akai ko-en try to avoid getting caught in the Web

Feb 23, 2012

akai ko-en try to avoid getting caught in the Web

With a layered sound that blends postrock dynamics and sprawling song structures with pure J-pop sensibility, akai ko-en is quickly becoming one of Tokyo’s most talked-about new bands. But just try searching for the group on YouTube and see how far you get. Despite ...

Animal Kingdom

| Jan 20, 2012

Animal Kingdom

Director: David Michôd Language: English Running time: 113 In the darkly immersive directorial debut from Australian screenwriter David Michôd (“Hesher”), freshly orphaned teen Josh (James Frecheville) must choose between loyalty to his family of bank-robbing, drug-dealing uncles, headed by matriarch (Jacki Weaver), and, well, ...

'Spamalot' cast hopes 2012 is Year of the Python

Jan 6, 2012

'Spamalot' cast hopes 2012 is Year of the Python

“This is Spam,” says Eric Idle to a room full of Japanese journalists, holding up a can of the precooked meat product that he and his fellow Monty Python cast members mocked to lasting effect in 1970 in their iconic BBC TV series. That ...

Shonen Knife celebrates 30 years

Dec 29, 2011

Shonen Knife celebrates 30 years

Today we celebrate 30 years under the Knife. Yes, it was on Dec. 29, 1981, that three teenage girls — Naoko Yamano, her sister Atsuko and their friend Mitchie Nakatani — entered an Osaka rehearsal studio for the first time. They emerged as Shonen ...

Best of 2011: AKB48 'Koko ni Ita Koto'

Dec 22, 2011

Best of 2011: AKB48 "Koko ni Ita Koto"

AKB48 is not a band, or even a pop group: AKB48 is a hate crime. With “Koko ni Ita Koto,” pop music has reached its lowest ebb. And that is precisely why this album is not my favorite of the year, but the one ...

X Japan's Yoshiki seeks a second coming

Dec 15, 2011

X Japan's Yoshiki seeks a second coming

The setting is an upscale hotel ballroom. On a stage in the center of the room sit two crystal-clear transparent pianos, facing each other, and a mic stand. In a circle around the stage, facing inward: an audience. We’ll come back to them in ...

Passepied 'Watashi Kaika Shita Wa'

Nov 17, 2011

Passepied "Watashi Kaika Shita Wa"

Oh, not again. Almost exactly three years ago I was handed a preview copy of “Hi-Fi Anatomia” by Soutaiseiriron. At first I hated the album’s anime-friendly helium vocals and pretentious air, but after a few spins, the super-minimal jazzy-poppy tunes, as fragile as glass, ...

Kaela Kimura '8Eight8'

Nov 10, 2011

Kaela Kimura "8Eight8"

Spiders are excellent. How many legs have you got? A spider has four times more. Ha! And four times more eyes too! You and I will never be as cool as a spider — that’s just the way it goes. Kaela Kimura is, though ...

Blip Festival Tokyo

Oct 20, 2011

Blip Festival Tokyo

If there’s anything video-game geeks hate, it’s interacting with other people — at least, that’s the common perception. However, it’s a perception that is routinely shattered by the live chiptune music scene — and where better to go multiplayer than at this weekend’s Blip ...