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

Boys School’s Nishikawa Transfers To Co-Ed

Ah, the endless allure of the Japanese high-school. The days of the beauty of youth and overwhelming innocence…Something that appeals quite a bit, it would seem, to pop god and on-the-side metal magician Nishikawa Takanori, who will spend some academic time away from abingdon boys school in order to go co-ed for Fuji TV’s new drama, Okusama wa 18-sai [My Wife is 18-Years-Old].

Okusama wa 18-Sai is based on the shoujo manga of the same name, as penned by Motomura Miyoko. Okusama wa 18-Sai revolves around the secret marriage between a Japanese-language teacher and his student, and was originally set to take place in the United States. The manga was serialized in Margaret magazine by Shueisha Publishing in 1969.

The secret relationship between teacher and student is one of the more popular topics in dramas and animes, and apparently is in no danger of losing popularity. Especially once Nishikawa gets in on it, I have no doubt the limelight relationship will cause all kinds of schoolgirl fantasies to unfurl…Unsatisfied, the principles of every Tokyo school district hope.

The show originally aired in 1970, catching the late Ishidate Tetsuo with his hand in the cookie-jar, and Okazaki Yuki as the kitten Okusama.

2011 brings Okusama wa 18-Sai back to Japan and the romantic tension of democratic classroom cleaning policies and a sea of plaid-skirted temptation, enough to drive any man over the edge. And we’re right there with Nishikawa Takanori as he navigates the plot-thick high-school days as teacher Takagi, who must hide his relationship with his wife Asuka (Watanabe Natsuna), who is also his student.

Although I’m sure he’ll have no trouble pretending he’s not married to her (most people try anyway, don’t they?), while sporting that impeccable blond coif Nishikawa may have a harder time convincing us that he’s not T.M.Revolution doing some kind of social services. That being said, for someone who just hit their 4th decade, Nishikawa is defying age as admirably as any Cullen, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he plays some 8th-grader in the next unnecessary Great Teacher Onizuka remake.

His variety show and hosting experience aside, Nishikawa has appeared in several other television dramas, such as “Beautiful Life“, and has also starred in the full-length film Corazon de Melon, which premiered at NYU’s Cantor Film Center in New York City on September 28, 2008.

Watanabe Natsuna has appeared in a smattering of shows since 2006, none of which I have heard of and therefore hardly feel motivated to list. She also appears in feature-films Kimi ni Todoke (2010) and GANTZ (2011).

Nishikawa and Watanabe tie the knot for 4 episodes.

Fetishes and immortality aside, Nishikawa’s newest venture into acting, Okusama wa 18-sai sounds like a charming drama, and I look forward to getting an opportunity to see the abingdon boys school frontman go totally co-ed.

The new TV series will be on air from 22:00 March 27th on Fuji TV, and so far has a scheduled run of 4 episodes.

Pledge Allegiance to GazettE 12/15

I’ll admit, The GazettE is, much like girugamesh, one of the mainstream Visual Kei bands whose releases I don’t procure religiously anymore. I more or less skipped over Red, although in retrospect it was a pretty decent single. In many ways, I’ve enjoyed their earlier work to such an extent that I’m pretty content keeping NIL in heavy rotation, and if something utterly mind-blowing is released, that’s okay too.

Heading into mid-November now, a new wave of release dates are being announced for the December and January rounds of economic Visual Kei worship. I find it quite fascinating when I’m paying the bills…There’s always Rent, Cellphone, Internet, List of Visual Kei singles to pre-order for [insert month]. It’s one of the few I pay cheerfully and with a sense of great reverence. Coming up to reward your December tithe is new single Pledge from The GazettE on 12/15, just in time for their first Tokyo Dome performance on Dec. 26th. I bet that leaves no mystery as to how I want to spend my holidays.

Check out the preview for the heavy ballad (Yeah, I wasn’t surprised either), and Gazerock fans, censoring any spewing of “Reita omg kawaii kawaii!”, let me know what you think.

