Tag Archives: christmas music

Christmas Music Round-Up: Love And Hates, Twee Grrrls Club, Cubismo Grafico, EeL

It’s Christmas Eve in Japan, and a handful of artists are getting into the spirit with special sonic holiday gifts or mixes. Rap-happy duo Love And Hates celebrate the most wonderful time of the year in typical Love And Hates fashion – by covering a song called “I Wanna Kill.” To their credit, they add plenty of bells and yule-tide glee to the Crocodiles tune, making this track seem at least a little Christmasey. Download it for free here, or listen below.

Yuppa and Moe of Love And Hates also shared some of their favorite twee-leaning Christmas tunes over at the Twee Grrrls Club blog, along with the other members of the club. Check that out here. Member Sumire also made a holiday mix, which you can listen to hear.

Sticking in Tokyo, Cubismo Grafico put together a special collection of cover songs from a variety of artists. You can download this special collection here for free.

Last, pop spazz EeL thanks everyone who supported her over this year with a free song entitled “Snow World Under The White Moon.” It’s very nice. Get it here, and also trip out to the Rudolph footage playing in the background.

Happy holiday from Make Believe Melodies, may it be great for you! Thank you for reading.

O______o : Seiho presents “Last Christmas (Seiho Witch Remix)” And Yeah It Is The Wham! Song

Sometimes it really are the gifts that come out of nowhere that end up making the biggest impression on you. I made my list and checked it twice and I can assure you I didn’t ask for a witch house remix of Wham’s! “Last Christmas.” Yet down below you can hear just that, courtesy of INNIT-associate Seiho, who decided this was exactly what the world needed right now. His “witch remix” indulges in all the stereotypes associated with witch house music – slowed-to-a-crawl vocals (though also chipmunked takes on Wham’s! chorus pop up), general murkiness, drum machine throbbing. And really, the fact Seiho took this song and turned it into witch house, well, that’s the only hook I needed to hear this. Listen below.

Shonen Knife Wish You A Happy Holiday With “Sweet Christmas”

Well this is just some adorable holiday cheer. Shonen Knife sing about baking cakes for a Christmas party and Santa Clause in “Sweet Christmas,” and the accompanying clip (above) finds them cooking up the dessert, with a bunch of goofy gags (that made me laugh) along the way. Cute song and video, better than “The Christmas Shoes” at least.

Fun Osaka trivia – the stage they play on, with all the colorful splats on the background wall, is live house Pangea. It’s next to a Burger King!

New Kaela Kimura: “A Winter Fairy Is Melting A Snowman”

As a Christmas song, “A Winter Fairy Is Melting A Snowman” is pretty damn awesome, none of the cloying sentimental schlock most folks give into as they sell their bone marrow for a Kinect. As a Kaela Kimura song…ehhhh, bit of a mixed bag. When the synths come in near the beginning and her voice doubles up, things seem like they could get interesting, and looks like this might be a good feeling when the beat picks up. Then the verse proper starts and it sounds…cheesy? Not in the good “Ring A Ding Dong” way though, this sounds like a goofy take on overly peppy 80s something. Her voice sounds fine during this point but everything else seems off, a little too much forced energy. Then, near the end, the song takes on a second life…everything picks up another beat and Kimura switches up her singing pace and all of a sudden the song has absolutely tripped out on itself. It’s an exciting rush…Rudolph staring into his own blinking nose and getting sucked inside it…but it last about 20 seconds. Not enough to make this especially memorable, but beats “Silver Bells” any day for me.

Listen here. It takes forever to load.

Controlled Karaoke: Lullatone Want To Make Your Christmas Even Better…For Only Ten Bucks!

Looking for a good last minute gift for that loved one who happens to love minimalist Japanese music? Or maybe you just want to put a smile on your favorite Japan-based music blogger’s face? Either way, bedtime-pop duo Lullatone have just the solution for you. For ten dollars, they’ll send whoever you want a personalized e-mail featuring a download code for one free Lullatone album of your choice in the format of your choosing. Hold on a second though…you’ll also get a “secret link” to a Christmas song covered by Lullatone. Go here to get your orders in now.

