Well, sorry for the absence of late, but apparently post-JAMPcon and pre-MTAC has really been a busy time for me. Thankfully, MTAC is tommorrow though which I'm thrilled about! I actually will be acting press for my radio show, so I might get another perspective entirely, and possibly some spots at the very least, or even interviews with some of the guests attending. All in all, this should be a promising time, and I plan on having a lot of fun especially since this will be my first time actually staying in the hotel of a convention. I know I'll have pictures and plenty to write about as well, so expect that in the near future.
On another note though, I did promise music reviews and I will now deliver. Let me say though that while still reviews, these have been tailored a bit differently because I've been posting them on my Oricon profile. That's right, I may have mentioned that with the help of Google Translate I have set-up my own profile on the Oricon website, and as they ask, I will along with anyone else who has a profile, be submitting user reviews. These can be on singles, cds, and dvd's, but for now I've chosen to do thus far 2 albums and 2 singles. Let me not say more and instead present you these 3 reviews of, as you'll see, releases that I am quite fond of (hence, the overtly positive nature of the wording.)
Abingdon Boys School - Abingdon Boys School (Album)
Takanori Nishikawa, of T.M. Revolution fame, has brought together a synthesis of talent and craftsmanship which could only spell out success, and indeed this new creation, Abingdon Boys School, with their debut release have met or even surpassed all expectations.
Tracks such as "Innocent Sorrow" and "Howling" successfully mix Nishikawa's vocals, the band's own energy, and Toshiyuki's own mixing skills to provide us with two nu-metal anthems deserving of praise, while "Nephilim" lets the energy slip on a little more slowly, only to leave you totally engaged and enthused by the end of the song. That's not to say though the singles are the only contributions worth noting, as their first track "As One" easily sticks out on its own merits, while A.B.S.'s cover of "Dress" originally by Buck-Tick is a wonderful rendition which provides a great homage to the original tune.
One can only hope that they'll maintain their energy for more albums, but with Takanori at the helm, and a new single already released not off of their album, "Blade Chord", I believe we can expect great things to come.
Acid Black Cherry - Black Cherry (Single)
Yasu, of Janne Da Arc fame, has created quite a side project with Acid Black Cherry. Unique and raucous all the while, none of the singles stick out so clearly as this, the partial title track "Black Cherry". Initially melodic, the single starts off with Yasu crooning gently as the mood invites the listener in, and then with the help of Pistolvalve providing all the horns, and there are many, you suddenly find yourself surrounded by funk, jazz, and swing as you rock along to the suddenly up-tempo Yasu, leading the band right along. Original? Definitely, but if all music were just 4 piece rock outfits then we'd never get to experience the wondrous song that is "Black Cherry."
Bump of Chicken - Orbital Period (Album)
Bump of Chicken may have one of the strangest names in rock by far; however, when you pop in this, or any of their albums, the sometimes docile, always soulful, tunes speak for themselves. This may be why Bump of Chicken in have continually been charting in the top 10 spots, and often been ranked in the top 3 or even the acclaimed #1 spot.
My favorite song on the track, a perfect example of Bump of Chicken's ability to move one succinctly and sweetly, is Hana no Na, which was the 5th most popular song for 2007. Frankly, while I love the other tracks as well, this one so overwhelmed me with its overt simplicity that I'd say the album, and the band, would be worth checking out after hearing this song alone. But please feel free to explore the rest of "The Orbital Period" too, and may you find in your own way what Bump of Chicken means to you.
Nobodyknows+ - Hero's Come Back (Single)
When Naruto returned after many "filler" episodes, expectation ran high, not only with the show itself, but also the music since the openings and endings thus far had been so great. Likely no one expected a song of this ear pounding magnitude though, and with a beat and a flow, Naruto returned thus heralding in, for many, Nobodyknows+ as one of the crew.
Indeed, like their contemporaries, such as Orange Range, many of their tracks rely on R&B sentimentalities to deliver hits. But, Hero's Come Back used sheer force of will to cement itself into our mind. Perhaps American rap may have denigrated greatly, but Nobodyknows+ proves you can have a quality song, with a rap sound, an anthem of a tune, and an overall heroic quality.