All posts by Jimmi Harris

New CD by Kyoji Yamamoto (Bow Wow, Phenomena II)


NEW YORK Youʼre the drummer for one of the most well-known bands on the planet. Itʼs November, 2003, and youʼve just begun a year-long world tour by finishing up 2 sold-out dates in Tokyo in front of 26,000 rabid fans. What do you do now? Do you reach for your pharmaceutical of choice? Do you take advantage of the local lovelies backstage? Or do you just get back on the bus and fire up the game console?

If youʼre Lars Ulrich of Metallica, you grab your new bass player, Rob Trujillo, and go out into the night in search of the Holy Grail of guitar gods. You ask the taxi driver to take you to the Roppongi district, home to nightclubs, seedy love hotels and the occasional Yakuza. There, in a small nondescript club, you jam the night away with one of the finest guitarists the world has never heard of.

For 3 decades, Kyoji Yamamoto has enjoyed a stellar career in his native Japan, first as the leader of the seminal Japanese bands BowWow and Vow Wow, even appearing onstage with Bow Wow at the renowned Reading Festival.

Kyoji was also a member of the supergroup Phenomena II, and since has had homeland success as a producer and a solo artist. Despite a brief flirtation with international stardom in the 1980s, when Vow Wow relocated to the United Kingdom to ride the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, he has existed in relative obscurity in the West.

Until now.

City Boy Records (New York) has just released Voyager: The Essential Kyoji Yamamoto, a compilation that, for the first time ever outside of Japan, brings together 13 of the finest guitar instrumentals from Kyojiʼs 3 solo albums on one CD: Mind Arc (1998), Requiem (1999) and Time (2005). With extensive liner notes, never-before-seen photographs and 2 exclusive unreleased downloads, this CD release is the perfect introduction to a musician whose time has finally come.

From the arena-rock sound of “Voyager” to the hauntingly beautiful version of “Ave Maria”; from the Hendrix-inspired “Walrus” to the flamenco rave-up of “Spanish Pirates”; and from the aching blues of “River of Time” to the anthemic “Time (I Have Seen Everything and I Want to Tell You Something),” this CD will take you on a long and unforgettable voyage from Japan to your soul. All you have to do is let Kyoji Yamamoto be your guide.

Link to the Kyoji Yamamoto video for “Spanish Pirates” on YouTube:

Link to the Kyoji Yamamoto video for “Warp Zone” on YouTube:

The CD is available at

City Boy Records PO Box 684 Syracuse, NY 13201

Downloads available at iTunes, Rhapsody, Amazon and more.

For further press information, sound samples, photos, one sheets and interview requests, please contact us by return e-mail

Steve Brownlee Music Promotions

Do As Infinity to stream anniversary concert on Nico Nico Douga

Pop band Do As Infinity has decided to broadcast their next concert online, it has been learned. They are scheduled to perform on September 29 at Shibuya-AX to celebrate their 11th anniversary. The show is titled "Do As Infinity 11th Anniversary LIVE ~More! Core! Rare! Here!~" and will be streamed live for free through the Nico Nico Douga video sharing website.

For the concert, Do As Infinity plans to perform some songs that they usually do not play live, and they have some other special ideas in mind. After tickets for the show sold out on the first day of sale, the band decided on the Niconico Douga live broadcast so that all of their fans can celebrate Do As Infinity’s 11th anniversary together.

Also on September 29, Do As Infinity is releasing their new single "JIDAISHIN," available only through the mu-mo shop. They are also giving away the "JIDAISHIN" chaku-uta as a gift to fans who have signed up for their free email newsletter.

SMAP’s Shanghai concerts in danger of cancellation

Kyodo News is reporting that SMAP’s concerts at Shanghai Stadium on October 9-10 may get canceled due to an escalating incident between China and Japan. Ticket sales for the shows have reportedly been suspended already due to the high likelihood of cancellation.

Last month, Japanese officers arrested a Chinese fishing boat captain on charges that he deliberately rammed his boat into a Japanese patrol boat. He is currently being detained by a Japanese court despite Chinese opposition, leading to strained relations between the two countries. On Monday, China took moves to suspend much of its political communications with Japan, and there have been reports of other measures being taken on a commercial level.

With the matter currently unresolved, holding the SMAP concerts in Shanghai may prove to be impossible. As a result, organizers are apparently putting the concerts on hold for the time being.

SMAP was originally scheduled to perform their first China concert at the Shanghai World Expo on June 13, but that was canceled by organizers due to safety concerns.

via SMAP’s Shanghai concerts in danger.

Festival more than a blip for chiptune artists

Taking Nintendo’s Game Boy to places it was never meant to go, a lineup of international chiptune artists will be converging on Koenji High this weekend for Japan’s first ever Blip Festival. The roster includes acts such as Nullsleep from New York, who takes a blowtorch to sweet "Super Mario" style ditties, gradually melting them down with a battery of zaps and bleeps until the listener is caught up in a dog fight (or goomba fight) of raw electronic sound.

