Went to see Love and Hates, the indie breakbeat duo that includes Yuppa of Hazel Nuts Chocolate. The event started at 5 and went until around 10 at the Shinjuku Marz, though I only made it about half way into it, catching the Suzan, a New York-based girl rock band, beatboxer Afra, and Luvraw & BTB, a smooth funk/soul/city pop group from Yokohama featuring not one, but two vocoder players.
Luvraw & BTB
The two LAH girls ascended the stage wearing striped leotards and paper crowns, and danced, rapped and blew various whistles over DJ samples. They reminded me of whacky, hyper Japanese acts from the 80's and 90's, except that while the latter bands were seeking the Cool of their New Wave and punk influences, LAH's more going for Cute (the name of Hazel Nuts Chocolate's second album). Yuppa kept on talking about things being 'suteki'--meaning 'lovely' or 'wonderful'.
For fans of HNC's first two albums, Bewitched and Cute, those collections of darling, children's books in the form of songs (with titles like "Yuppa Goes to Space" and "Honey Lip Tarte Tatin"), the Yuppa unit's current direction might not necessarily satisfy. It's more Club than Cafe. You see a similar thing with Capsule, who once created lovely Shibuya-kei songs about things like spending the weekend in one's favorite room, but has turned itself into a unit heavily influenced by Daft Punk, composing electronic music ballads about life and death. Capsule's latest manifestation is growing on me--I'm crazy about songs like "Pleasure Ground"--but I wonder whether anyone's going to pick up where HNC and Capsule left off and make more songs about fashion and sweets and city living and innocent childlike fun etc.