| Feb 26, 2017

Music venue Three tries to up its numbers

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Tokyo’s independent live music scene has always been somewhat dysfunctional.Complaints from performers about the prevalence of the ubiquitous pay-to-play ticket quota system — in which bands need to guarantee a minimum number of customers — have gone way past outrage and into the realm ...

| Jan 29, 2017

Happier times in the era of Tetsuya Komuro

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A 58-year-old Japanese man with a dyed blond mullet in a thick, woolly sweater hunches over a series of a dozen keyboards. With a casual confidence his fingers trip through a few bright, up-tempo chords. There’s something familiar about the sound — a nostalgia ...

The best of Japanese indie in 2016

| Dec 25, 2016

The best of Japanese indie in 2016

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While the J-pop mainstream seemed in 2016 to have finally and irreversibly consummated the awkward courtship of streaming technology, the year was business as usual for the basement-dwellers of the indie and underground scenes. And as usual, the result was a raft of terrific ...

The dream of the '90s is alive in Kansai

| May 29, 2016

The dream of the '90s is alive in Kansai

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A big part of Japanese music’s wild overseas image is defined by groundbreaking artists from the Kansai area.Encompassing Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe, as well as nearby Nara and Wakayama, Kansai’s scene has exerted a powerful influence over international perceptions of Japanese music, particularly when ...