Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Arima Kinen Special Concert At Tokyo Racecourse

Puffy wrapped up the year with a concert at Tokyo Racecourse* with a concert to celebrate the end of the season race: Arima Kinen.  The curtailed career spanning set list consisted of:

     1. Ai no Shirushi
     2. Circuit no Musume
     3. Kore ga Watashi no Ikirumichi**
     4. MOTHER
     5. Kuchibiru Motion
     6. Nagisa Ni Matsuwaru etcetera
     7. Asia no Junshin
     ENC. Dareka Ga***

Thanks to Bonsai for the encore correction, not a new song at all.

Tacking onto a bust end of year schedule, Puffy also appeared on the twentieth anniversary special for "Hey! Hey! Hey! Music Champ."  I am not sure at this point what they performed.

Hey Hey Hey costumes.  Picture via @yumi_puffy
The net results for the back half of 2014 have been encouraging both in terms of news trickling out of Puffy and their performance schedule.  They have definitely kept their hand in the game.  Now, as Ami and Yumi approach their remarkable 19 year run as Puffy there appears to be gas left in the tank.

Let the show go on!

* Horse not auto racing 
** I think...
*** Updated

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Puffy Track From Yoshimoto Cover & Best: Now Romantic

After doing a little digging I came across the track that Puffy did for the Yoshimoto Cover & Best compilation album. We had discussed it way back in May, but do good things come to those who wait?

Before I comment take a listen.

This is a really, really good song. It somewhat reminds me of a rock version of a Pink Lady song (not a bad thing). Now Romantic also give sme some home that Puffy is willing to re-embrace that guitar heavy songs that I think Ami and Yumi flourish in.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

A Couple Of Very Different Puffy Covers That Are The Same

AI no Shirushi has always been an odd duck of a song for me. I really enjoy the album version but live, it never really does that much for me. Anyways here are two differently stripped down versions for you to take a listen to.

Not much going on with Puffy at the moment. I was sort of expecting them to do holiday shows again this year as that is a good revenue stream for more than a few artists in Japan. I have to wonder if Puffy's shows last year sold well, all I can recall is they enjoyed doing them.

I read that Puffy is doing a festival in Okinawa in January, but as to the cryptic messages from Ami and Yumi for next year... your guess is as good as mine.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Puffy Tour 2014, Swag Setlist

Sometimes there are gems of information in the official Puffy blog, in this case the set list from the Swag tour this fall:

1. I Don't Wanna
2. my journal
3. Akai Buranko
4. Sayonara Summer
5. Ai no Shirushi
6. Kuchibiru Motion
7. Tenshi no Wink
8. Sui Sui
9. Hasanjyauze
10. Tararan
11. Choushuu
12. Circuit no Musume (REMIX ver)
13. Nagisa ni Matsuwaru etc.
14. boom boom beat
15. UREI
16. My Story
17. Bye Bye
ENC1. Oriental Diamond
ENC2. Asia no Junshin

Over all I'd say this is a pretty good array of songs with some unexpected entries like "Urei" and "my journal."

The only song I am blanking on in Choushuu and my Google fu is weak tonight.

Now... the bad news in all of this is that it is probably going to be slow news wise as it appears there is not much going on between now and sometime next year. I have not read if there will be holiday shows, but I think Ami and Yumi are are a point in their careers that I would expect it (assuming the shows last year were well booked).

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Mysterious News

Via Ami's on Instagram:  "Our photoshoot started from morning, today. Details will probably be revealed next year."


To me, this (hopefully) suggests that the pic is photography for an album sometime in spring.  However this is pure conjecture.

Here is another, which is a fun concert pic:

P.S.  Not a lot of notable or interesting things coming out of Team Puffy for a while.  Ami's Instagram account is fairly funny though.  Guess I will have to do something on my own.  Stack rank albums or singles? 

(Images belong to Ami)

Monday, July 28, 2014

Ami and Yumi at SDCC 2014

Huge thanks to ArchiveTaxi for the video.   There is another video that covers the same panel, but the audio is faint and pretty far from Puffy.  Not really anything enlightening and the translator had problems talking under Ami and Yumi.

From watching the panel, it looks like there is a Q&A session, but I have not tripped over that yet.  If you find it leave a link in the comments.  If I find it... I will update or spin off a new blog entry.

