Upcoming Release: Natsuko Miyamoto (Mass of the Fermenting Dregs) Announces Solo Album

Image courtesy of Pia Kansai.

Fresh off Mass of the Fermenting Dregs‘ first physical release in 7 years, the single “Slow-motion Replay,” singer and bassist for MOTFD, Natsuko Miyamoto, has announced her first solo album.

Titled Namami, the 9-track CD will be released in May through FLAKE SOUNDS. According to an interview with Miyamoto on Pia Kansai, he tracklist is as follows:

  1. Hitogomi [Crowd]
  2. EIM -everyday is monday-
  3. Warau Hito [Laughing Person]
  4. Uta O Utaeba [If You Sing a Song]
  5. delayed brain (NUMBERGIRL cover)
  6. Shijima To Kabe To Yami [Silence and Walls and Darkness] (Qomolangma Tomato cover)
  7. Slow-motion Replay
  8. Re: Tantantan
  9. decision

The last three tracks have all been released in some form before: Miyamoto’s solo take on “Slow-motion Replay” is the b-side for the single, and “Re: Tantantan” is another take on a different MOTFD song, which she released on her Bandcamp along with the solo track “decision.”

You can follow Mass of the Fermenting Dregs on Facebook here.

Listen to Natsuko Miyamoto’s solo version of “Slow-motion Replay” below.

Upcoming Release: Natsuko Miyamoto (Mass of the Fermenting Dregs) Announces Solo Album

Shiina Ringo – Heisei Fuuzoku – 10 Years Later


Image courtesy of Amazon.co.uk.

Shiina Ringo‘s Heisei Fuuzoku came out in 2007 and served as the soundtrack to Ninagawa Mika’s movie adaptation of Anno Moyoco’s manga Sakuran. A collaboration with violinist and conductor Saitou Neko, who worked with Shiina on her debut album (playing violin on “Onaji Yoru”), the disc features re-arrangements of Shiina’s earlier tracks, a cover, and six new songs.

Ten years later, the album stands as a testament to the musical possibilities alive in the liminal space between the traditional and the experimental, the orchestra and the synthesizer, and the real and the otherworldly.

Heisei came out one year after Shiina released her second album with Tokyo Jihen: the mature, fully realized funk-rock LP Adult. It had been three years since she had released her critically acclaimed double platinum third solo record Kalk Samen Kuri No Hana. Shiina’s work with Tokyo Jihen had begun to move away from the sprawling pop experiments of her solo material to something more about genre and cohesion: creating more within limits. Heisei Fuuzoku lives in a space between the two. It is both sprawling and specific, eclectic and timeless.

The genre of Heisei is amorphous and multiplicitous. While “Gamble” and “Kuki” center the orchestra’s strings, other songs flirt with swing and electronica.

Perhaps the most impressive blending of classical and new, experimental and orchestral, is “Hatsukoi Shoujo.” On first listen it sounds unperformable (despite evidence to the contrary – Shiina opened Ringo Expo 08 with this song). Syllables stretch out and layer on top of each other. A single voice sings different sections of the same words, harmonizing with itself. Violins echo and reality warps.

“I want to know your name/Ah, so that I can call for you someday”

The self-covers, from Kalk Samen Kuri No Hana, Shouso Strip (Shiina’s sophomore album), and Tokyo Jihen’s debut, Kyouiku, deconstruct the originals while painting certain elements in contrast.

Take “Poltergeist.” It is an unsettling waltz on Kalk Samen, with ticking music boxes that swung into an orchestra by the second verse, and is performed by Shiina with a sense of steady assuredness. It is a song of love affairs and ghosts wedded with her frequent themes of uncertainty and dichotomy (real/unreal, joy/misery). On Fuuzoku, “Poltergeist” is orchestral from the beginning: slower, even more gentle, and swings not into steadiness, but a kind of uncertain sweetness. “I sing this for your sake alone,” Shiina sings, not in full voice like on Kalk Samen, but in a lilt that allows room for ambiguity. Perhaps the love she sings of is only a phantom.

