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Friday, Aug. 15, 2008

LISTENING POST

LIVE

Future Pop Lounge


Future Pop Lounge is a big treat for fans of the Shibuya-kei scene. Although the Japanese genre that spawned such awesome acts as Pizzicato 5 and Flipper's Guitar was pretty much over by the turn of the century, many bands escaped the millennium-bug meltdown by evolving in weird and wonderful ways.

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Both Eel and Aprils were conceived in 1999, leaving them well placed to carry the torch. Like many bands of that era, solo female artist Eel was heavily influenced by French pop and bossa nova, but in 2002 a label move to ROMZ heralded a seismic shift in style to embrace driving beats producing a more techno-pop sound. Her last album, "Little Prince," released in 2004 on Vroom Sound Records, fused reggae, electro and break-core sounds, and was her most innovative yet. This is a great chance to witness the next stage in her evolution: She is currently recording a new album, penciled in for release at the end of this year.

Coincidentally, Aprils are also in the studio and looking to release their new material at around the same time. Describing themselves as producing a "spacey, happy, sparkly, piko-piko electronic sound," Aprils are definitely a band for the kidult generation and, since their conception, haven't strayed far from the Flipper's Guitar-inspired happy-pop blueprint. Cute electronic samples and catchy songwriting mark them out from the herd, and a good sense of humor makes them a great live act. Watch out for the giant panda on stage.

Extra support for this date comes from Hazelnuts Chocolate, who composes her own brand of screwy candy pop; and Sexy-Synthesizer, who'll inject the proceedings with a blast of electro 8-bit wackiness. Other acts include Spaghetti Vabune! and The Lady Spade.

Future Pop Lounge is held at Shibuya O-Nest on Aug. 16 (5 p.m.; 2,500 yen advance, 3,000 yen on the door).


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