Cough my e-mail can be found in the “About” cough.

OMODAKA Plays A Traditional Japanese Christmas Song, Weirds It Up

Perhaps you’ve noticed at your local mall/supermarket…or maybe you just read one of the gillion articles pointing it out that cropped up online this past week…that the Christmas decorations are starting to come out. Which means…only a matter of weeks before J-Pop stars start pumping out holiday songs for us to shudder at. The first artist to strike, though, comes off as a shocker. It’s OMODAKA, experimental electro artist, covering a classic Japanese New Year’s tune, “Oshogatu.”

As you might expect, it’s radically different than the original.

OMODAKA slathers the song in his trademark 8-bit bleeps and drum machine. Oh, and of course high-pitched female singing that gets tweaked ever so slightly at various points including some multi-tracked wobbling that elevates a fascinating snippet of a song into even more fascinating places. It’s extremely short but a lovely reminder of how out-there (and brilliant) OMODAKA can be. Check out two versions of the original song below.

Missed The Station: 12/11/09 Featuring Keisuke Kuwata and Ayumi Hamasaki

Keisuke Kuwata – “君にサヨナラを”: So, Southern All Stars are apparently famous in Japan. They pretty much boast a top-notch J-Pop resume. Not to mention they’ve been a fixture in Japan’s music scene since the late 70s. One member of the steadfast Southern All Stars, Keisuke Kuwata, recently released a single and will be on the 12/11 edition of Music Station (which I will miss. It’s the holidays people, I’ve got to make the rounds!)

That single, “君にサヨナラを,” brings to mind old-timey lounge singers, mostly because this song sounds ripped from 1950’s Las Vegas. Kuwata summons all sorts of cheesy instruments (check the trumpet breakdown) to serve as his orchestra pit as he vocally sways with the partially bossa-nova background. Despite sounding like something that could soundtrack a retirement home dinner, “君にサヨナラを” succeeds thanks to Kuwata’s vocals – without wailing one word of English, he conveys a sense of universal wistfulness that makes the slow-dance backdrop a tinge more melancholic. The Christmas tree prominently featured in the video reveals this might be a holiday single, but it’s the type of track made for the lonely who have no choice but to soldier on through all the holiday cheer.

Plus, dude reminds me of the guy from Up.

(Watch the video here)

スノープリンス合唱団 – “スノープリンス”: I guess this week’s episode is loaded up with Christmas J-Pop…makes me feel a little better for skipping over it. Whereas Kuwata’s song hid a nice layer of longing beneath the schmaltz, this track is nothing but melted down candy cane and gingerbread houses. To be fair the singer appears to be a kid, and this whole track looks like a tie-in with a movie he’s in. So I’ll avoid saying much about this song, as he probably had no say in whether he had to do this or not. I do urge you to watch the video – there is a really cute dog in it.

(Doggy here)

Ayumi Hamasaki – “You Were…”: Fun fact for the day: the “Empress of Pop” Hamasaki wrote a song called “Poker Face” more than a decade before a certain Kermit-The-Frog dress wearing pop artist did. But on to the present! “You Were…” is a piano-driven Mariah-aping ballad that features a completely extravagant guitar solo and some purdy singing from Hamasaki. I’m going to play the “J-Pop Ballad Card” and just leave it at that.

(Listen to the song here)

Noriyuki Makihara – “世界に一つだけの花”: Geez, I visit this guy’s website for a few seconds and I think Music Station might be getting a more adventerous with what they play. Alas, those sweet electronic noises are nothing but background noise, as this is what he’ll perform tonight. It’s not even new!

Oh, and this guy is back, with a song that sounds a lot like his last hit.

Winner of the Week – Keisuke Kuwata by a whole lot, go listen to it!lad