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RocketBrown published an article:

New York, Los Angeles, & City Pop

By RocketBrown

 - 24 Apr 2019

Score: 0

A brief history of the collaboration between Japanese & US Cultural exchange & collaboration through music

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Believe it or not a lot of City Pop artist have a strong history with both New York & Los Angeles in particular, there’s multiple aspects to why this is. For starters you had the newly emerging Yacht Rock Scene in the 70s/80s which introduced people to artists such as Steely Dan, The Doobie Bros., Kenny Loggins, Airplay, and Gino Vanelli. There’s also the super jazzy Chicago soul movement of the 60s & 70s, which no doubt had an influence on Japan’s own Jazz movement with artists like Terumasa Hino & Ryo Fukui. And Let’s not forget the magical California Sound, mastered by Phil Specter and perfected by the Beach Boys that would go on to influence Eiichi Ohtaki & Tatsuro Yamashita. As much as City Pop artist love to take from western music, as fate would have it, these artists would eventually travel to America to experience their musical role models 1st hand, as well as collaborate with them . Here's a quick (and at the same time not so quick) rundown of some of the artists & albums that have their musical roots in LA & New York.

Happy End: The story behind Happy End's final album is both an fascinating & sad one. They signed with King Records and recorded in 1972 at the Sound Factory in Hollywood Los Angeles (My college was actually on the same block ) with Van Dyke Parks producing, as they hoped he would help them achieve the "California Sound" . Unfortunately working in LA, they became disenchanted with their vision of America they had anticipated. The Language barrier on top of opposition between the Los Angeles studio personnel and the band made working frustrating. To make matters worse, Eiichi Ohtaki recalled a time that things got so uncomfortable between them, that Parks was drunk during production and tried to lecture them about Pearl Harbor and World War II. Talk about awkward! It was clear that they were not liked or wanted... Their broken vision of America was eventually conveyed in the closing track "Sayonara America, Sayonara Nippon" (さよならアメリカ さよならニッポン, "Goodbye America, Goodbye Japan"). As band lyricist; Takashi Matsumoto explained: "We had already given up on Japan, and with [that song], we were saying bye-bye to America too—we weren't going to belong to any place."

Eiichi Ohtaki: GO! GO! NIAGARA! (1976) was a concept album that was made inspired by Ohtaki's actual experience as a Radio Host, all the music was made to emulate US 1950s Oldies. Ohtaki's Radio segment that was a part of the Radio Kanto program,where he would share & talk about old American Oldies. I lasted from 1975-1978. He would go on to join Tatsuro Yamashita in his own program, "TATSURO'S SUNDAY SONGBOOK", as a co-host and do basically the exact same thing.

Tatsuro Yamashita: Jeez, where do I begin... Well before he was an established musician, Tatsuro & his college friends got together and self published an album called ADD SOME MUSIC TO YOUR DAY, which is a compilation of covers they did of Brian Wilson songs. After the break up of Sugar Babe, Tatsuro would then travel to the US to produce his 1st solo album called CIRCUS TOWN. The 1st half was produced in New York, and the 2nd half was produced in LA.

On top of that, Tatsuro himself used to frequently travel to LA during the 80s for both business & leisure, in which at one point he was listening to some gospel music on KJLH (a local radio station) and became inspired to write 蒼 氓 (Sobo) , which became the theme song to Yakuza 6.

On top of THAT, during the early nineties, the musical climate started to change in the States, more even for West Coast artists and L.A. session musicians. Many of them found place of refuge in the Japanese market, which eventually led to a series of Tatsuro tribute albums where American artists did covers of HIS songs. There's at least FOUR ALBUMS (THAT I KNOW OF), 2 in a series called Tatsuro Songs from L.A., another called Tatsuro Covers From Coast" by Jason Scheff (Chicago), and another called "J O D Y L.A".

There's also a cover of Sparkle done by Hawaiian band Greenwood.

