The Japanator Radio Archive

I produced and hosted 169 episodes of Japanator Radio, a weekly hour long podcast that covered a wide range of modern Japanese music, from (roughly) 2007 to 2011. It appeared on, a site that no longer exists. Below is the archive of almost every episode. Missing episodes are numbers 110, 151, 155, 156, 162, 164, 166, and 168. If you happen to have any them, please email me at zacbentz at gmail dot com. I would love to get the complete collection. Links are below. Click to play in your browser. Right click to save them. There is a very sporadic track listing available here in the posts under the Japanator Radio tag.  


New Maximum the Hormone album comes with 156 page manga!

Get ready to bust out your wallet and clear some room on your book shelf. The fifth full-length album 予襲復讐 ("Yoshu Fukushu") from Maximum the Hormone is due out July 31st. This is super exciting for fans, not only because it's their first album since 2007, but also because according to the CD Japan listing, it comes with a 156 page book that includes a five chapter manga! There is also commentary from guitarist/singer Ryo for each of the 15 songs. (It should be noted that the track list includes 4 songs from the two eps released since the last album, so this isn't entirely new material.) This is going to be a must-have for die hard fans (hello!), that's for sure.


The new Maximum the Hormone PV is INCREDIBLE (as usual)

This was a nice thing to wake up to. A new AMAZING video for the song "え・い・り・あ・ん" ("Alien") from Maximum the Hormone! After what seems like an eternity (their last full-length album was Buiikikaesu in 2007), the band is back with a new album due out in July (if I'm reading the end of the video correctly).

I think this song gives even the likes of Mike Patton a run for his money with its wide ranging vocal gymnastics. It. Is. INSANE. What starts off as a simple hardcore punk performance style affair soon goes off the rails into their usual visual madness, complete with CGI third heads and limbs. Then it slams into a soft-rock pop song (not new for MtH) complete with pretty girls and children in animal costumes, while the band pleads to listeners to "Stop Winny upload." The "Winny" here is a Japanese P2P network. And no, the irony is not lost on me. :)

Overall, this is exactly what I love about Maximum the Hormone. Brutal hardcore metal and a giant sense of humor.

NOTE: Looks like the low-quality of the (original) upload might be a result of the video being released only online. According to the band's official English site, you have to "search out" the video by clicking through a very long list of possible locations on the web. The video will only be available until June 6th, 2013.

Lillies and Remains - "I Survive"

 First, sorry if anything on the blog is broken. I just moved everything and frankly there's way too much to keep track of.

 Second, hi! Yes, still alive.

 Third, check out this super swank new video from Lillies and Remains! Nothing but smoldering, intense slow-mo looks from the guys in the band, but it's still pretty cool.

Let's BABYMETAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!

There is a new BABYMETAL single out and all is right with the world.

FUN FACT (DID YOU KNOW?): All the members of BABYMETAL have the name metal in their, er, name? It's true: Suzuka (SU-METAL), Yui (YUIMETAL) and Moa (MOAMETAL).


New album from Matryoska / Free song

It's been five years since we last heard the super lush, whispery, twee sounds from Matryoska. So what have they been up to? Something huge, it would seem. Their new album Laideronnette is due out on 12/12/12. The first track "Monotonous Purgatory" (above) is a sad, expansive, glitchy orchestral dream. The rest of the album (see the sampler below) looks to be more of the same, which is all fine by me.

You can download "Monotonous Purgatory" for free direct from their site and order the album there as well. You can also get it at CDJapan.

10 Japanese acts that would have been way way better choices than AKB48 for the Wreck-It Ralph soundtrack

I just saw that the super-creepy Japanese pop act AKB48 is on the soundtrack for the video game themed animated film Wreck-It Ralph*. While I suppose it should come as no surprise that such factory processed mega-sleaze could manage to shlerm its way onto the soundtrack (we are talking about Disney here after all), it does send this fanboy into something of a tailspin. Because for God's sake, there are exactly ONE ZILLION better Japanese acts to choose from for this sort of fun, nostalgic, vibrant love letter to video games. (I'm assuming most of that. Haven't seen it.)

So I took two seconds and wrote a list of the first ten acts I could think of. HERE IT IS, in order of relevance and everything, just in case you get bored of listening to incredibly awesome music halfway through like a moron who deserves total junk like AKB48 forced into your slack jaws and down your bloated food-chute.

