Music | PLAY BUTTON Jun 9, 2000

Twang with a twist strolls into Tokyo

by Suzannah Tartan

The early days of country music are a catalog of demon yodelers, drunken banjo pickers and dreamy cowboy poets. It is difficult to find any hint of this raw beginning in country's current offerings. Nashville tends to look toward the Top 40 rather than ...

Music | PLAY BUTTON Apr 14, 2000

Communing with Kerouac

by Suzannah Tartan

Spoken word, the increasingly hip combination of poetry and music, has never really cut it in Tokyo. While New York, Chicago and London boast regular spoken-word club nights and poetry slams, one of Tokyo's few regular events is the Johnbull-sponsored event dubbed Bookworm. Among the ...

Music | PLAY BUTTON Sep 17, 1999

Chari Chari's evergreen sound

by Suzannah Tartan

The term legend is often used lightly in music journalism. Kaoru Inoue, known as Chari Chari, is one of the few Tokyo DJs who could reasonably be called legendary. There, at the genesis of Tokyo's ambient techno scene, he has kept a low profile, ...

Music | PLAY BUTTON Aug 20, 1999

Meanies: '10% weird,' 90 percent addictive

by Suzannah Tartan

There are certain shambolic punk rock moments, usually involving beer or hard spirits, when an otherwise imbecilic song becomes an anthem. In a drunken haze, the driving force of the Buzzcocks' "Orgasm Addict," G.G. Allin's "Expose Yourself to Kids" or anything by the Ramones ...

Music | PLAY BUTTON Aug 6, 1999

Number Girl's gotta have it

by Suzannah Tartan

If Tokyo's live houses have provided little in the way of new musical inspiration recently, the provinces have picked up the slack with a vengeance. Sapporo's burgeoning hip-hop scene has produced new rap heroes the Blue Herb, while Kyoto, with DJs 1945 and Nobukazu ...

Music | PLAY BUTTON Jul 23, 1999

Under the sway of Petty Booka

by Suzannah Tartan

Picture this: Two girls, cousins, growing up in the lush, tropical paradise of Hawaii, learn the ukulele at their father's knee. Singing the old, mournful island love songs with their mother, harmony and melody come as naturally as the hula. Or this: Two girls gigging ...