Mariya Takeuchi: Mariya actually went to High-school in Illinois for her Junior year, which might be where she learned English, which would definitely come in handy later for her 4th studio album MISS M (1980) , the 1st half of it, once again, being recorded in LA, Hollywood in particular, with the help of members of TOTO and Airplay members, Jay Graydon & David Foster. One of her songs from the album, "Heart to Heart" (co-written by Roger Nichols), was given English lyrics and a new title, "Now." It was recorded by The Carpenters, released in 1983, and was the last recording by the late Karen Carpenter.

Minako Yoshida: Minako Yoshida’s 6th album “LET’S DO IT” was recorded in Hollywood, and was her first time recording outside of Japan working with foreign musicians. It was produced by Gene & Billy Page of Motown fame, with the backup of Motown musicians like David T. Walker, Wah Wah Watson, and Greg Phillinganes. Yoshida later said in an interview that she didn’t want a “Hollywood sound”, so she gathered Ryuichi Sakamoto and her musicians at a studio in Tokyo to create demo tracks with solid arrangements before she went into production in Hollywood. ""Let’s Do It"" is a great mix of Minako’s Japanese song writing sensibility fused with a urban soul/ fusion sound. All Songs are written by Yoshida, except for 3 songs co-written with Tatsuro Yamashita, who later re-recorded “Cloud” and “Time” for his own albums.

Toshiki Kadomatsu: The recording of WEEKEND FLY TO THE SUN took place in Los Angeles with the help of producer Thomas Washington (aka Tom Tom 84), as well as members of Earth, Wind, & Fire, including the The Phenix Horns.

Ami Ozaki: Both of her albums "HOT BABY" and "AIR KISS", were recorded at Sound Labs, Hollywood , CA. "Hot Baby" in particular was a passion project between Ami Ozaki and David Foster,with the former handling all of the songwriting while the latter took care of the arrangement. Plus, a few members from the band TOTO such as Steve Lukather and Jeff Porcaro helped out, as well as Foster's partner from Airplay, Jay Graydon.

Kimiko Kasai: Kimiko Kasai recorded several albums in LA in the early '80s as well as collaborated with some of the most renowned musicians in the jazz field, most notably Herbie Hancock on the album BUTTERFLY (1979). Kimiko currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband Richard Rudolph (widower of Minnie Riperton). Haruko Kuwana: Haruko Kuwana's "MILLION STARS" was interesting as Side A of the original LP was apparently recorded in Hawaii while Side B was in Los Angeles, the album was arranged by both Bill Payne (Little Feet), Mackey Feary.

EPO: Side A of EPO’s 1980 album GOODIES was recorded in both Los Angeles & New York, with the help of Luther Vandross, Brenda White and Yvonne Lewis, as background vocalists.

Yellow Magic Orchestra: While I didn’t find any recording history yet, it’s still notable that YMO was the 1st (and ONLY) Japanese Pop group to perform on Soul Train in Hollywood California, where they performed TIGHTEN UP as well as FIRECRACKER. YMO was very aware of how Americans viewed Japanese, and they liked screwing around with the stereotypes, to the point where they dressed up their manager, Youichi Ito, as a stereotypical Japanese tourist, complete with big glasses, a salaryman suit, and a camera around his neck, planted him in the audience, and every time they sang ‘Japanese Gentleman, Stand Up Please, Ito would jump around and wave a ‘WOW!’ sign.

PorousBoat posted in thread Feedback and feature requests :

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@Wirt

PorousBoat posted in thread Bug reports :

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Hey I tried to edit one of my articles and when I saved the edit it messed up the whole format. It was the City Pop digest article.

Wirt posted in thread Feedback and feature requests :

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The archive.

RocketBrown posted in thread Bug reports :

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Hey I tried to edit one of my articles and when I saved the edit it messed up the whole format. It was the City Pop digest article.

RocketBrown posted in thread True facts thread :-) :

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  • City Pop IS a real genre

RocketBrown posted in thread Top 100 City Pop Essentials :

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As a huge City Pop enthusiast, my addiction has lead me to listen to over 400+ Albums! Below is a link to a countdown of 100 City Pop Albums I have discovered that I feel are essential listening for any enthusiast. Let me know what you guys think about the entries and the placement.

