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31 January 2011 @ 01:37 pm
[Mini Album] MAA - Monkey Kingdom
Released: 2010.12.01
Genre: Electro, pop, dance, slight rock influences
Sounds like: Namie Amuro, ICONIQ, Mizca
Language: Japanese
Bit rate: 320kbps

01. バレリーナ・ブレインシステム (Ballerina brain system) (Music Video@YT)
02. Ghost Enemy (Music Video@YT)
03. Tomorrow @ Your Kingdom
04. モンキーボーン・シティ (Monkeybone City) (Preview @YT)
05. ハングオーバー・ペイバック (Hangover payback) (Preview @YT)
06. Beautiful Mistakes (Preview @YT)
07. バージンキラー・サンタ (Virgin killer Santa) (Preview @YT)
08. Demon’s Phone Call (Preview @YT)

Japanese-American songtress MAA, nicknamed "Psycho Cinderella" by fans makes her grand debut with Monkey Kingdom, an electro/pop mini made for those wanting a gritty, dirtier smudge on dance numbers minus the baby voice - thank goodness. Ballerina brain system is a cunningly catchy tune with explosive hooks and that head-bobbing quality. Ghost Enemy could very well be an ICONIQ production (listen to ICONIQ's Crystal Girl) for having similar backing beats but stands out as MAA is much more forceful and less sweet than ICONIQ. MAA means business.

I absolutely adore the gradual sweeping start of steady strumming meeting up with confident piano chords in Tomorrow @ Your Kingdom. It's the perfect song for staring out the window and daydreaming. While slower and much more reserved than the rest of the tracks, it does continue with the electro theme of the album a la slight auto-tuning and a fade-away textured bridge insert.

Monkeybone City, exudes the vibe of a woman on a mission and teases listeners by cleverly strunting out through its chorus punctuation of "make me believe". Hangover Payback is yet another catchy feather in MAA's already crafty showcase. MAA's voice is hypnotic as it is alluring as the melody expertly throws you to a scene of a pulsating dancefloor and frosted champagne glasses. Beautiful Mistakes is indeed darkly beautiful as MAA carefully asserts herself with the chorus that "one mistake could make my life beautiful".

Virgin Killer Santa
- what a title. I never expected to like it as much but I do now. MAA's voice is perfect for injecting a haunting element against an echoey yet dramatic backing. Demon's Phone Call is the only entirely English track. She sounds so much like Gwen Stefani here. It's effortless, slightly rockish but wanders over to the giddy, drunken stupor kind of vibe.
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[Album] 4Men - Special Album - The 3rd Generation
Release Date: 2010.01.18
Genre: Ballads, R&B
Label: Sony Music
Sounds like: Noel, Shinhwa, 2AM, DBSK & their earlier ballads.
Language: Korean
Bit rate: 320kbps

01. Love Love Love 사랑 사랑 사랑
02. I Can't 못해 (feat. 美) (MusicVideo@YT)
03. Memories
04. 추억에 살아 (feat. Lee Young Hyun 이영현 from Big Mama)
05. Magic Body
06. Ttok Ttok Ttok 똑똑똑 (MusicVideo@YT)
07. My Angel (feat. 윤후)
08. Baby You (feat. Navi)
09. Everything
10. Can I Love Again? 다시 사랑 할 수 있을까 (feat. Davichi) (Preview@YT
11. 사랑 사랑 사랑 (MR)
12. 못해 (MR)
13. 추억에 살아 (MR)
14. Magic Body (MR)
15. My Angel (MR)
16. Baby You (MR)

All the material in this special album is new with the exception of three previously released singles from their latest digital mini album found here. 4Men, considered to be one of the best ballad vocals to emerge from Korean's current heavily pop-infused scene is a treat for the senses. 4Men's best remembered cult classic hit Baby, Baby made even major waves when SHINee's JongHyun did a live cover on a radio show. After the member shuffle, 4Men now left with 3 members continues to fill a void for highly crafted vocal acrobatics and manages to balance mood and melody with each track.