On the other hand, the swing of “Meisai,” which on Kalk Samen was a skittering rumble anchored by Inoue Uni’s bass and a single violin, played by Saitou and descending into wailing chaos, is here oomph-ed into a fully-formed jazz number with masterfully quick delivery from Shiina. Now Saitou, as conductor, can craft his chaos more directly into the composition – and yes the dance does descend into perfectly orchestrated pandemonium, and yes, it is beautiful.

The ballad “Yume No Ato,” originally the closer on Tokyo Jihen’s debut, is a tender, dissonant step onto the threshold of the last track: Shiina’s duet with her brother, Shiina Junpei, titled “Kono Yo No Kagiri.”

The cheerful number is both Technicolor and fear. It is a joyful approach to the end of the world. But the song itself, enormous and orchestral, serves as a statement on what Heisei Fuuzoku is. The two harmonize, “I’ll make a song for you/Nothing too old and nothing too new.”

At the threshold of old and new stands something previously unheard. It comes from the violinist and the vocalist. The cat (neko) and the apple (ringo).

The real and the otherworldly, encapsulated within a single disc.

Shiina Ringo – Heisei Fuuzoku – 10 Years Later

Upcoming Release: Number the. – Moon Beam

Today, rock trio Number the. released a trailer for their first song as a group in five years, titled “MOON BEAM.”

The single will be released only as a digital download on January 25.

The band’s last release was their 2012 album, Night Songs, which served as the follow-up to their debut, 1st. 

Upcoming Release: Number the. – Moon Beam

Upcoming Release: Mass of the Fermenting Dregs – Slow-motion Replay


Image courtesy of Mass of the Fermenting Dregs on Facebook.

Shoegaze darlings Mass of the Fermenting Dregs have announced their first physical release in 7 years, a split single of the new song “Slow-motion Replay.” The 7-inch vinyl will be limited to 500 copies, and includes a recording by the whole band, as well as a solo acoustic take by frontwoman Natsuko Miyamoto.

The record will be released March 1 through Flake Records. According to Mass of the Fermenting Dregs’ Facebook page, overseas fans can request to purchase the record by emailing info@flakerecords.com.

Mass of the Fermenting Dregs has been touring extensively in Japan and beyond since returning last year from their 2012 hiatus. In addition to Miyamoto on vocals and bass, the band’s current incarnation consists of Isao Yoshino on drums and Naoya Ogura on guitar.

Below if a video of Mass of the Fermenting Dregs performing “Kakuiumono” at Shindaita Fever.

Upcoming Release: Mass of the Fermenting Dregs – Slow-motion Replay

Upcoming Release: Togawa Jun – Watashi Ga Nakou Hototogisu

Togawa Jun has announced a self-covers album to commemorate her 35 year anniversary as a singer. Titled Watashi Ga Nakou Hototogisu [I, a Cuckoo, Will Sing], the collection will be released on December 14. A promotional video featuring the album’s new arrangement of “Akai Sensha” [“Red Tank”] was included with the announcement.

In addition to 9 self-covers, the album will include 1 new track, Togawa’s first release under her solo name in 12 years. This song will take the same title as the album, “Watashi Ga Nakou Hototogisu.”

Other than Togawa’s vocals, the self-covers will be arranged and performed by the band Vampillia, with whom Togawa had previously collaborated on the song “lilac” from their album the divine move.

Tracklist (links to original tracks where available):

  1. Akai Sensha [Red Tank]
  2. Mushi No Onna [Pupating Woman]
  3. Suki Suki Daisuki [I Like You, I Like You, I Love You]
  4. Nikuya No You Ni [Like a Butcher] (epilepsy/flashing warning on link)
  5. Men’s Junan
  6. Dotou No Ren’ai [Raging Waves of Love]
  7. Teinen Pushiganga [Spiritual Awakening Pushiganga]
  8. Juu Ni Kai No Ichiban Oku [The Dead Center of the Twelfth Floor]
  9. Babara Sexaroid
  10. Watashi Ga Nakou Hototogisu [I, a Cuckoo, Will Sing]

You can pre-order the album from Virgin Babylon Records as well as amazon.co.jp.