RocketBrown posted in thread Favorites? Let's talk :

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My favorite City Pop song is actually Bomber by Tatsuro Yamashita. There's just so many layers to what makes that song awesome I can talk about it for hours.

PlasticGlove posted in thread Hello! :

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Wonderful site! Nice to meet you.

PlasticGlove posted in thread Favorites? Let's talk :

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Kazushi Inamura 'Heat Island' is a superb citypop album. Every song is quality, and Inamura has such a stylish coolness to his voice.

RocketBrown published an article:

City Pop シティポップ: East vs West

By RocketBrown

 - 22 Mar 2019

Score: 0

Musical Comparison

https://youtu.be/qUK8VgPFEtQ

Have you ever wondered why City Pop sounds so familiar, despite never hearing the music before? Well a big reason that is because City Pop, while being a sub-genre of J-Pop, is heavily influenced by Western Genres of music, such as Disco, AOR, Jazz, & Soul.

Here's a short video compilation of songs and the American/Western Songs that influenced them. If there is any other songs you can think of , type them in the comments below.

CerberusAlpha posted in thread The rest of Van Paugams videos are up on archive.org :

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If you're uh... into that sort of thing.

RocketBrown published an article:

Who Is Mariya Takeuchi?

By RocketBrown

 - 19 Mar 2019

Score: 0

And why is Plastic Love Overrated

![](https://i.ytimg.com/vi/TdWd7Znz00Q/maxresdefault.jpg)

I was at a party a few months ago in in Little Tokyo, Downtown LA. The event itself was called “Plastic City”, and obvious homage to a certain poplar Youtube sensation where for one night only, you can dance to City Pop and other retro 80s Jpop. For the most part the event was ok, I’m not going to pretend that I wasn’t dancing my butt off, however in hindsight, the music selection was a bit too basic. The amount of actual City Pop songs they played I can count on one hand, on top of that the songs they did choose, you can easily just find yourself with a simple youtube/google search. They played songs that every City Pop enthusiast has heard a hundred times over already, the most notorious example being Plastic Love by Mariya Takeuchi. For an event that pretty much exploited the heck out of Mariya’s Iconography, even naming the event after her song, you would think that they play more than one song by her....they did not. And the worst part about it is that everyone seems to focus on that one song by her when she has made a variety (no pun intended) of other music throughout her career. To understand how much of a career she’s had, we have to start at the beginning.

Born in 1955, Takeuchi grew up at her family inn, the Takenoya, in the city of Izumo, Shimane Prefecture, along with her six siblings. Her family loved music, as they would listen to records from all over the world. Everything from American pop, French songs, Italian music, tango, to jazz. By the time she was in 3rd grade she was already introduced to the Beatles, and from that point on, she had entered a whole new world of music that stood apart from the traditional standards she was used to. She had already learned to play the piano and guitar, but British rock inspired her to travel.

In 1972, for her 3rd year of high school, she studied in Rock Falls, Illinois, United States as an international exchange student through the AFS Intercultural Programs,. Her musical career didn’t start until 1978 while she was studying at Keio University, with the release of her single "Modotte-Oide, Watashi no Jikan" (Please come back, my time) and the album Beginning. Her first full-length album, “Beginning” features an all-star cast in the credits. Haruomi Hosono and Yukihiro Takahashi of the soon-to-debut Yellow Magic Orchestra along with Taeko Onuki and Happy End’s Shigeru Suzuki, came together to write, arrange and play on the LP. Takeuchi penned the lyrics for a couple of songs, along with the music for closer “Sutekina Hit Song,” a track that paid homage to the American pop she grew up with.

From that point on, Takeuchi would began to feel treated more like an entertainer or a celebrity, while she simply wanted to make music and write songs, she was frequently asked to be on variety shows or host TV programs. It was also around this time when Takeuchi met her future husband, Tatsuro Yamashita, while he was in a band called Sugar Babe, a music project celebrated today but one that wasn’t so well received back then. While her 1st impression of him was not the best (not musicly wise, but personality), they would go on to marry in 1982, prompting her to go on hiatus.

