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 ...

Apr 6, 2014

Teaching tricks of the trade for the new school year

Spring means the new school year has arrived in Japan, and for Assistant Language Teachers and non-Japanese English instructors it also signals a lot of changes. Some will find themselves in entirely new school assignments, while those staying put will welcome new classes of ...

Japan acts rock on at this year's SXSW

Mar 18, 2014

Japan acts rock on at this year's SXSW

After somersaulting through a shallow puddle, the lead singer of Osaka’s Vampillia stared intently at a nearby taco truck. As his band plowed through a noisy, violin-assisted song on the third afternoon of the South By Southwest (SXSW) Music Conference And Festival, he scaled ...

Babymetal 'Babymetal'

Mar 18, 2014

Babymetal "Babymetal"

It’s not surprising that Babymetal has gone viral. The trio, bringing the seemingly disparate worlds of idol pop and heavy metal together, is a visually striking project perfect for the “weird Japan” fans on the Internet. What’s surprising, however, is seeing Babymetal’s eponymous debut ...

NYC fans of Kyary Pamyu Pamyu share 'zest for life'

Mar 11, 2014

NYC fans of Kyary Pamyu Pamyu share 'zest for life'

Two hours before the doors even opened, the line outside New York’s Best Buy Theater snaked around several streets in the middle of Times Square. Fans lined up early for pop star Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s second-ever New York concert, the finale to her recent ...

AKB48 'Tsugi no Ashiato'

Feb 18, 2014

AKB48 "Tsugi no Ashiato"

No Japanese music group has been more interesting these past two years than AKB48, but “interesting” doesn’t always mean “good.” Several of the 89-members-and-growing outfit’s most notable moments have been ugly (the Minami Minegishi head-shaving scandal tops that list), but the idol group has ...

Miii 'Everything Happens To You'

Feb 18, 2014

Miii "Everything Happens To You"

After bubbling under the surface for the last couple of years, EDM looks like it will finally get the push it needs this year to become trendy in Japan. Standing for “electronic dance music” — vague advertiser-talk referring to a loud, often bass-heavy, type ...

Mitsume play the indie game, but are winning the mainstream

Feb 11, 2014

Mitsume play the indie game, but are winning the mainstream

Mitsume subscribes to an easy-to-get-behind ethos regularly found in indie-rock communities: “Since our first album, we’ve been under nobody’s control but our own,” says lead vocalist Moto Kawabe. “We prefer to do whatever we can ourselves.” Accordingly, the Tokyo-based quartet has released all its ...

Kobe's tofubeats moves from blogs to the big time

Jan 21, 2014

Kobe's tofubeats moves from blogs to the big time

Like many kids growing up in the 1990s, Yusuke Kawai’s initial brush with the World Wide Web happened in elementary school. “My first Internet experience was using my father’s PC, with Windows 95, when I was in the fourth grade. I can’t even remember ...