Hard rock, J-pop rule Summer Sonic

Aug 14, 2013

Hard rock, J-pop rule Summer Sonic

Veteran Japanese rockers Mr. Children attracted so many fans to this year’s edition of the Summer Sonic music festival that they made Smashing Pumpkins’ frontman Billy Corgan upset. “Thank-you for the warm reception,” he said sarcastically in Osaka on Saturday, in response to the ...

Namie Amuro 'Feel'

Aug 14, 2013

Namie Amuro "Feel"

The age of the J-pop diva has long passed, those halcyon days of Whitney Houston-inspired vocals and million-unit-moving singles. The female entertainers from this period have recently coped by embracing American trends. Kumi Koda struck Oricon Single Chart gold last year with “Go To ...

Smany 'komoriuta'

Aug 14, 2013

Smany "komoriuta"

Netlabel culture in Japan — referring to Web-only music labels that distribute tunes online, usually for free — has been around long enough to develop its own set of minor celebrities and “star” imprints. Bunkai-Kei has become one of the most popular of these ...

DJ Miso Shiru and MC Gohan raps and roasts on 'Mother's Food'

Jul 17, 2013

DJ Miso Shiru and MC Gohan raps and roasts on 'Mother's Food'

A gig doesn’t double as dinner, but at DJ Miso Shiru and MC Gohan’s shows there’s a good chance food will be involved. Besides a hip-hop set, the audience can sometimes participate in cooking demonstrations. “At one show, I sang about manju (a Japanese ...

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu 'Nanda Collection'

Jul 17, 2013

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu "Nanda Collection"

“Am I an adult? Or am I a kid?” sings Kyary Pamyu Pamyu on “Furisodation,” a song about the Harajuku blogger-turned-model-turned-pop-star turning 20 earlier this year. That’s the question that looms over all of her sophomore album, “Nanda Collection.” The album is obsessed with ...

Slow Beach 'Lover Lover'

| Jul 17, 2013

Slow Beach "Lover Lover"

Slow Beach is somewhat of a supergroup in Tokyo’s indie-rock scene. The group finds Dai Ogasawara, founder of twee-leaning netlabel Ano(t)raks, hooking up with producer Kai Takahashi, who is responsible for some of the most interesting electronic compositions of the year, including a chilled-out ...

Homecomings' harmonies help them stand out in a twee herd

Jul 3, 2013

Homecomings' harmonies help them stand out in a twee herd

All a university really needs to get its students to come out to an event is the promise of free food. However, Kyoto Seika University enlisted four students from the school’s folk-music club to entice a crowd to a welcome party in April 2012, ...

miwa 'Delight'

Jun 20, 2013

miwa "Delight"

The title of miwa’s first two releases, “Guitarissimo” and “Guitarium,” seemingly announced her musical niche. Those top-selling albums (her debut made her the first Japanese performer born in the 1990s to take the Oricon album chart’s top spot) revolved around guitar, in the form ...

May.e 'Mattiola'

Jun 20, 2013

May.e "Mattiola"

Thousands of people have uploaded videos of themselves to YouTube playing acoustic covers of well-known songs. Armed with a guitar, a voice and dreams of viral stardom, the covers tackle everything from contemporary pop to hip-hop, and more often than not are done with ...