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You Down with KPP? Kyary Pamyu Pamyu's North American Tour Comes This Way Way Way!

Posted by Kells, February 13, 2014 04:33pm | Post a Comment
Watch out party people! Monster fashionista and idolatrous J-Pop sensation Kyary Pamyu Pamyu 
kicks off her 2014 Nanda Collection World Tour with a sold out show in Seattle, Washington tonight -- the first of six U.S. dates that includes stops in SF this Saturday and L.A. on Sunday [for which tickets are still available as I type this]. 

KPP, or Caroline Charonplop Kyary Pamyu Pamyu -- her full, formal stage name, started out as naught but a humble, fashion-forward blogger turned model who eventually cast her very own claim to J-pop fame upon releasing her first single, "PonPonPon", during the summer of 2011, citing such trend-setting pop icons as Katy Perry and Gwen Stefani as inspirations. While her ever changing appearance and unfathomably deep bag of look-book tricks keeps those enamored of her work in association with various niche fashion cultures hungry for all things Kyary-related, it'll be nothing if not an absolute pleasure to see Kyary and her fabulous backup dancers (because you know they're gonna be fabulous) do their thing on stage, live and in-person, this Saturday night (that is, if you're in SF, like me). 


~tour dates~
Feb 13 – Seattle / Showbox at the Market
Feb 15 – San Francisco / The Regency Ballroom
Feb 16 – Los Angeles / Club Nokia LA Live
Mar 5 – Chicago / House of Blues
Mar 7 – Toronto / Sound Academy
Mar 8 – New York / Best Buy Theater


Here's some candy, or rather "Candy Candy", or also one reason why I'm chuffed to bits for this show:


Save

Piko Piko - A look at Picopop on the 34th birthday of Yellow Magic Orchestra's debut

Posted by Eric Brightwell, November 25, 2012 12:44pm | Post a Comment

Back in 1978, on 25 November, pioneering Japanese group, Yellow Magic Orchestra released their influential, eponymous, debut full-length. The album and group are widely credited with being very influential on the development of several music genres, including ambient, chiptune, electrohip hop, house, J-pop, synthpop, and techno, to name a few. 





The band (also known as YMO) were also on influence on another Japanese scene that emerged around the dawn of the 21st Century, picopop (or ピコポップ). Bands and performers such as EeL, Hi-Posi, Motocompo, Plus-tech Squeeze Box, Sonic Coaster Pop, and Strawberry Machine updated the shibuya-kei (渋谷系) style popularized in the 1990s by Cibo MattoCorneliusFlipper's Guitar, Pizzicato Five, and Original Love by adding some good, old fashioned, electro elements with a sensibility that often recalls YMO.


 
Capsule in shibuya-kei mode --> Capsule in picopop mode

Shibuya-kei had initially drawn largely on bossa novajazz, lounge, and yé-yé. In the late 1990s and early 2000s it began to evolve into "picopop" for for the "piko" sounds of classic game sound effects and scores.  Some acts, like Capsule (カプセル), began their careers making shibuya-kei before thoroughly transitioning into picopop. Others, like Yukari Fresh Colorful System, combine elements of both closely associated scenes.


  

Usagi Chang (Little Bunny) Records is the label most associated with pico pop although Motocompo's Shibuya-based label, Poplot and Columbia Nippon's J-Pop branch, Heat Wave, also released popular picopop albums. In the past few years, abcdefg* have released (and re-released) picopop recordings.

The amount of electro elements vary from performer to performer and often song to song. Perhaps the sometimes ridiculously twee, kawaii, visual aspect is almost as important as the music. Judge for yourself by sampling the following picopop videos and happy birthday Yellow Magic Orchestra!

Plus-Tech Squeeze Box




Capsule


Cubismo Grafico


The Aprils


Macdonald Duck Eclair


Hazel Nuts Chocolate


Omodaka



Strawberry Machine 



Hi-Posi



Motocompo



Sucrette



naivepop or petitfool



YMCK



Laugh &
 Peace



Marino


Other artists to check out for those so inclined include: ColtemonikhaMisswonda, EeLSonic Coast PopNagisa Cosmetic, and Copter4016882. Ja!

Update: In 2013 American singer from San Gabriel, Joanna Wang, released an album (Galaxy Crisis: The Strangest Midnight Broadcast) that marks a stylistic shift into Picopop -- probably one of the first Americans to work in the genre.




*****

Stereopony Saddles Up for Amoeba Instore and U.S. Tour

Posted by Kells, April 6, 2012 02:23pm | Post a Comment
They may not be the first all-girl band of hard-rockin' babes from Okinawa Japan to grace the stage at Amoeba Music in San Francisco but hear me now, believe me later when I say that the Stereopony live instore performance going down at 6pm next Monday night, April 9th, is going to be an affair to remember!

Having made their major debut in 2008, Stereopony has gained a great deal of notoriety by having their songs featured as themes for various commercials, television shows and anime series, most notably their fifth single "Tsukiakari no Michishirube" doing double time as the opener for Darker Than Black: Ryuusei no Gemini. Employing catchy melodic rock hooks reminiscent of the whole high school à la Brat Pack zeitgeist met with more than a dash of mid-to-late 1990's pop-punk angst (i.e. their live sets sometimes reveal a Green Day cover) it's impossible to imagine a

Check out the video below for "Hanbunko" to see what all the fuss is about and don't forget to grab a copy of Stereopony's latest release, More! More!! More!!!, when you drop by for the live Stereopony in-store performance at Amoeba Music's SF location on Monday, April 9th. That's right folks, Amoeba Music is the place to see live music, why? Because it's always fab and always free of charge, no tickets required; did it on'em.

