Surviving With Adventure in Modern Living

Combonation

WordPress had reminded me that it has been 22 days since I last posted  Sorry for the long hiatus. I been super busy with work observations, ups and downs, and etc. I also have been catching up on sorting the massive stockpile of music that I inherited from other blogs and auction sites. I still got a lot to get through but I don’t mind taking a break to blog about a song I recently found buried deep in this pile.

Usually every morning, I play iTunes on shuffle mode while I get ready for work. And on a normal weekday morning, I discovered Combonation. Yes, it’s not spelled wrong (although that is what Google and every other site thinks as they try to search for Randy Crawford’s “Combination” album instead). Not much is know about this 80’s band, except that it had around five members; drummer Billy Thomas, percussionist Randy Foote, vocalist and keyboardist Mark Hart, bass guitarist Randy Moors. and guitarist Steve Dudas, The band released their only album, a self-titled record, in 1984. It was produced by Ted Templeman who oversaw Van Halen’s releases.

The members went off to do their own stuff after the album’s release. Mark Hart went on to release two albums in the new millennium while performing in bands like Supertramp and Crowded House. Steve Dudas played guitar alongside Ringo Starr on tours and albums. It is unknown what Thomas, Foote, and Moors did after Combonation as there isn’t a lot of information on the internet about them.

“Adventure in Modern Living” is the second track off the album. It’s upbeat while a bit strange. You can tell that this was influenced by art rock artists like Kate Bush by the various techniques used in the song. You can hear that the bass is really prominent throughout, even more important than the guitar, when it switches back and forth from supporting the lead singer to having it’s own solo moments like during the bridge. Another art rock-like theme going on throughout the song is the use of a mandolin sound on the keyboard. It reminds me of how Kate Bush used the same instrument in the song “Babooshka”.

The lyrics may be a bit strange to some. The opening lines goes something like this: “A bird calls, a bear stalls, and gorillas grumbles. A city wakes, a mountain shakes, and an island crumbles.” However, I feel like it was the style of time; to display the simplicity of life through the music and lyrics.

If you enjoy any of the art rock acts of the 1980s, I am sure that you would like “Adventure in Modern Living”. I looooooooooove the art-rock aspect of the tune. I also like the vocal slides that the singer uses during the pre-chorus of “We are the audience”. It’s so awesome.

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It’s My Birthday!!

o/~ It’s My Birthday and I’ll cry if I want to,

I’ll cry if I want to,

You would cry too if it happened to you. o/~

Well, that’s not exactly how Lesley Gore’s heartbreak hit “It’s My Party” goes.  Maybe it’s not appropriate to relate my happy and incident-free birthday with this song as they are polar opposites. However, I keep on listening to “It’s My Party” every Birthday since after college. Maybe it’s my anthem of my self-pity party of growing old. Or, that I enjoy the major tonality and the nature of the chorus. I would cry at any party, even if it’s happy or not, right?

Maybe I need to change my birthday theme to this:

o/~ Say hello to all the laughter

Say hello to here and after

‘Cause it’s a new day o/~

Reporting Live: Chelsy promoting their single “SistAr” at Tower Records Nagoya Parco (June 6, 2015)

chelsy

Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay, ☆ai love music☆ now has over 2,000 views for this year! I want to thank all those who have read and supported the blog! I really appreciate and love you guys! 😀 😀 ❤ ❤

Today’s Reporting Live is brought to you by the Japanese pop-rock band Chelsy. The group was founded in 2011 after vocalist and guitarist MIO, drummer AMI, and bassist SHIZUKA passed an audition hosted by Sony Music and Honey Bee Records. This audition was also supervised by YUI’s producer. The band started to perform all over Japan the following year, first under the name MIO band and then Chelsy. However, the band hit a snag when MIO announced retirement by the summer of 2012.

To fill in MIO’s position, the company hired keyboardist ARISA. However, she only stayed in the group for ten months as she left show business on May 2013. By that time, MIO had returned to the band as the lead vocalist and guitarist.

From their beginnings to early 2013, the band mostly performed at various types of events. They even hosted a free live concert to capture more fans. By the spring of 2013, Chelsy finally got to release their first CD, a single named “I’LL BE ON MY WAY”, that was only sold at Shibuya’s Tower Records for a limited time. It was later in the year that they released their major debut single, “I will/Animation”, under the label Being. “I will” was used as an insert song for the anime series AO–HARU–RIDE.

Chelsy arrived to Nagoya to promote their third single, “SistAr”, at Tower Records Nagoya Parco. After checking out the store’s site and the band’s Youtube channel, I decided to check them out after my part-time job on Saturdays. I thought, Hey, why not check them out? They seem cool! while watching the “SistAr” music video.

