Shawn's RSS feed

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:

Best of 2011: Vampillia 'Rule the World/Deathtiny Land'

/ Dec 29, 2011

Best of 2011: Vampillia "Rule the World/Deathtiny Land"

Wanting to attract attention at Texas’ South by Southwest music Festival in March, Osaka’s Vampillia bound vocalist Psychic Yamanashi in a plastic-wrap straitjacket, tied a chain around his neck, and led him through downtown Austin. To add to the spectacle, he periodically had fake ...

EKD 'Bon Voyage!'

/ Dec 1, 2011

EKD "Bon Voyage!"

Comprised of a guitarist, a DJ, and a percussionist, EKD have opened Japan dates for globe-trotting rabble rousers such as France’s Manu Chao and Spain’s Obrint Pas. This year, the Tokyo three-piece have showcased their infectious multicultural tunes in Europe and also performed at ...

Ruins Alone 'Ruins Alone'

/ Nov 24, 2011

Ruins Alone "Ruins Alone"

Widely recognized as one of the most innovative drummers in the Japanese underground music scene, Tatsuya Yoshida spent nearly two decades playing as part of the bass and drums duo, Ruins. During his time in the group, Yoshida worked with four different bassists. After ...

Bitch Magnet

/ Nov 3, 2011

Bitch Magnet

The flier for next week’s Tokyo concert by recently reunited posthardcore pioneers Bitch Magnet boasts praise from Ian Williams, the guitarist for acclaimed rock act Battles: “Probably more than any other band, Bitch Magnet sent me in the direction I took with the music ...

Fictional faces of Fact

Oct 27, 2011

Fictional faces of Fact

Chiba posthardcore band Fact are currently holed up in an Orlando, Florida, studio recording their fourth full-length with producer Michael “Elvis” Baskette.The as-yet untitled effort is scheduled to come out sometime in January. With little time to spare, it is a good thing that ...

BBQ Chickens 'Crossover and Over'

/ Oct 20, 2011

BBQ Chickens "Crossover and Over"

Ken Yokoyama must be feeling rather nostalgic these days. One of Japan’s more prominent punk figures, in September the guitarist reunited with his 1990s band, Hi-Standard, and this month he’s put out new music with his early noughties project BBQ Chickens. Formed shortly after ...

The Bawdies get ready for their  Beatles moment

Sep 15, 2011

The Bawdies get ready for their Beatles moment

Dropping their fifth full-length album, “Live the Life I Love,” at the beginning of June made The Bawdies prime candidates for Japan’s continually expanding summer festival circuit. The Tokyo four-piece have spent the last two months showcasing their infectious brand of throwback 1950s- and ...

Me First and the Gimme Gimmes cover Japan tunes

Sep 1, 2011

Me First and the Gimme Gimmes cover Japan tunes

Punk cover band Me First and the Gimme Gimmes are touring Japan to promote their new EP “Sing in Japanese” this month. Comprised of players from famed punk and rock acts NOFX, Lagwagon, Swingin’ Utters, and Foo Fighters, they will play Tokyo, Nagoya and ...

No sign of a summer break for The Hiatus

Jul 28, 2011

No sign of a summer break for The Hiatus

As the guitarist and vocalist of Japanese pop-punk band Ellegarden, Takeshi Hosomi toured throughout the country, played in the United States and South Korea, and even opened for Foo Fighters.When Ellegarden announced in 2008 that they were taking an indefinite break from making music ...

Orchestrating a ska paradise for the summer

| Jul 22, 2011

Orchestrating a ska paradise for the summer

It’s a standard response for bands to say they are surprised by their longevity and accomplishments, but Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra, Japan’s best-known ska act, are unlikely to be overly humble.“When we first came together I knew this band would last for a really ...