Category Archives: Music Review

Hyper Live at Hyper Japan

After a 3 year break from Hyper Japan Festival, they are back featuring an all new dedicated weekend of live Japanese pop and alternative music.

This is Hyper Live.

Spread over 2 nights at Hyper Japan Festival, and teaming up with promoters Orion Live, Hyper Live is an exclusive celebration of Jpop and alternative artists. Featuring an impressive lineup of fan favourites and some banging newbies, J music fans were chomping at the bit for what would be an unforgettable weekend at the UKs first mini Jmusic festival.

Hyper Party.

Friday nights Hyper Party, a pop inspired night of energy inducing beats, kicked off with fan favourite 2& (Double And) who burst on to the stage with gusto. Saki Chitose has been delighting fans for the past decade with her pop-punk idol experience.

And her set did not disappoint fans with 2& favourites Red Shoot, Machigai Darake and Chippoke Hero to name a few.

A blistering setlist full of Saki-chans well known energy had the crowd chanting and singing along. Those who didn’t know this Tiny Hero before will be sure to not forget her after a great opening to Hyper Party.

Next up is Jpop singer-songwriter MIKUROMIKA who has been supporting FEMM on their recent European and UK tour. Mika brought her nostalgic Jpop infused house beats to the stage featuring tacks from last summers MIKUROPOP album. Product Boy, Good Day and the smash hit Ocean featured in this absolute vibe of a performance that the crowd really got behind. A fast as lightning costume change mid way through the set ensured Mika kept the crowd on a string as her incredible vocal range and dance style impressed fans and gained her an army of new ones.

Singer-songwriter and vocalist Mika Kobayashi, famed for her vocals on anime themes and games such as Attack on Titan, The Promised Neverland and FINAL FANTASY XI, wowed the crowd with her impressive range and stage presence. Her powerful performance and style pricked the ears of those unfamiliar with her, and a group of fans were quick to whip up a frenzy as she owned the stage. I am sure new fans were made after this performance, as it was clear from the crowd reaction that a good time was being had. Performing a decent set, her fans were delighted to be centre stage with their idol, encouraging those around them to dance and chant in unison.

Next up was 6 member virtual idol group NHOT BOT, a unit formed by 3 Japanese VTubers. With upbeat pop music and visuals on the big screen, there were some fans in the crowd who enjoyed the short set. It did feel like a lot of people weren’t sure about what was going on, so we welcomed the stage being set up for the next act.

And that act was none other than Blank Paper. After a lengthy wait, a surge in techno beats erupted with lasers and visuals on the big screen. There we were given a run down of ‘bpm’, blank paper medicine, with each dose containing high energy and emotion. What was to come?

Core members C45P3R and T3R354 entered the stage with so much energy it was palpable. Huge break beats filled the hall and the crowd responded with delight. This set was a high point of the night, with fans literally being made as each song was played. The members stage presence pulled that crowd in til they were completely under their spell. With only a handful of tracks under their belt thus far, fans were also treated to some anime song covers. We look forward to more from this unit.

And finally, our headline act for Hyper Party is none other than Jpop rap fusion legends, Far East Mention Mannequins, known as FEMM. Hot off the back of their first international tour, FEMM-ISATION, RiRi and LuLa delighted their fans, known as agents, to a fast paced set of classic hits.

We Flood The Night got the party started as RiRi and LuLa’s unique and hypnotic dance style wowed the crowd. Classic hits such as Astroboy, Wannabe and the infectious White Noise whipped up a frenzy. Viral megahit Fxxk Boyz Get Money a highlight for the set. I witnessed a young fan on the barrier living her best life, FEMM mesmerised us all to no end.

Hyper Alternative.

Saturday nights Hyper Alternative featured an impressive lineup of Japanese underground idol and artists, and what a way to start with none other than industrial metal idol Yuffie Sakimura, better known as the one and only Garuda.

Bring the darkness! Garuda appears on stage with such ferocity and presence, plague mask and dark angel wings aesthetic captivated the crowd. With an impressive international following, Garuda had us all under her dark spell as she belted out Garuda. New release Poser was a crowd-pleaser with chants throughout. She dominated the stage.

With a yell of ‘I’ll kill you all!’, she jabbed her infamous bat at the crowd who revelled and chanted in unison. Garudas energy picked up pace with Wake Up, before fans were treated to Still Dead Or Alive, usually a song performed with Yuffie-sans idol unit Melon Batake a gogo. An unforgettable set that enraptured the buzzing audience as Mou Sugu Yuki ga peaked us to a frenzy.

The next artist was something a little different, 蛮 -BANG. Founded in 2017, Team Bang uses his unique dance style to mesmerise his audience. After a short intro the crowd were asked to sit down. And so began Bangs routine. With hypnotic dance moves he captured the crowd, breaking down some of the moves for us to join in. It was certainly different to what we were expecting, but fun none the less.

With a wave of cheers, Ayme walks onto the stage. Performing as a solo artist since 2018, Ayme has been both writing and composing his own material, much to the joy of his ever growing fan base. A set that was slightly marred by technical difficulties, Ayme showed true professionalism throughout. Speaking with fans in the crowd, the place erupted in cheers and chanting as the music rang out. Ayme certainly has a popular appeal among fans, entertaining with flair and excitement. Ignoring the minor blips, his set was highly entertaining and full of vigour.

As the stage darkened for the final act of Hyper Live, the crowd went wild as the ultradark idol NECRONOMIDOL took up their positions.

