Various Artists

Japan Not For Sale, Vol. 2

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Japan Not For Sale Vol. 2 consists of sixteen songs performed by sixteen different contemporary Japanese bands and artists. This Sony Music compilation features alternative rock bands, sample rich deejays, a group that fuse traditional folk with popular musics, adult contemporary acts, and electronica saturated pop projects. The eclectic pop-rock duo Puffy kicks off the album with a surf-rock inspired song, "Circuit No Musume." In this song Puffy mixes the sound of a guiro (rasp like percussion instrument) and Doppler effected speeding motorcycles with a peppering of dissonance and plenty of catchy hooks. The fourth track, Karafuto's "A Certain Radio," is a synth heavy tune that begins with a generous dose of a stand alone drum groove. "Happy Tomorrow" by the band Nina is the compilation's seventh cut. This band features members from Judy and Mary, The Plastics, Japan, and the B-52's. The power pop trio Dog Hair Dressers rock out on the CD's ninth track, "Large Mouth." This smartly constructed song - replete with an occasional odd meter - is at once aggressive and passive, tense and mellow. Boom Boom Satellites, who have made a name for themselves in the U.S. by touring with such acts as Moby, present a remix of a DJ Krush tune with "On The Painted Dessert." The Okinawan pop-folk rockers Rinken Band perform "Kansha Sabira," the CD's fourteenth track. Formed in 1977, this unique band combines traditional musical instruments from Okinawa, such as the sanshin (a three-stringed plucked lute with a snakeskin head), with standard western pop-rock instruments (drumset, electric bass, and keyboards). The final cut on Japan Not For Sale Vol. 2 is a country fried rock ballad by the trio The Brilliant Green. A strong compilation, Japan Not For Sale Vol. 2 offers listeners who are unfamiliar with the Japanese music scene a glimpse into what's being played on this island nation.