Mug Shot

Finally the stylists stopped being on strike, recognized that Kai is, in fact, part of the band and not a misplaced member of the catering crew, and outfitted him accordingly. For once in their career he is actually starting to fit in with the band, and it’s working wonders for him. The sharp black outfit (what can be seen of it, anyway) is…a…y’know, sharp black outfit for which too much can never be said. The extreme layers and long hair bring me way back to Visual Kei in the late ’80s and early ’90s, before Host Boy Hair Syndrome (HBHS) took over the scene.

Mug Shot

Best part of my weekend: when The GazettE changes their look, and all the fangirls spam comment all over our lives with “Oooh omfg Reita kawaii kawaii!” When…his look never changes. Ah, a world without GazettE fangirls would be a sad, sad place indeed.

Mug Shot

Aoi always tends to pull off these minimalistic chic looks, with simple hair and normal-ish outfits to which he lends his natural enigmatic charm and makes everyone else look like they’re trying way too hard. He, like Reita, never surprises me. At least it’s in a good way.

Mug Shot

Uruha says, If my face ends up on another British T-shirt ever again…..at least send one to all of my band members.

Nosebleed

I’m not too much of a man to admit that I got a nosebleed.


THE DEMISE of Kagrra,

2010 has been an intense year, I would say pretty much across the board. While I don’t mean this in a negative sense, there has been a fair share of turbulence. A number of bands have announced hiatuses, disbandments, problems big and small, and changes (for better and worse) and upheavals of all other shapes and sizes. There have been some monumental moments, instances of celebration and acknowledgment; earth-shaking releases and wretched ones. With its equal share of the good and the not so good, 2010 has felt like a double-edged blade.

This past week, Visual Kei fans across the globe are experiencing the sharp pang of the other side of that blade, with several important announcements made by the neo-historical-heroes Kagrra,.

Although this year saw the clean-cut decade marker for Kagrra,’s career as one of the most unique and interesting PSC groups, and a resulting jam-packed schedule of various tours, shows, and releases, it will, it would seem, also see the poignant climax of their timeline. On November 11th, Kagrra, released the official announcement for what they have dubbed “their DEMISE (SHU EN)”, or, in layman’s terms, their disbandment.

THE DEMISE
(SHU EN)

Kagrra, the band formed on June 3rd 2000, has decided to cease their activity after the live concert in Shibuya C.C.Lemon Hall on March 3rd, 2011. Thank you for supporting the band for 10 years long. The members would like to express their sincere gratitude from the bottom of their hearts.
Meanwhile, the new album “HYAKKI KENRAN” will be released on Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011, and the nation-wide tour “ANGYA HAKKI YAKO ~YOU~” will start on February 13th, 2011. Their last activity, the live in Shibuya C.C. Lemon Hall on Thursday, March 3rd, 2011 will be titled “SHUEN ~SAKURA MAICHIRU ANO OKA DE~”.

Although there is little time left, please keep your support up for the band until the very end.

November 11th, 2010
Kagrra,
President Tomomi Ozaki
PS COMPANY Co.,Ltd

Members of the GLOBAL PS COMPANY FAN CLUB will be in on the full story when an interview aimed at overseas fans is released, hopefully offering some more cohesive explanation of their reasons for disbanding, as well as insights from the individual members rather than the management and band as a whole. Although, especially after as hearty a run as 10 years, it can be easy enough to guess a bands’ reasons for breaking up, especially for a group that has been such a prolific runner for PSC all these years it would at least be interesting to get the full scoop. I, at least, have not heard of much dissension or trouble for the band; on the contrary it seemed to me, although I haven’t followed them incredibly closely the past few years, that they were doing pretty well. Their releases appeared to be consistent in timing, reception, and quality, and their tours were frequent.

