The Music Channel Tour Continues

Time to take another look at the music channels to see what’s up with the Jpop/Jrock scene.

SpaceShowerTV has a live concert of Jackson Vibe. Feelgood punkrock I guess. They’re a ska-rock band that lost one of its members in a tour accident (car crash) last year. And the singer was a VJ on MTV Japan for a while. Their music is actually quite catchy, and the song that just started has a bit of a dub/ska feel to it during the chorus.

One thing to remember is that these cable/satellite music channels mostly concentrate on non-Jpop acts. The big idol names are usually relegated to the weekend countdown shows — but even these aren’t as idol-heavy as the weekly chart shows you’ll see on terrestrial broadcast.

M-ON is also showing a live performance, and it’s lame. Don’t know who it is, and don’t care to find out. VMC is playing something that sounds like Gackt, although it’s not him. If you don’t know Gackt, I guess you could describe his music as orchestral rock, with a hint of visual-kei mixed in (less now than when he made his debut). The thing that bugs me the most about this type of music is the voice of the singer. It’s always sort of whiny, with some shaky vocal chords. Well, shit, the credits just popped up: it actually was Gackt! He just didn’t appear in the video. Oh man, better switch the channel — ends up it’s a spotlight on him.

MTV Japan has some Jrap. Rap in Japan tends to be comical, sort of Eminem style. The big names tend to follow that route, although they will eventually grow out of it (like Rip Slyme and Kick the Can Crew). Now it’s another rap video, and this time the guys have cat ears and noses on, and they’re surrounded by hot-looking chicks wearing the same, with very short leather outfits. Hey ladies, get funky!

Music Japan tends to feature the most Jpop, and it’s the one I usually check the least (partly because my satellite remote has four buttons that you can program to always go to certain channels, and I have them setup for the other ones). The band playing now is on the hard rock side of things, with the female singer sounding typically Jrock-ish (think Hysteric Blue or Shakalabbits). Oh great, now there’s a song called “No More Cry,” which is what they repeat during the chorus. It’s that Chemistry wannabe duo I mentioned the last time. They’re called D-51. Ugh.

I’m back at the Jackson Vibe concert, which I don’t mind. Japan is actually pretty good with its ska acts, the Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra being a prime example. A few years ago I was living in a guest house, and of my housemates was in a ska band (he worked as an architect by day). He introduced me to a lot of stuff in the genre that unfortunately I can’t remember much of now. He was also into Leyona, as well as Little More. And he was a huge Shiina Ringo fan. He once showed me a DVD of one of her live shows in which you can spot him jumping in the crowd. He was quite proud of that.

Oh no — “No More Cry” is playing on M-ON now! It’s the M-ON “Recommend” video (of the week, I suppose).

The first few years I lived in Tokyo I used to watch the chart shows on regular TV a lot, especially CDTV (Countdown Television). At the same time, during those years, I never saw more than 15 seconds of a video. It’s next to impossible to see a video in its entirety on the networks. Then again, most network music shows are big on performances (they even have them on CDTV), so that’s what most people see.

I’ll try to remember to watch CDTV tonight, and see what’s happening in the Jpop charts.

To be continued…