Left Right Arms makes a bedroom escape

| Jun 17, 2014

Left Right Arms makes a bedroom escape

Sleepy solitude is a frequent theme in the dream-pop songs made by Tokyo-based artist Left Right Arms. The solo artist’s first EP, self-released last year, was titled “A Sleep,” while his second EP out a few months later included delicate songs such as “Out ...

Especia takes a road less traveled by idol acts

Jun 3, 2014

Especia takes a road less traveled by idol acts

The eldest member of six-member idol unit Especia was born in 1989, so when I ask them about life during Japan’s early ’90s bubble era they can only imagine what it was like. “I picture people throwing a lot of money around,” says Haruka ...

Qrion reaches for softer EDM

| May 20, 2014

Qrion reaches for softer EDM

Qrion “Sink” (SenSe) There’s no shortage of electronic artists in Japan making maximalist music that centers on neck-snapping bass freakouts. Sapporo’s Qrion, though, creates songs that speak a private, softer language. The 19-year-old producer turns vocal samples into unfamiliar streaks of sound, and where ...

Country boy Jonny Fritz set for a wander in the big city

May 13, 2014

Country boy Jonny Fritz set for a wander in the big city

Jonny Fritz is used to being out of his element. The Montana-born country music performer has spent a good chunk of the past decade touring, but his stops aren’t the usual destinations for someone calling Nashville home. He has played every state in America, ...

Meishi Smile brings anime-influenced sounds to Japan

Apr 29, 2014

Meishi Smile brings anime-influenced sounds to Japan

Over the past two decades, Japanese pop culture has made major inroads abroad, thanks mainly to interest in video games and anime. Interest in those two areas has never really translated into much love for J-pop in the West, but recent acts such as ...

E-Girls 'Colorful Pop'

Apr 15, 2014

E-Girls "Colorful Pop"

E-Girls are a 28-member-strong idol pop collective constructed by Avex. The “E” stands for “Exile,” as in this is the female version of greased-up R&B doofs Exile. The songwriters and producers making the songs on their second album, “Colorful Pop,” boast backgrounds making mediocre ...

Yoshino Yoshikawa 'Yumetatsu Glider'

| Apr 15, 2014

Yoshino Yoshikawa "Yumetatsu Glider"

Tokyo producer Yoshino Yoshikawa has often described his work as “ultrapop,” and for a while that term made perfect sense. Yoshikawa created busy, buzzing songs in the mold of Yasutaka Nakata. With names such as “Kawaii Candy,” they were a colorful rush of synthesizers ...

Record Store Day finds its groove in Japan

Apr 15, 2014

Record Store Day finds its groove in Japan

It won’t be business as usual at Big Love Records this Saturday, April 19. The store, one of the best places to shop for records in Tokyo’s trendy Harajuku neighborhood, will be selling limited-edition music from various artists, including film director David Lynch. Meanwhile, ...

Apr 8, 2014

Datafruits brings netlabel talent to a wider audience

It was a bit of good timing for Tony Miller when two underground music scenes he liked intersected in 2011. “I was becoming increasingly interested in the U.K.’s pirate radio scene, and I thought I could use my Web engineering skills to make something ...