The V-Rock Disney Lowdown

The week’s excitement, and the summer’s bewilderment, can both be attributed to the announcement, and now the release, of one of the most confusing compilations of late: V-Rock Disney. The reception of the album’s release-announcement earlier this summer seemed to be a mixed bag of reactions, ranging from brain leaking out of fan’s ears as their minds were blown, to the general headdesking of skeptics who already had the album cut out to be more beast than beauty.

Well, finally the anticipatory months have come to their close, and at last, the album is in our hands. Honestly, these are kind of the best albums to look forward to. I like watching the build up peak and blossom into a myriad of reviews all over the blogsphere; to see the difference in reactions among listeners. I like these, these albums that have as much potential to completely pitfall into failure and utter disappointment as they do to produce aurally induced nirvana.

When I first heard about the album, I decided to remain neutral, and I’ve been on the fence about it since. I generally approved of the artists chosen (not too many big-hitters, but not too obscure, either), but I had issues with some of the songs. I could see, for example, some of these bands belting out Jafar’s Song, but my brain was simply not able to compute Mary Poppins and Cinderella (I mean really? Really?). But in the end, it would seem, the proof was in the pudding, and I would just have to eat it before I could formulate a real opinion.

 The album opens with two tracks from Nightmare— a Fantasia intro to set the pace that quickly dives right into the classic, heavy-shredding style of Nightmare‘s work. A strong opener, I appreciated the even balance of Disney melody and standard Visual Kei guitar-work. However, Nightmare’s brilliant ability to cover a song isn’t revealed until the second track, Aladdin‘s Friend Like Me.

An instant winner, Friend Like Me is really fun and funky with all the deep bassy lurch of Nightmare working harmoniously alongside the percussive lilt of the classic genie anthem. At first I thought the heavily slurred English (is it even actually in English?) of the song made for too muddy of an overall sound, but the more times I listened to the track, the more I decided that the slurred quality complemented (or was inseparable from, or maybe thanks to) Yomi’s thick vocals and the overall funky vibe of the track. As I mentioned previously, at first I thought What? to the song selection, but if the rest of the album can follow Nightmare‘s bold opening tracks, we’re good.

Beauty And The Beast was destined to be a winner for me from the moment I saw who was covering it. Thankfully this one was allowed to be in Japanese, and the resulting flow of the lyrics paired with Kawamura’s vocals is really elegant. Nobody was better suited to sing this than Kawamura Ryuuichi, and he pulls it off incredibly well. Even the weird electronica that comes in and brings us back to modern day rock’n’roll is impossible to dislike, however incongruous it seemed at first.

Honestly I didn’t even realize Penicillin was still making music. Although not crazy about the song itself, the feel of the band’s cover is solid, and the obnoxious punk pace is kept up well, halfway convincing me that I’m still listening to Jrock. Seriously, Penicillin is so annoying to listen to, and yet the song satisfies at the same time. Thanks to them, my sinus headache is now amplified ten-fold.

 Chim Chim Chimeree is a nice R&R sesh after the hectic aural bludgeoning of Lilo’s world as interpreted by Penicillin. Slow and moody, something to throw onto late-night mixes for winding down from days as chaotic as the preceding song…

I almost feel like not mentioning the next song at all, seeing that it was a given that it would be one of the album’s crowning glories. Sadie always kills it, but they really did a number on This Is Halloween. The grungy opening guitar chords. The opening vocals. From the moment the track-list was released, this match-up was the one that made the most sense to me. The screamo, the darkness, it really works. Sadie pulls it off with all kinds of nightmarish panache.

I read and heard a few rather harsh reviews, one of which gave Aoi’s rendition of Can You Feel The Love Tonight something of a brutal beating. My question for the reviewer would be, what exactly is wrong with the song? Although never a huge follower of Ayabie, my biggest complaints towards the band were based around how underplayed Aoi’s vocals felt on every release. They’ve found center-stage here, and they do the song justice. The electronicky, Ayabie--oops, I mean Aoi– feel of the piece is undeniably catchy. His voice works well with the feel of the song. As a huge sentimental bastard and sucker for the sappy Disney ballads, I applaud Aoi’s melancholy, aching vocal work on the track.

The Kiddie‘s rendition of Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious — which I can’t even spell, let alone expect this kid to be able to pronounce– is one of those experiences where you feel like you just ate too much sugar and want to vomit. By the first listen-through I expected a unicorn horn to sprout out of my forehead, and rainbows to pour from my ears by the third replay.I’m surprised that this didn’t make me dropkick an innocent kitten right into orbit. That being said, some sick, cheerful, masochistic part of me actually listens to this song.

