Pop music often opts for positivity rather than confronting the uncomfortable, but Seiko Oomori has never really adhered to J-pop norms.

"The bad things that happen to you can also be attractive, almost kawaii," she says from one of the upper floors at the headquarters of Avex, a music label that has pumped out no shortage of feel-good pop. "You can feel OK about something that is kuso (crappy)."

That's where she got the name for her most recent album, "Kusokawa Party," which came out in July. The 10-song release winds through slow-burning ballads, nervy electro-pop and rock chuggers, with Oomori's voice threading them together — jumping from whisper to shriek in a flash, all of it delivered with an emotional rawness.