-tsukihana- by Nana Kitade

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1. -tsukihana-

2. Kagami no kuni Aria

3. Manon

4. -tsukihana- (Jigoku Shoujo Mistuganae Opening ver.)

5. -tsukihana- instrumental

Nana Kitade is a Japanese rock musician known for her Gothic Lolita fashion. “-tsukihana-” is her 12th single and is featured on her last album “Bondage”. She formed a band called Loveless a few months after “Bondage” ( Bondage was released in 2009). “Tsukihana” is one of my favorite songs by Nana Kitade, it’s probably one of the few songs by Nana that I actually like. Nana Kitade is indeed a very talented musician but her only flaw is her singing which she seems to have a hard time controlling. Tsukihana is a very catchy rock song that starts off slowly and speeds up as the chorus comes in. The lyrics are pretty sad when you read the translation and it fits the Jigoku Shoujo anime very well (the anime is also known as Hell Girl). Nana Kitade sings in a whispery and almost lonesome sounding voice in the verse but in the chorus, she seems to lose control and sings with rather a shaky sound. Despite her shaky singing, it is still a wonderful song and it never seems to get old. “Kagami no kuni” is also another solid rock song, but this song is a lot harder and darker than -tsukihana-. The song has an overall creepy and hard rock sound to it and Nana’s voice is pretty good until the chorus where she seems to produce high pitched yells. I’m not going to go into any detail about “Manon” because it’s a pretty typical pop rock song for Nana. But nonetheless, -tsukihana- is a pretty solid single that I can listen to without getting sick of it. By the way guys, I’m typing this post on my itouch, for some reason I find this more comfortable than typing on my computer despite the autocorrect. I also get it done faster!

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Occasionally, I Enjoy Metal or Hard Rock.

I was never really a huge crazy fan of metal, but lately I have really enjoyed it. The many sub genres of metal makes it a very diverse genre, so you can always find a metal band to enjoy no matter what. So here are some of my favorite metal albums (in no particular order).

1. UROBOROS by DIR EN GREY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes guys, the title of the band and the album are written in capital letters. Dir en grey is a Japanese experimental metal band from Osaka (or originated from Osaka). They were originally a visual kei band but later changed out of the image and left the scene in recent years. Although Dir en grey will always be a metal band, visual kei or not. What I love about this album is pretty much everything, the guitar work of Kaoru and Die are just wonderful, I love the middle eastern theme that was going on through the album. There was also some of Toshiya’s jazzy sounding bass here and there and the usual pounding drums of Shinya. Kyo’s voice was also beautiful, he does everything, from the whispery falsettos to the powerful vibrattos to the growling, and screaming, he even sang in a way that resembled scat singing (RED SOIL anyone?). The album had plenty of headbanging songs and of course a beautiful ballad (GLASS SKIN) to show Kyo’s emotional side (well he puts emotion into everything really, his voice and his lyrics). Dir en grey is actually one of the bands that got me into metal music.

2. An Ocean Between Us by As I Lay Dying

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I lay Dying is a metalcore band from San Diego, California. I hate to say it, but I can’t really describe this album very much other than the fact that the songs are really catchy and there is a lovely mixture of harsh and clean vocals. Some of the songs are actually really touching and this is the first album I heard by this band. I’m still pretty new to this band. Dir en grey and X Japan are actually one of the first metal bands I enjoyed and I knew about them for quite a long time.

3. The Discovery by Born of Osiris

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Born of Osiris is a progressive deathcore band from Chicago. The album has a beautiful mixture of crunchy guitar and dreamy ambient synthesizers. Oh by the way I really really love the synthesizers. I also love that funky guitar riff in “Recreate”. The album kinda has a fantasy atmosphere to it.

