The 69 of 2012

While singles have proven less vivacious this year, 2012 has been a treasure trove of albums in the visual kei scene. Usually, after careful scrutiny and discussion of the musical merit of releases throughout the year by our staff, ROKKYUU‘s “69 of” series features the 6 albums and 9 singles we have chosen to represent the best releases of the year. For 2012, however, there was nothing for it but to flip those numbers around and we present you with the 6 best singles and 9 best albums we have come across. While there may be many other worthy releases out there, these are the ones that grabbed our attention as well-written, well-performed, all-around winners from A-side to B-side and from prelude to bonus track.

6 SINGLES of 2012

9 ALBUMS of 2012

Diana Tome saw her life change when she came across X-Japan's Blue Blood. A big supporter of old school visual rock, she believes visual kei is a lifestyle and philosophy that goes beyond the clothing and the music. With a background in headhunting and psychotherapy, Diana completed her M.A. in Psychology from I.S.P.A. in Lisbon, Portugal. She now lives and works in Japan committed to keeping the VK/V-rock flame alive.

Kate Havas first became interested in Japanese fashion and culture in college when manga, anime, and visual kei were just beginning to make their way to America. An art and English major with a love of clothes, Kate signed onto ROKKYUU in order cover fashion and report on Tokyo trends, but was quickly also recruited to the music side of things and has been having an adventure expanding her knowledge of all things VK since. Follow her on twitter at keito_kate!

Laura Cooper started photographing rock and jazz bands at university. While completing a degree in English Literature, she was literary co-editor of the York University arts magazine and held poetry soirees with comedy jazz bands. Laura wrote for the now defunct UK Goth magazine Meltdown, as well as edited for an occult/spiritual website while she lived in York and London. She disappeared into the mountainous depths of Japan in 2006 and is now based in Tokyo, capturing rock bands in action.

Leela McMullen is a strong believer in the philosophy "no music, no life." Having traversed the range of Japanese fandoms, she found her home at last in visual kei and has made it her mission to share what she loves most with the world. Leela completed her B.A. in Japanese language from Griffith University in Gold Coast Australia. She now lives and works in Japan, striving to bring you the goods, hot from the scene. Follow her on twitter for juicy hints of upcoming articles if you've got a bit of Japanese language under your belt! http://twitter.com/#!/LeelaInTokyo

Sarah began her journey into the world of Japanese music courtesy of L'Arc-en-Ciel back in the year 2000. Since then, she has combined a love of music and music journalism into writing for European Japanese music magazines and assisting with Japanese interest events in the UK. After graduating in Law from the University of Nottingham, she put 'the law-thing' on the backburner to dive into the live scene in Tokyo for 3 years. Sarah returned to the UK in September 2010 to do that 'law-thing' and now works for a Japanese bank in London. Her heart is always in the music and fashion in Tokyo and her life is balanced between her time in the UK and Japan. When she has time, she also blogs at http://lifeismerodii.blogspot.com

Melissa Costa began her visual kei adventure in 2005, but was already a fervent visitor of concerts in the local rock and metal scene since her early teens. Seeing many bands perform in both Europe and Japan became her dream occupation. Melissa is about to finish her B.A. in Japanese Studies at Leiden University of The Netherlands. Her passion for languages and writing made her want to pursue a journalistic career, and now she is in Tokyo to bring the heat of the live-houses to you.

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