School's out for Oreskaband teens

Music Oct 13, 2006

School's out for Oreskaband teens

'I don't think being high-school girls is an important part of our band," says 18-year-old Tae-san, drummer with Osaka ska band Oreskaband. And with mere months until their graduation, we're about to find out if she's right. These six bubbly teens already have a minialbum ...

Music / CD Reviews Oct 6, 2006

The Lemonheads "The Lemonheads"

If you want to love this album, look to the lyric sheet. Reviving the sweet 'n' sour Lemonheads moniker with new bandmates, Evan Dando eschews the warm country tone of his 2003 solo album "Baby I'm Bored," instead opting for a less dynamic, spiky ...

Music / CD Reviews Sep 15, 2006

Yuki "Wave"

With her Minnie-Mouse-on-helium voice and overt Bjorkisms, there's no denying that Yuki is one of J-pop's most colorful stars. But after her success fronting Judy And Mary, Yuki's solo sound was far from consistent until, after two dodgy albums, she hit her stride with ...

Fans go cool on Arctic Monkeys

Music Aug 18, 2006

Fans go cool on Arctic Monkeys

You might think it would be exciting for a band from a Sheffield suburb to play a huge festival in Japan. But when Arctic Monkeys played the packed Mountain Stage, it was without even the merest flicker of a smile. Preferring to bemoan the ...

Music / CD Reviews Aug 11, 2006

Nikaido Kazumi "Nikaido Kazumi No Album"

Kazumi Nikaido's first solo album in three years is an odd proposition. It's scattered and insane, like a schizophrenic puppy that's been at the cough medicine. But when it shines, it really shines. Understated opener "Rail No Sono Mukou" ambles along, Nikaido's high-pitched voice wandering ...

Putting pop back together

Music Jul 21, 2006

Putting pop back together

"I'd say Canada's music scene is very healthy at the moment," says Brendan Canning, founding member of Toronto's swollen indie supergroup Broken Social Scene. And he's not wrong. Dozens of diverse Canadian bands are becoming worldwide exports: Montreal's Arcade Fire have swept the globe, ...

Music / CD Reviews Jul 14, 2006

Primal Scream "Riot City Blues"

Primal Scream are essentially two bands rolled into one. Sometimes they're fiercely experimental innovators; at others, they're little more than a Rolling Stones/Faces tribute band. "Riot City Blues" falls into the latter camp. It's hardly the most exciting prospect, but then many Scream fans ...

Music / CD Reviews Jul 7, 2006

Puffy "Splurge"

It's been 10 years since Ami and Yumi shot to fame with the million-selling debut single "Ajia no Junshin," and it's almost unthinkable that a manufactured pop duo should last so long. But Puffy's strength has always been in embracing the unpredictable, and "Splurge" ...

Music / CD Reviews Jun 23, 2006

Utada Hikaru "Ultra Blue"

Utada Hikaru's back on form -- whatever that means. Her English-language "Exodus' album in 2004 was a global flop, yet undeservedly so; an experimental set that chose artistry over chart domination, it was a quiet masterstroke after three albums of undiluted pop smashes. She ...

Music / CD Reviews Jun 16, 2006

The Chalets "Check In"

The Chalets are a gang. Like bands ought to be. Their playful, irreverent Irish humor is sharp and sweet, like an ice-lolly with a rusty blade for a stick, as they sing of sex-crazed sentient computers, crap bands and drunken seaside holidays. Over spiky Sonic ...