Given the fair amount of Puroresu fans around here I was wondering if anyone was interested in other forms of Japanese entertainment, in this case their music. I've been a big fan of Japanese rock (J-Rock) for a little over a year, and I can honestly say that I'm glad there's still somewhere in the world where rock musicians can display actual instrumental talent and not be declared "pretentious."
I don't want to turn this into a list thread but here are some of my favorite J-rock artists, and BTW, all the songs mentioned by name are highly reccomended for download if you haven't heard them:
*X-Japan: Probably the one most American fans have heard of. Their songs range from beautiful piano ballads ("Forever Love" "Endless Rain) to old-school thrash metal ("Blue Blood" "Vanishing Love" "Sadistic Desire") to straight up hard rock ("Joker" "Standing Sex") to heavy pop ("Rusty Nail") to Dream Theater-style progressive metal ("Silent Jealousy" "Dahlia" "Kurenai") and even a thirty minute epic ("Art of Life") that somehow never manages to get boring. Also reccomended are "Scars" "Rose of Pain" "X" hell I'd reccomend anything by these guys. Fans of the anime "X-1999" have heard "Forever Love" over the end credits.
*hide/hide with Spread Beaver/Zilch: hide is X-Japan's guitarist, but his solo career and side projects deserve special mention. Fans of the movie "Heavy Metal: FAKK 2" can hear Zilch's "Inside the Pervert Mound" as the back ground music for the strip-club scene. Zilch is comparable to Static-X (but with more talent) while hide's solo tracks are a bit less heavy. Reccomended are "Pose" "Everfree" "Pink Spider" "Bacteria" "Lemoned I Scream" "Beauty and Stupid" "Psyche" and "Electric Cucumber." "Fuctrack #6" is also reccomended, but not for the weak at heart!
*L'Arc en Ciel: A "heavy pop" band which I really don't know that much about, but I do reccomend "Stay Away" "Blurry Eyes" "Spirit Dreams Inside" (which can be found on the Final Fantasy: Spirits Within soundtrack) "Niji" and "Dive to Blue."
Other good songs:
Malice Mizer: "Illuminati" (Kind of gothic and synth-y)
Dir en Grey: "Unknown... Despair... A Lost" (Still gothic, but more rockish. The guys voice takes some getting used to, though)
Dir en Grey: "Jealous" (A piano ballad)
Heath: "Traitor" (X-Japan's bassist, a good heavy pop song)
Everything's cool when you're Yun [point] Cheol [point] Su [point]
There's a lot of good punk and garage bands from Japan like Guitar Wolf, Balzac, Teengenerate and lots more. I'm also a huge fan of JPOP and Japanese dance music, like Puffy Amiyumi and Pizzacato 5, Fantastic Plastic Machine, etc.
If you get the International Channel, there's a show on Sunday nights called Hey! Hey! Hey! that has J-Pop and some J-Rock every once and awhile.
Not to nitpick, but Billy Ray Cyrus had quite a few country hits. And Crash Test Dummies charted a few other songs in Canada(I loved "Afternoons & Coffeespoons"). What about Londonbeat's "I've Been Thinking About You"?