Additionally Warner Brothers did a quick promo video for Teen Titans Go.  Definitely not a lot of polish and it feels somewhat last minute, but Ami and Yumi seem to make the most of it:

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Puffy Making An Appearance At Comic-con 2014

Via Puffy's Japanese site and Twitter feed they have announced they will be at Comic-Con International: San Diego.  Not much useful information on Puffy.jp but comingsoon.net gave a lot of details.  Ami and Yumi are scheduled to appear on a panel for the the Teen Titans series on Sunday July 27th from 11:45 to 12:45.  I would wager that someone will record this and hopefully do a post up.  A full episode of Teen Titans will be shown, so that probably limits the panel to about 40 minutes and I am not certain how Puffy will fit into that.

Via @yumi_puffy 

It is encouraging Puffy will be making an appearance in the US, but this might be a very small window of opportunity for Puffy fans that happen to be in San Diego.  So if you are there, please see them and report back!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

MONSTER baSH 2014 Festival Added

Puffy has added another MONSTER baSH 2014 to their performance line up this year and it is a heck of a big festival.  It will be running from 8/23 to 8/24 in Kagawa prefecture.

Probably a safe bet that Puffy's set will be curtailed like most of their festival appearances, but for a two day event there are a lot of acts across a handful of stages.  Add Puffy to everyone else that will be performing and MONSTER baSH offers a compelling event:  Kaela Kimura, the telephones, Asian Kung Fu Generation, Shishamo, Base Ball Bear, Magokoro Brothers, Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra, etc.  Lots to see to say the least.  I will be curious to see what Puffy's set list and band looks like for this appearance and the forthcoming  tour.

P.S.  I had a blog all plotted for the SMA 40 appearance Puffy had, but Sony in their not-knowing-how-the-internet-works style pulled the YouTube vids.  Honestly, YouTube is one of the best marketing tools that a company can use and keep interest in their artists.  Oh well... It will probably pop up again and I will snag it.

Monday, June 30, 2014

A Brief Tangent From Puffy: The Wonder Soul Style Revisited

This is going to require some snapping back to one of my early blogs here at Amiyumidas.  In that blog I was reflecting about watching the Sony promotional recording "Harada Kinenbi 99" which featured Puffy and a lot of artists that I have gone on to explore in my trek through J-Rock and J-Pop.  One I have mentioned a couple of times, The Wonder Soul Style, has been a chase for albums laced with a bit of heartbreak, disappointment and determination.

Over the years, I have cobbled together The Wonder Soul Style's limited releases... which amounted to a single ("Let It Loose") and EP ("midbooster").  There was one straggler in completing this very limited back catalog: "5 Nite Flashbax."  Truthfully I suspect '5 Nite Flashbax" perfectly defines an obscure rare recording;  an album by a Japanese band that never met with commercial success, years after they broke up and apparently self published. Best of luck finding that, but sometimes it is the chase and not the prize...

Of course I found it.  You did not think I would go to all this effort to complain about not finding "5 Nite Flashbax?"

The album itself is a mix of five studio tracks and four live tracks. The concert itself I believe was, I believe, to honor the late bassist Perry who died on New Years Eve 2003.  The live tracks are pretty good, the studio tracks are great:
  1. Can't Stop The Illusion
  2. Evolutions
  3. Go On Safari
  4. Summer Nights
  5. You Never Believe
  6. Black Night Cruise (Live)
  7. Sour Grapes (Live)
  8. Runaway (Live)
  9. Drop (Live)

Anyways, my compatriots... this was something too cool to not share even if it is a side track.  Lastly and most importantly I owe my friends Rieko, Noriko and Raj a debt for "5 Nite Flashbax" making its way into my music library.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Swag, Swag, Swag

It has been three years since Puffy's last tour and this past week "Swag, Swag, Swag" was announced. It is kind of hard to believe it has been this long of a break between tours, but then again the clock has to turn further back for a new album.

Anyways, even for a Japan tour it is a limited number of dates spread across early October through early November.  Tickets are 5400 yen and are on sale starting August 10.