![](https://i.redd.it/k2jdu9ux6li11.jpg)

By the time she did get married, Takeuchi had released five albums, with several of them recorded at least partially in Los Angeles with a cavalcade of players associated with the West Coast rock movement, including David Foster, Jim Keltner, Jay Graydon, Steve Lukather, Jeff Porcaro, David Hungate.

Mariya Takeuchi didn’t make a musical comeback until the 25th of April 1984, with her album “Variety” . Whereas her previous five full-length releases found Takeuchi mostly performing songs written for her by other people, the music and lyrics on Variety were all her own. True to its name, Takeuchi covers a lot of ground, from bar-counter country on “One Night Stand” and lounge jazz on “Broken Heart” to bossa nova on “Mizu To Anata To Taiyo To” and even an ode to British pop titled “Mersey Beat De Utawasete.” And of course, the most well known song on the album “Plastic Love”, a hypnotising melody that conceals bittersweet lyrics. In Takeuchi’s own words ““(The lyrics) tell the story of a woman who lost the man she truly loves, and that no matter how many other guys would pursue her, she couldn’t shake the feelings of loneliness that the loss created.” The original recording features Taeko Onuki singing with Mariya on the hook while Yamashita provides the memorable guitar melodies.

“Variety” became a hit, outselling her previous release and debuting at the top of the domestic charts, it also happens to be Mariya’s favorite album that she worked on, and for good reason. If you’re a fan of Mariya Takeuchi I would encourage you to listen to the FULL album and not just Plastic Love, my personal favorite song of the LP happens to be “Broken Heart”, I’m a sucker smooth slow jam songs. I would also encourage you to listen to her album, Miss M (1980), which in my opinion is her best album prior to “Variety”, if the fact that Toto is the backing band isn’t enough to convince you, Mariya herself shows off some awesome english vocals throughout the album. I would also encourage you to listen to her less viral hits as well, Plastic Love is great, but there’s so much more music in her repertoire that’s just as catchy.

Here are my top 10 Mariya Takeuchi songs that AREN'T Plastic Love:

Sweetest Music - (Miss M 1980) Broken Heart - (Variety 1984) Secret Love - (Miss M 1980) Hollywood Cafe (Loft Sessions Vol 1 1978) Natalie (1981) 二人のバカンス (Miss M 1980) September (Love Songs 1980) Every Night (Miss M 1980) もう一度 (Variety 1984) 夢の続き (Request 1987)

nixlad posted in thread Hello! :

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I too am from the Discord. Nice to meet all of you!

KlausVonReinherz posted in thread Hello! :

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Hello everyone! Like others on here, I came from Discord.

RocketBrown published an article:

Who Is Tatsuro Yamashita

By RocketBrown

 - 13 Mar 2019

Score: 1

And why is he the greatest of all time?

![](https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3064/2549741985abc5d67498m.jpg) When I was in high school, I decided to take a Japanese class because I was tired of taking the spanish elective for the 7th time in a row.. Needles to say, when I started my japanese class, I was terrible at it, learning japanese was a struggle for me. However one piece of advice I got was to listen to japanese music so I could get the pronounciation down. So I took that advice and began searching for japanese music that I’d might like to listen to, which was ALSO a struggle since most of the japanese music I got in my childhood was from crappy early 2000s anime openings and those were hit or miss. Finally after about a month of searching, I came across two musical artist that would change my taste in music for the rest of my life, Dreams Come True (known to japanese fans as dorikamu) and the legendary Tatsuro Yamashita.

For those of you who aren’t aware, Tatsuro Yamashita is the greatest musician in Japanese History. And one of the greatest musicians of all time PERIOD. Now you’re probably wondering, “Rocket Brown, who the hell is this Tatsuro guy I’ve never heard of him?” Tatsuro Yamashita ( or just Tats for short) is a Japanese singer-songwriter and record producer 43 years worth of experience under his belt. He’s also the person to thank for the ever popular Youtube sensation, Plastic Love sung by Mariya Takeuchi, but I’m getting ahead of myself. If you really want to understand why this man is so great we gotta start from the beginning.