Skulls in the Stars, a great opener for the dark quartet who bound onto the stage full of energy, more so when the fans call and respond began during the chorus. The girls were precise in their choreography, and beaming smiles to the audience at every opportunity as Nyx kicked in.

Leader Himari Tsukishiro took command as the next three songs were performed with just 3 members. Ritual belted out and the crowd went with it, mini mosh pits opened up in front of the stage as NECRONOMIDOL delighted us all. The set was certainly on the heavier side, with Necropolis and End of Days featured.

Finale track Ithaqua, a Necroma favourite both back in Japan and internationally, brought the evening to a spectacular close with all 4 members taking to the stage. Cries of joy erupted among the fans.

Hyper Live has truly been a highlight of the year for many of us in the Japanese music community. Not only for bringing live Japanese music back to the UK, but for the rekindling of friendships old and the making of those that are new. After the past few years we needed this to bring us back together in support of Japanese music.

We thank Hyper Japan and Orion Live for bringing the music back. And to all the performers, we hope you join us again soon! We will continue to cheer and support the artists and idols.

Lets do it again soon!

Mikuromika takes us to the ocean

J-pop singer-songwriter MIKUROMIKA is back with her new mini EP, Ocean.

After the release of her Summer smash album, MIKUROPOP, Mika has been making waves within the music scene, and fans are going to be buzzing for her next instalment in sound. For this release, producer Delta Ouji returns alongside Mika, and it is clear that they have crafted together the perfect blend of musicality that shines.

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Houkago Princess Light Up The Stage In ‘Psyllium no Shoumei’

Release Date: September 15th, 2021

With a decade’s worth of support behind them, Houkago Princess celebrate their 10th anniversary with the release of Psyllium no Shoumei, a release dedicated to the passion and drive of the fans who have supported the Idol industry throughout the years. Whether it is the support of Houkago Princesses various era’s or the trial and error of the other groups that surround them, this is a single that aims to thank all fans far and wide for dedicating themselves to the brilliant and shining world of Idols.

Based around the theme ‘The Idol World’s Princesses’, Psyllium no Shoumei is the third original installment to the groups Princess themed releases, as well as the last to feature the entirety of the current main lineup, as all five Regular members a set to graduate in Spring of 2022.

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Where It All Began: A Retrospective Review Of Houkago Princess ~Oshiete Kudasai~

Release Date: August 3rd, 2011

It has been a decade since Houkago Princess made their debut as idols, and like many that came before them, they started out small and relatively unknown. With seven members making up the original lineup, the group would open up their own live house in Ikebukuro, standing on a checkerboard stage that could barely hold the entire group. Backed by a team of industry newbies to help with recording, set design and promotion, Houkago Princess was a group as green as they come, but they were just as determined as any other idol group out there, and they were ready with a debut single before they even hit the stage.

This is where it all began.

Continue reading Where It All Began: A Retrospective Review Of Houkago Princess ~Oshiete Kudasai~

MIKUROPOP- The soundtrack to your summer

Making her return with one of the most anticipated releases of 2021, MIKUROMIKA brings MIKUROPOP to the international music scene. Set to drop on July 23rd with a worldwide release under SETSUZOKU RECORDS, MIKUROMIKA is ready to throw you into her bright and colourful world of music, fashion and art.

With a punchy mix full of dance breaks and reminiscent of the mid-90s house scene, and generously mixed with clean vocals and spoken word, MIKUROPOP is simply a pleasure on the ears and a joy to behold if you were around during those long summer days of years gone by.

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This is the sound of #EbiMayo

Release Date: May 26th, 2021

Filled with the sound of sparkling techno beats and cute vocals that hold a gentle cadence, the up and coming duo unit known as Ever!BE Mayowanaide!! – or Ebimayo – have armed themselves with the sound of energetic and catchy music in their major debut single, #Ebimayo.

Bright and ready to draw you in, #Ebimayo is a release that will bring in fans who enjoy music from performers and composers such as Toriena, KOTO, CY8ER, Yunomi and early Perfume. Jam-packed with six wonderful tracks – as well as two instrumentals – this single is sure to throw you into the sparkling world of Ebimayo, one way or another.

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Release Date: March 28, 2021

After being given a chance to stand on stage as performers once again, the recently formed unit known as DEARDEVIL are ready to take on the music scene under their new label, Devil Margin Inc. Made up of three members – RISA, AKANE and ARARA – the creation of DEARDEVIL has become a symbol of hope and rebirth for the girls, all of whom were a part of the now disbanded idol unit, Toumei na Kankei, 3-by 30byou.

Continue reading DEARDEVIL: Calling

Cool Bands I Didn’t Discover Because of Anime

A personal music review by Beth.

To be truthful, this journey of discovery was completely unexpected. Some years ago as a person who still owned mixtapes, I decided to go through them.

On one I discovered a Japanese band that with saavy use of the internet I found were called The Blue Hearts.
That was just the beginning and that is where we will begin.

**The Blue Hearts** – One of the more famous Japanese punk bands that were prevalent from 1985 – 1995. Their songs ranged from fun and punchy hits like Linda Linda or Kiss Shite Hoshii to a myriad of rock ballads. Sadly about the only band on the list not still active today. Well…not exactly…

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From the Basement-Heavenstamp review

Tokyo based indie pop rockers HEAVENSTAMP are back with a new record, From the Basement, and it doesn’t miss a beat.

After the announcement of joining the SETSUZOKU RECORDS roster in late 2020 and the January release of ‘Sail to Heaven’ setting the tone for the new record, fans have been waiting for the imminent drop. And they weren’t disappointed.

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