AU ABROAD

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ALBUMS

Hello Asia! Album Review: Yen-J -"Thanksgiving" (Taiwan, 2015)

Yen-J’s fifth album Thanksgiving is exactly what its been packaged to be. Although reminiscent of his past albums, there’s something different about this one. Wrapped in a simple package designed with a bottle of water on the front and first aid symbols, band aids and the like adorning it, this album is everything its cut up to be (pun intended)-a first aid kit for emotional boo-boos. Returning from a two year long hiatus, Yen-J is back and ready to share what he’s learned in the past two years both emotionally and artistically with listeners everywhere.

Hello Asia! Album Review: Leehom Wang - "Your Love 你的愛" (Taiwan, 2015)

In 2008 Taiwanese superstar Leehom Wang released his album Heartbeat 心跳 and labelled it an album that he dedicated especially to the guitar. Since then I've been wondering when he would dedicate an album to the piano, and he finally has. Although it's not a widely marketed point of this album, it's clear that in Leehom's long-awaited 2015 album Your Love 你的愛, Leehom's supporting instrument of choice was most definitely his beloved piano. Mainly classified by Leehom as an EDM-based album, the musical maestro has seamlessly blended this lesser-known genre in with elements of Chinese mainstream pop to create a completely different listening experience for all listeners. I believe that Leehom's signature sound is not overly apparent to fans given the long time he's spent in the industry. But it is nevertheless always present in his music. And this signature sound of his always aims for the same thing-the element of surprise.

Hello Asia! Album Review: BEAST - "Ordinary" (South Korea, 2015 EP)

One of K-Pop’s best, long-lasting idol groups, BEAST, had made their return this year with their 8th mini album or EP titled Ordinary. Comprising all of the original members, Doojoon, Hyunseung, Junhyung, Yoseob, Gikwang, and Dongwoon, BEAST is showing their mature side in this album. “Ordinary” is comprised of six original songs and Korean versions of two of their Japanese songs, which are “One Day” and “I Think I Love You”. Proving themselves as creative idols, this album is fully produced by The Good Life team, which includes Kim Tae-Joo and Junhyung.

Hello Asia! New Music Video Review: BEAST "YeY" (South Korea, 2015)

Gorgeous K-pop group, BEAST is back with their eight mini album titled "Ordinary" and a new music video for the album's title track, YeY. Sit tight Beauties, the boys are ready to impress with heaps of fun, intense dance moves, funky hairstyles, some delicious abs and sports cars! Yes we know, we are screaming too!

Hello Asia! New Music Video Review: Infinite - "Bad" (South Korea, 2015)

Infinite just blew our minds away with a new music video for their latest release, Bad. The boys are showing us a different side of them and it's epic badass. We love everything about the song and music video, and we could infinitely talk about it, really. So, let's get started.

Hello Asia! Single Review: Lim Kim - "Love Game" (South Korea, 2015)

My love for Lim Kim started when I heard Alright for the first time. Her delicate, yet husky voice, was a pleasant departure from her contemporaries and - coupled with this track being her first single - I was super impressed. Fast-forward two years and she's caught my attention once again with Love Game.

Hello Asia! Album Review: BABYMETAL - "BABYMETAL" (Japan, 2014 LP)

As a fan of metal music, I have always been intrigued by one of Japan’s hottest acts, BABYMETAL. The combination of the light, cute J-pop sounds of the young trio and the heavy metal music works so much better than one could ever expect. After releasing a self-titled full length album last year, BABYMETAL have been travelling all over the world, performing in their first array of global concerts in USA, Mexico, Canada, and Europe. However, performing for a large audience is not a new thing for BABYMETAL, since they have been performing in various metal festivals since 2012, performing alongside metal’s biggest names, such as Megadeth, Metallica, Slayer, and Avenged Sevenfold. The fact that the members of BABYMETAL are still 16 and 18 years old still baffles me sometimes. Yes, the members, Su-metal, Yuimetal, and Moametal are quite possibly the youngest female performers in the metal scene, debuting at the age of 10 and 12 years old.