My current favourites are Ttok, Ttok, Ttok; Magic Body; and I Can't. Magic body is a sensational jive that has its opening riff and supporting beat cleaverly rewritten from an distinctly early 2005s ala Blue (UK band) number. I Can't is an uplifting ballad (despite its title) that employs sensitive use of straightforward falsettos and emphatically charged melodies before gently setting back to a hopeful note.

Don't miss out on these guys. They may not be new or popular and unfortunately seriously underrated, but they definitely deserve more attention ;p

BEWARE: Track 08. Baby You (feat. Navi) has a tiny glitch at 0:36. No idea how to fix that at the moment so please bear with me on that. The rest of the tracks have been tested with no probs.

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[Digital Single] Soulman - Let's Get Started ft Boni & Young'N
Released: 2010.01.11
Genre: Hip Hop, R&B
Sounds like: 8eight, Rain (his melodies in Rain's World), Se7en
Language: Korean
Bit rate: 320kbps

01. Let's Get Started (feat. Boni & Young'N) (Preview@YT)
02. Let's Get Started (Instrumental)

Bouncy, fun and party infused.

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[Single] Juju - Present
Release Date: 2009.11.25
Genre: light Pop, Ballad, Jazz and Blues
Label: Sony Music Japan
Sounds like: Thelma Aoyama, Fukuhara Miho, MAY'S, MiChi, Koda Kumi's ballads, and a slight Michael Bublé (YES!)
Language: Japanese + discernible English
Bit rate: 320kbps

01. PRESENT (MusicVideo@YT)
02. Everything Was You (Preview@imeem)
03. Ex-Factor
04. PRESENT - Instrumental -

PRESENT is the 11th single by Juju and it's title track is the theme song for the Disney movie Christmas Carol starring Jim Carrey, Colin Firth, and Gary Oldman. I'm guessing it's for the Japanese version of the movie. PRESENT describes being in the present time and appreciating now rather than dwelling in the past. The music video's pretty interesting. Musically, PRESENT is a ballad but it has intonations of a little pop because it's not as slow or as long-winded as you may expect. It does have a certain Christmasy feel or perhaps I'm being influenced by the season. Piano is appropriately the main instrument in this track and is flanked by Juju's soft and emotionally tinged vocals.

Everything Was You is a jazz and blues track. It reminds me much of Michael Bublé's work. Maybe I'm being stereotypical however, Bublé is the most well-known example of this genre right now... Anyway, I find this song refreshing as it is suggestively sensual and paints a picture of a classy lounge-like environment. It is also, very Christmasy in a way.

Ex-Factor is sung entirely in English. Fortunately, JUJU pronounces each word with listenable diction so I'm not cringing at all. *phew* It's another bluesy track with a heavier dose of R&B. Consider it a slow jam that sways back and forth from being Americanized and J-R&B at the same time. Not that I'm complaining because Juju does a great job in trying out new genres. Recommended !

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[Digital Single] Dohzi-t - 4 Ever feat.YU-A (of Foxxi misQ)
Release Date: 2000.12.16
Genre: Pop, R&B
Label: Universal Music Japan
Sounds like: YU-A, BENI, Aoyama Thelma, Minimaru GT, WISE, Bennie K, Miliyah Kato, So' Fly
Language: Japanese
Bit rate: 320kbps

01. 想い 4 Ever (Omoi) feat.YU-A (MusicVideo@YT)

Starting of with soothing guitar plucking and followed by a chiming keyboard, YU-A takes you to another dimension of polished R&B with the obscenely additive chorus. Dohzi-T is a tamer version of M-flo and a lot more charming than WISE. He matches YU-A's fluid vocals to the tee. It gives you the feeling of being high and at the same time, presented with the opportunity to look back on the happier memories.

This single appears to be a preview to Dohzi-T's full album that is to be released sometime mid-Dec and features both his previous and new collaborations as well as solo work. Looking forward to it indeed.

