While the J-pop mainstream seemed in 2016 to have finally and irreversibly consummated the awkward courtship of streaming technology, the year was business as usual for the basement-dwellers of the indie and underground scenes. And as usual, the result was a raft of terrific records that hardly anyone will ever hear.
Tokyo’s burgeoning indie-pop scene has been a small but notable footnote to the story of Japanese music over the past few years, given energy in part by the overseas connections of a few outward-looking bands and promoters. Tokyo indie event Rhyming Slang’s “Rhyming Slang Tour Van” compilation gathered a mixture of local bands such as the ascendant DYGL and potential future indie stars such as SaToA, Batman Winks and Cairo, as well as overseas acts like Computer Magic and Peach Kelli Pop.
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