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Shawn Despres

Shawn Despres has been contributing to the Japan Times’ music page since 2005, and he has a passion for writing about the independent music scene in East Asia. He spent several years living in Yokohama and currently resides in Seoul.

For Shawn Despres's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

Harp on Mouth Sextet 'Kasane no Neiro'

/ Jul 30, 2010

Harp on Mouth Sextet "Kasane no Neiro"

Hailing from Kyoto, Harp on Mouth Sextet create their own contemporary groove-oriented version of gagaku, a centuries-old form of Japanese court music. Among the stronger performers on the up-and-comer stage at last year's Fuji Rock Festival, their matching attire, which includes traditional bamboo hats ...

Buffalo Daughter: 'The Weapons of Math Destruction'

/ Jul 23, 2010

Buffalo Daughter: "The Weapons of Math Destruction"

Benefiting from their Shibuya-kei affiliation in the early 1990s, Buffalo Daughter attracted international attention and established an overseas cult following through associations with the likes of the Beastie Boys' former Grand Royal imprint. "The Weapons of Math Destruction" retains the innovative, experimental edge that ...


/ Jul 9, 2010


Originally from Fukuoka, Tokyo-based trio Bo-Peep have impressed locals at the likes of Fuji Rock and garnered high praise overseas at renowned events such as South by Southwest in the United States and England's The Great Escape Festival. "Vibe" is the ladies' third album ...

YUI: Rock In Japan

| Jul 2, 2010

YUI: Rock In Japan

Fukuoka's Yui has been turning out chart-toppers since releasing her 2006 major-label debut, "From Me to You," while still in her teens. The Avril Lavigne-esque songwriter's new disc, "Holidays in the Sun," will drop July 14 and she'll showcase it at Rock in Japan. ...

Whatever you do, don't call it 'chillwave'

Jun 18, 2010

Whatever you do, don't call it 'chillwave'

An online buzz began circulating last summer about a new style of music being created by underground acts in the United States. Labels used to describe the hazy tunes included "hypnagogic pop," "glo-fi" and "chillwave." Despite being the cheesiest of the three (although glo-fi is ...

Singer-songwriter Nozuka's 'train' picks up speed

Jun 4, 2010

Singer-songwriter Nozuka's 'train' picks up speed

In the fall of 2007 and 2008, the Canadian Independent Record Production Association (CIRPA) hosted Asian Trade Missions in Tokyo to cement stronger footholds in Japan for Canuck music companies and acts. Still in his teens, Toronto singer- songwriter Justin Nozuka was flown over ...

The Bawdies: 'There's No Turning Back'

/ May 7, 2010

The Bawdies: "There's No Turning Back"

In the middle of The Bawdies' "There's No Turning Back," is "Sad Song," a lament of lost love that comes dangerously close to being a Matchbox 20-styled ballad better suited for a breakup scene in some cheesy romance flick than a rock 'n' roll ...

Inspector Cluzo mix rock, blues, funk — no bass

Apr 23, 2010

Inspector Cluzo mix rock, blues, funk — no bass

Last year, French rock group The Inspector Cluzo played 185 concerts in 23 countries. Despite linguistic and cultural differences between the guitar-and-drums duo and their audiences, they had little difficulty spreading their basic message: "F-ck the bass player." A belief shared by both guitarist Laurent ...

Kaikoo Popwave Festival '10

/ Apr 9, 2010

Kaikoo Popwave Festival '10

Eagerly anticipating the upcoming outdoor music festival season? Spread over the course of two days and boasting nearly 70 acts on four open-air stages, the Kaikoo Popwave Festival should easily tide you over until the summer months arrive. Named after the 2005 "Kaikoo" DVD documentary ...