Umibachi skirts industry suits for newest release

Feb 19, 2010

Umibachi skirts industry suits for newest release

“Basically women are body conscious and men play with their joysticks. The woman is in the more powerful position. The idea is about woman and man, sexual and urban.” Genta Matsumura from new wave/dance-punk quartet Umibachi trying to explain the at first glance baffling ...

The decade's most influential

Dec 25, 2009

The decade's most influential

Last week, The Japan Times picked Hikaru Utada as the most influential artist of the past decade. This week, our writers ask various figures in Japan’s music scene who they thought were the most influential artists of the noughties. We asked them to choose ...

Hazel Nuts Chocolate 'Cult'

Dec 11, 2009

Hazel Nuts Chocolate "Cult"

Coming four years after its predecessor, 2005′s “Cute,” this new album by Hazel Nuts Chocolate, the solo project of singer and former capsule collaborator Yuppa, marks the end of a long wait by fans. However, the familiarity of the early tracks on “Cult,” like ...

2009: Cracks in the facade

Dec 4, 2009

2009: Cracks in the facade

A year of tragic deaths, amusing scandals and a series of increasingly senile looking attempts by the music industry to cling onto its outdated business model — that was 2009. The year was characterized by a fragile facade of continuity, while changes in the ...

Haimidori 'Umuhito Umareruhito

Nov 20, 2009

Haimidori "Umuhito Umareruhito

In this debut album, Tokyo experimental five-piece Haimidori show obvious echoes of 1980s Bristol post-punks The Pop Group in the discordant sax farts, as well as the mixture of funk, punk and strangled vocals; but, they are by no means limited by those influences. ...

Yolz in the Sky 'Ionization'

Nov 6, 2009

Yolz in the Sky "Ionization"

Osaka postpunk quartet Yolz in the Sky’s new album “Ionization” follows on from the best moments of their self-titled 2007 debut with a series of insistent dance beats and reverb-heavy guitars underscoring the relentless harangue of the echoing, ranting vocals. This time, however, Yolz ...

Sweden's SideChild takes center stage

Oct 30, 2009

Sweden's SideChild takes center stage

“There was this one guy whose name meant something like ‘flat’ in English, but Google translated it into Swedish as ‘lesbian’, which caused me a bit of confusion at first.” Booking shows in Japan with only online translation software to help throws up a ...

The past and present of bands tearing up Japan's underground scene

Oct 9, 2009

The past and present of bands tearing up Japan's underground scene

Old school: Notable for Koichi Makigami’s distinctive, Kabuki-influenced vocal style, Hikashu were, alongside P-Model and The Plastics, one of the defining bands of Japanese new wave and technopop, although from their poppy debut they quickly tacked in a more experimental direction. At Drive to ...

All aboard for Drive to 2010

Oct 9, 2009

All aboard for Drive to 2010

It’s Aug. 28, 1979, and the audience dutifully files into the old Shinjuku Loft livehouse to take their places, seated on the floor in preparation for another night of quiet musical appreciation. This time, however, something strange starts to happen. People keep coming in, ...

Refashioning the J-pop scene

Aug 21, 2009

Refashioning the J-pop scene

Yasutaka Nakata is bouncing around like some kind of postmodern electro Tigger in front of a sea of adoring fans, almost uniformly young, beautiful and well-dressed. His DJ set taken in large part from his group capsule’s own music, with the odd track thrown ...