Planet of the Apes / Original Soundtracks: After recently re-watching my beloved Apes movies again on Blu-ray, I decided I should have all five soundtracks in my iTunes library, and I've really enjoyed hearing them as part of my usual shuffle! I love the breakthrough use of kitchen bowls as percussion, the creepy hymn that the mutants sing to the Alpha Omega Bomb, and the syncopation of the opening of Escape from the Planet of the Apes is fantastic. Each soundtrack includes several dialogue and sound effect segments as well, which makes each listening a regular Ape adventure!
mc chris / mc chris Goes to Hell: I was excited to hear about this new release by my favorite nerdcore rapper mc chris, but it was a little disappointing to discover that 90% of the album is simply new versions of the material on his last release, Part Six. There are a few new tracks that are pretty cool, and at least it's interesting to compare the new versions of his older songs, which often contain new choruses or instrumentation. Some of these changes make the song even better (like Japanese Maid), but others tend to weaken the impact of the original (Potato Cakes totally lost its emotion with the addition of a silly refrain and the loss of a cool bridge).
Buono / We Are Buono: Since I loved Buono's performance during the last Hello! Project concert, I decided to check out their latest CD, which is full of great punkish tunes that really set them apart. I'm definitely impressed with their singing, which is amazingly strong and consistent! I don't really like Momoko (though I have to admit she is always on key), but Airi and Miyabi are both awesome, and the feel of their material is super fun. There are a few ballads on the album that just don't fit the Buono style (in my opinion), but in general this collection of tunes is fantastic, especially the title track (I love it when they say their names!).
AKB48 / Team A 2nd Stage & Team K 3rd Stage: I've watched so many concerts by the various teams of AKB48 (performed in their Akihabara theater) that I really wanted to listen to some of the songs that I'd heard (and can pretty much hum along with), so I thought I would check out these older albums. Both of them are really cool, including a few hits that were released as singles (like Aitakatta), along with tons of "concert only" songs. It's great to be able to hear the cool Team K stuff like Kimi wa Pegasus, and even though I used to hate Hone Hone Waltz, I have to admit it's growing on me!
Morning Musume / Seishun Collection: Last but never least, I've been enjoying Morning Musume's 43 single, which I've heard at least a hundred times in my car by now! It's a great peppy melody with cool strings and piano, which really adds to the depth of the tune, and the lyrics about enjoying youth are nice and uplifting. The second track Tomo is just OK, but it's worth listening to since all of the girls get a least one solid solo line to sing. The Seishun Collection music video is totally cute (what else could it be?), even though it's another low budget production (at least it has some dynamic color and a few artistic shots thrown in), but that hasn't stopped me from watching it practically every day!