Topics

Makoto Ozone set to step out with his other family

by Frank Spignese

During his years in New York, pianist Makoto Ozone fronted a number of small combos and gigged with such heavyweights as Branford Marsalis, Gary Burton and Christian McBride. But the collaborators he has come back to time and time again are his Japan-based big band, No Name Horses. This 15-member ...

Perseverance wins Ningen Isu an encore

Jan 20, 2015

Perseverance wins Ningen Isu an encore

by Ryotaro Aoki

Kimonos and heavy metal. It’s a combination that few groups have pulled off convincingly. While the aesthetic may have been used last year to turn (or bang) more than a few heads in the West by heavy metal idol unit Babymetal, the tiny trio ...

2014 a groundhog year for top record labels

Jan 20, 2015

2014 a groundhog year for top record labels

by Daisuke Kikuchi

Avex has landed another No. 1 spot on the charts, but this time it’s for the record label itself. Oricon Inc., the company behind the domestic music industry’s ranking charts, announced its annual market report for 2014 last week, with Avex Group Holdings Inc. ...

The meat and masochism of Swans

Jan 20, 2015

The meat and masochism of Swans

by James Hadfield

When Swans last played Tokyo in 2013, the venue itself seemed to be groaning under the weight of the onslaught. Two hours into a set of tempestuous rock catharsis, the power cut out; once restored, the group kept playing for another 30 minutes. Such ...

Shigge 'SunLimeJuice'

| Jan 20, 2015

Shigge "SunLimeJuice"

by Patrick ST. Michel

Since emerging in the summer of 2013, Fukuoka label Yesterday Once More has made some of the country’s most intriguing electronic music in recent memory. The artists hovering around this Internet imprint embraced styles that have been in vogue with the Japanese do-it-yourself dance ...

E-Girls 'E.G. Time'

| Jan 20, 2015

E-Girls "E.G. Time"

by Patrick ST. Michel

Idol group E-Girls have a knack for covers. On last year’s “Colorful Pop,” they opened with a song borrowing the main synthesizer line from Yellow Magic Orchestra’s “Rydeen” before later transforming Japanese disco tunes and Bananarama singles into tightly crafted blasts of electro-pop. It ...

Royal Blood reigns over British rock

Jan 13, 2015

Royal Blood reigns over British rock

by Shaun Curran

The dressing room of Camden’s Electric Ballroom in London is hardly the most glamorous of settings at the best of times, and for Royal Blood it is the early evening after the night before. The previous night, the blues rock duo played its biggest ...

Lantis looks to woo a dedicated fan base with anisong tour

Jan 13, 2015

Lantis looks to woo a dedicated fan base with anisong tour

by Roland Kelts

Fans breach the language barrier at overseas expos of Japanese pop culture as soon as the music starts. Legions of non-Japanese, most of whose knowledge of the language is limited to basic greetings and exclamations, burst into karaoke-style singalongs, mimicking dance moves and waving ...

Jan 6, 2015

Vinyl sales are a rare bonus for U.S. music industry

Vinyl sales and music streaming both soared by more than 50 percent in 2014 in the United States, even as overall sales kept declining, a music industry monitor said. With few blockbuster releases and streaming becoming more mainstream, consumers in the world’s largest music ...