Live Earth

Jul 6, 2007

Live Earth

“Eco-cute!” was 24-year-old J-pop superidol Kumi Koda’s response, according to organizers, when asked to perform at the Tokyo leg of Live Earth, a series of concerts taking place at nine cities around the world on July 7 to encourage music fans to take action ...

Soundtrack of the summer: Puffy

| Jun 21, 2007

Soundtrack of the summer: Puffy

No festival this summer will attract more punters through its turnstiles than Rock In Japan. And no band is likely to get the crowds more animated over this all-Japanese music fest’s three days than female duo Puffy. Now in their 30s, Ami Onuki and ...

Mods Mayday

May 11, 2007

Mods Mayday

If there’s a saving grace to living in a megalopolis of 12 million people, it’s that there’s a scene catering to the whim of every kind of music fan. And scenes don’t come with much more grace — and style — than the one ...

A different kind of glam icon

Apr 13, 2007

A different kind of glam icon

He captured rock ‘n’ roll iconoclasts David Bowie, Iggy Pop and Lou Reed at the height of their fame in the 1970s. Now photographer Mick Rock turns his lens toward a different kind of glam icon, kabuki actor Nakamura Kanzaburo XVIII, for an exhibition ...

Pottering around with pop music

Feb 9, 2007

Pottering around with pop music

When Tori Kudo was a 13-year-old growing up in Matsuyama, Shikoku, he didn’t spend his evenings at cram school like classmates, but instead played cheesy piano in nightclubs as a member of a professional big band. “I didn’t analyze the chords or practice for ...

Fixer plays it by no rules

Nov 10, 2006

Fixer plays it by no rules

You might have heard of Boredoms, the anarchic noiseniks from Osaka who toured with Nirvana, signed to major label Warner’s and became the most written-about Japanese band in the West in the 1990s. You may also have heard of Rovo, who regularly play their ...

Anime, J-indie equals 'Woodstock for geeks'

Jun 22, 2006

Anime, J-indie equals 'Woodstock for geeks'

‘Agrand collision of two Japanese subcultures — anime and Japanese indie music,” was one blogger’s take on FanimeCon 2006, the biggest anime convention in the San Francisco Bay Area. The indie bands were there because this year, among the 24-hour anime screenings, gaming and ...

Innovation, individuality in the mix

Jun 22, 2006

Innovation, individuality in the mix

One place where language and cultural differences are barely an issue for Japanese artists is at the annual Barcelona electronica and multimedia event Sonar, which is part music industry showcase, part festival for ordinary music fans. Sonar 2006 took place last weekend in the ...

The D.I.Y. route to rock stardom

Jun 22, 2006

The D.I.Y. route to rock stardom

From the suburbs of Tokyo to downtown Toronto is hardly the most direct route to pop stardom — or one assured of success. But it was the path that blues-rock outfit Stone Deaf chose earlier this month in what was a bold move for ...

Clean living under very difficult circumstances

May 19, 2006

Clean living under very difficult circumstances

To the legions of impeccably attired ravers who will attend the Mods Mayday ’06 Weekender taking place this weekend in Tokyo, “mod” is about a whole lot more than renting a DVD of the 1979 mods and rockers classic “Quadrophenia” or throwing a beaten-up ...