Hello Asia! Single Review: Straightener - "The Place Has No Name" (Japan, 2015)

As a newly-converted fan of Japanese rockers Straightener, I was pretty excited at the prospect of new music from them in April - and they didn't disappoint with their latest offering "The Place Has No Name".

Hello Asia! Album Review: Straightener - "Behind the Scene" (Japan, 2014 LP)

Despite being a fan of Japanese music, I’d never heard of Tokyo four-piece Straightener until recently. It’s surprising - they’ve been around since 1998, toured all over Asia, had songs featured the theme to Japanese TV shows and released a best-of collection. I obviously have some catching up to do. Their latest full-length album Behind the Scene was released in October 2014, and it is a record of charging rock beats, fuzzed out Fender guitars and melodic vocal hooks - right up my alley. It sent me aurally back in time to the mid-2000s, when rock bands from the UK dominated my CD player - Franz Ferdinand, Ash and Idlewild.

Exclusive Album Premiere: Takaakira "Taka" Goto (Mono) "Classical Punk and Echoes Under the Beauty" (Japan, 2015 LP)

Takaakira "Taka" Goto is a composer based in Tokyo, Japan, who is also known as the lead guitarist and composer for Japanese group MONO. Today on Hello Asia! We're excited to bring you Taka's incredible debut solo record Classical Punk and Echoes Under the Beauty, streaming in full below, almost a week out from its official release! The records were originally written and recorded in 2003, but only finished and perfected for release this year.

Hello Asia! Album Review: MFBTY - "WondaLand" (South Korea, 2015 LP)

South Korean hip hop heroes MFBTY’s latest full-length offering, WondaLand lives up to its name as a varied, dynamic and entertaining record. It’s LONG, but it’s not a matter of quantity over quality – each track plays a role in creating a cohesive and masterful record.

Hello Asia! Music Video Review: XIA "Flower" (South Korea, 2015)

The release of JYJ’s member XIA Junsu's Flower music video recently gathered explosive and diverse responses from fans around the world. The visually stunning video is highly artistic and jaw dropping. Its vivid visuals and grandiose invite numerous fan discussions and amongst them is the assumption that the video and track is a representation of Junsu’s personal story in the industry as indicated in its poetic lyrics.

Hello Asia! Music Video Review: Shinhwa "Sniper" (South Korea, 2015)

Legendary K-Pop group Shinhwa returns with the release of their 12th album, WE after a two-year hiatus. Again working with top British composer Andrew Jackson, the group shows off a chic, sexy and matured music video for the album’s title track, Sniper. Boasting impressive array of surreal sets, classic and luxurious wardrobe, intense gazes and maturity, the music video quickly gain explosive responses from fans around the world.

Hello Asia! Album Review: ONE OK ROCK - "35xxxv" (Japan, 2015 LP)

One OK Rock - "35xxxv"

As a fan of early 2000s rock music, I was really excited when I discovered ONE OK ROCK - four twenty-something guys from Tokyo who still make music like the songs I used to love as a teenager. Apparently I’m not the only one - after wildly successful American, South American and European tours last year, ONE OK ROCK are slated for four appearances across Australia at Soundwave Festival from this weekend - perfect timing following the release of their most recent long-player, 35xxxv.

Hello Asia! Single Review: Che'Nelle - "Happiness" (Japan, 2014)

Che'Nelle - Happiness

Though Malaysian-Australian J-Pop artist Che’Nelle’s album @chenelleworld is about to drop on February 11 in Japan and February 13 in Australia, the leading single “Happiness” was released back in October. Featured as the theme song for Japanese TV drama “Dear Sister”, the song is a sparkling piano-based pop-ballad, leaving plenty of room to showcase Che’Nelle’s R&B influenced vocal stylings with plenty of pentatonic embellishments throughout.