Finding Japan's hidden punk scenes in their natural environments

Mar 27, 2014

Finding Japan's hidden punk scenes in their natural environments

Finding music in Japan can be a nightmare, and the live-music scene in particular is notoriously difficult to penetrate. Tucked away in the basements and upper floors of anonymous buildings, often in seedy parts of town, where the neighbors will be less likely to ...

Babymetal aren't the latest chapter in the 'wacky Japan' story

Mar 25, 2014

Babymetal aren't the latest chapter in the 'wacky Japan' story

The British are mad, aren’t they? That Kate Bush with her crazy gyrating around a cello in the video for “Babushka,” that daft loon Robbie Williams with his funky skeleton costume, those kerrr-azy Tellytubbies with their wacky dance routines — what is it about ...

Crunch's debut mini-album aims for a 'sense of minority'

Mar 4, 2014

Crunch's debut mini-album aims for a 'sense of minority'

In a music scene where the border between underground and mainstream can be incredibly difficult to traverse, it’s not surprising that many bands trapped in the indie-sphere bemoan their lot. What you hear less of is how that sense of exclusion, fostered by a ...

Jesus Weekend will keep your family pet from a pit of despair

Feb 25, 2014

Jesus Weekend will keep your family pet from a pit of despair

“Animals don’t commit suicide, but this song is so sad that even animals would want to kill themselves.” Seira Nishigami, vocalist, guitarist and synth player from Osaka-based lo-fi indie trio Jesus Weekend, is trying to explain the feeling behind her group’s evocatively titled “Animal ...

Dec 24, 2013

Japanese indie bands to watch out for in 2014

While the Oricon charts tend to look more or less the same (perhaps a little worse) year in year out, the indie scene remains a haven of small delights, with new discoveries constantly cropping up to brighten your day. Here are five discoveries from ...

The best Japanese albums of 2013: Melt-Banana, 'Fetch'

Dec 17, 2013

The best Japanese albums of 2013: Melt-Banana, 'Fetch'

Back in June, I picked up on minimalist psychedelic postpunk trio Extruders’ “Colors” as the album of the year so far. Six months later, it’s still right up among the very best of the year. Its carefully unwinding songs, murmured vocals and understated yet ...