Out of All These ONE Must Shock Us!

Back before Zero was a creep

It looks like the second round of summer releases have been announced. Have I ever mentioned before how stressful I find it that Jrockers all release their stuff on exactly the same day? There are like two dates in a given month when they’re allowed to release material. For June you can expect to go bankrupt on the 2nd and 23rd, so get ready, guys.

D’espairsRay // “Dead or Alive Complete Covers Album” // July, ’10 (Album)

For the first time ever, a Jrock band will feature nothing but covers of the one band probably everyone is perfectly happy going the rest of their life without ever hearing!
Just kidding. It’s true, I’m being uncharacteristically vindictive (I’m not usually vindictive, right?). I mean seriously. The actual news is that they will, in fact, be releasing a brand new album right in time for adding songs to the set-list for their world tour, which will kick off in the US sometime in August. But, y’know, please don’t let us know what the dates are UNTIL THE DAY OF.

Out of all this second round, I think this is the most exciting news. Although all we know at this point is that it will be released sometime in late July.  Love is Dead itched the darker aspects of my dementia, but I thought b-side Medicine (I haven’t figured out how to make backwards N’s yet) was a really cool song. It was congruous with the single, but also got heavy and angry to counter the dancey thing that preceded it.

Exist Trace // “Knife” // 6.2.10

I always look forward to these bad-ass babes. I’m sure they aren’t going to release a techno song.

Inaba Koshi // “Okay” // 6.23.10 (2 types)

A barely-optimistic title, but surely a single that won’t disappoint from B’z frontman Inaba Koshi.

Nightmare (ナイトメア)// “a:fantasia” // 6.23.10 (2 types)

What the hell was with them releasing an entire album with ONLY ONE SONG ON IT. That’s what they invented the “repeat” button for, hello Nightmare?

Ayabie // “Irodori – Tour Final Live @ ZEPP Tokyo” [title subject to change] // 7.14.10 (Live DVD)

To be honest, I haven’t really followed these guys since I got irrevocably bored with their Rikkaboshi +A album.

Rin //”As if Forever Exists” // 6.2.10 (3 types)

Kisaki’s new band.

Phantasmagoria // “Diamond Dust in Truth” (live DVD) // 6.23.10

Kisaki’s old band.

**Pick ’em up here**

For anyone who forgot:

Sadie just released some new stuff yesterday (4/28); a Singles Collection, and a maxi-single (which hopefully isn’t included on the singles collection…) called DRESS. The PV is pretty cool, and the song is awesome.
If you haven’t heard it yet, check it out:

D’espairsRay album release source: CDJapan

Video: shuujiHysteria


Sadie’s Dress Tailored to Fit Visualists

I do realize that this is a bit old on the ‘net, but I’ve been kinda overwhelmed lately, so I’m just getting around to talking about it now. Indies Visual hardcores Sadie have been pretty busy lately (relative to them of course). Their perfected levels of misery and angst are overflowing in the preview for their latest song DRESS, which will be released exactly one week from today (4.28.10). I’ve only listened to the 15 second clip 3 times and the melody line is already stuck in my head.

Honestly, Sadie is one of those bands who I run into every so often, but don’t really follow as much as I would like. When they do pop up on radar, though, I always like what I hear. I think their look is really cool, and their sound is strong. They are a pretty dark group, though, and their music can be intense.

If you haven’t seen the preview for DRESS, check it out:

The song definitely sounds powerful, and Sadie is actually still making gloom-rock (unlike some bands who we won’t mention here who have defaulted to disco…), so perhaps they’re the heirs to the Visual Kei legacy, thrown aside so carelessly by those other rockers who are already bored with Visualism as a whole…

Video credit: Direngreyvids

Dressed to the Nines For Sadie Tour

Angry rockers SADIE aren’t demanding fancy-dress for their DRESS OF SKIN tour, beginning May 1st with a total of 13 dates in Japan, in commemoration of their new maxi-single: DRESS.