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[Album] NICO Touches the Walls - Aurora
Release Date: 2009.11.25
Genre: Alternative Rock, Post Grunge
Label: Ki/oon Records
Sounds like: Base Ball Bear, UNISON SQUARE, Apogee and semi-Daughty & Coldplay.
Language: Japanese
Bit rate : 320kbps

01. Aurora (Preview@YT)
02. Hologram (ホログラム, Horoguramu) (MusicVideo@YT)
03. Me (芽, Sprout) (Preview@YT)
04. Lonesome Ghost
05. Bigfoot (ビッグフット, Biggufutto)
06. Kakera -Subete no Omoitachi he- (かけら -統べての想いたちへ-, Fragments -To all the thoughts-) (MusicVideo@YT)
07. Sabitekita (錆びてきた, Rusted)
08. Leo (レオ, Reo)
09. N Kyoku to N Kyoku (N極とN極, N Poles and N Poles)
10. Kazehito (風人, Windy Person)
11. Nami (波, Wave)
12. Tomato (トマト, Tomato)

NICO Touches the Walls returns with a full blown album after releasing their latest single on the 4th of Nov. Hologram is the opening theme of the ever-intriguing anime Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. It's a solid release pumped with bass and guitar. I recommend this to anyone who's looking for an escape from the pop-candy jpop cliché.

You can read about Aurora, Hologram and Kareka - Subete no Omoitachi he- at this post. The Aurora in this track is however a shorter, rockier version with added electric guitar and much more drums.

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C.O.MM.ENT. It's an expression of common courtesy ~ yea...
 
 
22 November 2009 @ 10:29 am
[Album] CHIHIRO - Dress
Release date: 2009.11.11
Genre: Pop, R&B
Label: - (don't know)
Sounds like: Miliyah Kato, Ayoma Thelma, JASMINE, Hiromi, Kanade, Utada's R&B stuff.
Language: Japanese
Bit rate: 320kbps

01 DRESS (interlude)
02 Miss U part Ⅱ~恋してた~ (Miss U part II ~Koishi te ta~)
03 Roller Coaster Love feat. HI-D (MusicVideo@YT)
04 Last Kiss
05 Make Up feat. USU
06 Ding Dong DANCE
07 Too Late
08 Lonely
09 In the Closet (interlude)
10 Beautiful feat. Sweet (MusicVideo@YT)
11 My Place

I ABSOLUTELY ADORE HER VOICE. Definitely one of the non-annoying, non-screechy voices in J-R&B. Dress is her 2nd studio album according to CHIHIRO's website. Laden with all the sweet melodies and perhaps learning from Marey Carey's soft whispery signature is how Miss U part Ⅱ~恋してた~ starts.

Roller Coaster Love feat. HI-D is a semi-up paced R&B tune with finely crafted leading verses and that smooth sailing chorus. HI-D somehow seems to fade into background as CHIHIRO steals your attention away.

This album is a rare treat really because I could listen to every track without qualms. WORRY-FREE. CHIHIRO needs moar love ~
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[Album] Jang Hye Jin (장혜진) - Sky, Wind, Stars 하늘, 바람, 별
Release Date: 2009.11.17
Genre: Ballad, Pop, Lounge, a lil' Rap, slight Alternative Rock
Label: - (don't know)
Sounds like: J, 8eight, Monday Kiz, Clazziquai, Seo Ji Yeong, 2NB, Gavy NJ.
Language: Korean
Bit rate: 320kbps

01 어느 날 오후 One Afternoon
02 한 번만 울고 말자 Let's cry once and stop (MusicVideo@YT)
03 열심히 한 이별 (rap feat. 만성) A Hard Goodbye ft. Chronic
04 그런 여자이니까 You're a woman
05 어느 늦은 밤..(1994년 어느 늦은 밤) Which late night...(one late night in 1994)

SHE CAN SING!

