HIGH and MIGHTY COLOR’s “good bye”

Let the comparisons between former HandMC vocalist Mākii and new vocalist Halca commence! I believe this is the second song (and first PV) to feature Halca (21) with the band and it’s a rocker. The debut single with Halca, titled “XYZ,” was released on July 7, 2009, and is currently on sale on iTunes (link opens the iTunes U.S. store). Personally, I prefer “XYZ” to “good bye” and we’ll have a chance to listen to more of the new line-up when their album “Swamp man” is released on September 2, 2009.

As was with “XYZ,” the single “good bye” will be was released as a digital single on July 29, 2009, available on iTunes. Let’s hope that we’ll see the entire album on sale as well when it hits on 9/2/09. “Swamp man” will feature both songs as well as eight other tracks.

Rinken Teruya’s latest solo album “Pause 2” now on iTunes (and more)

Rinken Teruya (leader of the O-pop band Rinken Band) has been one of the most tech-savvy of his peers—as evidenced by the rinken.gr.jp website which has been around for several years as well as his willingness to release his music digitally. Although he’s had numerous projects in the past (like Tink Tink, Mihanagumi, Tomoko Uehara’s solo works, among others), he released his first solo instrumental album last year titled “Pause” and this year released the follow-up album, “Pause 2” (link opens iTunes). Both albums are available in the US iTunes Store.

Unfortunately, many of his other projects (like Tink Tink’s music) are only available at the Japan iTunes store. While we’re on that subject (i.e. of what those of us who live outside of Japan can’t get), I’ll share two iMixes[1] worth checking out. Please be aware that these links will open iTunes and log you off of the US store as it’ll open the Japan store. For an exhaustive look at artists with music available for sale at the US store, check out my special page: Listing of Artists on iTunes.

iMixes found at the Japan iTunes store:

  • Ryukyu Utahime Shu – an iMix of female singers from Okinawa.
  • Ryukyu Geinou Catalog – although I usually think of performing arts when I hear the word “geinou,” this iMix is just a collection of rock and pop artists from Okinawa.
  • Shimauta – an interesting iMix of artists covering THE BOOM’s “Shimauta.”

And although I haven’t done any in awhile, here’s a link to my iMixes (link will open the US iTunes store).

Back to post1 These are customer-created mixes that include links to the artists’ album. Both of the iMixes consist mainly of songs that are currently available only at the Japan iTunes store. Hopefully, this gives us a look at what may one day reach the US store too—especially the Parsha cluB stuff FTW!

Ayano Uema’s recording of her 2nd album


While I couldn’t find a release date for utasaa Ayano Uema’s forthcoming (and untitled) sophomore album, we can rest assured that she’s busy recording for it and is posting her progress of it on her blog here, here, and here. If you haven’t already purchased it, Ayano’s (and two other awesome female utasaa, Mika Uchizato and Natsuki Nakamura) “Yonaha Toru Presents: Uchina Warabeuta” is available on iTunes (link opens iTunes Store). It’s an album that I highly recommended giving a listen to. Also worth checking out the trio on two additional songs, “Hanjou Bushi” and “Miyarabi Yunta,” which are on the various artists album “Respect Record Presents Okinawa Best Song Collection” (link opens iTunes Store).

Just in time for Xmas? Karakui.com updates our iTunes page

Genres icons from iTunes 8
Originally uploaded by kalphegor

Looking for a Xmas gift for that Karakui.com *ahem* fan this season? How about an iTunes gift card? We just updated the page with lots of Okinawa-related artist goodness. Of note is the various artist collection “Respect Record Presents Okinawa Best Song Collection.

(And, since we didn’t receive the touch of the iTunes God for an affiliate badge [we applied when it was first available and there wasn’t much or any Japanese selection at the time] I’ve included a link to my Amazon.com Wish List if you think we’ve been Nice this year. Cheers, Richie.)

My Amazon.com Wish List

As much as we’d appreciate a gift to us, we’re just as happy to have reached 100,000 hits giving us just about 50,000 hits a year. Thanks! Mahalo! Nifee deebitan!

Beni Arashiro drops last name for new single – Tokyograph

Singer Beni Arashiro is reinventing herself under a new name: BENI. She will once again be focusing on her music career, after months of silence, starting with a new single next month.

Arashiro left her previous management agency, Oscar Promotion, at the end of August, and her contract with Avex expired at the end of September. She has now signed with Universal Music, and her first single as BENI will be released on December 10.

Titled ‘Mou Nidoto…,’ the ballad is a follow-up to DOHZI-T’s ‘Mou Ichido… feat. BENI’ that was released in June. While Arashiro was a guest artist on that song, she hasn’t released a single of her own since February 2007.

‘Mou Nidoto’ will start selling as a chaku-uta on November 12.

(Link: Beni Arashiro drops last name for new single – Tokyograph.)

Wow, I had to read the part about “a single of her own since February 2007″ twice. I have to admit that I wasn’t much a fan of her music (her singing, I like) but that changed after listening to her sing “Koibumi,” a track off of her 2007 album “GEM.” This sentiment was further cemented after her stint on DOHZI-T’s superb J-R&B ballad “Mou Ichido…” released on June of this year. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that her first single release under her new record label (Universal) should be titled “Mou Nidoto…” which is set to be released on December 10, 2008. I think she’ll do rather well if she follows along with music of a similar vibe to these songs so we’re wishing her the best. The iTunes Store (link opens iTunes) has a pretty good collection of her material so check it out!

OLIVIA to release a new mini album on 9/17/08

OLIVIA (Olivia Lufkin) is a favorite of ours here at Karakui.com and while we’d complain about seeing yet another mini album from any other artist, if it’s from her we say “bring it on!” The six track album, *ahem*, mini album will be released in a limited edition package and features the ending theme song “Rain” from the J-drama “Keitai Sosakan 7.”

Don’t know OLIVIA? Poor soul. Check out her discography at the iTunes Store (link opens iTunes).

(Via bounce.com.)

Charts: Amuro #1 for third straight week – Tokyograph

Namie Amuro has firmly re-established herself as one of the top pop queens, achieving her third consecutive week at #1 on the album charts. Her ‘BEST FICTION’ collection debuted with the highest opening sales so far this year, and with another 153,000 copies sold this past week, the album has become her 5th million-seller. Her last album to reach that mark was ‘181920’ in 1998. This also gives Amuro the distinction of being the only artist to have a million-seller during her teens, 20s, and 30s.

(Link: Charts: Amuro #1 for third straight week – Tokyograph.)

How can anyone go wrong with a best-of compilation from Namie Amuro? Although it’s not yet available at the iTunes Store (well, at least the US store), you can still grab her back catalog (link opens iTunes) including her previous singles collection, “181920” (link opens iTunes).

GANGA ZUMBA’s 2nd album out on 8/20

Kazufumi Miyazawa’s (THE BOOM) latest project, GANGA ZUMBA, will be releasing their 2nd, self-titled album, on 8/20/08. The album will feature 13 tracks including the clip above, “Ashiato no nai michi.” The project commemorates the 100th anniversary of Japanese immigration to Brazil. Kazufumi’s (think “Shima Uta“) world-inspired pop rock for GANGA ZUMBA features Argentine-born singer Claudia Oshiro on vocals and sanshin. (Kazufumi produced Claudia’s debut album, “CLAUDIA.”)

Below is a live clip for the Okinawan-inspired song “Chimuguri Utasha” found on Kazufumi’s solo work: “Shima-Uta,” which is available on iTunes (link opens iTunes).