Born in Ikebukuro in 1953, Tatsuro Yamashita fell in love with Western music at an early age. So much to the point he would go on to form his own band in his school years and released a cover album simply called “Add Some Music to Your Day”, and homage to the Beach Boy song of the same name. Later on in 1973, he would form another Indie Band called Sugar Babe, with musicians including Taeko Ohnuki and Kunio Muramatsu, and released their sole album Songs two years later. Unfortunately the band discontinued after their 1st album, but that didn’t stop o’l Tats as he signed to RCA and launched his own career, with release of the solo album Circus Town in 1976. That same year he teamed up with Eiichi Ohtaki, who was the producer of Sugar Babe, and brief Sugar Babe member Ginji Ito to release an album titled Niagara Triangle Vol. 1.

Despite the amount of music he was making he experienced little success with the kind of music he was creating. Running counter to a lot of the other rock bands of its day, in the mid-’70s he had experimented with influences others seemed to frown upon. And that’s not to say his music was bad, on the contrary, he was just too ahead of his time.

Let’s compare this 1977 song by famous enka singer Keiko Fuji: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=50SuWsSUnIE

To this Tatsu jam that came out in 1978 : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ULyI9ewHt3I

See what I mean? Keiko’s song, while still really good, sounds old fashioned and archaic next to the Tatsuro Yamashita’s “Soul Train”-esque masterpiece known as Bomber. The problem lies more in the fact that his music was to “American” for the Japanese audiences and Japan wasn’t quite ready for a more westernized sound. It wasn’t until 1980 when his song "Ride on Time" peaked at #3 on the Japanese charts, and the same-titled album topped the chart subsequently, AND a maxwell commercial that featured his hit single, that he got his big break. And the rest is history. Tats would go on to make 17 studio albums, 2 live albums, multiple compilations and over 40 singles. He did music for tv shows, commercials, and now to days, movies & video games. The dude is unstoppable, he’s a true artisan, crafting his music with the conviction and repetition of skill similar to a tradesman and accompanying it with a relaxed yet strong voice, one whose melody provokes the listener’s imagination in a powerful way.

Is you seriously haven't listened to this guy yet, you’re missing out. I would give you my favorite album recommendations, but that’s an EXTREMELY hard task since every single album contains a favorite song of mine. Instead Here are my Top 10 Tatsuro Yamashita Songs:

  1. Ride On Time - Ride on Time (1980)
  2. Bomber - GoAhead! (1978)
  3. Someday - Ride on Time (1980)
  4. Silent Screamer - Ride on Time (1980)
  5. Merry Go Round - Melodies (1983)
  6. Sparkle - For You (1982)
  7. Love Talkin - For You (1982)
  8. Kokiatsu girl - Melodies (1983)
  9. Magic Ways - Big Wave (1984)
  10. Funky Flushin' - Moonglow (1979)

No matter how you end up listening to the music, you’re gonna be in for a treat with each an every song. Some songs will make you think you’re listening to the Isley Bros, other songs will remind you of Bobby Caldwell, hell even the Beach Boys. But no matter what, your always listening to Tatsuro Yamashita.

...And that’s the idea.

lecheez published an article:

The very funky list

By lecheez

 - 9 Mar 2019

Score: 0

Of citypop (tbc)

I decided to create a list of the most funky tracks with maximum funkiness of citypop, stay funky.

