Staff Picks: Summer 2017

Staff picks section is back! With Summer officially ending in the northern hemisphere last week, now is a great time to catch up on some releases you may have missed out on. Check out our picks below the jump.

Ash

Seiko Oomori

draw(A)drow

Sure, the title track is basically a ling tosite sigure track with Seiko on vocals, but where this single really hits gold is with the b-sides. One, “Watashimi”, is Seiko at her heartfelt songwriting finest, and the other, is an amazing cover of Keyakizaka46‘s “Silent Majority” that caught the attention of a lot of people in the idol community. Well worth the spin and whets the appetite for Seiko’s upcoming (at the time of writing this) new album, “MUTEKI”.



Boris

Dear

Many hours were spent with this sludgy, heavy and introspective beast of an album from the legendary band. Serving mainly as a culmination of 25 years of the group’s time on the scene, Boris play to their strengths here. It’s never polarizing or overly experimental, it’s just Boris doing what they do best, and it’s one of their most accessible and enjoyable albums in years because of it.

never young beach

A GOOD TIME

Surf rock darlings never young beach have returned with their debut major label release and it’s as charming as ever. Benefiting from some beautiful production value, never young beach have slowed their tempo down to make music befitting a lovely, lazy summer day. As usual, prepare yourself for some serious ear-worms, amazing guitar work and tight songwriting. Good stuff.

Hope

Vickeblanka

FEARLESS

FEARLESS has done exactly what Vickeblanka wanted it to: make a name for him. The album starts off with a bang with the high-energy Moon Ride and makes its way through a wide variety of different styles of song, turning it into a grand, theatrical affair.

It’s hard to pin down an exact style for FEARLESS, but everything comes back down to his unforgettable falsetto and his indie roots. Blanka took this opportunity to show off his improvement in both his arrangements and lyrics, and gave us a loud, confident, kick-ass album in return for the 9 month wait following his last release. And he certainly did not disappoint..

Burei-men

Mikiri Dancing

I truly believe nothing released in 2017 is going to top Mikiri Dancing. It’s a combination of vocalist SEI’s crystal clear voice and their excellent arrangements that make Burei-men’s few songs so addictive, and Mikiri Dancing lives up to all the standards they have set for themselves with past releases like Aimaina and Jinken Night.

It’s by far the catchiest of their songs, asking to be danced to, and played on repeat. Not to mention the MV – a collection of street performers, talents and random citizens and a budget of only ¥20,000 (roughly $1,800). An upbeat, fun song to match a fun video. It’s hard to top that kind of positivity.

POLU

mizuiro

Mizuiro was actually released on May 14th, but I thought it was worth mentioning here. Only 14 years old, the vocalist Suu-chan has a pure, beautifully clear voice and impressive vocal control for someone her age. She has a voice like Chiho from HAG – very pleasant and easy to listen to with a wonderful vibrato. She demonstrates her talent well in the four songs on this single, making POLU’s debut to be pretty successful for a first release.

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  • Comments

    • HyperMoot .

      root for Ronald’s picks, not just Utada’s oozora, silly, Indigo La End and Ame no Parade are on my weekly diet

      • gck_

        Did you like Daruma ringo??

    • buta_neko

      Yes! Kahogo no Kahoko!
      I have been in a drama slump for quite a while and just picked Kaho up for fun since I saw that Takahata will be playing the lead. And it sure didn’t disappoint me. Each episode just got me hooked on to it and there are also several memorable scenes that will stick in my head forever (especially the crying scenes in ep 2 and 8). Takeuchi’s acting also impressed me and I’ll definitely keep an eye on his upcoming works.
      Sad that Kaho has ended, hopefully I can find something good to fill me up again…

    • guest

      seiko oomori?
      keep it

      • Guest

        im not a fan but this is getting old

        • HyperMoot .

          I’m lost there about what or who is getting old. Seiko oomori? Keep it? Guest? Also, is there any connection between guest and guest (though guest is also a possible option).
          Guess what? We’ll have another guest in a short while. Wanna guest, sorry, guess?

        • guest

          sorry :(

    • eplizo

      Ronald’s picks this time>>>>>>>>
      The description for the Ame no Parade song is PAELLAS tho btw. I think that’s a copy and paste error lol.

      Anyway, I always love these lists. My busy ass is finding it hard to keep up with the industry nowadays, so having a good summary like this always helps.

    • Jo

      Yakuza Kiwami isn’t as fun as Yakuza 0 but I love it anyway. I think I’m officially in love with the Yakuza series.
      Boris album was amazing! Probably the best thing I’ve heard from Japan this year.

    • ainareina

      loving the burei men song. been playing it non stop since yesterday