As a figurehead of the neo-Japanesque Visual Kei movement, Kagrra, has long been one of “those”, one of those iconic Visual Kei bands that are totally pure in their style and mission without sacrificing quality or interestingness. Their sensitivity to the perfect blurring of the traditional and the edgy rock scene have made them an absolute Visual Kei staple that will, following March ’11, be sincerely missed.

One of their summer releases, Tsuki ni Murakumo Hana ni Ame, clearly showcases this sensitivity with its sleek production and excellent design abundant with the avid storytelling themes (literally, in this case), sparkling koto overtones and heavy riffs.

The band will leave their last-words in the form of a full-length album to be released on February 2nd, 2011. The album, titled HYAKKI KENRAN, will blow through in regular and limited editions including 9 tracks, some new as well as previously released.

“HYAKKI KENRAN”
Hyakki Kenran [w/ DVD, Limited Edition] / Kagrra,
Price: 3,990Yen (tax in.)
DVD Contents:  Chigiri Music Clip + Precious Off-Shot Footage

[Regular Edition (CD)]
Price: 3,150 Yen (tax in.)

[Track List]
1. Hyakki Choryo
2. Chigiri
3. Kakurenbo
4. Shiroi Uso
5. Kikan
6. Tsuki ni Murakumo Hana ni Ame
7. Kiho
8. Manatsu no Yo no Yume
9. Shiki

Kagrra, will also grace the stage one last time with a final Japan wide tour Kagrra, TOUR 2011 ‘ANGYA HYAKKI YAKO ~YOU~’with 6 dates throughout February, saying sayounara with a final on March 3rd in Shibuya.

Kagrra, TOUR 2011 “ANGYA HAKKI YAKO ~YOU~”
2011/02/13 (Sun) Sendai darwin [OPEN/START] 17:00 / 17:30
2011/02/15 (Tue) Sapporo KRAPS HALL [OPEN/START] 18:00 / 18:30
2011/02/21 (Mon) Umeda Shangri-La [OPEN/START] 18:30 / 19:00
2011/02/23 (Wed) Fukuoka DRUM Be-1 [OPEN/START] 18:30 / 19:00
2011/02/25 (Fri) Nagoya ElectricLadyLand [OPEN/START] 18:30 / 19:00
[Price] 4,725Yen / DRINK FEES Extra
*No entry for preschoolers

SHUEN ~SAKURA MAICHIRU ANO OKA DE~
2011/03/03(Thu) Shibuya C.C.Lemon Hall [OPEN/START] 18:00 / 18:30
[Price] All Designated Seats 5,250Yen
*No entry for preschoolers
Sources: MusicJapan+

Get ready for gladiator sandals, The Perm, and the Satoshi-boogie…

I hope they leave the gladiator sandals at home.

I admit, I’ve entered a sort of state of denial about the lack of orange-highlighted dates on my sidebar calendar.

I like to flatter myself and primp my shameless vanity by assuming that lulls in the activity of Secret Garden are duly noted out there. Although I’m daily shelving a hankering to be on here spewing my snotty opinions about the noxious new releases of Jrock Today, likely setting out on the road to becoming some kind of embittered critic, while squirreling away my secret adoration of the more Kpoppian ventures of girugamesh, I hope to be able to post more regularly again eventually. In the meantime, I will continue to ask for your patience.

I notice that I’m not the only one who has been lagging in their post count lately, though. In fact, most of the blogs I read regularly (you know who you are) seem to be kind of slow these days. I remember those sweet, sweet, broke days of living on a whim and blogging sun-up to sun-down without a care in the world other than being totally cash-strapped. But remember this, kids, make good use of your blissful free time and become magnanimous forerunners of the future before the shackles of the 9-5 routine enslave you and stunt your entrepreneurial developments. What these other slaves to the system tell us is partly true, you get used to it, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t stop being  frustrating. Ah, who am I kidding. The life of rampant hedonism is obviously the one for me. I’ll start a terrible Visual Kei band and do nothing but wine, women, and sleep, all in varying degrees of debauchery.