Track 01 어느 날 오후 matches tango beats with sassy lounge/pop. It easily speeds up and flows fluidly with her voice. There's actually a rap in this although it's not mention who featured with her. I'm liking this one!

#02 한 번만 울고 말자 is a fusion ballad with classically timed band-worthy drum beats. The start is slow with tuned string plucks (keyboard generated perhaps?) but picks up soon with strong vocals making it very 8eight-ish. Nope, it does not put you to sleep rather, it keeps you listening to every word as if it were a story that must be finished. It did afterall make my "list" ;p

Track 03 열심히 한 이별 (rap feat. 만성) totally caught my attention. I loved the harmonizing of her strong yet emotion spiked vocals that lead this pop-slash-alternative rock feature. She sounds slick and confident alongside Chronic who raps perfectly at the right times. The closest would be G-Dragon's style of rapping. No, it's not plagarisation. Just a similarity that's all...xD

05 어느 늦은 밤..(1994년 어느 늦은 밤) Which late night...(one late night in 1994) is a sad, teary eyed ballad. It's like the title said it all. The poor dear is recollecting her memories of lost chances and wasted time with that love that could have been. Musically, this number could be a little too much too bear. It probably needs a MV to lighten and soothe the drama a lil'.

 
 
 
18 November 2009 @ 12:04 am
[Album] LISA - Disco Volante
Release Date: 2009.11.11
Genre: Pop, Dance, Electro, R&B, Hip-hop
Label: Rhytmn Zone
Sounds like: Koda Kumi, M-flo, Diggy-MO, ravex, DJ MAKAI, Clazziquai at times...
Language: Japanese
Bit rate: 192kbps

01 falling for you... feat.VERBAL
02 frozen
03 traveler (Preview@YT)
04 SEND MY HEART
05 Leave
06 Love (Preview@YT)
07 shake my heart
08 crave
09 planet love
10 Alone
11 other side of now
12 FIRE WOO HOO HOO feat. LISA / Diggy-MO' (special track)
13 HOUSE NATION feat. LISA / ravex (special track)
14 MY ONE STAR feat. LISA / MAKAI (special track)
15 SOUND BOY THRILLER feeeeeeeeeeat. LISA / m-flo (special track)

ALL TRACKS can be sampled HERE

LISA, better known as the former female vocalist of M-flo returns with her fourth studio album. This disc contains 7 new songs, 4 more from the luxurious disco series and 3 collaborations with Diggy-Mo', ravex and DJ MAKAI respectively. Her voice is light, sweet and melodic unlike most Jdance-pop singers. Notable tunes are: Love, Alone, FIRE WOO FOO FOO feat. LISA/Diggy-MO’, SEND MY HEART and planet love.

planet love reminds me so much of Clazziquai. There's the hypnotizing electro beat laced with house jazz and keyboard chord play. Throw in bubbly chorus and you'll start to move along with the music.

Love is surprisingly not a dance track. Instead it breathes along the same lines of Ayumi Hamasaki's ballads. There're semi fast paced words in the verse topped with twinkling effects. It's actually nice to hear LISA do something other than dance and electro.

Alone bears an obvious R&B beat making it a stand-out from the rest of the songs. The bridge is definitely the climax as you can hear LISA attempt a "Brandy" moment. It's down-to-earth and perhaps lacks that fanciness you find in the usual dance tunes.

I simply adore FIRE WOO FOO FOO feat. LISA/Diggy-MO’. Amazingly, LISA shines out more in non-M-flo collabs. Perhaps it's periodic and there's definitely room for improvement. Anyway, FIRE WOO FOO FOO is tough and fast moving. Diggy-MO' injects a necessary hip-hop element matching the beats of LISA's charming vocals to the tee. A memorable floor-filler indeed.

Overall, it's an okay album. Nothing spectacular or ear popping but a decent dance/pop album that I'd listen to without problems. Maybe because I can get thrown off by experimental electropop. Haha.

