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Album Review: Overture by Kazha
by Lori Huston

*****

(preview)

Overture is the first full length album released by Kazha, a Los Angeles-based Japanese rock band (complete artist profile: Kazha; interview with vocalist Kazuha Oda: Getting to know Kazuha Oda from Kazha). It came out in April 2010 but I’ll be honest -- I had never heard of Kazha until about August when I started researching the group for their artist profile here on AznLover. Right away their music appealed to me because I have a soft spot for goth metal and melodic hard rock. The more I listened while trying to understand Kazha’s artistic vision, the more their songs drew me in, until I finally had to purchase their CD.


(Please read the rest of the article HERE at AZNLover.com)





VAMPS - Pureblood Rock 'n' Roll
by Lori Huston

*****


(preview)

Since the end of the grunge era, truly creative hard rock has been relatively scarce. Lately, mainstream charts seem dominated by pop acts whose music may be catchy, but often lacks a certain depth and intensity for rock fans. So who will resuscitate rock ‘n’ roll for those of us with a taste for thumping bass and heavy guitars? Enter VAMPS and their refreshing high energy, uncompromising style. This Japanese band strips hard rock down to bone and blood, putting the stomp back in fans’ boots with concerts in the art form’s American birthplace and throughout the world. Though they capitalize on the recent social phenomenon of vampire infatuation, this is merely an embellishment to the real meat of VAMPS’ work: creating original compositions that honor the members’ origins while forging a fresh interpretation of true rock.

(Please read the rest of the article HERE at AZNLover.com)





The Rising Star of Asian Filmmakers
by Lori Huston


*****

(preview)

With unique combinations of dark drama, visual lushness and gripping action, Asian films have become beloved by audiences around the world, cementing the reputations of big-name directors like Ang Lee (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; Lust, Caution) and Yimou Zhang (House of Flying Daggers, Curse of the Golden Flower). A few Asian-American directors like Justin Lin (The Fast & The Furious, Better Luck Tomorrow) and Wayne Wang (The Joy Luck Club, Maid in Manhattan) have also broken into the mainstream Hollywood scene. But in the industry as a whole, Asian film makers have been comparatively few and far between. From the looks of recent developments, that’s all about to change.

(Please read the rest of the article HERE at AZNLover.com)


Kazha
by Lori Huston

*****


(preview)

Kazha’s musical style ranges from soulful, jazz-tinged pop to the verge of goth metal, often within the same song. Frontwoman Kazuha Oda’s clear, ethereal vocals overlay and intertwine with guitarist Hideki Matsushige’s alternately melodic and aggressive grooves. Lyrics are largely sung in English, with a sprinkling of Japanese. According to Kazha’s description on CD Baby’s website, they “combine the softness of a falling feather with the heaviness of a hurricane.” The band joins the small number of elite artists who successfully blend dark and light elements to create elegantly driven, darkly sophisticated rock music.

(Please read the rest of the article HERE at AZNLover.com)





The Slants
by Lori Huston

*****


(preview)

Riding the cutting edge of eighties-retro resurgence, The Slants’ brand of synth-driven dance rock makes you want to hop into some Converse high tops and skinny jeans, and head for the nearest skate park with their tunes blasting through your ear buds. But The Slants don’t merely rehash 1980s music; they add a hint of edgy guitar to original songwriting and top it off with a generous garnish of Asian American pride. Judging by their rapid climb toward success since their debut in 2007, they’ve hit on a winning formula. From the beginning, the band has undertaken an impressively demanding tour schedule, packing in head-bobbing crowds at venues ranging from small clubs around their hometown of Portland, Oregon to large anime conventions across the nation, to major stages like SXSW. They describe their music as “Chinatown dance rock”, which actually gives a pretty accurate idea of their sound: rhythmic electropop with a somewhat aggressive boost and subtle Asian overtones.

(Please read the rest of the article HERE at AZNLover.com)




Miyavi: More Than Meets the Eye
by Lori Huston


*****

(preview)

Regardless of personal musical taste, it doesn’t take long to recognize the talent of the self-designated “guitar samurai” known as Miyavi (or MYV), and the best introduction is to hear it firsthand. Miyavi’s pretty boy looks are quickly belied by his blistering slap guitar prowess and rough-edged rocker’s voice. In this artist’s eleven-year career, he’s already released ten full length solo CDs (of which three are compilations and one a remix album), plus one EP. Major record labels Universal and EMI have signed his projects. In addition, he appears in live concert footage on thirteen DVDs, and has starred as himself in a feature film (Oresama, 2004 Japan).

(Please read the rest of the article HERE at AZNLover.com)


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