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Patrick St. Michel
Patrick St. Michel is a Tokyo-based writer with a focus on Japanese music. He runs the blog Make Believe Melodies, which has focused on Japanese independent music since 2009. Besides The Japan Times, he also contributes to MTV 81 and The Atlantic.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music
Nov 10, 2011
At Innit's Osaka parties it's bring your own beats
Osaka's Innit crew don't hold your typical club event. Though their parties feature a mix of live performers and DJs, founder Masayuki Kubo wants to attract a particular type of reveler — aspiring artists. The Osaka native offers a ¥500 discount for anyone who brings along electronic music...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music
Nov 3, 2011
Canopies and Drapes "Violet, Lilly, Rose, Daisy" (Love Action)
The world Canopies And Drapes crafts on her debut EP "Violet, Lilly, Rose, Daisy" feels like a particularly woozy dream, albeit one undercut by the ever-lurking obstacles of reality. The project of Tokyo artist "Chick," her music hasn't always sounded like this — she used to sing for the under-appreciated...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music
Oct 13, 2011
Honeydew "Don't Know Where"
"Don't Know Where" lacks prerelease hype, sub-subgenre classification or needless gimmicks (unless consistant lyrical allusions to driving cars qualifies — autocore, anyone?). Honeydew's debut album is a simple collection of feedback-assisted indie pop reminiscent of U.S. group Yo La Tengo's catchier...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music
Oct 13, 2011
Sakanaction "DocumentaLy"
"DocumentaLy," rock outfit Sakanaction's fifth full-length, stands as the group's best effort to date and one of the biggest mainstream triumphs in Japanese music this year. The Tokyo-based band didn't accomplish this through a sudden change in sound or any other grandiose moves often associated with...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music
Oct 6, 2011
Seiji
Dance-music maker Paul Dolby, aka Seiji, has played with many electronic genres since he began DJing in the 1990s. The Seiji coming to Japan this weekend releases club-centric tracks for free on his website while also putting his personal spin on artists such as Erykah Badu and Gorillaz.
CULTURE / Music
Oct 6, 2011
Second Royal
Record label Second Royal won't just be putting on a concert this Sunday in their hometown of Kyoto, but rather a state-of-Japanese-indie-music address. The imprint's event at Club Metro features some of Japan's most buzzed (and blogged) about artists going today. Past gigs point to this being a great...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music
Sep 22, 2011
Mop Of Head praises recent past on debut
Mop Of Head founder Takashi "George" Wakamatsu had a pretty standard musical upbringing. He studied piano from the age of 3, and says he listened mostly to classical music and old jazz. Then he heard a track that changed his life ...British dance duo The KLF's "F-ck The Millennium."
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music
Sep 15, 2011
Ogre You Asshole "Homely"
Ogre You Asshole's "Homely" practically begs to be considered as the band's artistic leap forward. The band has traded in the guitar-centric, 1990s-indie sound of its previous releases for a slower-moving vibe featuring an abundance of bongos and saxophone. It's a challenging LP to dive into: the catchy...
CULTURE / Music
Sep 1, 2011
Miila and the Geeks "New Age"
Miila and the Geeks show a great aptitude for the past on their debut album "New Age." The generally fuzzy atmosphere of the whole record evokes 1960s garage rock, with lead singer Moe Wadaka's sinisterly sexy vocals conjuring up early PJ Harvey. The inclusion of a mind-of-its-own saxophone winds up...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music
Aug 18, 2011
Chili Peppers dominate Summer Sonic
It was clear on the second day of Summer Sonic that this year's event belonged to the evening's headliners Red Hot Chili Peppers. A casual stroll around Chiba's Makuhari Messe complex revealed a noticeable uptick from the day before in the number of shirtless dudes sporting tribal-band tattoos.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music
Jul 28, 2011
Various artists Style Band Tokyo Compilation Vol. 1
Existing mainly as a live-music event since 2007, Style Band Tokyo has gone the recording route and released a CD featuring artists associated with its gigs. The compilation is a collection of great, noisy rock.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music
Jul 21, 2011
Beach House live out teen dream by coming to Japan
Earlier this year, indie-rock group Beach House found themselves in unfamiliar territory. Two of the Baltimore duo's older tracks were sampled by much buzzed-about R&B project The Weeknd on their hyped-up debut mixtape meaning once intimate dream-pop was now serving as the soundtrack for drug-powered...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music
Jul 7, 2011
andymori "Kakumei"
Now three albums deep into their career, indie-poppers andymori still lean on youthful energy to carry their music instead of songwriting smarts. That's not necessarily a bad thing, as "Kakumei" ("Revolution") features a handful of energetic pop numbers that know how to leave an impression without lingering...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music
Jun 23, 2011
Bedroom ears: Japan's new D.I.Y. ethic
The dimly lit Bar Fabrica is an appropriate place to meet the four artists from Cuz Me Pain Records, who describe their music as "quite dark" and are known for being shrouded in mystery.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music
Jun 9, 2011
Caroline
In another time, Caroline Lufkin could easily have ended up as a chart-topping J-pop star. After graduating from Boston's Berklee School Of Music, the Okinawa-born artist moved to Tokyo, where she began working on her first album. Her management at the time wanted Lufkin (who performs simply as Caroline)...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music
May 26, 2011
Gellers find a new balance with 'Guatemala'
...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music
May 19, 2011
MacDonald Duck Eclair "Kono Tokimeki Ima Sugu"
"Kono Tokimeki Ima Sugu" (which translates loosely as "This fluttering of my heart, now") serves as a bit of a homecoming for hyper-speed pop trio MacDonald Duck Eclair. Their third album and first in five years comes out on K.O.G.A. Records, the label responsible for releasing the band's debut single...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music
May 19, 2011
Online Maltine learns old-school tricks
Tomohiro Konuta didn't have lofty ambitions when he and his friend Syem started the online music label Maltine Records in 2005. They were just two teenagers looking for a little attention.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music
May 5, 2011
Oorutaichi
Osaka artist Oorutaichi has long tried to test listeners' ears by blending together many disparate styles, so much so as to render the concept of "genre" irrelevant when discussing his music. For an upcoming concert in Tokyo he hopes to further challenge the sensory experience through the addition of...

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