May 1st@ Kobe VARIT.
May 7th @ Saitama vj-3
May 8th 2 Yokohama SUNPHONIX HALL
May 14th @ Okayama IMAGE
May 16th @ Hakata Be-1
May 20th @ Kanazawa AZ
May 21st @ Niigata CLUB JUNK BOX
May 25th @ Sapporo KRAPS HALL
May 26th @ Sapporo KRAPS HALL
May 28th @ Sendai CLUB JUNK BOX
June 3rd @ Osaka umeda AKASO
June 6th @ Nagoya E.L.L.
+!FINAL!+ June 11th @ Shibuya C.C. Lemon Hall

Lucky attendants of the June 11th final will get a gift of an original DVD present.

Tickets: all, JPY3,800 (June 11th: JPY 4,300). Tickets on sale March 28th.

The band will also perform a special live on March 22nd, at OSAKA BIG CAT, called “Fifth Anniversary Special GIG, [rewind the SADNESS]”

Doors at 4:30/Show at 5:30

Tickets: Advance JPY 3,800/Doors JPY 4,300 On sale from 2/20

Sadie will also make an appearance at the BEAT SHUFFLE LIVE SIDE Spring 2010. See the Lives page for more info.

Source: OHP

Beautiful Buck-Tick is Back

BUCK-TICK and I have a bit of a history, and I used to blog about them quite often, if I remember correctly. They’ve been a bit off my radar for a couple of years though, not sure why, they just kind of drifted away. However, I will always owe, well, everything to this band– not only because they have written and instigated  a few of my favorite Jrock songs of all time, but also because they introduced me to Jrock. Yes, it’s true. (Oh sweet moments of reminiscence…made weird by the creepiness of the band I’m reminiscing about.). BUCK-TICK‘s Dress was the first Jrock song I ever heard, and well, you know where that led. So anyway, this band will always be a special source of nostalgia for me. Oh, not to mention musical appreciation.  Hmm…no, really…they wrote some bloody phenomenal songs. Muma~ The Nightmare is incredible. Terrifying, and not for the faint of heart, but incredible. …Love Me, Just One More Kiss, Romance, Kain…all amazing works of aural-art. I mean, despite being timelessly creepy, and most of their music being totally bizarre, the fact of the matter is that BUCK-TICK is one of the greatest VK bands of all time. It’s that creepiness (unadulterated by any association with what should or shouldn’t be done) and bizarre music that give them their wretched charm, and their immortality with fans.

Video: audio track Umbrella off of Memento Mori (’09). These guys have a timelessly funky, evil style that shows, no matter what they choose to do.

Anyway, wipe away those nostalgic tears. They released an album last year, Memento Mori, and did a nationwide tour to promote it. They’ll make another micro-come-back with a brand-new single, Dokudanjou Beauty. They have also updated their personal style for a slightly more modern look.

Image credit: SR Jrock UK

Gone are the streamlined and strict black suits of last year, and in…the fluffed perm that Gatsby agents are probably paying millions to have these rock-stars wear… I mean really. I thought at least Atsushi Sakurai, god of wearing styles nobody would ever touch with a twenty-foot pole, wouldn’t succumb to the fluffed perm favored recently by GACKT, Ruki (GazettE), Satoshi (girugamesh), and (unfortunately) others. Oh wait, this is a style nobody else would touch with a twenty-foot pole. Except they did.
Dokudanjo Beauty / BUCK-TICK

ANYWAY, wow, I’m really digressing like a mad person here. Well, new single Dokudanjou Beauty is being used as the GALACTICA Season 2 ending theme song. The single will be released in 3 editions, a regular and limited, as well as a super-ultra-limited version for 18000 JPY (around 180.00 USD) that comes with a special selection of figurines– one of each band member. Creepy. Oh, also, the super edition is already sold-out at CDJ. The single comes out March 24th.

On a further note, BT will appear in the March ’10 special edition of the publication Arena 37 C.

Here’s a preview of the brand new PV for Dokudanjou Beauty at Sony Music. (It looks like a bunch of gibberish, I know. Just click the play button, everything is already set for you.)…and the ending for GALACTICA

School’s Back In Session

School’s back in session, but this semester we’ll be getting a lesson in serious rock– courtesy of Jrock’s best-kept secret, full-throttle super-group abingdon boys school.

