29 March 2009


I've been watching this track on You Tube a lot. They must be Japan's Sex Pistols. They really are arch irritants. Basically the song says "Let's have fun in North Korea, North Korea is lovely". The opposite of what comes out of the black rightwinger vans. I know nothing about the band. Any information would be appreciated in the comments.

Timers - Kita Chousen (North Korea)

19 March 2009

Flipper's Guitar

I know, I haven't posted anything in ages. But I think it has been worth the wait.

I don't live on YouTube or anything, but I do look on there from time to time to find new and cool music. Anyway, I've been getting right into Flipper's Guitar, who are Cornelius and Kenji Ozawa's old band. A good friend of mine loves this band and has been good enough to let me borrow their CDs.

Here are some videos:

I'll try to post about something current next time.

01 January 2009

Kouhaku 2008

One New Year ritual that I wasn't able to keep up with while I was in England is Kouhaku, or the Red and White singing contest. This is where mainly MOR pop and yesteryear's enka favourites mingle and sing their best or new songs as part of the competition. Each act is assigned to either the Red Team or the White Team. In truth, not many people care who wins, it's all about just watching the performers. And for me at least, following who is on what team is problematic due to the ducking out for a cup of tea or my newly-discovered shiruko.

Anyway, the music. I was watching for Mr. Children and Perfume. I knew Mr. Children from my last time in Japan and more specifically for their hit of about three years ago, 'Kurumi'. Perfume I only knew of, and was expecting them to be a much more dancey, technoey proposition than they were.

Mr. Children's song, Gift, is from the same blueprint as 'Kurumi'; no bad thing in itself but I was hoping for something a bit, I don't know, better. But it was still fine.

Perfume were essentially a novelty pop act with a Daft Punk-lite backing track. I'll keep my eye out in future for them, just in case they have a song better than 'Polyrhythm'.

My surprise loves were Ai Otsuka, who sang a lovely ballad called 'Ai', about love - not herself. Mika Nakashima was someone I didn't know that was going to be on and she was alright. 'Orion' not her best song but not bad. Aiko wasn't too bad either but her song has left not a trace in my memory.

The enka wasn't bad but there's only so much enka that an elepop man can take. I know now that naniwa enka (Osaka-style enka) isn't my bag, but Jero's slap-bass enka, Shinichi Mori's sorrowful caterwaul and Sachiko Kobayashi's crazy, over the top performance were entertaining.

SMAP, seasoned light-entertainment veterans were their usual bow-legged, out-of-tune yet amiable selves. Ayumi Hamasaki was boring as usual. Exile, urgh. Kumi Koda's writers should probably be getting a court summons from Timbaland or The Neptunes.

But it was a good Kouhaku. Let's hope NHK plays it even riskier next year. I'd love to see Rip Slyme on there. How about you?

13 December 2008

Jumping Pando, Pjeckae, Ren-I-Police, Tsuji Shion: Chelsea Hotel, Shibuya, 12 Dec 2008

Ren from Ren-I-Police

This gig had me worried. Being my first time going to a live house in Japan, I was expecting to be the oldest in the place. Thankfully, bands with pretty girl singers draw old grizzled blokes out of the woodwork so I could chill out a bit.

First up, Jumping Pando rocked the house like Daisy Chainsaw. I loved the grungey chords, distortion a-go-go. In a word, wicked. The singer and guitarist are really cool, and in fact the singer is maybe the most energetic person I have ever met.

Next up Pjeckae (pech-ka) sorted out another dollop of rock with a side-salad of roll. They had a more laidback vibe going on and even a ballad, which was good but just not exactly my cup of tea. Still, the singer is very nice.

Ren-I-Police drew me here. I wasn't disappointed by their set either. Melodic punkish pop-rock awesomeness. They rocked out, Ren really fronting the band and Marty kicking the fretboard fireworks. That I was already drunk by this point only enhanced the fun.

Tsuji Shion was not my kind of thing - a bit too poppy for me and though she was the headline act with a debut single it felt like a bit of a comedown after Ren-I-Police's high-octane set. Having this much fun at a live house, I'll be going again.

08 December 2008


There are some days you just need to be lifted up after a long day at work. On a December evening, with the weather having become that much colder in the last few days, I needed it more than ever. I got it.

恋愛ポリス or Ren-I-Police as they like to be romanized delivered uplift in spades despite being frozen by the dry Tokyo winter. A group of salarymen and I stood clapping to their songs outside Shinjuku station and lapped up the music and chat.

L-R Maryne (bass), Nyoco (drums), Ren (vocals), Marty (guitar)

There may be an interview coming soon. Stay tuned!

Official site: ren-i-police.com
Myspace: profile.myspace.com/policeoflove

10 October 2008


I decided to start this blog to document the different kinds of music I experience in Japan in general and Tokyo in particular.

When I lived in Japan last time I found that much like England the worst kind of music becomes most popular and the better stuff is found by accident or by searching. This will help jog my memory and hopefully expose some people to some wonderful Japanese music.

The kind of stuff I tend to like is electronic, hip-hop, indie rock and jazz and even better, unclassifiable stuff.

If I find a good band busking at train stations, I'll post about them too.

I hope you enjoy this blog as much as I enjoy writing it.