J-pop newcomers Girl Next Door continue to punch way above their weight. The trio (Suzuki Daisuke/keyboards, Chisa/vocals, Inoue Yuji/guitar) have already landed a spot on the prestigious NHK live song contest “Kohaku Uta Gassen” on New Year’s Eve. That highly coveted invitation came just three months after they debuted, the shortest period in the show’s long history. And it came before they’d even released their first album, details of which were announced yesterday. The eponymous album, which goes on sale December 24, has 14 tracks and each and every one of them has a tie-up with a TV show or product commercial. Avex Entertainment are clearly betting the house on this group and the album is described as the first ever debut release to achieve that kind of marketing muscle. The tracks include: debut single “Guuzen no Kakuritsu,” the opening theme for TBS’s music show “CDTV”; “Jonetsu no Daisho,” the most recent single and main theme for the TV Asahi drama “Giragira”; “Winter Game,” the ending theme for Fuji TV’s “Uchikuru?”; and “Power of Love,” the official song to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Tokyo Tower. The group were one of five artists to be named as Best Newcomer at the annual Record Taisho awards, with the overall winner to be announced on a live TBS show December 30. With the new album and two big TV appearances in the space of a week, it’s going to be a massive end of the year for the group known as GaruNeku.
• Among the Grammy nominees for Best Surround Sound Album is “Sensurround + B-Sides,” produced by Oyamada Keigo, better known as Cornelius (39). The Surround Sound award was first handed out in 2005. The Grammy winners will be announced February 8.