Despite its far westerly location (being closer to Seoul than it is to Tokyo), the Kyushu city of Fukuoka has for a long time been one of the musical powerhouses of Japan.

Fukuoka in the 1970s brought the nation "mentai-rock," a brand of high energy, proto-punk rock 'n' roll exemplified by Sonhouse and Sheena & The Rokkets, while in the '80s it gave us chart-straddling megastars such as Seiko Matsuda, Chage & Aska, and the recently scandal-hit Noriko Sakai. The late '90s Generation X Fukuoka punk scene created Mo'some Tonebender and Number Girl, not to mention incubating the teenage musical ambitions of Shiina Ringo.

Recently, however, the rest of Japan hasn't heard too much out of this traditionally noisy city. On a recent trip to Fukuoka, I met up with several of the city's musical movers and shakers to investigate the current state of affairs.