Another year has quickly rolled by. Although there were many ups and downs, we here at TreasureBox PRESS would like to focus on the positives and share with you our personal favourites from 2017!
Glenda Grande – TBP Founder and Editor-in-Chief
I direct and manage all content on TreasureBox PRESS. As a lover of music, my taste ranges from metal and loudrock to R&B, jazz, and pop, which will be reflected in my choices below.
coldrain – ENVY
Coldrain is a band that I first heard of through the Soundwave Music Festival based in Australia. However, it wasn’t until I lived in Japan that I seriously looked into their music, and I was hooked from the very first album I picked up. Although they are a Japanese band, Masato is half American and writes all their lyrics in English. The quality of his voice is one of the best in the scene (in my opinion), and the band has the perfect blend between American and Japanese rock.
This year, coldrain came out with a new album release titled “FATELESS”, showcasing their skills and musicality to greater heights compared to their past work. ENVY is their title track off the album and kicks off with a very powerful intro. The guitars set the vibe right away, and a couple bars later, the drums join in, adding to the strong vibe.
If you’re a fan of songs with power and a bit of screaming, coldrain might be the right fit for you. They’re good buddies with ONE OK ROCK and Crossfaith, and I tend to find the fans tend to be a fan of all three groups. I also think fans of the GazettE would enjoy the music that coldrain has to offer, albeit very different in sound and presentation, but definitely all there in terms of vibe.
Miyavi VS Miura Daichi – Dancing With My Fingers
This collaboration has two of my favourite artists, yet I never really thought about them working together. However, the result was fantastic. Dancing With My Fingers has been one of the catchiest songs I’ve heard from the j-music scene in a very long time. It has a similar fun vibe alike to Pharrell’s “Happy” and JT’s “Can’t Stop The Feeling”, but with a lot more edge and bite.
If you haven’t listened to either Daichi or Miyavi before, this song is a good place to start. It gives a good sampler of Daichi’s smooth vocals and Miyavi’s insane guitar skills.
I would also definitely recommend checking out the rest of Miyavi’s album. He features a different artist in every song, include Masato from the aforementioned coldrain, and big name stars such as Hyde from L`Arc~en~Ciel/VAMPS.
BANANALEMON – Girls Gone Wild
What can I say? I have a weakness for kick-ass girl groups who aren’t afraid to express they own what they do. I find that it’s not very often that we come across girl groups with this type feminine strength in the Japanese music industry, but it is also the very reason why I can’t get enough of BANANALEMON.
Girls Gone Wild has a lot of attitude and edge, and the girls have fantastic voices accompanied by great dance moves. The video above is their dance version, which showcases their skill across the field.
If you like acts like Namie Amuro, Crystal Kay, and Koda Kumi, these girls not only deliver, but also pack a good punch with their kick-ass style!
Jeanette Gonzalez – HR/PR Manager
If there’s one thing I can say I’ve always enjoyed about visual kei, its that feeling of bliss you get as you headbang in unison with the audience during a show. If I can headbang to it, I’ll most likely love it!
Anfiel (アンフィル)’s 8th single’s title track, Hikari, released November 8th stands out to me because of its progressions. It builds up to a fun chorus with a catchy melody, and then compliments the second half of the song by adding yukito’s guitar solo, which you can feel is fueled with passion, even on a recording.
They somewhat remind me a little bit of older generation visual kei. And by older I don’t mean vk’s classics era of Buck-Tick, Malice Mizer, X Japan. More like the visual kei of a decade ago. Definitely check out this tiny little indies band. They have a tremendous amount of potential.
RAZOR recently released their 2nd mini album [the CORE] on November 22nd. Their label subsequently uploaded two PVs of songs off the album onto their youtube. I’d like to bring Kienai Itami (消えない痛み) to your attention if you enjoy heavier songs that are broken up with fun moments. This song makes me go from headbanging to bouncing in my seat to punching the air, and back again. The vocal-less transition into the second verse in particular is the perfect time to let your hair loose and really headbang it out. Once the verse starts, you’ll be back to bouncing and punching the air with a smile on your face. (Can you tell I really want to see them in concert?)
This choice comes to you because it’s a song that succeeded in making me burst out laughing within the first several seconds due to pure amusement and joy. If the introduction to PENTAGON (ペンタゴン)’s 4th single’s title track,「CRAZY TRIBE」doesn’t sound familiar, you probably don’t listen to 2 Live Crew and that’s okay. If you want to check out where it was sampled from, it can be found under the name “We want some”. Do keep in mind that the song is NSFW but a classic American rap song.
Going beyond the intro though, Chizuru does a further ode to 2 Live Crew by tossing some rapping into the song. He sings the chorus and the PV even includes a little dance break. The entire song is very energetic. It’s a great way to start a concert and pump the crowd up with or as a good backing track to your workout or cleaning playlist.
Regina Phang – Social Media Assistant
I’ve been a big fan of Japanese visual kei, fashion and anime for about ten years and counting, and I love to share the love and passion for Japanese culture as much as I can!
As a fan of vistlip for nine years, I was absolutely thrilled with their album release in April. With a decade of experience behind them, vistlip has matured greatly ever since their debut mini-album in April 2008. Their passion and love for music remains as strong as ever, if not greater. BitterSweet lives up to its name as well, with vistlip’s signature melancholic yet hopeful sound.
It’s hard to pick a favourite song, but Antique may well be the cream of the crop – Tomo’s vocals are hauntingly sweet, the melody truly bittersweet, with a soaring guitar solo by Yuh that perfectly encapsulates the mood of the album. The album, conceptualised as a ‘movie’ according to the members, is best listened to in full in order to appreciate it completely. Plus, should you get the ‘lipper’ edition of the album, you get to enjoy a lovely bonus track at the end – a ‘post-credit’ scene, if you will.
BREAK!! Is a bit of a bittersweet album for fans – after all, no one expected it to be Kazi’s last with FEST VAINQUEUR. Still, it is a masterful, energetic album, full of their signature heavy, powerful tunes. Yet there are some softer, gentler songs among the mix, giving one time to breathe and relax, balancing out the overall energy of the release. A standout track in particular would be THE NEXUS – upbeat, sweet and inspiring, the only song composed by guitarist Airu. It is a promise to their fans to keep moving forward together no matter what, to be the best that they can be – and after Kazi’s departure, is even more relevant now than before. It is my hope that FEST only grows from here, with their genuine passion for music and performing shining through with every song.
0.1g no Gosan
On 0.1g no Gosan’s single Ookami Otoko to Getto (Wolf Boy and Moon Rabbit), they released previews of 5 songs, each composed by a different member of the band, on Twitter. The song with the most likes and retweets was to have a music video filmed for it, and the song composed by bassist Daisuke won. It’s not hard to see why – Daisuke’s composition brought every member’s strengths to the forefront, with powerful rhythms and energetic melodies. Complete with vocalist You’s signature creepy-cute lyrics and a hint of traditional Japanese influence, it is a sure crowd-pleaser. The music video, though relatively simple, is fun to watch, with lyrics interspersed throughout and a few special effects used to good effect.
What were your favourites for 2017? Leave a comment below to let us know.