  1. Junko Ohashi - Dancin
  2. Carlos Toshiki & Omega Tribe - Reiko (English Ver.)
  3. Toshiki Kadomatsu - Girl in a box
  4. 久保田利申 - Dance if you want it ...

lecheez posted in thread Hello! :

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hello there cheese from discord

RocketBrown published an article:

City Pop Digest

By RocketBrown

 - 9 Mar 2019

Score: 1

DJ Rocket Brown's City Pop Recommendation Chart

The following is a ranking chart I develop to help me and others recommend City Pop artist to others who don’t know where to start on their musical journey. Don’t think of this as a “Good Music vs bad music” type of list, but rather a Ranking of who I would take priority over recommending to someone. I'm sharing it as sort of a topic of discussion, I know this is HIGHLY subjective, which is why I would like to hear your thoughts. If an artist is in the highest tier (S), These Artists are Pioneers & Helped Define the genre. The Lowest Tier (C) means that these are Artists who are good, but barely count as City Pop and/or Artists whose work is a good example of city pop but doesn’t break any boundaries. Everything in the middle (A-B) are artist, while not mandatory listening, have a very exceptional library of City Pop. #

S TIER1. Tatsuro Yamashita 2. Mariya Takeuchi3. Toshiki Kadomatsu4. Junko Ohashi5. Anri6. Eiichi Ohtaki7. Harry Honsono8. Miki Matsubara9. Junko Yagami 10. Omega Tribe11. EPO12. Minako Yoshida13. 14. Taeko Ohnuki15. Yoshino Fujimaru# A TIER1. Casiopea2. Amii Ohzuki3. Toshinobu Kubota4. Yellow Magic Orchestra5. Meiko Nakahara6. Hiroshi Sato7. Makoto Matsushita8. Mai Yamane9. Dreams Come True10. Kingo Hamada11. Yurie Kokubu12. Terumasa Hino# B TIER1. Yumi Arai (Yumi Matsutoya)2. Bread & Butter3. Haruko Kuwana4. Piper5. T Square6. Chocolate Lips / Miho Fujiwara7. So Nice8. Katsumi Horri Project9. Spectrum10. AB’s11. Jadoes12. Hitomi Toyama13. Shigeru Suzuki14. Kimiko Kasai# C TIER1. Hideki Saijo2. Akira Terao 3. Mari Ijima4. Motoyoshi Iwasaki & WINDY5. H206. Hako Yamasaki7. Cho Kosaka8. Ginji Itoi9. Kyozo Nishioka10. PAO11. SHOGUN12. Ginji Ito13. Hiromi Go14. Sadistic Mika Band15. Yasuyuki Okamura16. Char17. Ryo Kagawa18. Pink Lady

IHeartGaming posted in thread Help with easing the way into the music :

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Any particular reason why the 80's releases are better than releases from other timeframes?

PorousBoat posted in thread Bug reports :

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Thanks a lot for the detailed bug reports! I will try to fix them with the next update I roll out to the site.

Everdarkgreen posted in thread Bug reports :

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Hello!

Everdarkgreen posted in thread Feedback and feature requests :

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Hello!

Everdarkgreen posted in thread Help with easing the way into the music :

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It's not updated very often these days, but there's plenty in there to get you started.

IHeartGaming posted in thread Help with easing the way into the music :

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what would you consider to be a decent starting point

Announcements

Themes are now live!

Hey everyone!

I'm really pleased to announce that you can now choose from three different site-wide themes in the preference menu on your profile. Along with this comes a bunch of backend optimizations and bugfixes that should let the site run smoother than ever.

Please leave any feedback in the feedback board and I'll get back to you as soon as I can!

Cheers!

By PorousBoat

9 Apr 2019

Open beta launch!

Finally!

After all these months of silence I'm so incredibly excited to open the floodgates on this site for everyone! Please enjoy yourselves, and make sure to report any bugs (of which there are likely plenty) over in the feedback forum.

There are a whole slew of features missing at the moment, but they're coming. Development isn't even close to finished on this yet. This does unfortunately mean that it's not at all outside the realm of possibility that the database will be wiped a few more times. I'll make sure to keep album submissions intact though. :)

Enjoy!

By PorousBoat

22 Feb 2019

Recently submitted albums

初期のRCサクセション

RC Succession

1972

楽しい夕に

RC Succession

1972

Single Man

RC Succession

1976

アウト・オブ・マインド

Ryo Kagawa

1974

親愛なるに捧ぐ

Ryo Kagawa

1972