Further reading: amass.jp, aramajapan.com

*The word “hototogisu” refers not just to a cuckoo, but to the species known as the lesser cuckoo. This bird, found in Japan, is known for its song, according to Wikipedia.

Upcoming Release: Togawa Jun – Watashi Ga Nakou Hototogisu

Upcoming Release: ALI PROJECT – A Kyuu Kaigenrei


Prolific classical-pop duo will be releasing a new album, A Kyuu Kaigenrei [Class A Martial Law], on August 24, 2016. There will be two different versions. The CD + DVD version, as pictured above, will contain 10 tracks, plus a DVD showcasing 9 songs from their 2015 performance at the now-closed Shibuya Public Hall. The CD-only version will not come with a DVD, but the CD will include a bonus track: a new version of “Mousou Suizokukan” [“Delusion Aquarium”], the gently chaotic dance track originally included in ALI PROJECT’s 5-song 2001 release CLASSICS.

A Kyuu Kaigenrei tracklist:

  1. Eikyuu Kaigenrei [Eikyuu Era Martial Law]
  2. Ishu Kakumei [Heterogeneous Revolutions]
  3. Barabi To Yuriyasushi No Fushigi Na Hoteru [Beautiful Rose and Gentle Lily’s Miraculous Hotel]
  4. Zekkyou Tetsugaku [Philosophy of Screams]
  5. Saigo No Bijutsukan [The Last Art Museum]
  6. Showa B Kyuu Gete Kuidou [Showa Era Class B Bad Way of Eating]
  7. Onna Kasei Bugaku Zu [A Bugaku Scene of a Woman’s Metamorphosis]
  8. Madara Koi Tsubaki Gedou
  9. Ashiki Shinka [Evil Evolution]
  10. Nakimushi Ha Dari [Dali’s Faction of Crybabies]

ALI PROJECT will be touring Japan in support of the album come fall. The tour, entitled “Shitagawarazu Mono Kuu Bekarazu” [“He Who Does Not Work, Neither Shall He Eat”*], consists of the following dates:

October 26: Sendai Rensa

November 1: Nagoya Club Diamond Hall

November 2: Namba Hatch (Osaka)

November 3: Fukuoka Drum Logos

Tickets go on sale on September 10 and can be purchased online in Japan from e+.

Pre-order the album: HMV cdJapan amazon.co.jp

If you have any insight for clearer translations, corrections, or additional information, please comment below.

*Thank you Galen for the translation of the tour name.

Upcoming Release: ALI PROJECT – A Kyuu Kaigenrei

Upcoming Release: Charisma.com – Aidoro C


Japanese electro-rap duo Charisma.com announced today that they will be releasing a new mini-album on March 2, 2016. The title is Aidoro C [Love Mud C?], and there will be two editions: the 8-track normal edition, and a Tower Records version with different artwork and a bonus track. They will both sell for 2,000 yen, plus tax.

The tracklist is as follows:

  1. Supliminal Diet (possibly a typo, with the intention of subliminal, or a pun, combining supplemental with subliminal?)
  2. Honenuki Ni Koishite (Fall in Love with Having no Backbone)
  3. Koshikake Rappu (Bench Lap/Rap)
  4. PH4
  5. GODcustomer
  6. Toushindai Guree (Life-Size Grey)
  7. Berusassa (People Who Go Home Right With the Sound of the Closing Bell – a slang term first popular in the 1980s, used to refer to students or workers who, instead of going shopping or playing on the playground, go straight home at the end of the day)
  8. Jido-ru (Self-ie)
  9. Buta (Pig) (Tower Records Bonus Track)

Normal edition:


Tower Records edition:


Note: As usual, this group has more puns and plays on words than one can shake a stick at. If you notice something has been mistranslated or has an additional meaning, please comment below.

Upcoming Release: Charisma.com – Aidoro C