Ready to FLiP out?

Okinawa has a pretty good record of turning up some pretty popular punk bands like MONGOL800, INDIAN-HI and Bleach. Of particular note is that like Bleach, FLiP is an all-girl punk band comprised of Sachiko (vocals/guitar), Yuko (guitar/chorus), Sayaka (bass) and Yuumi (drums/chours). The band just released their first mini-album called “Haha kara Umareta Hinekure no Uta (母から生まれた捻くれの唄)” on June 25th.

(Link: [ニュース].)

Monpachi to release best album – Tokyograph

Popular rock band MONGOL800 (also known as ‘Monpachi’) is celebrating its 10th anniversary with a best hits album, titled ‘etc works.’ The collection features not only their own songs, but also collaborations with other artists (such as RYUKYUDISKO and RIP SLYME) and covers they performed for the tribute albums of Unicorn and Husking Bee.

‘etc works’ hits stores on July 8.

(Link: Monpachi to release best album – Tokyograph.)

With four albums in their discography (the last one 2006’s “Daniel), “etc works” covers a decade’s worth of material for the band. While we don’t have a track listing yet, it’s a sure bet that “Chiisana Koi no Uta” (the YouTube video above) will be in it.

O-Reggae goes SOUTH!


Okay, I admit, that’s a pretty silly title for a blog post. Heh. Anywho, Okinawan reggae duo SOUTH released a new album on the 22nd titled “Walking Up.” The 7-track album will feature their style of reggae dubbed (get it?) “Okinawan happy reggae.” The freshly released “Walking Up” follows their debut album “Peace-Full-Piece” from 2006. (Image via SOUTH’s official website.)

(Via Okinawa Cyura Sounds.)

TBSK: The next HY / HandMC?

Sorry about the abbreviations in the title folks but can you name all three bands? We’ll start with the popular indie band HY — since that’s what they go by — who are representing their hometown, Higashi Yakena, with pride. (Btw, it’s the band’s choice to remain indie.)

Next is the uber-popular J-mixture band HIGH and MIGHTY COLOR, who are signed to a major label and everyone should already be familiar with. (The band also goes by Haikara and H&MC.)

And finally FTW, TBSK also known as Burusuka (ブルスカ), or properly as The Blue Sky Kick’s (the apostrophe s in Kick’s kinda reminds me of pre-MAX group Super Monkey’s). They’ve been around since 2004 and I’m quite surprised that they haven’t been signed to a major label (thus making it easier for folks outside of Okinawa to purchase their CDs). The band’s style is more HY than HandMC but the makeup is identical in that they all write their own material, have a rock sound, have a female lead singer and a male lead singer. Hopefully we’ll see more of them in 2008 in mainstream Japanese media.

On a side but related note, it brings me great pleasure to announce that the band’s record label/management, Climax Entertainment, recently released a bunch of their artists’ PVs on YouTube — and I’m their first subscriber! Yay! Seriously though, checking out the PVs is a good chance to get a head start on artists who may have their big break soon like TRIPLE-P (Love Song), TBSK and/or the cute-like-Aiko-is-cute Mayu Ueta (Cherry Blossom).

Album: HY’s 5th album ‘HeartY’

It’s pretty cool to see a band, in this case HY, remain indie and onto their 5th album. “HeartY,” to be released on April 16, follows the album “Confidence” which was released about two years ago. The title of the new album is a play on the H and Y of their group name and the Japanese word ai which they translate here as heart. The 13-track album will be sold for ¥2,500 and come in five—FIVE of ’em—limited-edition versions for the store that it’s being sold at. While they do have an English version of their website available, updates to it are trickling in so keep your eye on it for future news on the band.

HY’s English-language single, “AM11:00,” is on-sale at the iTunes Store.



TRIPLE-P’s Website

One of the many indies music artists (I’ll blog about the others in the coming weeks) that caught my attention this past March in Okinawa is the hip-pop (hip-hop, rap, J-pop) duo TRIPLE-P. The duo of SHUN and Alice is on the same indie record label as the popular mixture band HY, Climax Entertainment Inc., and I can see them potentially making their major label debut (i.e., if that’s the direction they wish to go) this year. With four singles (starting with 2005’s “Yume”) and two EPs (the second one, “TRIPLE-P SHOW∼SEASON2∼”, to be released on 4/25/07) in their discography, they certainly have enough material to carry over to the mainstream but it’s the duo’s live show (although sadly, I was only able to see clips of it on the tube) that rocks with Alice looking like Japan’s version of Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas (not surprisingly, her online profile lists the group as one of her favorites).

TRIPLE-P’s music can be sampled on their website where they also have video clips of a few of their songs too (check out the ballad “Love Song”). You can also sample and purchase their music on iTunes Japan (clicking on the link will open iTunes) if you have a credit card with a Japanese billing address or an iTunes Japan gift card. The duo’s first EP, December 2006’s “TRIPLE-P SHOW∼SEASON1∼”, can be purchased through online retailer — and one of my personal favorites —

Orange Clover Gets It

Two days ago I blogged about BEGIN’s plans for 2007 and one of the artists that I mentioned on that post caught my attention. Orange Clover is a relatively new J/O-pop duo from Ishikagi-jima who released their first album “LaLaLaLaLa” in 2004. Female lead singer/lyricist Shinobu Nakasone and male guitarist/composer Nobuhiro Miyara only have that debut album to their credit but through their website you can download samples of the duo’s music (and that’s where they get it). Also available are the lyrics to each song and while only one is available as a full-song, the others are 1-2 minute samples which leaves you wanting to listen to the whole thing! It looks like (at least according to their website) the only place to find the album in Naha is at cool record store, Get Happy Records. Other than that store, you’ll only find it for sale in Ishigaki-jima record shops. Orange Clover is definitely worth a listen and I’d buy it in a snap if it were available through the iTunes Store.

An Ageless Christmas Melody

Got wind of this little gem from Deckman. The song is called “Christmas Melody” and is performed by Takano Uehara with composition by her friend H. Tanahara. According to Deckman, Takano is an amateur singer from Itoman and the video was put out on the web to see if there would be any interest in it. Personally, I think the song is quite catchy and kind of cool. I definitely like it and would like to hear more from the singer. Although I couldn’t find much info on Takano, she is on MySpace. Check out the video, check out her MySpace page and let’s hope to hear more from her in 2007.