Perfume. Tons of Perfume. Shh, I will not be embarrassed by this! It's my commuter music. It has the ability to genuinely brighten my day without being cloyingly sweet and annoying, despite the fact that it makes no attempt to claim that it is anything more than it is. Members, songs, lyrics, and choreography alike are planted firmly in the 'refreshingly sweet' category without being that special brand of sickeningly Japanese "cute" nor erotic sexiness without a purpose.
The ladies themselves are sort of known over here as being not exactly the prettiest of pop acts, and while Joe bucks that trend and adores them all, I fell instantly for the short-haired one after I saw the Nocchi-only version of Macaroni. Very, very much in love with the old home movie vibe of that one. (Hey, now that Kaela's dating Eita, I've gotta find some other celebrity crush now don't I?)
The other is The Reign of Kindo, a jazz-indie-rock band from New York. Some niggling element of their sound almost reminds me of The Pax Cecilia, that NY band that would send their album to you for free via post anywhere in the world (I got one :3), though not nearly as stark, dense, or despairing. It also reminds me a bit of The Deer Hunter in its lushness and the earnestness of the singer, but the crispness of the production and the musicianship on display here is amazing. It occupies a comfortable seat at the edge of accessible, as the loose, flowing jazz brush paints with strokes of pop and rock. I also do not hear individuals on the songs; I hear an ensemble, even with the singer involved. Emo-jazz? I dunno, it's just what I need right now.
I don't typically like linking to myspace, but all the songs I would have recommended are on that playlist. Leave it on in the background or be absorbed into the mix, whatever you like. Call me a blasphemer but I find that their cover of "Do You Realize" is far, far preferable to the original Flaming Lips'.
More examples of my questionable taste in music at a later date.