She 'Orion'

Sep 25, 2009

She "Orion"

In the anime “Macross,” the top chart sensation was Sharon Apple, a cybernetic singer who bewitched a fictional future with her laboratory-engineered music and hologramatic cleavage. Here in real-life Japan, 2009, the defining act is Perfume: three carefully choreographed girls who sing autotune-crippled vocal ...

Tokyo rabbi gives unconditionally

Sep 19, 2009

Tokyo rabbi gives unconditionally

“Whatever we have, we give 100 percent,” says Binyomin Edery, the 33-year-old chief rabbi at Chabad House in Tokyo. “Our bank account is at zero! If we have one, we give two; if we have two, we give four. That’s what we do.” Chabad-Lubavitch ...

Electric Eel Shock stays metal, man

Sep 11, 2009

Electric Eel Shock stays metal, man

‘I am ‘Metal Man,’ ” states Akihito Morimoto matter-of-factly. “I love heavy metal, and I also studied metal materials and die-cast manufacture at university. So all my life is about metal.” At the live shows of his band Electric Eel Shock, it shows. Coming ...

Back from extinction

Sep 11, 2009

Back from extinction

Few rock bands in Japan are as legendary as Unicorn. From their inception in 1986 at the height of Japan’s “band boom,” which saw the balance of chart power shift from idoru (idol) pop to real bands, through to their split in 1993 and ...

Tigarah 'The Funkeira goes BANG!'

Sep 4, 2009

Tigarah "The Funkeira goes BANG!"

When Japanese emcee Tigarah emerged in 2006, she shouldered great expectations. Her gritty Brazilian baile-funk party sound, created together with a Swiss-German producer she met on one of many inspiring trips to Sao Paolo, had her labeled “the Japanese M.I.A.,” and she built up ...

Honey Sac 'Allege'

Aug 21, 2009

Honey Sac "Allege"

Sac are a hard sell. On the one hand, the band of five girls from Osaka make anime-ready guitar music that has been shaped and moulded into the most commercial of packages. And yet . . . there’s something curious about them. For one ...

Jeff Mills

Aug 21, 2009

Jeff Mills

As a critic, it’s easy to bemoan a festival that invites a similar lineup of acts year on year, as does Yokohama’s annual leftfield electronica romp Wire. But critics don’t usually buy tickets to festivals (free passes are one of the perks of the ...

Aug 14, 2009

The Boom Boom beat goes on

Thanks to their jaw-dropping live act and the danceable nature of their techno-rock tunes, Boom Boom Satellites are one of Japan’s top festival draws. Having already headlined the second stage at Fuji Rock in 2007 and with a clutch of foreign festival appearances under ...

Jenny Lewis

Aug 7, 2009

Jenny Lewis

The line between alt-country and just plain country music can be a thin one. And while Jenny Lewis’ vocal and guitar duties in ice-cool Las Vegas indie band Rilo Kiley might cause her to be labeled the former, there’s really very little difference between ...

Bugy Craxone 'Cheeseburgers Diary'

Jul 31, 2009

Bugy Craxone "Cheeseburgers Diary"

Bugy Craxone, whose name is a twisted mash-up of the English words blue, easy and klaxon, formed in Sapporo in 1997, relocating a year later to Tokyo. Their pop-infused, female-fronted hardcore sound won them a deal with Victor Entertainment within a year; but whereas ...