I got to the event space right as MIO started to strum the first notes for their opening song. I can’t find the setlist for that day anywhere online. However, they played a few songs and did a couple talks within a thirty minute period. The atmosphere at the live was pretty much chilled as MIO played and sang, SHIZUKA supported MIO with the bass, and AMI just drummed soothing beats with a cajón. The weather was also perfect that day, making the whole event splendid.

After the band performed their last song, MIO announced that they would be starting the meet and sign event soon for anyone who bought a CD. I quickly bought a CD and jumped into the queuing line.  It took only ten minutes to line everyone up and prepare for the event.

The meet and sign event was pretty relaxed. As I approached the table, I first talked to MIO, then AMI, and finally SHIZUKA. I just chatted with the girls about how I enjoyed their live, where I am from, and thanking them for coming to Nagoya. It ended with them singing the CD and shaking my hand. It sounded short but actually, I was able to talked to each girl for a minute or so. I just forgot all the little details of the conversations.

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If you are into girl artists or bands like YUI, LoVendoЯ, or Scandal and/or you like pop-rock music, Chelsy is a band you must check out. Their song “SistAr” showcases MIO’s versatile vocals, SHIZUKA’s neat bass skills, and AMI’s on-point drumming. It is a song that is quiet mellow but upbeat at the same time, which will bring a jovial feeling to the listener’s state of mind.

Also, check out their super-cute announcement for Akihabara Expo 2015:

Make sure to check them out at Akihabara Expo 2015 this December in the Los Angeles area! 😀

New Discoveries: akai SKY

akaisky

Remember last month I said that I was going to start a brand new segment on this blog? I am able to start that now due to a hectic schedule I have. I might just make this segment into a bi-weekly or monthly segment because I am just so behind on other stuff.

Let me introduce the first artist for New Discoveries: akai SKY. A Jrock-style band from the United States that has been around for ten years. They started to perform covers of Japanese rock songs and anime themes until one day, they wanted to start producing their own music. According to the bassist Umi, the band “combine(s) Japanese and English lyrics to create a new and unique sound”.

Here is a short bio about the band that I received from Umi:

Ten years ago, we were a bunch of kids who formed a band to play covers of our favorite Japanese Rock and anime theme songs. We quickly discovered that playing covers just wasn’t enough and strived to create something entirely new. Influenced by a wide breadth of musical styles and genres, we combine Japanese and English lyrics to create unique music that bridges the gap between American and Japanese music while representing the Rock music we fell in love with so many years ago.

They released their first album entitled “Tokyo Beat Riot” in 2010. They become internationally recognized when they contributed to the L’arc-en-Ciel tribute album “Vivid Covers”. Now, five years after their debut album,  akai SKY is back with their third album “Chasing Lights” on August 23rd.

One song off the album is “Marionette”:

The song starts off somewhat softly with a strong bass line supporting the drums and the calm vocals. Then, the intensity grows throughout the first verse and pre-chorus. This is because this song is described as a “dramatic waltzy rock song”, according to Umi. That is why one of the best parts of the song is at the chorus when the guitar and vocals parts are blaring with lots of emotions. The guitar part eerily reminds me of Nickelback’s “How You Remind Me” as they have the same loud and rigid tone. These tones and emotions help to bring out the song theme of “never having someone control your life” very well.

My favorite song from akai SKY has to be “Break Down”, a song from their 2013 EP “Heart, Attack!”. I think the reason why I like it so much because its high energy. I always had a soft spot for pop-ish rock songs like this one. I looooooooove it’s sound, from the guitar to the vocals to just about everything else. It’s a great contrast to “Marionette”‘s deep and melancholy character.

The song is also unique because I don’t really hear this kind of song in today’s Japanese rock scene. A lot of today’s popular rock groups are acoustic bands or infuses electronica into the rock sound. However, “Break Down” is totally different from the modern J-rock scene as it’s so fresh and upbeat. It makes you crave more of that pop-rock sound in a J-rock setting.

akai SKY’s discography is a tasteful opus, featuring several different musical genres that can appease the listeners’ diverse taste buds. Their songs have strongly shown the band’s main focus to listeners; providing an original sound that is unique and one kind.

You can find more information about their new album or the band here at their official site.

By the way, the band will have a special masquerade themed live performance in San Francisco to celebrate our 10th Anniversary and EP release on Aug. 23rd. They will also have an upcoming show in Dallas, TX at AnimeFest.