Noah × Sela 'Split EP'

May 16, 2013

Noah × Sela "Split EP"

Over the course of its six-year existence, Flau Records has carved out an identity as a record label offering intimate music. The actual sonic styles of the artists represented by the acts signed to the border-hopping imprint differ — some make proper songs, some ...

Apr 18, 2013

Kis-My-Ft2 "Good Ikuze!" (Avex Trax)

Odds are, Japan Times reader, that you do not like Kis-My-Ft2. Maybe you’ve been unable to escape the bleating “Wanna Beeee!!!” while out strolling in Shibuya, or maybe they lost you at, “From the people who brought you SMAP and Arashi!” So this review ...

i-fls 'Diary of Spectre' (self-release)

Apr 18, 2013

i-fls "Diary of Spectre" (self-release)

The first song I ever made — and I’m willing to wager many who graduated high school in the mid 2000s share this experience — was using Apple’s GarageBand, a software application that lets people make music on their computers. “I made a killer ...

April: Karl Hyde to headline SonarSound

Mar 28, 2013

April: Karl Hyde to headline SonarSound

The next month features a great mix of concerts for all sorts of live-music fans. Several long-running bands visit Japan in April, as do some of the most hyped-up young outfits in the world today. Whether you like apocalyptic postrock or Swedish indie rock, ...

Japan needs to rebrand for SXSW

Mar 21, 2013

Japan needs to rebrand for SXSW

The purpose of the South By Southwest (SXSW) Music Conference and Festival in Austin, Texas, is for musicians to woo new fans and industry insiders. The five-day festival, though, hasn’t been about bands for a while — it’s about brands. Companies jockey for consumer ...

Various Artists 'Upwards and Onwards' (Ano(t)raks)

| Mar 21, 2013

Various Artists "Upwards and Onwards" (Ano(t)raks)

Fledgling online-only label Ano(t)raks takes a somewhat needless risk with their second compilation album, “Upwards and Onwards.” Founded late last year, Ano(t)raks highlighted bedroom-made indie-pop, a style defined by simple guitar playing and equally basic lyrics about love. Indie-pop has been going strong since ...

NMB48 'Teppen Totande!' (Laugh Out Loud Records)

Mar 21, 2013

NMB48 "Teppen Totande!" (Laugh Out Loud Records)

Contrary to popular hemming and hawing, the big problem with Oricon chart-dominating act AKB48 isn’t their music. Their discography certainly contains misfires, but producer Yasushi Akimoto and company can pen great material for the dozens-strong group. Last year, they boasted two of the best ...

There's no battering the Tempura Kidz spirit

Mar 7, 2013

There's no battering the Tempura Kidz spirit

The members of Tempura Kidz have danced in front of thousands of strangers at sold-out venues across Japan, including Tokyo's famed Budokan and the Summer Sonic festival. Yet on a Thursday night in a Harajuku office building, the teenage quintet is nervous.