Music Topics

Expe 'Emeralda'

Dec 20, 2012

Expe "Emeralda"

by Erik Luebs

As Expe, Takatoshi Yoshitake’s October release “Emeralda” approaches the technical thresholds of guitar and percussion, but avoids the egotistical posturing that characterizes much progressive music. Instead, “Emeralda” dives deep into meter and timbre all while maintaining a cool, nuanced sensibility. It’s a funk record ...

Jazz Collective 'Jazz Collective'

Dec 20, 2012

Jazz Collective "Jazz Collective"

by Sean Smith

If you’ve been to any jazz or funk gigs in the Kanto area over the last couple of years, there’s a good chance you may have seen trombonist Takao Hirose up on stage. In addition to featuring in the horn section for other acts ...

Various Artists 'Fogpak #4'

Nov 15, 2012

Various Artists "Fogpak #4"

by Patrick ST. Michel

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 ...

Chatmonchy 'Henshin'

Nov 1, 2012

Chatmonchy "Henshin"

by Shawn Despres

Since making their major label debut in 2005, Chatmonchy has established itself as one of the country’s most popular female rock bands. As a trio, they released several chart-topping discs and sold out gigs at the iconic Nippon Budokan. In 2010, the band played ...

Mamadrive 'Mousou Tengoku'

Oct 18, 2012

Mamadrive "Mousou Tengoku"

by Craig Exton

On their first full-length album, Kobe’s Mamadrive prove pretty good at capturing the energy and power of their live shows. Masako Shibuya’s strong voice leads the songs and her distorted bass lines work with Maika Sasakawa’s guitar riffs to weave counter-melodies around the vocal ...

Superfly 'Force'

Oct 11, 2012

Superfly "Force"

by Patrick ST. Michel

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 ...

Miu Sakamoto 'I'm Yours!'

Aug 16, 2012

Miu Sakamoto "I'm Yours!"

by Patrick ST. Michel

“I’m Yours!” is the third album to come out of the partnership between Japanese pop singer Miu Sakamoto and The Shanghai Restoration Project, an American outfit led by Dave Liang that merges traditional Chinese instruments with contemporary electronic music. They’ve been handling the production ...

Her Ghost Friend 'Looking For Wonder'

Jul 26, 2012

Her Ghost Friend "Looking For Wonder"

by Patrick ST. Michel

Something tells me Her Ghost Friend doesn’t believe in the concept of guilty pleasures. The duo of DJ Obake and singer Shinobu Ono create pop music with bouncy hooks that isn’t too far removed from the songs currently topping the Oricon charts. Her Ghost ...

√thumm 'Mimoro'

Jul 19, 2012

√thumm "Mimoro"

by Patrick ST. Michel

Kansai-based trio √thumm’s music doesn’t just mix clashing styles together, but also touches on two cultural representations of Japan today. The group attracted attention around Kansai with two albums of maximalist techno-pop, futuristic numbers resembling the modern overload of Perfume, albeit without big-company money. ...

Various Artists 'Ripple'

Jul 12, 2012

Various Artists "Ripple"

by Ian Martin

It seems that every indie scenester in Japan wants a piece of Nagoya these days. Buzz is growing around the city’s bands, and it’s fast becoming an essential first stop away from home for Tokyo artists and DJ events. One of the reasons for ...

Shonen Knife 'Pop Tune'

Jun 28, 2012

Shonen Knife "Pop Tune"

by Daniel Robson

Shonen Knife’s 18th studio album was released just a few days before the birth of my first child. Good timing, too, because its 10 tracks contain plenty of life lessons I intend to pass on to my beautiful baby girl. The title track is ...