4. Kongoukyuubi by Onmyo-Za

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Japan has a lot of awesome rock bands, just letting you know that.  Onmyo-za are a Japanese heavy metal band known for wearing traditional kimonos that were worn during the Heian period.  Their music is a lovely combination of fast driven heavy metal songs, reminiscent of metal bands from the 80s, that sometimes verge on to symphonic metal due to the keyboards. The singer, Kuroneko, is the only female, she is the main singer while occasionally one of the guitarists joins in (I forgot his name). The two vocalists give variety to the sound, Kuroneko sings like a lot of females in symphonic metal bands. The two vocalist sound great together though, I love when they sing duets. The fast metal songs are catchy and have awesome guitar solos and the ballads are beautiful and emotional. The album art contains Kuroneko with fox tails. Oh and here’s a fun fact, Kuroneko means black cat.

5. to the next by Dazzle Vision

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dazzle Vision is another Japanese band with a female vocalist. Their music often verges on to hard rock or metalcore. The singer is what makes the album unique, her death vocals are awesome but her clean vocals are kinda shaky. Her shaky vocals remind of Nana Kitade, but I don’t mean this in a bad way because she sounds drastically different from your typical Japanese pop idol female singer.  Her voice contains power but the power occasionally makes her clean vocals shaky. But i do love the combination of metalcore and pop, the music fits the singer quite well without trying to be cute.

Private/Public by Takagi Masakatsu

So, I haven’t been here for awhile and I will probably come here more often since it’s summer. Takagi Masakatsu is a Japanese visual artist, pianist, and musician from Kyoto. Not only is his artwork beautifully dreamy and delicate, his music also contains the same elements. Private/Public has a variety of rich sounds. The smooth string orchestras that seems to be heavy with cello and violin has a sound that for some reason gives me a sense of nostalgia, they send shivers down my spine. You will also hear women chanting words that are barely audible but if you listen closely in the song “Any”, you will hear them chanting what sounds like “anywhere,anytime, any choice”. Other than the chanting and the strings, you will also hear a lot of percussion that gives the album a sort of tribal sound to it. The album is mainly contemporary classical music with the piano echoing through and the strings gliding through the songs, but you will also hear the sounds of thunder and a sound effect that resembles water, and you will hear guitar. The song “Exit/Delete” is one of the sons that isn’t fully instrumental, it’s actually a ballad with poetic lyrics, telling a sad story of a lonely woman. The woman singing the song seems to have an accent (which isn’t a bad thing of course). “Mio Panto” actually comes before “Exit/Delete” and it contains a woman singing in an operatic voice and singing “Mio Panto” with Takagi slamming chords and scales down the piano keyboard (which he does throughout the album). “Watch the World” also has vocals but with an acoustic guitar in the background.  “Girls” is one of Takagi’s most popular song, it is rather upbeat piano solo piece that contains a  wonderful ” spiraling” sound. Private/Delete is a beautiful album that gives you the sound of nature and emotions.

Here is some of his beautiful artwork

Credit: Takagi Masakatsu

Best Of 2011

Since everyone is already doing their best of 2011, I guess I will too since I will probably be too busy doing other stuff during the Winter break.

Best of 2011 (Albums)

1. Smoke Ring For My Halo by Kurt Vile

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Living Room Songs By Ólafur Arnalds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.  How My Heart Sings By Akira Kosemura

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Skyline by Yann Tiersen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Felt By Nils Frahm

 

Nick Drake

Nick Drake was an English singer-songwriter known for his gentle and mellow folk songs. Nick failed to get a wide audience and his music was never really heard much. He was known for being very shy which caused him to never perform in front of anybody. Nick only recorded three albums, he passed away in 1974, two years after he released his final album Pink Moon. Nick Drake is one of my most favorite musicians; I discovered him in the beginning of the summer and I fell in love with his music and was sad to find out that his music was pretty much ignored back then. His music is so soothing and makes me feel happy when I’m depressed. The lyrics to some of his songs are a little dark but for some reason this darkness makes me feel better when I’m depressed.  The soothing guitar melodies, his poetic lyrics and Nick’s soft voice is pretty much what made him one of my most favorite musicians.