| Oct 2, 2013

True tradition would be preferable to an 'Idolympics' in 2020

Ten-thousand Kumamons doing an elaborate Busby Berkeley-style dance routine to Kyu Sakamoto’s international 1963 hit “Sukiyaki”? A 100-meter Hatsune Miku towering over the stadium while 80,000 spectators crane their necks for a glimpse up her skirt? Newly elected Prime Minister Pamyu Pamyu speeding up ...

Umez label is good news for noise-pop

Aug 21, 2013

Umez label is good news for noise-pop

“Those voices makes me vomit! Too many people in one band is no good. It’s kind of scary. I feel like I’m suffering from car sickness all the time.” Sachiko Fukuda from noise-pop duo Umez is not a fan of AKB48. That didn’t stop ...

C86 sound jangles on in the Japanese indie scene

Jul 10, 2013

C86 sound jangles on in the Japanese indie scene

If pop culture is primarily about escapism, one of the enduring mysteries of the music world must surely be how the sounds of cold, wet afternoons in mid-1980s Manchester came to capture the imaginations of artists around the world. From the sunny shores of ...

Summer's best festivals are off the beaten path

| Jun 27, 2013

Summer's best festivals are off the beaten path

For the past 10-15 years, Japan’s festival season has been dominated by four main events: Fuji Rock, Summer Sonic, Rock in Japan and Rising Sun. Of these, Fuji Rock is by far the best, with its mountain setting in Niigata Prefecture, and dependable lineup ...

Momoiro Clover Z '5th Dimension'

May 16, 2013

Momoiro Clover Z "5th Dimension"

There were some curious rumors flying around prior to the release of “5th Dimension,” the second album by idol quintet Momoiro Clover Z, some of them intriguing (“It’s going to be a concept album”) and some worrying (longtime producer Kenichi “Hyadain” Maeyamada reportedly called ...