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Nihongaku Radio Episode 51: Mr. Steak, You’re Grade A

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Every once in a while, an album comes along that begs you to overplay it. The songs are too good, the melodies too infectious. So you keep clicking back to listen from the top. This summer, I was struck by such an album: Kishi Bashi’s Lighght. We’ll hear from…er….Mr. Bashi in this episode. We’ve also got new music from The Mirraz and Shonen Knife.

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Nihongaku Radio Episode 50: Back On My Feet


Fifty episodes? It hardly seems possible and yet, here it is.

To mark the occasion, I’ve asked some friend of the show to pick a song of Japanese origin that everyone should hear. Oh man! Did they ever deliver. Hear songs picked by LB Bryan of Ani.me, Akai Sky, Tyler Abstract of the Abstract Japan podcast, Duvan Prada of Colectivo Bunka, Daniel Robson and Asuka Eki of It Came From Japan, Roberto Villegas of cosmicradio.tv, and Zac Bentz.

To the listeners of Nihongaku Radio, be they casually interested or absolute devotees: This one is for you…just like all the others.

Nihongaku Radio Episode 50


Intro: “Disarm Dreamer” – Aki Misato (Buy It!)

“Only My Railgun” – fripSide (Buy It!)
“Sounan” – Tokyo Jihen (Buy It!)
“Part 3″ – Acid Mothers Temple (Buy It!)
“Equal” – Acidman (Buy It!)
“Hope” – Ender (Buy It!)
“Ukifune” – GO!GO!7188 (Buy It!)
“Yatta!” – Happa Tai (Buy It!)
“Nishida Sachiko” – Coffee Rhumba (Buy It!)

Break: “Gym” – Masafumi Takada / Jun Fukuda (Buy It!)

“Riding on the Rocket” – Shonen Knife (Buy It!)
“Hajimete Kimi to Shabetta” – GaGaGaSP (Buy It!)
“Back on my Feet” – Boom Boom Satellites (Buy It!)

Break: “Luv (sic) Pt.4 [feat. Shing02]” – Nujabes (Buy It!)

“Pillow Talk” – Mothercoat (Buy It!)

Nihongaku Radio Interview: Meet the New Peelander Green

The color-coded members of Peelander-Z with newcomer Chris Heaton as the new Peelander Green.

The color-coded members of Peelander-Z with newcomer Chris Heaton as the new Peelander Green.

How do beings from the planet Peelander replace a drummer? They put a call out on Facebook. Duh.

Peelander Green (AKA Akihiko Naruse) stepped down from his drumming duties with Peelander-Z without so much as a press release, a status update, or even a hastily scrawled note. Where has he gone? There’s no official word from the band, but it’s worth noting that he’s been posting pictures of his newborn since March. That might have something to do with it.

In anticipation of the band’s North American tour this Spring (which is already underway), Peelander-Z reached out to the greater social media community for a replacement—and wait till you see who they picked up. Dubbed Peelander “Nashville” Green, Chris Heaton joined the band just before their numerous performances at SXSW in Austin.

Mr. Heaton was nice enough to sit down and have a chat with me after Peelander-Z’s final South By gig; a family-friendly Peelander-hosted day show called Mad Tiger Fest.

Nihongaku Radio Interview: Chris Heaton of Peelander-Z


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Nihongaku Radio Episode 49: Tonight, Tonight, Tonight!


In this episode we explore the career of Beat Crusaders’ Toru Hidaka and hear from his new band, The Starbems.

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Nihongaku Radio Episode 48: Space Dream Bathroom


We’ve got new music from The Telephones and Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra in this episode. Also stick around for a classic track from Cibo Matto who’ve recently returned to the limelight after a bit of a hiatus.

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Nihongaku Radio Episode 47: The Lightning Vortex


This episode is packed with new songs from Supercell, Unison Square Garden and Lost in the Fog. 9mm Parabellum Bullet is in the featured artist set, so lock ‘n’ load.

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Nihongaku Radio Episode 46: Overdrive Misterioso


There’s a tons of new stuff in this episode from the likes of Maximum Za Hormone, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu and Scandal. Be sure to stick around for the featured artist set with Maaya Sakamoto.

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Nihongaku Radio Episode 45: Everybody Say No to the Marshmallow Head

Polysics. I don’t feel like I need to say a lot more about this episode. Polysics are in the featured artist spot with a song called “Mega Over Drive.” Hop to it.

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Nihongaku Radio Episode 44: You-You-You Are the Wink Sniper

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Remember that time you screamed so much at a concert that you lost your voice? Well, it happened to me right before recording this episode. As a result, I had my good friend Danielle step in and take care of the hosting duties. That said, there are a ton of great tracks in this episode including my personal favorite, “Wink Sniper” by Base Ball Bear, and “You-You-You” by Polysics.

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So Many Metal? Peelander-Z at Austin’s Mohawk

Peelander Yellow at Mohawk in Austin.

Peelander Yellow transforms into a mad tiger at Austin’s Mohawk.

There is a threatening blanket of gray clouds hanging over Austin, TX. But no one at the Mohawk, a multi-tiered music venue smack dab in the middle of downtown, seems to care. Fans are crouched on the pavement in front of the main stage, circled up like kindergarteners at recess with a few in the middle banging on drums. Leading this pack of adults-turned-maniacs and insisting that they see just how quiet they can be is Peelander Yellow (AKA Kengo Hioki), lead-singer and chief producer of madness for the self-proclaimed “action-comic-punk band” Peelander-Z.

And then, perhaps overcome with raw frivolity, someone makes a noise. Peelander Yellow erupts in mock-angry shushes, spasming as though the very presence of sound pains his ears. He wants silence. And then he wants a crescendo. Slowly, at Yellow’s command, the drums get louder. The people stand up. The drums are deafening. The band hops on stage and Yellow climbs to the top of the amps just to launch himself off again. The pit is alive, lifting up bodies and transforming them into crowd surfers. The stage manager looks like he’s about to shit a brick.
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