RAY – Yellow


RAY’s colorful saga continues: the shoegaze idol group aims to both soothe and excite with their latest EP Yellow.

For our last batch of reviews, I’d been covering groups who were really bringing the heat with some high energy and fun releases. This time I decided I’d go back into some review suggestions to find my next subject and came across RAY’s latest effort, Yellow, which follows in suit with their last two releases titled Blue and Pink. What heavily intrigued me about this group was the fact that they dabble in the realm of shoegaze: a subgenre of indie and alternative rock that makes use of heavy distortion, ethereal nature and high volume. Even more interesting were the producing credits, so I just knew I had to check this one out.

Yellow is a four track EP that was released on June 19th through DISTORTED RECORDS, with an 18 minute run time, so it makes for a pretty quick listen. The first song, “Koharuhi” was produced by Tomoya Matsuura, member of the shoegaze band monocism. Straight out the gate you get that wide open, atmospheric sound that the genre is known for alongside some subtle feedback. The vocals are soft, but full of heart, and the members harmonize well together. With it’s light guitar work and mid-tempo drums, the track makes for a nice and relaxed listen, keeping this consistency throughout. The second track, “Reignition”, has a little more pep in its step as well as more upfront pop influence. Though it was produced by Ishikawa of the noise pop band my dead girlfriend, it’s not as wild as one might think. However, it does have the right amount of bounce to bring the listener out from the almost hypnotic nature of the previous song. The drums and guitars are more energetic and the vocals in the chorus are nice; there’s also a neat little guitar solo around the 2 minute mark.

Track three, “17”, has the most interesting producing credit yet: Kei Toriki of post-black metal band Asunojokei. The song opens with a very dreampop-esque soundscape, buzzing and glittery with a touch of distortion. It also has a fair amount of switch ups to keep the song interesting, at the 1:55 and 2:42 marks, and a real satisfying climax towards the end. The final song, “Rusty Days”, brings back a chilled vibe with a simple and sweet ballad track. Much like the opener, the vocals are sweet and true and the chorus contains a mix of Japanese and English. The beat sounds like something you’d find at the end of a feel good film, eliciting a light feeling of happiness in the heart. All in all, it’s a solid finisher.

If you’re looking for something to cool off the summer heat then look no further than Yellow, and while you’re at it, check out the group’s previous works! Plus, with the inclusion of a fourth member as of July, there’s a new voice to look forward to in RAY‘s future projects.

KNOW YOUR IDOL #20: 美保 (Miho)


On the 20th episode of the Know Your Idol interview series in collaboration with Idol Underworld, we are getting to know the pioneer of yasashii idol, 美保 (Miho).

If you have been following Idol Underworld’s activities, you should already know that Derek is not only selling idol merch, but he’s now producing his own idols as well. A few months ago, he introduced his first solo idol: the pioneer of yasashii idol, 美保 (Miho), who already accomplished some nice achievements such as her first single “Good Day” and a 14 hour long cheki session.

So we had a chat with Miho, in which she talked about what she wants to do as an idol, her dreams, but also her struggles and the hardships she had to fight to sing again. Enjoy the interview!

始発待ちアンダーグラウンド (Shihatsu-machi Underground) – くだらない世界 (Kudaranai Sekai)

始発待ちアンダーグラウンド (Shihatsu-machi Underground)

The new MV by 始発待ちアンダーグラウンド (Shihatsu-machi Underground) for “くだらない世界” (Kudaranai Sekai) shows their sound made of 70s rock and many more influences.

Ok, I’ll admit it: I only started listening to 始発待ちアンダーグラウンド (Shihatsu-machi Underground) recently. I remember reading their name some time ago, when they were just at their beginning, but somehow missed everything they did after that. Will I be forgiven if I watch their MV for “くだらない世界” (Kudaranai Sekai) a thousand times? Because I’m already doing it.

The black and white aesthetic of the first part of the video which then turns into full color perfectly fits Shihatsu-machi Underground‘s music, as it travels through many decades of rock history. While there are modern elements in the structure of the song, the main influences come from the 70s and their psychedelic sounds, with a dreamlike chorus hinting at shoegaze and some blues-oriented passages; I think there is also something from the 60s, especially during the calmer parts.

This is the kind of songs that will make fans of old school styles of rock happy, with all its influences. The ethereal hook with reverberating guitars in the background is absolutely catchy and will make you fall in love with the song at the first listening. They also seem to be at ease on stage, so it would probably even more awesome to see them live.

I’ll surely go listen to their self-titled album as soon as possible, but since this song is not included in it, I also hope they will release something new soon. Yes, if it wasn’t clear enough, I’m already a fan of Shihatsu-machi Underground now.

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