*Looking up the correct punctuation is the beginning and ending of the research I did for this post.

#1 Sexy Synthesizer

If you get 15 seconds into this and don't know why it's number one then stop reading and smash your damn fool face into a brick wall until it's nap time. COME ON. Sexy Synthesizer is amazing and uses a handful of Namco arcade game sounds in just about every song he writes. Including Galaga which is the best game ever made. Disagree? See above advice.

You can hear his entire ROCK album below.

#2 Plugnet

THIS IS THE COOLEST CHIPTUNE ALBUM EVER CREATED. Why? LISTEN TO THE RAPPING OH MY GOD. Oh, and it should be obvious unless you're a dummy but Sexy Synthesizer had a hand in its creation. GOT MORE SPICES.

#3 Omodaka

OK, so we've been pretty spastic right out of the gate. Maybe what you'd expect. And then BOOOOM. Omodaka. That's right, funk-tastic chip driven funky funk courtesy of a Stevie Wonder bass line and some wickedly weird traditional folk singing layered over the top. If Disney really wanted to blow people's minds, THIS would be playing through Wreck-It (I'm too busy to bother with the Ralph and more) non-stop.


"Y! M! C! K! Let's go! Let's go! *clap clap* Y! M! C! K! Let's go! Let's go! *clap clap* Y! M! C! K! Let's go! Let's go! *clap clap* Y! M! C! K! Waaaaaaaa!"

I rest my case. (They also built their own chiptune software.)

#5 Perfume

I mean come on, it's called "Electro World" for crying out loud. And Perfume is HUUUGE. And waaay less creepy than those dead-eyed AKB slaves. Much more family-friendly and all that. And the bass line rules my soul.

#6 The Aprils

Alright, if the over-the-top commercialism is getting to you, then The Aprils are here to wash it away with a blissful wave of super duper cute synthpop. Absolutely non-ironic and just plain happy. All in a way only Japan can pull off. This should be the ending theme to every happy animated film, in my totally factual analysis.

#7 Halcali

Remember when people made good, clever videos? This is one of them! And it has blurred out Super Mario Bros in it! And it's an amazing song! COME ON GUYS JEEEZUS! AKB48? Really? When THIS IS A THING THAT EXISTS???

#8 Capsule

Screw Tron. THIS is what living in a video game from the 2000s would sound like.

#9 Floppy

Sorry if I fell off the chiptune tip for a second there. Back on track! Floppy brings a more rock/punk/weirdo vibe to their tunes. A nice foil to all the happy crappy girls, am I right? Look, we can all get along because chiptunes!

#10 Polysics


So there you go. Take your stupid factory-pre-set J-pop and CHOKE.


Here's the video for the new Polysics single "Everybody Say No." It's not super exciting, but you have to admit, the 303 traffic cone head thing is pretty awesome. The song is also not super exciting, but as always Fumi manages to bring the heat on bass and make it almost impossibly groovy.

The single is out on October 24th and their new album Weeeeeeeeee!!! is out in December. GET!


I tend to be a little overenthusiastic about things in the morning. It's not that I'm a morning person, far from it. Maybe it's the first blast of coffee slamming into my brain that gives me just enough lift to actually enjoying things for a while, before the rest of life slowly presses it all back down.

Whatever that case, when I see things like this new-ish video from MO'SOME TONEBENDER as my eyes remember how to focus and my mouth tastes like burning manna from heaven, I feel like things are sometimes OK.

It also reminds me that I need to listen to these guys more often. See below for reasons. (Hint: "Green & Gold" is one of my favorite songs of all time.)

[Get the album]

Listen to the new Polysics single "Lucky Star" while you still can!

Not sure how long this video will last, so enjoy it now!

New Polysics! "Lucky Star" is the first single from what is presumably their next album. The song is a snappy, poppy one along the lines of "Black Out Fall Out" and "You You You." Fumi is no Kayo when it comes to pop vocals, but she has always been able to hold her own and does so here just fine. But I miss Kayo.

Anyway, it's Polysics in a nutshell. Chugging synths, retro blips, odd patterns and pure energetic fun. It's a bit repetitive, a bit shallow on a surface level, but there's plenty to dig into on repeat listens. The CD/DVD version includes what seems to be a full live show. Well worth it!

(via @Mistabeen)

[Update: According to the above mentioned Mistabeen, the DVD is actually a collection of short clips totaling 20 minutes. Bummer!]