Music Topics

May.e 'Mattiola'

Jun 20, 2013

May.e "Mattiola"

by Patrick ST. Michel

Thousands of people have uploaded videos of themselves to YouTube playing acoustic covers of well-known songs. Armed with a guitar, a voice and dreams of viral stardom, the covers tackle everything from contemporary pop to hip-hop, and more often than not are done with ...

Noah × Sela 'Split EP'

May 16, 2013

Noah × Sela "Split EP"

by Patrick ST. Michel

Over the course of its six-year existence, Flau Records has carved out an identity as a record label offering intimate music. The actual sonic styles of the artists represented by the acts signed to the border-hopping imprint differ — some make proper songs, some ...

Momoiro Clover Z '5th Dimension'

May 16, 2013

Momoiro Clover Z "5th Dimension"

by Ian Martin

There were some curious rumors flying around prior to the release of “5th Dimension,” the second album by idol quintet Momoiro Clover Z, some of them intriguing (“It’s going to be a concept album”) and some worrying (longtime producer Kenichi “Hyadain” Maeyamada reportedly called ...

Apr 18, 2013

Kis-My-Ft2 "Good Ikuze!" (Avex Trax)

by Patrick ST. Michel

Odds are, Japan Times reader, that you do not like Kis-My-Ft2. Maybe you’ve been unable to escape the bleating “Wanna Beeee!!!” while out strolling in Shibuya, or maybe they lost you at, “From the people who brought you SMAP and Arashi!” So this review ...

i-fls 'Diary of Spectre' (self-release)

Apr 18, 2013

i-fls "Diary of Spectre" (self-release)

by Patrick ST. Michel

The first song I ever made — and I’m willing to wager many who graduated high school in the mid 2000s share this experience — was using Apple’s GarageBand, a software application that lets people make music on their computers. “I made a killer ...

NMB48 'Teppen Totande!' (Laugh Out Loud Records)

Mar 21, 2013

NMB48 "Teppen Totande!" (Laugh Out Loud Records)

by Patrick ST. Michel

Contrary to popular hemming and hawing, the big problem with Oricon chart-dominating act AKB48 isn’t their music. Their discography certainly contains misfires, but producer Yasushi Akimoto and company can pen great material for the dozens-strong group. Last year, they boasted two of the best ...

Yucca 'Our Journey''

Dec 27, 2012

Yucca "Our Journey''

by Craig Exton

Six long years after their first two enjoyable albums, Tokyo band Yucca made a welcome return in June 2012 with the even more impressive “Our Journey (to anywhere we want).” It may not be the most innovative album of 2012, but because of its ...

The 50 Kaitenz 'Rock 'n' Roll Love Letter'

Dec 27, 2012

The 50 Kaitenz "Rock 'n' Roll Love Letter"

by Daisuke Kikuchi

Rock music in Japan has become reliant on programming, synthesizers and new technology. While that electronic advancement has made it easier for bands to start out through D.I.Y. websites, new artists can sometimes lack live-performance techniques and the experience of interacting with an audience. ...

Expe 'Emeralda'

Dec 20, 2012

Expe "Emeralda"

by Erik Luebs

As Expe, Takatoshi Yoshitake’s October release “Emeralda” approaches the technical thresholds of guitar and percussion, but avoids the egotistical posturing that characterizes much progressive music. Instead, “Emeralda” dives deep into meter and timbre all while maintaining a cool, nuanced sensibility. It’s a funk record ...

Jazz Collective 'Jazz Collective'

Dec 20, 2012

Jazz Collective "Jazz Collective"

by Sean Smith

If you’ve been to any jazz or funk gigs in the Kanto area over the last couple of years, there’s a good chance you may have seen trombonist Takao Hirose up on stage. In addition to featuring in the horn section for other acts ...

Various Artists 'Fogpak #4'

Nov 15, 2012

Various Artists "Fogpak #4"

by Patrick ST. Michel

Walk into the nearest record store and check out the prices — CDs for ¥2,000 on the low end, some creeping into the ¥3,000 range — it’s a lot for 10 or 12 songs. Thankfully, a legal online alternative exists. SoundCloud and Bandcamp allow ...