"I kind of made a real pain in the ass of myself with a whole bunch of people trying to convince them (the event) was possible," says organizer David Adams over coffee in the Higashi Nakano area of Tokyo. He has made it his mission to bring Blip Festival to Japan ever since being blown away by it in New York in 2008, and it’s hard not to get caught up in his enthusiasm over the possibilities of the chiptune genre.

Read the rest of the story: Festival marks blip on the radar for chiptune.

Pink Lady returns!

The famous idol duo Pink Lady is back in action. On Wednesday, they held a press conference to officially announce their comeback, which includes a newly recorded best album.

Consisting of Mitsuyo Nemoto ("Mie") and Keiko Masuda ("Kei"), the duo was active from 1976 to 1981. Their debut single was the hit "Pepper Keibu," and it was followed by several other very popular songs, including "Carmen ’77," "Nagisa no Sindbad," and "UFO." They even made their United States debut with a concert in Las Vegas in 1979. After their breakup in 1981, they had a few limited-time reunions, but this time they have declared that their return is more permanent.

Reporters asked whether they were concerned about the dominance of AKB48 as an idol group now, but Kei pointed out that she and Mie are old enough to be mothers of AKB48’s members. She said that they don’t think of AKB48 as rivals, but she laughingly admitted they would probably be excited if there were a "Pink Lady vs. AKB48" event on a television show.

Pink Lady will release new vocal versions of "Pepper Keibu" and "S.O.S," available digitally on September 29. On December 1, they will release a 2-disc, 26-song "new vocal best album," though the title has not yet been decided. They also plan to hold a premium live concert on March 31, 2011, which will be the 30th anniversary of their breakup. Those who purchase the album will have a chance to obtain tickets to the event.

The duo also revealed that on September 3, they are publishing a photobook of pictures collected from the height of their career, titled "Heibon Premium We are Pink Lady."

Jin Akanishi going solo from KAT-TUN

Jin Akanishi (26) has written a comment on the official Johnny’s mobile site, his first since the news of his expected removal from KAT-TUN. In his message, Akanishi formally announced that he is going solo.

Akanishi explained that he and KAT-TUN have different directions, but he also assured fans that he does not dislike the other members nor have personal problems with them. He apologized to the members of KAT-TUN for causing them trouble in both big and small matters, while also thanking them for his time with them.

Akanishi stated that he hopes to be active as a solo artist not just in America, but also in other parts of the world such as Asia and Europe. He also said that he naturally wants to be active in Japan as well.

World Cup – Takeshi Okada predicts a battle between Denmark and Japan

Japan coach Takeshi Okada has predicted a big, bruising battle against Denmark on Thursday, demanding something special from his players to stay alive in the World Cup.

Japan need only a draw to reach the last 16 as they have a better goal difference than Denmark, although the two sides are level at three points in Group E.

The Netherlands are already assured of advancing having won both matches in the group.

Read the rest of the story: Japan coach predicts bruising match against Danes

Kumi Koda to celebrate 10th anniversary with Best Live DVD BOX

This year is the 10th anniversary of the debut of pop star Kumi Koda (27). As a special project to celebrate the milestone, she is releasing her first “best live DVD” on July 17. She debuted in 2000 with the single “Take Back” and gained fame for her seventh single, “Real Emotion / 1000 no Kotoba”, the songs of which were used as themes for the video game Final Fantasy X-2. Her popularity grew with the release of her fourth studio album Secret (2005), her sixteenth single “Butterfly” (2005), and her first greatest hits album Best: First Things (2005), reaching the number-three, number-two and number-one spot respectively.

“KODA KUMI 10th Anniversary BEST LIVE DVD BOX” will include 30 minutes of concert footage of 15 songs, personally selected by Koda. The clips are taken from the six tours she performed between 2005 and this year. The DVD also contains other footage from her concerts, plus a 40-minute documentary of her 10-year career. The set is planned to retail for 1,260 yen.

Pink Lady

Blast from the past! Pink Lady (ピンク・レディー, Pinku Redī?) was a Japanese female pop music duo of the late 1970s and early 1980s, featuring Mitsuyo Nemoto (“Mie” – pronounced “Me-ay”) and Keiko Masuda (“Kei”). In Japan, they are remembered for a run of pop-chart hits from roughly 1976 to 1979, but in the United States, they are best known for their short-lived 1980 NBC TV variety show Pink Lady, later released on DVD under the title Pink Lady and Jeff.

Pink Lady is one of only two Japanese artists to have reached the Billboard Top 40, hitting #37 with the single “Kiss in the Dark;” the other was Kyu Sakamoto with “Sukiyaki.”

X JAPAN Annouces it will release a Full Album in English!

X JAPAN will release their first original full album in the last 14 years in English.

Of course this is also the first time for them to release an album with 6 members.

Recording started in the US in March. They seem to be working 24/7 to finish the album in time.

This album will include new and old songs.

Details are to be released, but it is said that it will include “Kurenai” as well as “I.V.” and “Without you”.

New songs will be played at Lollapalooza, which they have been officially invited to attend in August. Fans who are going to Lollapalooza must check out this album!

Read more of the story: X JAPAN to Release Full Album and Details of 13th Memorial Service