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[Mini Album] IU - iu...im
Release date: 2009.11.12
Genre: Pop, Ballad, Reggae+R&B-ish.
Label: Loen Entertainment
Sounds like: Girls Generation (SNSD), 4minute, Kara, T-ara
Language: Korean
Bit rate: 320kbps

01 Love attack
02 기차를 타고 Riding the Train
03 마쉬멜로우 Marshmallow (MV@YT)
04 아침 눈물 Morning Tears
05 두근 두근 데이트 Dugeun Dougeun Date (preview@YT)
06 기차를 타고 Riding the Train (Inst.)
07 아침 눈물 Morning Tears (Inst.)

The title track Marshmallow is quirky and cute to the point where it employs the help of chipmunk backup vocals and not-so-subtle "oh"/"ooo" expressions. Fortunately, IU's voice is able to carry of this sickly sweet number without causing gag reflexes. It constantly reminds me off images of dancing boys and girls in musical movies such as High School Musical and Hairspray. Note the retro feel in the beginning indicated by low blown horns that was also used in the start of Christina Aguilera's Ain't No Other Man. But that's where the similarity ends. It's either a love it or hate it song. So far, after 2 listens I'm starting to find it endearing.

Track 02 기차를 타고 Riding the Train soothes the head after intensely poppish "love attack". I do wished she did more ballads such as this. It's feminine without the high pitched unbearableness. Instead, IU's vocals are clear and untainted against an orchestra-like arrangement. Basically, she kicks ass at ballads but appears average at pop songs.

Track 04 아침 눈물 Morning Tears is another ballad that deserves to be on the OST of a drama. This time the musical arrangement is less busy allowing her soft yet capable vocals to carry out the song's climax during the bridge.

The reggae number is track 05 두근 두근 데이트 that tells the story of a first date. It does have a more R&B vibe to it with her vocals taking center stage in both the chorus and bridge. An excellent show-off material that's fun but still comprises a certain level of difficulty if you're looking for music with a certain substance that is.

You don't need to be in an excellent frame of mind in order to brave this album. Although it seems as though IU's musical direction is headed straight for the girlish charms battleground title currently held by certain k-pop girl groups whose names I shall not disclose for fear of rotten tomatoes. It does however lighten the severely gloomy atmosphere surrounding k-pop these days. Need a pick me up? Try IU.

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[Single] DNT - 가슴이 사랑하는 법 The Love in My Heart 3rd Single
Release date: 2009.11.12
Genre: Ballad, Pop-R&B
Label: Orange Entertainment
Sounds like: Fly to the Sky, SS501, Park Hyo Shin, Sung Si Kyung, Jo Sung Mo
Language: Korean
Bitrate: 320kbps

01 가슴이 사랑하는 법 The Love in My Heart
02 내가 죽어도 (preview@YT)
03 To 18 Girl
04 가슴이 사랑하는 법 The Love in My Heart Inst
05 내가 죽어 Inst

Concentrating on ballads with the exception of track 03, this time, DNT (Dragon N Tiger) tries hard to break into the already highly saturated boy band scene. The opening song - The Love in My Heart is possibly the best track on this single. It starts of with slow piano chords and builds into a crescendo chorus. Heartfelt and melodic, it sounds almost as if you could hear someone's heart breaking. As mellow as that seems, it's actually quite comforting to know that this group (in this single) doesn't need to rely on auto-tune or any of that fancy glitter/eye-liner get-up. ;) We're talking real vocals here.