Although they could be called a ‘kid-band’, as they only started in 2005, there is nothing kiddie about this hardcore Jrock group. abingdon boys school, fondly contracted to a.b.s by fans and the band alike, was founded by programmer and keyboardist Kishi Toshiyuki and vocalist Nishikawa Takanori– perhaps better known for his pop-prince solo act, T.M. Revolution. They recruited guitarists SUNAO and Shibasaki Hiroshi, both of whom have worked closely with Nishikawa on his “Revolutionary” activities throughout the past decade.

However, let me say this: for anyone who came to a.b.s expecting more of T.M. Revolution’s futuristic sub-Gundam electro-pop, two words: Not. Happening. Seeing as three of the members have indeed (and do still) work together in the Mobile-Suit pop world, I think (yeah, I read the blogs too) a lot of people were surprised that this amazingly (absolutely no offense intended) fruity, and possibly the shortest pop-star in Japan, could front a project so dramatically opposite his solo work, as abingdon boys school.

Well you can put it in red marker and add a star-shaped sticker too, for the versatility of Nishikawa’s unbelievable vocal style. Whether he’s draped in supple snow-white  leather suits, or nerding out in thick-rimmed glasses and a private-school uniform, Nishikawa’s high, heady, terrifically strong wail is unlike any other. Honestly, I have to say that Nishikawa’s vocals are some of the most impressive, innovative, and mind-blowingly awesome in the pop/rock world.

Aside from the singular vocal talents of Nishikawa, the rest of the a.b.s lineup may be names you haven’t heard– but we can quite quickly decapitate that disturbance and move on, because the sooner you hear them, the sooner you’ll be thanking yourself.

Part of the problem may be that these are not blooming heartthrobs. Nor are they young, with the most-junior member scraping a mature 39. I mean– Nishikawa has this kind of aura of studliness, but let’s face it, it’s an aura. If you look at the aesthetic of today, and it’s being represented by Visual Kei hot-topics such as the GazettE and Alice Nine… and all those guys, they’re like puking good-looks. (BUCK-TICK’s early lineup was concerned about their vocalist being tall enough…they apparently never considered hiring Nishikawa, who maxes out at 5′3″.) Well, I’ll tell you, a.b.s may not look like much, but these guys know where and how to pack a helluva punch. These guys are deadly.

a.b.s is comprised of the aforementioned 4 members: Nishikawa (vo.), Kishi (keyboards, programming), SUNAO (guitar), Shibasaki (guitar). The other two necessary organs that make a band breathe and pump blood properly, drums and bass, are supplied by session musicians. And by session-musicians, I mean that these two musicians have a pact with holy deities so advanced and beyond us, that they can’t really officially join bands. Although these two backing members are mysterious strangers to most of a.b.s‘ non-Japanese fan-base, let me try and shed a little light.

Bassist IKUO, who can slap and pop so hardcore you practically want to die, is an extremely in-demand figure in Jrock. In summer ’09 he tore a hole of throbbing thick-stringed bass madness on GACKT’s Koakuma Heaven. And that’s just one name– wherever fame has been mixed with Jrock, IKUO has probably been at some point or another. Any guess as to where GACKT picked this guy up? Possibly on a certain [b]ass-kicking (forgive the inexcusable joke) album that rocked the custom-shredded socks of the Jrock kingdom in 2007…

However, the drummer, who incites the greatest rage of curiosity within, is carefully hidden, his face turned at every sneaky shot during TV performances and lives. You see a sharp cheek and some wild long hair, and that’s about it. His name is Hasegawa Kozy, and he has surpassed being “the drummer” and become “the drums”. Hasegawa Kozy has worked with pretty much every influential Japanese pop and rock band ever– and guess who has him now?

The mastermind behind the project, as it were, is really Kishi Toshiyuki, programmer and keyboardist, who splits most of the compositional duties with guitarist Shibasaki. ‘Programmer’ ‘keyboards’ yes– turn tables.

