Tower's pop fire flickers?

| Dec 26, 2001

Tower's pop fire flickers?

A lot of people in the music biz — not to mention regular music fans — were shocked by reports that surfaced last week to the effect that all or part of Tower Records’ Japanese operations will be sold. Although Tower has no comment ...

Shed a tear, pass the hat

| Dec 19, 2001

Shed a tear, pass the hat

What a Drag Dept.: Two well-known music mags, FM Fan and Indies Magazine, are calling it quits after their December issues. Falling advertising revenues are why their publishers, Kyodo News and Rittor Music, respectively, have decided to shut them down. FM Fan started publishing ...

You go, girls

| Dec 12, 2001

You go, girls

Cute girls. Snarling guitar. Strong hooks. A pounding beat. What more do you need? Rock trio Go!Go!7188 have combined the above ingredients to come up with an extraordinarily effective brand of rock ‘n’ roll that has proven both artistically satisfying and commercially successful. The ...

The man with the plan

| Dec 5, 2001

The man with the plan

Jack Matsumura is a man with a mission: to turn Nippon Columbia, Japan’s oldest label, into a profitable, hit-making record company once again. Matsumura, who became president and CEO of Nippon Columbia on Oct. 2, certainly has his work cut out for him. The ...

Catching up with Yoko

| Nov 28, 2001

Catching up with Yoko

Question: Who is the most famous Japanese personality in the world? I’d have to say Yoko Ono, although Ichiro Suzuki is now giving her a run for her money — but only in Japan and the United States, whereas Ono is known all over ...

Like Sheena, only happier

| Nov 14, 2001

Like Sheena, only happier

Like many people, when I first heard Hitomi Yaida’s music, I immediately thought: Aha, Ringo Sheena Lite. With her high-pitched, keening voice and energetic, guitar-based pop-rock style, Yaida certainly has a lot in common with Sheena, that twisted pixie. But the resemblance is superficial. ...

Here, there and everywhere

| Nov 7, 2001

Here, there and everywhere

Even though you may not recognize the name Tamio Okuda, you’ve probably heard his music. Okuda is the Svengali behind the extraordinarily successful female duo Puffy, and his love for and deep knowledge of ’60s and ’70s rock comes through loud and clear with ...

| Oct 31, 2001

Hey, world, meet Hasebe

DJ Hasebe looks set to become the latest Japanese platter-spinner to make a name for himself internationally, following in the footsteps of DJ Krush, DJ Honda, Ken Ishii and Captain Funk. DJ Hasebe Although his music is firmly rooted in “old-school” ’80s hip-hop, Hasebe’s ...

| Oct 24, 2001

Three out of 50 ain't bad

Ska-core, that curious musical hybrid, seems to have finally come into its own in Japan. On the Oricon Top 50 album chart for the week ending Oct. 22, there were three Japanese ska-core albums. Skad Missile That’s pretty amazing, considering that, until now, ska-core ...

| Oct 17, 2001

Where dreams come true

Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach. Right? That was certainly true of the various losers and sociopaths who “taught” me when I was in school. But this hoary old adage doesn’t apply to a showbiz school recently launched by leading Japanese record ...