This is the third mini album from Osaka indie group yonige, a three piece band with just the guitarist and bassist as formal members. They play pretty straightforward Japanese indie pop rock, with driving beats, overdriven barre chords, and a tendency for repeating lyrical phrases. Previously they touted the singer Arisa’s biracialness in their tag line “Yonige from Neyagawa, Osaka, Japanese rock sung by a 20-year-old half-Australian Japanese girl” (still listed in the description of a music video from two years ago), but they have dropped everything but “Yonige, Japanese rock from Neyagawa, Osaka” on their current website bio. Their growth is quite visible of late, with appearance at bigger festivals like Muro Fest and on TV music programs as well. They’ve also recently had Komaki, formerly of tricot, playing drums for them.
- our time city
- Sayonara prisoner (さよならプリズナー)
- Kanashimi wa itsumo no naka (悲しみはいつもの中)
- Shiganai futari (しがないふたり)
- Saiai no koibitotachi (最愛の恋人たち)
The lead track off this album, “Sayonara Prisoner,” is another break up tune like their biggest hit up to this point, “Avocado.” This album is catchy as a whole, with particularly memorable verses, and although it sticks to one style doesn’t fall into the trap of being bland. Each track is just different enough from each other to be fresh and distinguishable. I think this is marginally their best CD to date, but at the same time there is nothing particularly new about what they’re doing here. If you’ve liked yonige up until now, you should definitely like this album too. If you felt iffy about them before, nothing here is going to change your mind. If you haven’t heard of yonige, definitely give them a try! Judging by their current level of popularity, it wouldn’t be too surprising if they get picked up by a major record label for their next release.
- our time city – there’s this break in the second prechorus that really does it for me
- Sayonara prisoner – catchy verses
In celebration of Asian Kung-Fu Generation’s 20th anniversary comes this tribute album. The artists appearing are mostly up-and-coming younger bands who most likely grew up listening to AKG. I’ve been listening to AKG for only 10 years myself. I don’t know exactly how the different bands were picked, but I do know that they were allowed to pick the song they wanted to cover, as Regal Lily’s vocalist Honoka talked about it briefly at a recent show. I also know that Regal Lily are big fans of AKG, covering Soranin at a concert a year earlier. The songs are unsurprisingly concentrated around their earlier albums, with five from Kimi Tsunagi FM and three from Solfa.
- yonige – Soranin (ソラニン)
- 04 Limited Sazabys – Mirai no hahen (未来の破片)
- Jin (じん) – Re:Re:
amazarashi – Natsu no hi, zanzou (夏の日、残像)
Creepy Nuts – Rewrite (リライト)
- Scenario Art (シナリオアート) – Maigoken to ame no beat (迷子犬と雨のビート)
- LILI LIMIT – Blackout (ブラックアウト)
- Yoru no honki dance (夜の本気ダンス) – N.G.S
- BLUE ENCOUNT – Understand (アンダースタンド)
- Regal Lily (リーガルリリー) – Mustang (ムスタング)
- never young beach – Kimi no machi made (君の街まで)
- the chef cooks me – Kakato de ai wo uchinarase (踵で愛を打ち鳴らせ)
- KANA-BOON – Kimi to iu hana (君という花)
As with most tribute albums, the songs range from straight covers with slightly different elements mixed in from the covering band’s signature sounds (for example, 04 Limited Sazabys has a double-time punk drum beat in their version of “Mirai no hahen” and Regal Lily has chorus effect on the guitar as they usually do for their cover of “Mustang”) to completely different arrangements, like the surf rock rendition of “Kimi no machi made” by never young beach. Creepy Nuts’s song was by far the worst cover. I just don’t think their rap and music style gels well with AKG, Japanese champions of alt rock. Overall, it is a fun and satisfying album that I’d recommend to any AKG fan, especially if it has a few bands on it you like already.
Best Covers: yonige, 04 Limited Sazabys, Scenario Art, BLUE ENCOUNT, Regal Lily, never young beach
New music video from the Osaka-based indie band yonige. It’s strange, but whenever a band makes their name a Japanese word written in Roman letters, I tend forget that it actually has a meaning, especially if it’s not a word I think about very often. Their name means “running away in the night.” Unrelated fact: the singer is apparently half Australian. Yonige also covered “Soranin” on the Asian Kung-Fu Generation tribute album that was released last week, which I’d like to write a review about when I’ve had more time to listen.