NO, just don’t even say it. Turn-tables in a rock band? Gundam-suited pop princes in a rock band? Yeah, I know. No, no, no, I’m not trying to rope you into some kind of weird sub-trance group…This is rock– no, this has transcended rock. Turn-tables. And rock. These oh-so-questionable turn-tables spin a.b.s into a whole new arena than the other rockers out there– turn-tables allow for incredible mixing both on stage and in the studio. Kishi adds layers of intense effects and remixing to the already heavy hard-rock style double guitars. You can hear the mixing, but Kishi’s taste is impeccable, and by the end of the first song, it’s all you’ll be talking about.

Not only that, but this is pioneer work as far as Jrock is concerned. Few to no bands up until this point have been interested in mixing turn-tables and rap elements with rock. However, since a.b.s has seen a spike in popularity in the past two or three years, many notable Visual Kei and rock bands have been inspired by them. This includes D’espairsRay who, in 2009 released FINAL CALL, which was produced by Kishi; and girugamesh, whose latest album, NOW is all rap and turn-tabled-out.

On top of the unique music, their image is incredible. However, it’s sort of like, what’s with the getup? What’s in a name? The name abingdon boys school comes from the name of the school in Abingdon-On-Thames, England. The story goes that Nishikawa, after some research, chose the initials a.b.s, partly because he likes sports cars and the initials corresponded to automatic-breaking-system, and partly because when spoken with a Japanese accent, the pronunciation (ee bii essu) is very similar to that of the word “Ebisu”, which is the name of the town where the band was founded.

Abingdon School

However, after some further research, they discovered the school, which is renowned for being the birthplace of famous British rock band Radiohead.  Since the four members [of a.b.s] would all be in the same year at school, they agreed that it would be a fun image to all be school boys together once again. Therefore the image is in keeping with this ideal– the members dress in private-school uniforms (with an a.b.s badge, of course), and one would be hard-pressed to find any one of them devoid of some good old tartan.

As mentioned earlier, the band is only 5 years old. Started in 2005, a.b.s runs alongside T.M.Revolution’s solo projects, to which Nishikawa, Shibasaki, SUNAO, and occassionally even IKUO devote time both in composition and touring aspects. So in all that time, what were the boys up to? Good question, really. It wasn’t until 2009 really that a.b.s took on a full-time project quality from the members. From ’05-’08 they had only released one full-length album and 4 singles, however, ’09 saw the release of 4 more singles, their participation in the major V-Rock Festival in Tokyo, and an intl. debut with their hit European tour. January ’10 saw the release of their new album, Abingdon Road, in March a DVD of music clips and documentary footage from the Europe tour, and a nationwide Japan tour.

As well as having done the OP song for the ultra-popular anime series D Gray Man, many of a.b.s’ singles have been used in shows and anime. This has been credited to a personal love of anime and video games by Nishikawa. Nishikawa claims that he’ll never make a song for a series he doesn’t like, but if he likes it, then the game is on. But it doesn’t stop at anime. a.b.s has been invited to work on several memorial albums– Nishikawa belted out stay away for fictional punk rockers THE BLACK STONES on the Love for Nana ~Only 1 Tribute~ album; their cover of Luna Sea’s Sweetest Coma Again was a hit on Luna Sea~ Memorial Album, and their cover of Buck-Tick’s DRESS absolutely stole the BT cover album: Parade~ Respective Tracks of Buck-Tick.

Check out the original:

a.b.s‘ discography may be relatively small, but it is growing as the band is expanding and growing themselves. Each song is a powerful tornado of musical experience that is, quite frankly, unlike anything else in the music scene today. Their utterly unique sound and image set them apart from the mainstream influx of 20-something cutie-boys, and their devotion to amazing music elevate them among the ranks of long-standing classic favorites. Do yourself a favor and pick up their hot-off-the-press album Abingdon Road, released January 27th ’10.

Class dismissed.

Official Website

Official Fan-club (A.B.S.F.C) [Japan only]

Further reading

For a full list of related links, click