March: Grimes, Andy Stott head east and west

Feb 28, 2013

March: Grimes, Andy Stott head east and west

March means the (eventual) return of nice weather, so you no longer have to bundle up or stay indoors cursing the cold world beyond your apartment. And as the climate warms up, for those in need of more incentive to venture outside, there are ...

Dirty Beaches draws from Serbian film on new album

Feb 7, 2013

Dirty Beaches draws from Serbian film on new album

Alex Zhang Hungtai is constantly in motion. The Taiwanese-born artist, who performs under the name Dirty Beaches, has said in interviews the idea of “home” doesn’t mean much to him. He’s lived in Taipei, Honolulu, Shanghai and Montreal, and is an avid traveler on ...

February: My Bloody Valentine returns

Jan 31, 2013

February: My Bloody Valentine returns

January featured a ton of great concerts across Japan, but February might be even better — hope your wallet isn’t too thin this month. One of Tokyo’s best shows this month also happens to be one you should get on right away. Apocalyptic rockers ...

'Mr. Children 2005-2010 <macro>'

Jan 23, 2013

“Mr. Children 2005-2010 <macro>”

My Japan Times colleague Ian Martin nailed the state of Japanese pop music when he wrote that it was “clinging on to the hoary old remains of the past.” The Oricon Chart’s top albums of 2012 list was dominated by “Best Of” compilations, with ...

Shortcake Collage Tape 'Spirited Summer'

| Jan 23, 2013

Shortcake Collage Tape "Spirited Summer"

Creating music meant to purposely evoke the past can be tricky. Recreate the sounds of a specific decade too closely and the music becomes too nostalgic, pining for a time the artist never even knew existed. On the other hand, approach bygone times too ...

Musician Shugo Tokumaru starts to adjust to the spotlight

Nov 23, 2012

Musician Shugo Tokumaru starts to adjust to the spotlight

Among the many billboards looming over Shibuya Station crossing, one of the busiest and most famous intersections in Tokyo, is one for Tower Records that features musician Shugo Tokumaru. The picture looks slightly awkward. The artist sits on a spiral staircase and clutches a ...

Various Artists 'Fogpak #4'

Nov 15, 2012

Various Artists "Fogpak #4"

Walk into the nearest record store and check out the prices — CDs for ¥2,000 on the low end, some creeping into the ¥3,000 range — it’s a lot for 10 or 12 songs. Thankfully, a legal online alternative exists. SoundCloud and Bandcamp allow ...

Superfly 'Force'

Oct 11, 2012

Superfly "Force"

Superfly does one type of sound so well that there is no reason to try anything new. The project — primarily the stage name of singer Shiho Ochi, with some songwriting assists from Koichi Tabo — plays guitar-centric rock indebted to the music of ...