Someone please sue them for being so cheerful

Another slow piece with When You Wish Upon a Star. Not crazy about this song even in the Disney world, and the cover didn’t change my mind.

Cascades Heigh Ho actually did inspire me to commit extreme acts of violence and vandalism. Heigh Ho is such a profoundly obnoxious song that I want to do horrible things to the producer’s dog, grandma, and next-door-neighbor just in an attempt to avenge those forever lost 4 minutes of my life. To their credit, he does sound like a dwarf. I plan on never listening to this song ever again, unless to employ it as a perverse weapon of psychological warfare.

And it’s over all too soon. You’ll be In My Heart, already covered nicely for the Japanese dub of Tarzan has a precedent set for quality and elegance. Nothing else need be said. I just need to figure out whether I like this version or the original cover better. As a side note,I do like the Visual Kei “edge” to his vocals here, where the original cover was smoother and more regular.

In Conclusion

 Overall, although I’m aware that a lot of people will hate this album, I honestly can’t pinpoint any fundamental issues with it. Well organized, well produced, well-arranged songs; the lyrics were tastefully done, and the ratio of English – Japanese was nicely moderated.

I wasn’t sure how much of the lyrics would be in Japanese, but in the end I was pleased with the arrangements. It was more or less balanced–overall, I liked the songs with Japanese lyrics the best, but had no issues with the English tracks particularly. I enjoy how the Japanese feels with the flow of the melodies, in the same way I’m enjoying the chemistry between the hard-rock and the Disney tones.

I thought the album was a really fun change of pace from the super serious race for quality and marketable creations. An extremely dedicated fanservice offering, I wonder how seriously anyone can actually take this release… And remember, your opinion is your own, but if you didn’t give this release two thumbs up, you not only completely fail as a Disney fan, but your life as a Visualist is also futile.

Just kidding.

Sort of.

…Is this all just a weird dream?

That awkward moment when two very, very separate parts of your multi-media experience come together, causing you to have a sudden flare-up of dizziness, claustrophobia, and overwhelming confusion.

According to this website, a Various-Artist compilation is tentatively destined for release on the 7th of September. I’m not usually first in line for compilation works, but there’s always that rare time in ones’ life when one is willing to go against ones’ habitual patterns, whether for the sake of satisfying a sense of primal curiosity, or simply in an effort to repair the gaping hole in the Ozone of ones’ life that the collab of, say, Disney and Visual Kei might have cause to effect.

 I don’t usually, that is to say ever, use the words “Disney” and “Visual Kei” in the same sentence. This is so not ok on so many levels. But I need it.

V-ROCK Disney [09.07.11]

TRACKLIST

  1. 河村隆一(kawamura ryuuichi) – Beauty and the Beast [Beauty and the Beast]
  2. NIGHTMARE – Fantasia [Fantasia]
  3. NIGHTMARE – A Friend like me [Aladdin]
  4. Plastic Tree – Chim Chim Cher-ee [Mary Poppins]
  5. PENICILLIN – Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride [Lilo & Stitch]
  6. ニンジャマンジャパン(NINJAMAN JAPAN) – When You Wish Upon a Star [Pinocchio]
  7. CASCADE – Heigh-Ho [Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs]
  8. THE KIDDIE – Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious [Mary Poppins]
  9. DASEIN – You’ll be in My Heart [Brother Bear]
  10. Sadie – This is Halloween [Nightmare Before Christmas]

And thus I lose all confidence in my understanding of reality as I know it.

 

Aoi Surrenders Love for Ayabie

I would, firstly, like to thank Connie of xreddishx.wordpress.com for correcting my information in regards to the Ayabie break-up/hiatus. My information in regards to the situation was outdated, and did not incorporate the latest installment of the saga, which was a vital and conclusive piece that explained the drama and the confusion therein. As a result, I was too harsh in my judgment of the events and actions surrounding the band splitting into two separate groups, and I would like to apologize if those judgments, wrongly made, offended anyone, Ayabie fans or otherwise.

As such, I will be taking down the original post, so as not to cause any further discord or confusion. My sincere apologies, and deepest gratitude for correcting my view.

 

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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

There Is a Higher Power…

There is a higher power, and they’re mocking me. After finally emotionally letting go of all the issues I have around Jrockers and their perms, I did an innocent image search looking for an image of MUCC‘s latest style. I clicked through an image…and lo and behold, it takes me to a website with nothing to do with the original image….and all I can see, is this image:

Can anyone tell me about this picture? If you guessed that it’s an image of SADIE with a PERM, then you got it in one. Congratulations, there is now officially a higher power, and they are mocking me. Not only is it a perm, it is the quintessential perm.

Image: Neu + Mania

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.


SADIE DRESS OF SKIN TOUR ’10

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