Various Artists 'Ripple'

Jul 12, 2012

Various Artists "Ripple"

It seems that every indie scenester in Japan wants a piece of Nagoya these days. Buzz is growing around the city’s bands, and it’s fast becoming an essential first stop away from home for Tokyo artists and DJ events. One of the reasons for ...

| Jun 28, 2012

Japanese acts still find wonder in Can's 'Lost Tapes'

It’s rare that a band whose most celebrated recordings were originally released almost 40 years ago can generate excitement among classic-rock fans, prog-hating punks and musicians whose parents were still in elementary school at the time — but then Can were no ordinary band. ...

Kiwa Kiwa Festival

Jun 21, 2012

Kiwa Kiwa Festival

Emerging in March of this year promising to “challenge the limits of ‘independent,’ ” Kiwa Kiwa — a music website and promoter (and cafe, curiously) — launched in a flurry of activity including disc and live reviews as well as columns from a quartet ...

| May 31, 2012

Perfume needs to walk a fine line on its path overseas

As Japanese pop culture is increasingly dominated by insular subcultural groups with little interest in what’s happening outside Akihabara’s otaku haven or Shibuya’s gyaru mecca, the news that electro-pop trio Perfume had moved to major label Universal and made its music available online to ...

2NE1 'Collection'

Apr 26, 2012

2NE1 "Collection"

With Korean idol groups now saturating the Japanese pop market to the extent that the initial breath of fresh air and rush of slick, electropop energy is passing, it takes a more seasoned kind of fan to differentiate between the legions of immaculately rehearsed ...

A tale of two paths to indie success

| Mar 29, 2012

A tale of two paths to indie success

Tokyo postpunk quartet Otori is an archetypal product of the city’s underground live-music scene. The band’s sets feature a machine-gun rattle of drums, slashes of guitar that explode in fierce climaxes, and bursts of scattershot vocals that teeter on the brink of hysteria — ...

capsule 'Stereo Worxxx'

Mar 15, 2012

capsule "Stereo Worxxx"

While electronic duo capsule’s hit 2011 album “World of Fantasy” was undoubtedly a development of ideas introduced in earlier songs such as “The Music,” it was also a discrete (if frequently indiscreet) work in its own right: a near-concept album linked by a uniform ...

| Feb 23, 2012

The not-so-odd coupling between noise acts and J-pop

From mod rockers The Who covering the “Batman” theme, through punk pranksters The Dickies taking on The Banana Splits, to former Megadeth shredder-in-chief Marty Friedman’s transformation into J-pop svengali, there has always been a flirtation between the fiercer and heavier outposts of music and ...

Shibuya style with an Akihabara twist?

| Jan 26, 2012

Shibuya style with an Akihabara twist?

Shibuya-kei was one of the defining features of the music and fashion scenes of the 1990s, and it helped spawn the idea of “Cool Japan.” The genre’s sound was eclectic and openly embraced Western musical influences such as ’60s lounge music, bossa nova, French ...