And if you can't make it out to Amoeba Music SF for the show check the concerts dates and deets below the video for more info on their More! More!! More!!! 2012 U.S. Tour. See you there!





Kyary Pamyu Pamyu's Disturbingly Cute Debut!

Posted by Kells, November 28, 2011 12:12pm | Post a Comment
Harajuku superstar Kyary Pamyu Pamyu's debut mini-album, Moshi Moshi Harajuku, was spotted recently among the new releases in the J-Pop section at Amoeba Music SF and, like a saccharine-laced shroom-hazed acid flashback citing the fallout that was my impression upon viewing her now-long gone viral music video for the single "PONPONPON", many intriguing questions about the psychedelic limits of Japan's popular Kawaisa and Decora cultural aspects immediately bubbled up. Chief among them: how much Pon could a Pon Way Way if a Pon Way could Way Pon?

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu - "PONPONPON"


That, and where can I get that giant box of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese? Has Pee-Wee Herman seen this? Some of the realizations spawned during the review: there really can never be too much pink and, something I had forgotten since, say...1997, Doc Marten's pair well with just about any ensemble. But I guess it took this Tokyo model and blogger fashionista turned J-pop wunder-gyaru to hip me to that fact, or re-hip me I guess, as the case may be. Seriously though, speaking of Kyary's fashion blog, this is the face that greets you when you arrive at her site:


 
Initial reactions to this visual recall that silly Allison Harvard x Sifl & Olly "Fake Blood" video by Rich of FourFour fame and spur a barrage of imaginary taglines like: "cute kills (or at least causes internal bleeding)." Poke around long enough -- skipping her posts about insomnia, mini M&M manicures and dining out with friends, etc. -- you'll understand that Miss Kyary shares something of little Edie Beale's enthusiasm for achieving the best look for the day, every day. I mean, somebody has to think up these things, you know...







 

I wonder what you'd get a girl like Kyary for Christmas -- a new computer? Or perhaps a teaching job?
 

























Maybe all she really ever longs for is a new DO, you know, something special and highfalutin that pairs well with eau de Christmas Tree for the holidays. Something like THIS:


 
Doesn't she just look so happy?! There's just no help for it, I think she's hypnotizing me. While I still possess a barely-there thread of psychic defense against the two-pronged attack that is Kyary-chan's  techno-candy ear-wormage (produced by Yasutaka Nakata of Capsule) juxtaposed against the je ne sais quoi appeal of her terrifyingly cute aesthetic I urge those of you who have made it this far into this post to come on down and check out Kyary and friends in our J-Pop selection at Amoeba Music! ピースアウト!

*NEW* in J-Pop this week: Tokyo Jihen's Great Discovery!

Posted by Kells, November 14, 2011 12:00pm | Post a Comment
Thank heavens! J-pop superstar Shiina Ringo's slinky jazz-rock unit Tokyo Jihen (or Tokyo Incidents if you prefer your English full-on, 100%) are back with Dai-Hakken/Great Discovery -  their fifth television-themed record to date (i.e. Education, Adult, Variety, Sports, and now Discovery [Channel] television)!

I have to say, it's comforting to see a well-established artist who has grappled with fumbles and triumphs alike throughout their career still making the sort of music and displaying their particular taste for showmanship with grace and aplomb. Shiina Ringo is a little bit like Prince in my mind, even if it's purely for the fact that her successful side project, Tokyo Jihen, is not only peopled by her hand-selected collection of uber-talented, male musicians but also once released a record packaged with it's very own original cologne for men. I mean, the recent music video for Dai-Hakken b-side --「ハンサム過ぎて」("Too Handsome") wherein Ringo "directs" her band of fellows to put on their most comely date-night behavior -- kinda says it all. Ringo is a dom-ballerina and all the world, well all of Japan and many locals otherwise anyway, are her stage.



(Like you've never licked your TV screen) Pretty! But I digress, this post is about the new full-length record, not the new-new single. To my delight this record is a great deal more satisfying at first listen than the last two Incidents' incidents but I'm sure the end payoff will be the same in that it stands alone as a great album in as much as it further gilds the worth of the greater part of Ringo's works, with or without her Incidents. It's always been all about her, you know, as the video for 「女は誰でも」(or "Any Girl" -- Ringo's own twisted English translation of said title being "Fly Me to Heaven" which I feel is really more indicative of the flutterings and spasms "any girl" might feel playing dress-up in an extensively sequined vintage  wardrobe as Ringo does waltzing through this self-indulgent vignette of a musical interlude) suggests, check it out:



And that's why we love her, no? I really like that too legit hand-signal for the phrase "like a virgin" but it might be difficult to work into casual conversation. Then again, it might not. Incidently speaking (forgive me) my favorite track from Dai-Hakken is without a doubt "Les Adultes Terribles" - it's everything that is appealing about this band in general. It's got a stone-solid groove and a sensual quality that marries late night skate jams with the sort of prowling sound that you just know a super model longs to unwind with after a drug-addled, high-heeled youth spent working it endlessly on catwalk after glittering catwalk. Les Adultes Terribles indeed! Enjoy and remember Tokyo Incidents Dai-Hakken is available at Amoeba Music!

Tokyo Jihen - "Les Adultes Terribles" (「恐るべき大人達」)
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