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Shawn Despres

Shawn Despres has been contributing to the Japan Times’ music page since 2005, and he has a passion for writing about the independent music scene in East Asia. He spent several years living in Yokohama and currently resides in Seoul.

For Shawn Despres's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

Rock, J-pop and dance: Albums we liked in 2014

Dec 16, 2014

Rock, J-pop and dance: Albums we liked in 2014

The year-end album charts in Japan have a tendency to prop up the same acts year after year: Exile, anything that ends in a “48,” and almost every group from the Johnny & Associates stable of boy bands. Writers at The Japan Times, however, ...

Bo Ningen teams up with Savages for Dadaist jam

Nov 25, 2014

Bo Ningen teams up with Savages for Dadaist jam

For many music fans, getting up early at multiday music outings is no easy task. But the few thousand folks who mustered the energy to get to the Red Marquee stage for the start of Fuji Rock 2013′s final day were treated to one ...

Ogre You Asshole's 'Papercraft' marks end of a conceptual trilogy

Nov 11, 2014

Ogre You Asshole's 'Papercraft' marks end of a conceptual trilogy

When it came time to make a fourth full-length, 2011′s “Homely,” Nagano rock act Ogre You Asshole was ready for a change. The quartet’s first three albums were filled with punchy guitar-driven indie rock influenced by the likes of American act Modest Mouse. While ...

Turtle Island's bringing the whole gang to Asagiri Jam

Sep 30, 2014

Turtle Island's bringing the whole gang to Asagiri Jam

Organized each fall by Fuji Rock promoter Smash, Asagiri Jam is a much more laidback affair than its famed older sister. It features two stages and the music wraps up early each night. And while Fuji Rock has some 200 plus bands, Asagiri Jam ...

Startline hopes to tap into Japan's punk love

Sep 2, 2014

Startline hopes to tap into Japan's punk love

In the 2000s, Gumx was one of South Korea’s top-tier punk acts. With that band on indefinite hiatus, though, Gumx drummer Gun Choi is now looking to achieve similar success with Startline, a punk trio he formed in March of last year. “With Startline ...

Kenta Koie and Crossfaith earn some rock cred overseas

Jun 3, 2014

Kenta Koie and Crossfaith earn some rock cred overseas

In February, Osaka electro-infused metalcore act Crossfaith toured Britain with Limp Bizkit. Sharing stages and hanging out with the 1990s rap-metal act and its celebrity frontman Fred Durst reinforced the importance of not letting success go to their heads. “That was the biggest tour ...

BBQ Chickens keep new album 'Broken Bubbles' short and sweet

Oct 9, 2013

BBQ Chickens keep new album 'Broken Bubbles' short and sweet

When making music, Tokyo punk/metal hybrid act BBQ Chickens like to keep things short. The quartet have yet to craft a song that lasts two minutes. A handful of their cuts don’t even break the 10-second mark. The band will tour across the country ...