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Labels and artists interested in being featured here may contact Michael McCarthy at cinema365@gmail.com. Follow Michael on Twitter https://twitter.com/paris365.

GIRLS' GENERATION - TTS (TaeTiSeo): Dear Santa - X-Mas Special - EP

Girls' Generation sub-unit TaeTiSeo has returned, this time with a truly wonderful Christmas EP. The three member unit consists of Tae Yeon, Tiffany and Seo Hyun, the latter of which actually wrote the title track, which I think is pretty darn cool. Almost as cool as the temperature outside!


December 09, 2015 / by Paris365 / Read More >
PUFFY: PAFFIPIPOYAMA

Whenever I stumble across anything from PUFFY -- they always capitalize it -- I immediately think, "Puffy AmiYumi!" This is because they had to add their names, Ami and Yumi, so they wouldn't get sued by Sean "Puff Daddy" Combs, who sometimes is just called Puffy. Of course, now he prefers Diddy or P. Diddy. Or maybe he's moved onto something else entirely. I just think it's weird that he thought people would be confused about a female J-Pop duo calling themselves PUFFY.


December 04, 2015 / by Paris365 / Read More >
KAGEYAMA RISA: NIGHTINGALE & PINA COLADA

On November 11th, one of J-Pop's most busy bees, Kageyama Risa, released an exceptional EP called Nightingale via Ace Music, exp. On November 25th she released an equally impressive EP called Pina Colada, also via Ace Music, exp. I have written about both releases here.


December 01, 2015 / by Paris365 / Read More >
LONG:D: EP VOL. 1

LONG:D is a duo consisting of 한민세 (Producer, Synth, DJ) and 민샥 (Vocal, Keyboard). They describe their sound on Facebook as such: "SF / Synthpop / ElectronicSoul / Babymakingmusic." I'm assuming that their name is short for Long Distance and that the SF stands for sci-fi. This would seem to make sense, since some of their music is nothing if not futuristic and at times it does sound like it's coming from somewhere far, far away. They could've had these guys score the new Star Wars movie.


November 24, 2015 / by Paris365 / Read More >
D.HOLIC:머피와 샐리 [Murphy and Sally]

D.Holic's latest single, "머피와 샐리 [Murphy and Sally]" opens with snappy percussion and what sounds like lasers going off in a sci-fi movie. The percussion only grows snappier as it goes on and a sizzling, almost electro-clash style beat kicks in to accompany it. There are a whole lot of other sounds to entice you as well, "Murphy and Sally" being a perfect blend of K-Pop dance and electronica. "Never, ever give up," the girls sing (more times than you can count), starting in the beginning of the song and then as part of the chorus throughout it.


November 20, 2015 / by Paris365 / Read More >
LEE HONG KI: FM302

Following nine years in the band FTIsland, Lee Hong Ki is finally making his long-awaited solo debut with FM302, a mini-album named after his birthday: March 2nd.


November 17, 2015 / by Paris365 / Read More >
MONKEY BEATZ: KEEP GOING

If you're itching for the new Limp Bizkit album to come out, well, it's apparently been delayed. But if you don't mind listening to music in Korean then Keep Going, the new mini-album by Monkey Beatz, will more than hold you over with its perfect blend of heavy guitars and energetic rap.


November 13, 2015 / by Paris365 / Read More >
CHII (OF 4TE): "WHY DO I?"

Chii is a member of the recently formed J-Pop girl group 4TE, which I've been very impressed by so far and I expect that I'll continue to be. To that end, I'm really, really hoping they'll release a full-length album soon. Their music is one of the best things to happen to J-Pop since Kyary Pamyu Pamyu (someone else we'd love a new album from soon).


November 10, 2015 / by Paris365 / Read More >
GEM: SINGLES: "Delightful Days," "No Girls No Fun," "You You You"

First of all, I have to point out that this is NOT the amazing Chinese solo artist G.E.M. This is a Japanese girl group called GEM, who are signed to iDOL Street. Got it?


November 09, 2015 / by Paris365 / Read More >
f(x): 4 WALLS

The four lovely young women known as f(x) are back with their highly anticipated fourth album, 4 WALLS. (Sulli left the group in August to focus on acting. But, fear not, remaining are Amber, Luna, Krystal and Victoria.) Surprisingly, the album is something of a departure for them, as several of the songs veer away from the electro-pop style they delivered to perfection on their first three albums, all of which rank among my favorite K-Pop albums of all-time.


November 04, 2015 / by Paris365 / Read More >
DIA: 내 친구의 남자친구 [My Friend's Boyfriend]

DIA is a popular new K-Pop girl group that debuted this year courtesy of MBK Entertainment. Their name has two meanings. First, it's short for "diamond". Second, it's an acronym for "Do It Amazing," which I put in caps since that is actually the title of their first song. I've seen the title of this new single translated as "My Friend is Boyfriend" but good old Wikipedia has a translation that makes more sense: "My Friend's Boyfriend." Regardless of what you call it, it's one heck of tune with its layers of sweet, colorful sounds, including some mighty peppy beats. Super, super catchy.