The announced dates are:

October 10 (Fri) Osaka Umeda CLUB QUATTRO
October 11 (Sat) Nagoya BOTTOM LINE
October 15 (Wed) Hiroshima CLUB QUATTRO
October 16 (Thurs) Fukuoka Ims Hall
November 1 (Sat) Sendai darwin
November 8 (Sat) Tokyo EX THEATER ROPPONGI

My big question is what will the band consist of?  Pretty sure Kinoshita Hiroharu will be in the mix on bass, but guessing from the pics I have seen filter out from the last performance I am less certain.  I would be surprised if they did a stripped down band, but on the other hand a simpler guitar centric sound is not something I am opposed to.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

If this is not every Puffy TV advertisement...

... it is close to it.

Some are actually fairly funny bits to boot (car washing and computer guy on train).  Enjoy.

P.S.  Still trying to wrap some information on what is going on with the support band, the last festival seemed to only have the ever trusty bassist... 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Yeah! A New Puffy Track!

Celebrating it's 100th anniversary, Yoshimoto Kogyo is releasing a three disc album featuring a slew of original material and covers titled "Yoshimoto Cover & Best."  You might ask, as I did, who the heck is Yoshimoto Kogyo?  I had to do some digging, as I have trouble enough keeping track of stuff I actively listen to.  Yoshimoto Kogyo is an entertainment conglomerate based out of Osaka and focuses on comedy talent.  They actually celebrated their 100th anniversary in 2012, but a couple years off out of a 100 is not too far off.

Some entertainers you'll recognize outside of Puffy, like Tamio Okuda.  Quite a few I do not.  The first disc seems to be focused on classic hits by what I presume are the original performers.  The second disc is songs that are more contemporary.  The third disc is musicians covering comedic songs from the Yoshimoto catalog.

It is a pretty strong assumption Puffy will be doing a comedic song.  Not unfamiliar territory as their own song "Youkai Puffy" falls into that genre. I skimmed a translated review from Yahoo.jp and they seem favorable and that is favor's Puffy's musical stylings.  I sort of dig this sort of thing, even if it winds up being something I do not like.  I say this because is shows Ami and Yumi are entertainers and not just singers, which is probably a good direction they should go as they approach the end of their secodn decade as performers.

Thanks to EQ here is a sampling of the third disc, which contains the Puffy track.  Skip to the 38 second mark to hear Ami and Yumi's contribution:

To me it still has that synth heavy sound I am not really sold on, however even this snippet sounds better than “Himitsuno Gimmy Cat Ufufu Hontouyo.”  I will be interested to hear other new material by Puffy as it looks like their support band has been blown up and simplified, which I will comment on in a post hopefully later this coming week as I need to do more legwork for that.

(h/t to Bonsai for the initial find, you gave me a great lead!)

P.S.  If you feel the need to drop 32 dollars (or so... and I would not...) on a single Puffy track, I recommend CD Japan  (as I get a little snippet that goes to support this blog.

Friday, April 25, 2014

“Himitsuno Gimmy Cat Ufufu Hontouyo” Single Review

 “Himitsuno Gimmy Cat Ufufu Hontouyo” is a single that really makes me wonder what is going on with Puffy.  With Rolly behind this release I was expecting something a little more engaging along the lines of Shiina Ringo’s contributions to Puffy on “Bring it!” (which, eventually, grew on me) but just the opposite it is more like Kaela Kimura’s rock.  It is electronic, soulless and flat.

The electronic route is not a huge surprise, the past few singles (Tomodachi no Wao" “Sweet Drops” and “Datsu Dystopia”) tilt int he electronic direction.  Perhaps this is simply a musical trend in Japan and what Kaela and Puffy have most recently released reflects that.  Regardless, this single being a digital release does not even have a b-side in which to save it.

What I find curious is that vocally, I am not sure if this is Roll's or Puffy's single.  I am making the assumption it is Rolly providing a lot of heavy vocal lifting or the vocals are being so filtered as to give that impression.  Anyways, there are a few snippets of good/interesting vocals but not enough to hold me.  Instruments, what few there are (i.e. a banjo and ukulele  I think…) feel sampled otherwise it is a lot of electronically fabricated instruments.  Musically this is a really disconnected song, just too many things going on and few of them good.  The engineering feels really flat to the point of being soulless to me, even at points that are supposed to sound very theatrical.

