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Record Store Day promises some hits

Apr 12, 2015

Record Store Day promises some hits

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It has taken a few years to catch on in Japan, but Record Store Day (RSD) is now well-known among music fans. This year’s edition falls on April 18, so look out for limited-edition items and a few shows to celebrate. Last year’s RSD ...

Charli XCX hits her J-pop groove

Apr 9, 2015

Charli XCX hits her J-pop groove

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“I’ve tried to immerse myself in Japanese culture,” says Charli XCX, international hit maker and Britain’s next big pop-star-in-waiting. Of course, that’s the sort of comment you might expect the 22-year-old to make on the eve of her first headline shows in the country ...

Broken in life, Billie Holiday adored at 100

Apr 5, 2015

Broken in life, Billie Holiday adored at 100

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Billie Holiday died with just $50 to her name taped to her thigh, but on the 100th anniversary of her birth the jazz legend is enjoying a renaissance as a trailblazer for generations of singers. Holiday was broken down by heroin use, police harassment ...

CQ will take you to the world's end

Apr 3, 2015

CQ will take you to the world's end

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Music genres can sometimes be helpful guidelines for a band, but they can also end up being an albatross around a musician’s neck, especially if they’re part of your group’s moniker. Just ask Hiroshi Sasabuchi, drummer for rock band CQ and formerly of Tokyo ...

Pigeondust seeks out the story in a sample

Apr 3, 2015

Pigeondust seeks out the story in a sample

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When Chiba-based hip-hop producer Yuta Yamaoka, better known as Pigeondust, isn’t busy flipping through crates of dusty vinyl at used record shops, he’s at home dissecting and connecting bits and pieces of sounds, lifted from those records. “I could make music from scratch if ...

Lamar's 'Butterfly' keeps afloat at No. 1

Apr 3, 2015

Lamar's 'Butterfly' keeps afloat at No. 1

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Rapper Kendrick Lamar held onto the top spot of the weekly U.S. Billboard 200 album chart last Wednesday, in a week that saw little change among the top-selling records. Lamar’s “To Pimp A Butterfly,” his first chart-topping album, sold another 107,000 albums and 49,000 ...

SXSW's Japan Nite celebrates 20 lively years

Mar 24, 2015

SXSW's Japan Nite celebrates 20 lively years

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For the past two decades, the Japan Nite showcase has been one of the most celebrated events at the South By Southwest (SXSW) music conference and festival, a gathering where industry types, everyday music fans and performers from all over the world descend on ...

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 ...

LLLL stays 'Faithful' to honest approach

Mar 17, 2015

LLLL stays 'Faithful' to honest approach

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Despite his elusive online persona, Kazuto Okawa, aka LLLL (pronounced “four-el”), is strikingly open and honest about his views in person. Speaking in a small Koenji cafe, he discusses his sophomore album, “Faithful,” released this week via Tokyo label Progressive Form, with a critical ...

Negoto's 'Vision' sees beyond genres

Mar 17, 2015

Negoto's 'Vision' sees beyond genres

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It’s an origin story that sounds like something out of a coming-of-age film: On a whim, four friends decide to enter a battle of the bands-style competition; not necessarily to get signed or to “make it,” but to have something fun to do together ...