The Mornings reveal new depths on debut

Jan 21, 2011

The Mornings reveal new depths on debut

“I was in a mosh pit at (Tokyo concert venue) Koiwa Bushbash when Shingo landed on top of me and dislocated my shoulder.” Shinpei “Ponta” Watanabe, the vocalist, synth player and occasional guitarist of mutant posthardcore art-rockers The Mornings is explaining the injury that ...

Dec 31, 2010

2010's many charts tell a confusing tale

As seems to be becoming commonplace with these end-of-year roundups, the big music story was once again the rise (and rise) of AKB48 and their rapidly multiplying sister groups, SKE48 (named after their home at Nagoya’s Sunshine Sakae building), NMB48 (after Namba in Osaka) ...

Dec 10, 2010

Fukuoka harbors hotbed of new talent

Despite its far westerly location (being closer to Seoul than it is to Tokyo), the Kyushu city of Fukuoka has for a long time been one of the musical powerhouses of Japan. Fukuoka in the 1970s brought the nation “mentai-rock,” a brand of high ...

Dec 10, 2010

Bands to watch

In addition to groups such as Garorinz, Folk Enough, Nontroppo and MacManaman, Fukuoka’s indie scene is still a hotbed of musical creativity. Here are some other bands worth paying attention to. Probably the biggest band in the local scene now is emo/powerpop quintet Holidays ...

Nov 5, 2010

Japan Music Week sets lofty goals for the live scene

With plans for a weeklong series of shows featuring 500 artists from 40 countries performing in 50 venues — and a target of 20,000 attendees — it’s clear from the get-go that Jon Lynch has ambitious plans for Japan Music Week. But there are ...

Tokyo Boredom

Sep 17, 2010

Tokyo Boredom

Tokyo Boredom was originally a massive thank-you to indie music fans. Dedicated punters who paid at least ¥2,000 every week to get into shows were treated to a free gig when all the acts at the event pitched in to pay for it. However, ...

Hikashu to take 'pataphysics to Fuji Rock

Jul 23, 2010

Hikashu to take 'pataphysics to Fuji Rock

On the face of it, the lineup for this year’s Fuji Rock Festival has not been kind to Japanese artists, with representation on the higher profile stages confined to such stalwarts as melodic punk rocker Ken Yokoyama and dance duo Boom Boom Satellites. The ...

Former band members unite to help cancer-stricken Karn

Jul 16, 2010

Former band members unite to help cancer-stricken Karn

It was a piece of news that passed unnoticed by much of the music world, but for fans of 1980s music, and in particular for a small group of Japanese musicians, the news that former Japan bass player Mick Karn was suffering from cancer ...

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 ...