Crystal 'Monsoon'

| Aug 21, 2015

Crystal "Monsoon"

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When I was first listening to Crystal’s “Typhoon,” I was, coincidentally, also watching radar visuals of Super Typhoon Atsani’s approach to Japan — and they matched the music perfectly. This is less because of the storm Crystal whips up on the track — “Typhoon” ...

Suchmos 'The Bay'

| Aug 21, 2015

Suchmos "The Bay"

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The first full album from Suchmos, titled, “The Bay,” is just the kind of soundtrack you need for a Saturday night. The band’s name is adapted from Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong, and “The Bay” gives a nod to the jazz legend with the kind of ...

Various artists 'Fogpak #13'

| Aug 21, 2015

Various artists "Fogpak #13"

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Since 2012, the “Fogpak” compilation series has promoted independent electronic acts from Japan (and, lately, abroad). In recent months, Fogpak’s support of fledgling producers has become crucial — the Internet used to be a real alternative to the musical mainstream, but major labels have ...

| Aug 21, 2015

Kis-My-Ft2 "Kis-My-World"

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“Kis-My-World,” the fourth studio album from Johnny & Associates’ boy band Kis-My-Ft2, is all about positivity. On album opener ” ‘4th’ Overture,” the guys preach hope and then shift into an upbeat vibe for the rest of the album. While the happy approach can ...

Southern All Stars 'Budou'

| Apr 17, 2015

Southern All Stars "Budou"

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Southern All Stars “Budou” (Victor / Taishita) Southern All Stars don’t need to try. Japan’s music media and industry decided the rock quartet was historically important long ago. A 2003 poll by retailer HMV named them the most influential Japanese group ever, and plenty ...

Tenkiame 'So Sad About Us'

| Apr 17, 2015

Tenkiame "So Sad About Us"

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Tenkiame “So Sad About Us” (Independent) Tokyo’s Azusa Suga is a busy man. For the past four years he has been managing online label Canata Records, recorded woozy electronic pop under the name Shortcake Collage Tape and played in indie-pop band For Tracy Hyde, ...

Various Artists 'Shiori Sampler'

| Feb 17, 2015

Various Artists "Shiori Sampler"

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Although no longer the economical solution they were back when we still had to buy records, label samplers in the age of copious amounts of free music have become indispensable once again for a slightly different reason — to combat paralysis of choice. “Shiori ...