Music Topics

Hiroto Kudo 'Omoid'

Mar 18, 2014

Hiroto Kudo "Omoid"

by Russell Thomas

The musical subgenre glitch reflects our modern relationship to digital sounds, something Hiroto Kudo has picked up on for his new EP, “Omoid.” Glitch is often associated with early video-game music, implying a paradoxical nostalgia for a bygone age — the embryonic beginnings of ...

Babymetal 'Babymetal'

Mar 18, 2014

Babymetal "Babymetal"

by Patrick ST. Michel

It’s not surprising that Babymetal has gone viral. The trio, bringing the seemingly disparate worlds of idol pop and heavy metal together, is a visually striking project perfect for the “weird Japan” fans on the Internet. What’s surprising, however, is seeing Babymetal’s eponymous debut ...

AKB48 'Tsugi no Ashiato'

Feb 18, 2014

AKB48 "Tsugi no Ashiato"

by Patrick ST. Michel

No Japanese music group has been more interesting these past two years than AKB48, but “interesting” doesn’t always mean “good.” Several of the 89-members-and-growing outfit’s most notable moments have been ugly (the Minami Minegishi head-shaving scandal tops that list), but the idol group has ...

Miii 'Everything Happens To You'

Feb 18, 2014

Miii "Everything Happens To You"

by Patrick ST. Michel

After bubbling under the surface for the last couple of years, EDM looks like it will finally get the push it needs this year to become trendy in Japan. Standing for “electronic dance music” — vague advertiser-talk referring to a loud, often bass-heavy, type ...

Girls' Generation 'Love & Peace'

Jan 14, 2014

Girls' Generation "Love & Peace"

by Patrick ST. Michel

K-pop’s golden days in Japan are over. The time when Korean groups could top the Oricon charts and (more importantly) monopolize media coverage is now a memory, in part due to an oversaturation of new acts. K-pop remains a strong niche market, though, even ...

Metoronori 'Veil'

Jan 14, 2014

Metoronori "Veil"

by Patrick ST. Michel

Time will tell whether “Veil” sounds good come warmer months, but right now it’s the perfect album for winter. Tokyo artist Metoronori’s third full-length album appeared online in the middle of last week, when the wind blew especially cold. With the heat cranked up ...

Nov 19, 2013

Arashi "Love"

by Patrick ST. Michel

At the time of writing this review, Arashi’s “Love” has been bought more than any other Japanese album this year. Barring a sudden full-length LP from AKB48 or a cash-in compilation from Mr. Children, the group’s 12th CD should end 2013 in the same ...

Elen Never Sleeps 'Rum'

Nov 19, 2013

Elen Never Sleeps "Rum"

by Patrick ST. Michel

Recent advancements in recording technology has made it easier than ever before for anyone with computer access to create and distribute their work from the comfort of home. Paradoxically, these advances also allow artists to hide themselves within their songs. There are countless effects ...

Biollante 'Alone in this World'

Oct 22, 2013

Biollante "Alone in this World"

by Patrick ST. Michel

Tokyo’s Biollante has found a clever way of standing out among the ever-crowded field of Japanese bedroom music producers — get melancholic. The creator’s debut album “Alone In This World” (feel the sadness already?) fits like a glove among the works of at-home producers ...

Perfume 'Level3'

Oct 22, 2013

Perfume "Level3"

by Patrick ST. Michel

“Level3″ is going to look amazing live. Perfume member Ayaka “A-Chan” Nishiwaki reportedly told producer Yasutaka Nakata that her trio wanted songs suited to the huge venues they’d perform it in. Nakata has obliged. Perfume’s fourth studio album — the first with access to ...

Maximum The Hormone 'Yoshu Fukushu'

Sep 18, 2013

Maximum The Hormone "Yoshu Fukushu"

by Patrick ST. Michel

Maximum The Hormone’s sixth album, “Yoshu Fukushu,” proves its members know how to laugh at themselves. The four-piece have long been slapped with the “hardcore” and “nu-metal” tags, putting the band in the company of other such acts like Limp Bizkit and Korn, who ...

Various artists 'Tanukineiri Drink Sampler'

Sep 18, 2013

Various artists "Tanukineiri Drink Sampler"

by Patrick ST. Michel

It’s getting harder to listen to netlabel-released albums in one sitting recently. Electronic-music compilation series “Fogpak” recently put out a collection featuring 48 different artists (should we call the Guinness people?). Now Tanukineiri Records has popped out “Tanukineiri Drink Sampler” — 90 minutes and ...