Shonen Knife 'Pop Tune'

Jun 28, 2012

Shonen Knife "Pop Tune"

Shonen Knife’s 18th studio album was released just a few days before the birth of my first child. Good timing, too, because its 10 tracks contain plenty of life lessons I intend to pass on to my beautiful baby girl. The title track is ...

Jun 14, 2012

0.8 Byo to Shogeki "Batikaru J.M. Yayayado EP"

Where the hell did this band even come from? Rocking the so-uncool-they’re-cool image that has served sonic soulmates Polysics so well, 0.8 Byo to Shogeki’s music piles up a violent barrage of cheap drum machines, minimalist guitar lines and batty boy-girl vocal interplay that ...

Nagasawa quiets down for 'Seven'

Jun 7, 2012

Nagasawa quiets down for 'Seven'

Some musicians simply ooze self-confidence. They walk into the room like they own it, flashing a smile that instantly melts a thousand hearts. But Tomoyuki Nagasawa is not one of those musicians. “I don’t think my voice is all that special,” says the 28-year-old ...

Hokuo Music Night 2012/Finland Fest 2012: Metal Attack

May 24, 2012

Hokuo Music Night 2012/Finland Fest 2012: Metal Attack

Talk all you like about Cool Japan — the Nordic countries have been exporting their sound for years, and it’s positively freezing. From the sweetly kitsch pop sound of The Cardigans to the otherworldly soundscapes of Sigur Ros to the black metal of Bathory, ...

Will the world soon wake up to the scent of Perfume?

May 18, 2012

Will the world soon wake up to the scent of Perfume?

When the Nippon Budokan was built in 1964, its architects probably never envisaged it one day resembling a massive nightclub filled with hundreds of laser beams in every shade of neon as three women in lightup minidresses danced like finely tuned robots to the ...

Ben & Jerry's hopes for a warm reception

Apr 13, 2012

Ben & Jerry's hopes for a warm reception

Say goodbye to your waistline: Ben & Jerry’s is back in Japan — and this time the world-famous ice-cream brand means business. On April 14, Ben & Jerry’s will open its very first Scoop Shop in Japan, housed in the Omotesando Hills complex at ...

Tommy February<sup>6</sup> makes a heavenly return

Mar 2, 2012

Tommy February6 makes a heavenly return

The pop music industry — it’s enough to turn anyone into a schizophrenic. And Tomoko Kawase is perhaps J-pop’s most fragmented personality of all. Rising to fame in the late-1990s as the singer in top-selling Kyoto guitar-pop band The Brilliant Green, she went solo ...

Toquiwa gets a great gift from The Wedding Present

Mar 1, 2012

Toquiwa gets a great gift from The Wedding Present

There’s no doubt that the best way for an independent band to tour in another country is by opening for one that people have actually heard of. So when spunky all-girl Tokyo four-piece Toquiwa befriended 1990s indie-rock heroes The Wedding Present, its members jumped ...

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1

Feb 24, 2012

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1

Director: Bill Condon Language: English Running time: 117 minutes Opens: Now showing It would be easy to dismiss the “Twilight” saga as “The Lost Boys” via “Dawson’s Creek.” But damn, things get dark in the penultimate chapter of this vampire love story. Bella (Kristen ...