Back in Japan, Hotel Mexico rides the wave

Jun 18, 2010

Back in Japan, Hotel Mexico rides the wave

Much is often made of the differences between popular music in the East and in the West, either praising the former for its inventive takes on Western styles, or deriding it for making cheap imitations. The truth, however, is that music travels so easily ...

Halcali 'Tokyo Groove'

Jun 11, 2010

Halcali "Tokyo Groove"

When teen stars grow up, their careers always face a difficult journey into adulthood (just ask Macaulay Culkin). So, with playground hip-hop unit Halcali now well into their 20s, “Tokyo Groove” presents us with one disc featuring original songs and another of covers and ...

Yuki 'Ureshikutte Dakiau-yo'

Mar 26, 2010

Yuki "Ureshikutte Dakiau-yo"

One of the most striking features of former Judy and Mary singer Yuki Isoya’s career is the way that she has maintained a unique sense of her own identity throughout the body of her solo work. Pick almost any song from any of her ...

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deaths, amusing scandals and a series of increasingly senile looking attempts by the music industry to cling onto its outdated business model — that was 2009.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 ...