| Oct 3, 2001

No reason to feel ashamed

The savagely sultry summer has mercifully given way to the cooler, mellow vibe of autumn. It’s time to savor such seasonal delights as sanma (Pacific saury), shinmai (newly harvested rice) and the latest Miyuki Nakajima album, which comes out like clockwork each year around ...

| Sep 26, 2001

Pop to the sixth power

Hermann H. & the Pacemakers are one of Japanese pop music’s brightest new hopes. As with the superlative Cymbals spotlighted in last week’s column, this six-piece band specializes in the musical genre known as “power pop.” But in the case of Hermann (as the ...

| Sep 19, 2001

Prepared for blastoff

The title of British pub-rocker Nick Lowe’s 1978 album “Pure Pop for Now People” aptly describes the sound of Tokyo-based band The Cymbals. The trio’s music is bright, intelligent, catchy and easy on the ears — but with enough of a rock punch to ...

| Sep 12, 2001

You ain't nuthin' but a henjin

What a wacky guy Junichiro Koizumi is. When he’s not battling bureaucracy or trying to revive the ailing economy, Japan’s unprecedentedly popular prime minister likes nothing better than to chill out and listen to the music of the King: Elvis Presley. Junichiro Koizumi poses ...

| Sep 5, 2001

Welcome to the 'real' world

“Utada Unplugged” — it has a nice ring to it. Hikaru Utada is the latest artist to get the MTV Unplugged treatment, and this correspondent was one of a small group of media folk invited to the taping of the diminutive diva’s MTV Japan ...

| Jul 18, 2001

Taking the F-beat pulse

A favorite expedient of music-writer types is to write about a given city’s “sound,” lumping all the music that comes out of the city under one neat, convenient heading. We then explain what constitutes that sound and why it is The Next Big Thing, ...

| Jul 11, 2001

Please re-release me

Are you tired of hearing “Ashita ga Arusa”? This venerable kayokyoku pop classic (originally recorded by the late Kyu Sakamoto in 1963) has been revived not once, but twice so far this year. In mid-March, those wild and crazy guys from Osaka, the Ulfuls, ...

| Jul 4, 2001

Ajico gets it all together

The supergroup. What a horribly dated concept that is. It smacks of corporate rock and overinflated, believe-your-own-hype egos, as in, “Hey man, you’re the coolest guy in your group, and he’s the main man in his band, and without me, my band is nothing, ...

| Jun 29, 2001

They'll thank you for it someday

“I want my child to have the advantages I never had when I was a kid.” When it comes to cliches uttered by doting parents, that’s one of the all-time classics. I never thought I’d find myself saying it, but as I keep finding ...

| Jun 27, 2001

Love on the dance floor

Talk about good timing. Just as the enervating ennui of tsuyu set in, reggae singer Mikidozan released “Lifetime Respect,” whose mellow vibe and infectious melody have taken it to the top of the charts. (It’s No. 1 on the July 2 Oricon singles chart). ...