To 18 Girl is probably a what a stripped R&B number would be without vocal alteration. With no auto-tune, you can hear the slight coarseness, stress and quivering in the vocals. Such imperfection however may not settle well with some listeners. There's your usual bridge rap and the collective group chorus though. Overall, DNT definitely stands out of the crowd although lacking in the promotion and exposure department.
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09 November 2009 @ 09:01 pm
[Album] 2PM - 01:59 PM
Release date: 2009.11.10
Genre: Pop, R&B, Dance
Label: JYP Entertainment
Sounds like: Seriously? It's here? You bet it is.
Language: Korean
Bit rate: 320kbps

01. My Heart (preview@YT)
02. Heartbeat (preview@YT)
03. Tried of waiting 기다리다 지친다 (preview@YT)
04. (I Was) Crazy Over You 너에게 미쳤었다
05. Gimme the light
06. Back 2U (preview@YT)
07. All Night Long (preview@YT)
08. Heartbeat (Red Light Mix)
09. 10점 만점에 10점 (10/10)
10. Only You
11. Again & Again
12. 니가 밉다 I Hate You (Lounge Mix)
13. 돌아올지도 몰라 You Might Comeback (Bossa Nova Mix) (preview@YT)

There's so much anticipation being placed on this album and with Jaebeom's absence, it's been a long wait but it's finally here! Overall you can expect a little bit of everything that makes you want to bounce and boogie with this album but at the same time hold back because of the poignant and obviously symbolic titles. I mean 1:59PM as the name of the album? Way too obvious.

Heartbeat really does get your heart beating due to the emotionally intense plea-like verses. It exudes a sad sensation that picks up perfectly with a whip beat effect. Note the "heartbeat" - ta-dum, ta-dum E.R sound effect. I especially like the long ending riff that really brings out the dramaticity it was meant to have.

Tired of waiting would probably drive the unsuspecting listener to ask just what's the fashion with over auto-tuned vocals. It does however hold it's ground as a dance electro number.

I Was Crazy Over You would be the one that caught my attention the most with tackful use of piano as the lead instrument and a slight vocoder vocal alteration. I absolutely love the beat and the "manly" insinuations that you can sense between the lines. The rap further spices the song with forceful accents.

Gimme The Light makes extensive use of auto-tune but it's very well put amongst "real" vocals and a memorable melody. Once again, the mood seems sombre despite a great bass and beat set.

All Night Long is a slow R&B chill, that's for the most part, very Americanized almost to the point it sounds like an R.Kelly product complete with a bridge rap and that unmistakable beat. Forgettable perhaps but enjoyably safe nonetheless.

You Might Comeback the Bossa Nova Mix is actually quite sweet (?). Yes. That's what it seems to be. The original is of course leaps and bounds better than the mix. The mix infuses soft piano, and cha-cha drum rythmns making you wonder if it really should be as "sunny" and "spritely" as the lyrics intended.

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Ever wanted to support your artists but it seems your purchases may not count towards their charts? Buy digitally from Mnet! =)

I've received some questions as to where you can buy some of your favourite albums and songs.
Sad but true that some are digital only meaning you can't buy those from Yesasia or G-Market for example.
I for one have wondered how to purchase directly from Mnet. Since the site is entirely in Korean.
Here's an incredibly helpful tutorial from afterschoolcraze.com found via Google (haha!). Each song costs 600 won or less than USD$1. Exchange rates as of 5th Nov 2009 state it to be about 50 cents (US currency). The Mnet site does view better with IE though.

You'll need
1. Mnet account
2. Credit card

These instructions are credited to afterschoolcraze.com and although it has closed, I've managed to retrieve the screenshots :D

INSTRUCTIONS AND SCREENCAPS UNDER THE CUTCollapse )

Well then , do let me know if you have would like to share a tutorial on how to purchase music from other similar sites. And I'll update this post. ^^

Did you find this helpful? Drop me a comment. :D
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Oh YEAH!200+ Members!
You have no idea how tempted I am to say Thank CHU~! Thank you so much for joining this community. It's only been 20 days (2009.10.16 - 2009.11.04) since "Le Grand Opening" so once again, THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH.

Also, Radiosyncity has a new moderator. groovydawg Yeah!! WELCOME ! *wink*
 
Here's a little gift. Because I don't usually upload videos. But it's BoA and I couldn't refuse =D
[PV] BoA - Eien Dance Edit.avi
29.68MB
Slightly modified and integrated with a higher stereo quality of 200kbps or so.
Credits go to groovydawg.
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