was originally called “the Nippon Convention Center”. Over the next fifteen or so years, the center became the focal point around which a kind of city sprang up– schools, parks, stadiums, etc. This area was called “Makuhari New City”– and by 2005 the Nippon Convention Center changed it’s name to better fit in, to what we currently know it as– Makuhari Messe (the first part is obvious– for anyone still scratching their skulls over where the word ‘messe’ came from, no, it’s not Japanese. ‘Messe’ means ‘fair’ in German. Yup, they borrow from Deutsch too.)

Like what you read? Planning on going? Need someone to go with you who speaks pretty good Japanese and can easily navigate life in Japan? TAKE ME WITH YOU!!!!!!!!!!

Makuhari Messe Official Website (Japanese)

V-Rock Festival ’09 Official Website (Japanese, some English)

Yup, even you can go— English info on purchasing tickets intl.