Aug 25, 2011

Avoid the sins of playing live in the grimy clubs of Japan

Spend a lot of time trawling the grimy-toilet venues of the Tokyo music scene and, apart from gaining an encyclopaedic knowledge of how to smuggle alcohol past staff members guarding the doors of various venues, you will start to pick up on the minutiae ...

| Jul 28, 2011

Tis the season for some girl-pop classics

In Japan, observation of the seasons is an ingrained cultural trait that not only forms the basis of haiku poetry and many classic works of art, but also marks the calendar for cultural ephemera from special-edition Kit Kats to alcoholic drinks to pop music. ...

She Talks Silence aim for live experience on new mini-album

Jul 7, 2011

She Talks Silence aim for live experience on new mini-album

When a band kicks off an interview with a statement like “We don’t do gigs, we do performances,” you could be forgiven for thinking you’re in the presence of a group of uncompromising, postindustrial noise punks. However, for indie-pop group She Talks Silence, this ...

AKB48 'Koko ni Ita Koto'

Jun 16, 2011

AKB48 "Koko ni Ita Koto"

Beneath the media frenzy over the “election” of this year’s front line members, behind the coy faced but otherwise absurdly blatant evocation of teen sex imagery, and far from the bizarre stories of the otaku (obsessive) fan who bought thousands of copies of the ...

Decade of fine tuning yields gold for capsule

Jun 3, 2011

Decade of fine tuning yields gold for capsule

“I see capsule as a J-pop group, but then again, I don’t think J-pop should be made into a particular genre with its own rules,” says Yasutaka Nakata of electro unit capsule and producer of idol sensations Perfume. “There are professional producers who try ...

Nisennenmondai 'Nisennenmondai Live!!!'

Jun 2, 2011

Nisennenmondai "Nisennenmondai Live!!!"

Tokyo instrumental trio Nisennenmondai (which translates to “year 2000 problem”) have always seemed to struggle between an unwillingness — or fear of — compromising their scratchy, lo-fi sound and the problem of transferring the immediacy and sometimes breathtaking energy of their live performances onto ...

Tetsuya Komuro 'Digitalian is Eating Breakfast 2'

May 19, 2011

Tetsuya Komuro "Digitalian is Eating Breakfast 2"

Emerging from the tail end of the 1980s new-wave scene with the band TM Revolution, Tetsuya Komuro was a producer who defined the 1990s. In fact, anyone searching out a single point when the more modern agglomeration of styles that later became known as ...

| Apr 22, 2011

Japanese music fans need the shows to go on

Last month I wrote a hastily conceived piece for this column documenting the immediate reaction of the music scene in Tokyo to the Great East Japan Earthquake. It was a difficult article to write because the situation was still unfolding and so much was ...