| Jan 24, 2016

Afrirampo reunion may save 2016

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While 2016 kicked off for most of the music world with David Bowie tricking hundreds of thousands of people into buying a jazz-prog concept album about death, the message from the heart of J-pop was loud and clear: “DO NOT WORRY, NOTHING WILL EVER ...

The best Japanese indie albums of 2015

| Dec 27, 2015

The best Japanese indie albums of 2015

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While it remains this column’s firm conviction that J-pop is trapped in a self-perpetuating dark age, the indie and underground music scenes provide a far livelier picture of Japan’s musical landscape. In 2015, there was such a flow of fascinating new releases arriving from ...

Leave charts to fans of music, not gimmicks

| Mar 24, 2015

Leave charts to fans of music, not gimmicks

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Anyone who pays any kind of attention to the music charts in Japan knows that for many years now they’ve been a joke.Year-end charts are increasingly clogged up with mass idol collectives, sales buoyed by multiple purchases from “otaku” (obsessive fans), encouraged by marketing ...