Now that we have my future sorted out, shall I spend the next thirty minutes of our time (so precious, according to the previous paragraphs) talking about something else equally inane and patronizing while I try and remember what I started this post to talk about? Nah, just kidding, I’m not that depraved yet.

This news apparently popped up over the weekend (proof that the world continues spinning even when I’m out of the loop. How dare they.), and although I admit it’s taking some time to sink in to the remains of my mushy brain, melted to the consistency of chunky 3-day-old applesauce zombifying slowly on the kitchen counter by too little sleep and too much caffeine too many days in a row, I’m pretty pumped to be able to announce this at last.

girugamesh WORLD TOUR Confirmed!!

2011.3.05 Tochka
Moscow, Russia

2011.3.06 GlavClub
St.Petersburg, Russia

2011.3.08 Nosturi
Helsinki, Finland

2011.3.11 Columbia Club
Berlin, Germany

2011.3.12 Diesel
Budapest, Hungary

2011.3.13 Backstage
Munich, Germany

2011.3.15 La Laiterie
Strassbourg, France

2011.3.16 TBA
Paris, France

2011.3.18 O2 Acedemy Islington
London, UK

2011.3.19 Zeche
Bochum, Germany

The band has apparently taken a leaf out of D’espa‘s book and is reaching out to fans for suggestions regarding their, y’know, tracklist for the tour. Hurry–together we can make a stand against having to ruin our current record by accidentally hearing Color live…

All snark sheathed for the time being, this is actually news that, once it fully establishes itself in my gelatin-filled skull, is worth getting psyched over. They are one of the bands that I would really stretch to see…and although Europe is a bit too much of a stretch (especially at risk of showing up to a disco-ball and Satoshi’s shuffle-boogie), ShuU started rumors on their official Facebook that more information (cough dates and locations cough?) is to follow. Holla, US? I think we’re ready for Color.

Not only that, but they have also announced a brand new album. The question I want you to answer, Visualists, is that of whether the album actually still runs a chance of stirring some response by returning to their raucous roots, or striking a new chord by actually going out on the limb of innovation and, god forbid, inspired creativity. This positive anticipation of giru‘s actions (recently so disturbing) is edged, we all know, by the woolen itch of doubt; the fear that it could really be rock-bottom. The maker or breaker. Takers?

 

Nightly Knights D Uphold Visual Kei in the name of justice

11.17 in the name of justice / D

Although the transition from indie to major label roused some concern at the time, I’ve been pleasantly surprised to see that D has, so far, pulled through despite being caught in the clutches of Avex. While I’ve had nicer things to say than my critique of their latest ventures into tranny-dom, and their PVs seem to be getting steadily worse, their gory misadventures in ball gowns aside their music has remained unharmed, and their style has stayed compact and focused. They might be confused about the kanji for “women’s formalwear”, but at least they, unlike certain Visual Kei groups we could name, aren’t afraid to keep shredding. Their sound hasn’t lost its edge, and although apparently no one has told them we really don’t care that they can make happy songs too, it’s great to see a Visual Kei group riding their wave so strong, despite the dramatic fluctuations of the industry around them. If in the name of justice can top what they did with 7th Rose and Akaki Hitsuji Yoru ni Bansankai, then we’re good.

Besides, the album artwork is undeniably ill. Glad to see ASAGI has shelved the bustier for the season.

The single will be released on November 17th, in 3 types, including two tracks on the regular edition and three to the limited: in the name of justice, Nightly Knights, Grand Master (type B), Yoru no Me to Ginyushijin (type C) and in the name of justice (voiceless).

Although it’s not their most innovative or memorable piece, and is certainly no 7th Rose, their latest release, Akaki Hitsuji Yoru ni Bansankai has a somewhat better PV, and is a decent track.