Yoko Kanno/Aoi Tada – Wo Qui Non Coin
(From the original soundtrack album Cowboy Bebop BLUE, Japan, 1999.)
The audio embodiment of cute yet melancholic. Even after all those years still one of my favourite songs featured in an anime; produced by Yoko Kanno, vocals by Aoi Tada, the voice actress of Ed. (And this song almost made me pick an entire rotation with songs dedicated to having lost one’s dog… almost ;) )

Cocco – Onsoku Punch
(From the single Onsoku Punch, Japan, 2006.)
Cocco’s back after 5 years (minus the Singer Songer project last summer) with a new single. Don’t let the first 30 seconds fool you: this is not some Avex techno-pop tune but sexy (mainstream) rock that leaves you wanting more.

Hotaru – Kaijin Nijuu Mensou
(From the maxi CD Kayou Suspense Gekijou, Japan, 2002.)
I’ve probably uploaded this a million times before, but… my mission will only be fulfilled once every single human being on this planet has heard this song. No. But! This is brilliant. Infectious might be an even more appropriate word. (And don’t let me get started on what a great band Hotaru were ;_;)

Remioromen – Shouwa
(From the album Asagao, Japan, 2003.)
Ah the old times, when Remioromen weren’t huge and sounded like a younger copy of Mr. Children. I still love them and am extremely looking forward to their new album out in May but I suppose I’ll always prefer their earlier stuff like this wonderful, (slightly emo-ish) song.

Maximo Park – A19 & Isolation
(From the album Missing Songs, UK, 2005.)
A19 is Maximo Park at their usual: retro greatness with amazing hooks; the John Lennon cover Isolation shows a more experimental side of the band.

The Strokes – Electricityscape & Ize of the World
(From the album First Impressions of Earth, USA, 2005.)
I had to overcome all my prejudices against this band because their new album is actually quite good and a lot more diverse than the two previous ones. Some songs on it are impossible to get out of your head; I especially like the contrast between the verse and the chorus of Ize of the World, the combination of addictive pop and angry hard rock; and no, there’s nothing wrong with the end of the song – just listen to the lyrics and you’ll understand the rather abrupt ending.