I hope it is a momentary lapse in Puffy’s career as “Himitsuno Gimmy Cat Ufufu Hontouyo” is their weakest single to date. However, what is most frustrating is that Puffy has had a lot of time to develop songs given the  three years since their last full album ("Thank You").  I hope this is just a product of a temporary musical trend because an entire album like this is the only thing that would be more disappointing.

Music: D
Singing: C-
Instruments: D
Engineering: D+

P.S.  The Amazon.jp rankings as of this review are #1548 for mp3 albums and specifically #315 in MP3 downloads ? MP3 Albums > J-POP.  

P.S.S.   “Himitsuno Gimmy Cat Ufufu Hontouyo” remains slightly better than "Wake Up, Make Up."

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Sony Music Artists 40th Aniversary

Via Puffy's Twitter feed, a pic of Ami and Yumi at the Sony Music Artists' 40th anniversary event on 4/20:

I can only hope their busy appearance schedule is an implication that Puffy is also ramping up for a new album.  As Bonsai pointed out a couple weeks ago, it has been three years since their last release.

Friday, April 18, 2014

“Himitsu no Gimme Cat -Ufufu Honto yo-” on Amazon?

Here is something I did not expect, “Himitsu no Gimme Cat -Ufufu Honto yo-” is available via Amazon.

I plonked down the 99 cents for it, so hopefully I will have it on April 23rd.  I view this as both surprising and encouraging.  My views about how the Japanese media companies distribute and market is no secret, so the fact a new Puffy single is something I can easily buy makes me very happy*.

Here is an interview Puffy did for the new single:

Have a great weekend!

* I'd be even happier of my friends over at cdjapan did it... 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

New Single Cover & Billboard Shows

Here is what looks to be the cover for the forthcoming single "Himitsu no Gimme Cat-Ufufu Honto yo-"*, which from what I can tell will be out on 4/23.

Puffy has been scheduled for a couple of Billboard shows: 6/16 Osaka and 6/20 Tokyo.

Apparently there is going to be a rebroadcast of the Inazuma Rock Fes 2013" show, hopefully someone will cap that and be nice enough to share.**

* Translates to:  "I really Ufufu Gimme Cat-secret"
** Not that I encourage that sort of thing... cough...

Saturday, March 15, 2014

New Puffy Single “Himitsu no Gimme Cat -Ufufu Honto yo-”

Saw on Puffy's Facebook page that a  new single “Himitsu no Gimme Cat -Ufufu Honto yo-” will be in the Japanese regionalisation of "The Carrie Diaries."

From what I can discern the song style feels like it will be a bit of a throw back with ROLLY helming the production. His solo and Scanch work seems to have a bit of glam-to-new wave-to-rock flare.  That makes me optimistic as this single should be well within Puffy's wheelhouse.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Pictures & Thoughts

I came across the aggregation of the pics from Puffy's Twitter feed and had some random thoughts.

Not only a huge congrats to Takashi Furuta for his professional milestone, but I am guessing he would be a lot of fun to hang out with.  I will also add to my list of things that can be bright red: Ferrari's, firetrucks and Takashi's suit.  It is awesome! 

Ami's new look is really, really nice.  Can't say that enough.  Also I am guessing there is a funny subtext to this picture given the look on Yumi's face.

Can you guess what is unusual with this picture?

Lastly I forgot about Puffy's 17th Birthday (which was months ago)!  Congrats to Ami and Yumi!

(All images, of course, belong to Puffy or the actual photographer)

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Some Sad News & Good News

Snapping back to four years ago when Yumi announced her marriage came an announcement this past New Year* that she has divorced her current husband.  Yumi (and Ami) have both brought a lot of happiness to my life as someone enjoying their music and entertainment so it pains me to read Yumi is going through another divorce.  Never an easy thing to go through, but hopefully they will be able to provide a good life for the child they share as part romantic ways.  

There is better news for  Puffy as a whole, they will have a song featured in the movie “Song of the Whale and Shimajiro” which is set for a March 14 release in Japan.   From what I can read via translation it is “Tomodachi no Wow” which has been heavily used for other installments of the children’s character Shimajiro.  It is great that (likely) Sony is keen to keep leveraging Puffy for other projects as only a mega corporation can, but it would be better to see new material. 

Hopefully the sad drama in Yumi’s personal life can and an extended lull can lead to better things for 2014.

* h/t bonsaipark