October 28, 2015 / by Paris365 / Read More >
G.E.M.: "MOMENT" (瞬間) AND "HEARTBEAT" (新的心跳)

In my review of G.E.M.'s single "Long Distance" I stated that she is like the Rihanna or Katy Perry of China. This is true in terms of her massive popularity, but G.E.M. writes all of her own songs, whereas Rihanna has a whole bunch of hit-makers play house for a weekend, and come up with an album's worth of hits, and Katy Perry co-writes her songs with hit-makers. But G.E.M. doesn't need anybody to help her write songs. She writes them herself. And I should also mention that G.E.M. is much younger than Rihanna and Katy and has already accomplished as much as they have.


October 26, 2015 / by Paris365 / Read More >
TOMMY'S HALLOWEEN FAIRYTALE

As with her HALLOWEEN ADDICTION remix album, Tommy -- a.k.a. Tomoko Kawase, lead singer of the brilliant green -- has credited both of her alter-egos for most of the songs on this year's scorching new Halloween mini-album; on iTunes, those tracks come up as Tommy february6/Tommy heavenly6. But there are a couple of songs just credited to one of the personas.


October 23, 2015 / by Paris365 / Read More >
2PM: HIGHER - EP

The strapping young lads of 2PM are ready to take Japan by storm once again with their killer new dance pop tour de force that is "HIGHER." Which, of course, I highly recommend. How could I not? It's got mean, punchy beats, a groovy melody, and a super catchy chorus, which the guys sing passionately enough to give young women a fever; it's aces all around, really. I doubt anyone's still missing Jay Park five years after he left, but if you are then you probably won't be after digesting this tasty morsel.


October 20, 2015 / by Paris365 / Read More >
MACO: KISS

Hailing from Hakodate, Hokkaido, singer/songwriter MACO has been making J-Pop waves ever since the indie release of her song "22" during April 2014. The song went to number 1 on the iTunes chart, the agency ONEPEACE noticed, and she wound up signed to Virgin Records.


October 13, 2015 / by Paris365 / Read More >
TAE YEON (OF GIRLS' GENERATION): MINI ALBUM VOL. 1 - I

Tae Yeon (or Taeyeon) is Girls' Generation's fearless leader and I is her much anticipated solo debut. Of course, she's done solo songs for soundtracks and compilations before, but this is being called her first official solo release. Was it worth the wait? Keep reading to find out...

I opens with the title track, which features Verbal Jint, delivering a rap verse at the beginning of the song. I'm assuming that he wrote his own lyrics for that part, but otherwise the song was written by Tae Yeon herself.


October 09, 2015 / by Paris365 / Read More >
NMB48: MUST BE NOW (通常盤Type-A) - EP

Three months ago NMB48 released the single "Durian Shonen," which proved to be quite the hit, topping the Oricon chart. Now they have returned with Must Be Now, which finds their singer Yamamoto Ayaka serving as group leader for the first time in four releases. (I don't pay much attention to which girls sing on which singles, never mind who sings lead vocals on them, but I have found myself quite liking Yamamoto's, which has a more mature sound than the tweens that populate these groups.)


October 05, 2015 / by Paris365 / Read More >
HARUKA TOMATSU: STEP A GO! GO!

As my longtime readers know, Haruka Tomatsu is a very popular voice actress who's done around 50 anime movies and tv shows. She's also done the Japanese dubbing for characters on popular tv shows and movies. For example, she's the voice of the character Bradley Martin on Bates Motel. She was the voice of Olivia Morris in Scream 4, and she did the voice of Jena Malone's character Rocket in Sucker Punch. With so many voice acting jobs under her belt, one wonders why she doesn't start working as a regular actress as well. She's more than pretty enough.


October 02, 2015 / by Paris365 / Read More >
ASAMI IMAI: BABYLON ~before the daybreak

Asami Imai's music often tends to veer toward the dark side of J-Pop, which is one of the things I love about her. She's edgy and so is her vibrant music. Her new single, "Babylon - Before the Daybreak" is one of her strangest and darkest. It's the main theme song from Corpse Party, so clearly it's intended to sound eerie, hence it beginning with the sound of a ticking clock and some dudes chanting in an ominous manner. Once that passes, things quiet down and Asami is mostly accompanied by pretty piano during the first verse.


September 24, 2015 / by Paris365 / Read More >
APRIL: MINI ALBUM VOL. 1 - DREAMING

APRIL are a new girl group founded by DSP Media, the agency of Rainbow and KARA, and signed to Loen Entertainment. Its members are Hyun Joo, Ye Na, Chae Won, Na Eun, Jin Sol and So Min. The mini-album opens with "꿈사탕" or "Dream Candy," which would seem to be a song about first crush kind of dreams. Here's a translation of part of the first verse: "Through the cotton candy clouds / Let’s walk along the stars / Aren’t you excited? / Can you believe this?" Just as on the cover of Dreaming, the girls look entirely innocent in the video, which is all flowers and unicorns. Literally.


September 22, 2015 / by Paris365 / Read More >
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