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Paellas aim to redefine the sound of 'now'

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Fitting into the sound of the moment while still standing apart from it can be a tricky thing to do. Paellas guitarist Satoshi Anan says he wanted the feeling of “now” to come out on his band’s newest album, “Pressure.” “But I didn’t want to make it like fast-fashion clothes ...

Jan 17, 2017

K-pop star Rain to ring modest wedding bells

South Korean pop icon Rain announced his engagement to top actress Kim Tae-hee in a handwritten letter to fans Tuesday — but said their wedding would be low key given the country’s economic and political woes. “I am going to be a good husband ...

Hamburg opens new concert hall with classical performance

Jan 13, 2017

Hamburg opens new concert hall with classical performance

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Hamburg’s spectacular new Elbphilharmonie concert hall finally hosted its first concert on Jan. 11, several years behind schedule and far over the original budget. President Joachim Gauck and Chancellor Angela Merkel attended the maiden concert, which was conducted by Thomas Hengelbrock. The NDR Elbphilharmonie ...

Where Japan's club culture needs to go in 2017

| Jan 8, 2017

Where Japan's club culture needs to go in 2017

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Last month, I was invited to speak at the inaugural Tokyo Dance Music Event — a conference consisting of workshops and talks, loosely modeled on long-running international equivalents like the Amsterdam Dance Event. On the first morning of the two-day program, I was asked ...

Shamisen faces crisis as cat skins fall from favor

Dec 29, 2016

Shamisen faces crisis as cat skins fall from favor

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Few instruments are as integral to a nation’s traditional culture as Japan’s shamisen, whose evocative sound accompanies a range of performances from kabuki and puppet plays to folk songs and geisha entertainments in teahouses. But in the 21st century, the three-stringed instrument is facing ...

SMAP makes final appearance on signature variety show before breakup

Dec 27, 2016

SMAP makes final appearance on signature variety show before breakup

SMAP made its final appearance as a group Monday ahead of its planned breakup Saturday, on the final episode of the pop act’s signature variety show. The final episode of “SMAP×SMAP,” a show that featured SMAP’s members singing, cooking and performing comedy, was made ...

Wham! 1980s pop icon George Michael dead at 53

Dec 26, 2016

Wham! 1980s pop icon George Michael dead at 53

British pop singer George Michael, who shot to fame in the 1980s with Wham! and continued as a solo artist, died on Sunday at his home in England. He was 53. “It is with great sadness that we can confirm our beloved son, brother ...

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 ...