Tag: Tokyo Japan

Comprised of founding duo Maja (guitar, vocals) and Andreas (guitar, vocals) along with Samuel (drums), the Stockholm, Sweden-based shoegazers Star Horse can trace their origins back to 2011 when the band’s founding duo met while in Toyko. And as the story goes, Maja and Andreas bonded over a mutual desire to create a sound based around their love of 90s shoegaze. When they returned to Stockolm, they recruited Andreas and Samuel — and while each member individually has dissimilar tastes and preferences, they used the Twin Peaks soundtrack as a common musical thread to create their sound and aesthetic.

Interestingly, since their formation, the Stockholm-based quartet has been considered at the forefront of their homeland’s shoegaze/dream pop scene, developing a developing a devoted international fanbase — and for most of their history, they’ve done it all in a completely DIY fashion, releasing three EPs and a handful of singles through their own label Haxrummet Records. Additionally, along with Follow the Sea, they created the local DIY noise rock/shoegazer festival Fuzztival.

Since, the release of the highly praised single “Slower Now,” the band has been holed up in the studio, finishing up their highly-anticipated full-length debut You Said Forever, which is slated for a February 15, 2019 release through Startracks Records. The album’s latest single is the slow-burning epic track “Albatross” which clocks in at a little under 9 minutes and is centered around shimmering guitar chords and ethereal vocals. And while recalling A Storm in Heaven-era The Verve, the track manages to be melancholic but yearning.

 

 

 

 

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Splitting their time between Stockholm, Sweden and Olso, Norway, the acclaimed dream pop trio Postiljonen, featuring Norwegian-born Mia Brox Bøe and Swedish-born Daniel Sjörs and Joel Nostrum Holm quickly received national and international with the release of 2013’s full-length debut Skyer; in fact, the album was nominated for Best Pop album in the prestigious Swedish Award P3 Guld — and as a result, of the growing buzz surrounding the band, they wound up going on several tours across Sweden, the European Union, Asia and the US with stops on the festival circuit. 2016’s sophomore album Reverie, which was influneced by California winds, Chinese gardens, late Lost in Translation-like nights in Tokyo and Swedish forests received raputous praise with Cocteau Twins‘ and Bella Union Records‘ label head Simon Raymonde nominating “The Open Road” as one of the best songs of that year.

“Chasing Stars,” is the first bit of new material from the acclimed Scandinavian trio — and it’s the first taste from their highly-anticipated third, full-length album, which is currently slated for release sometime next year through Hybris Records. Much like their preceeding efforts, the members of Postilijonen holed themselves in an isolated cabin in the remote Swedish woods. As the members of the band explain in press notes, “When making music for Postiljonen, it has always just been us three locked away in a cabin in the middle of nowhere, really. The whole world of Postiljonen is so personal to us and it is a world that we created between the three of us.” The new single will further cement the Scandinavian trio’s growing reptuation for crafting a swooning and achingly nostalgic take on dream pop while expanding upon the sound that has won them national and international attention. Centered around a breezy yet cinematic, 80s-inspired production featuring arpeggiated and shimmering synths, a motorik-like groove, a jazzy but power chord-based guitar solo, soaring hooks and Brox Bøe’s soaring vocals, the song sonically manages to recall John Parr‘s “St. Elmo’s Fire,” as well as Yumi Zouma‘s and St. Lucia’s euphoric synth pop, complete with a lush studio sheen.

But underneath the studio sheen, the song is a buoyant and feverish day dream. As the band explains in press notes, ‘Chasing Stars’ is about the longing for that someone who you used to be very close to. While the lyrics might come across very heartbreaking – there’s still a sense of underlying hope that someday somewhere you’ll be together again, chasing stars. It’s nostalgic as always. It’s the chasing that is the magic and essence, forget about the reaching. We actually started writing this song three years ago but it couldn’t come at a better time for us.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Comprised of Akira Kawasaki and Atushi Kiyota, who were both members of influential, underground Japanese band Nine Days Wonder, and Daisuke Niitome, who has drummed and composed music for a number of jazz, funk and hip-hop acts, the Tokyo, Japan-based instrumental trio mouse on the keys has developed a reputation for a unique sound that bridges jazz, math rock, hip-hop, minimalist electronica and avant garde jazz as their compositions feature two minimally phrased pianos, two keyboards and dynamic drumming as you’ll hear on the swaggering and gorgeous “Earache,” a prog rock-leaning single off their recently released Out of Body EP which consists of twinkling keys, moodily swirling electronics, buzzing synths and stuttering, off-kilter percussion. And while being an angular and heady composition, it also manages to possesses an accessible and funky swagger.

The Tokyo-based trio will be embarking on a month-long tour of Canada and the US with renowned Japanese act LITE to support Out of Body and it’ll include a NYC area stop at Le Poisson Rouge on March 18. Check out the tour dates below.

TOUR DATES
# = w/ LITE

Feb 16 – Saint-Hyacinthe, QC @ Le Zaricot
Feb 17 – Sherbrooke, QC @ Center Culturel De L’universite
Feb 22 – Jonquière, QC @ Cafe Theatre Cote Cour
Feb 23 – Québec, QC @ Le Circle
Feb 24 – Shawinigan, QC @ Maison de la Culture Francis-Brisson
Feb 25 – Trois-Rivières, QC @ Centre Culturel Pauline-Julien
Mar 01 – Rimouski, QC @ Cabaret Espace-scène/salle Desjardins-telus
Mar 02 – Carleton-sur-Mer, QC @ Quai des Arts
Mar 04 – Cap-aux-Meules, QC @ Pas Perdus
Mar 07 – Saint Catharines, ON @ FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre
Mar 08 – Toronto, ON @ Harbourfront Centre Theatre
Mar 09 – Ottawa, ON @ Zaphod Beeblebrox
Mar 10 – Montreal, QC @ L’Astral
Mar 11 – Joliette, QC @ La Mitaine
Mar 13 – Detroit, MI @ The Loving Touch #
Mar 14 – Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall #
Mar 16 – Baltimore, MD @ Baltimore Soundstage #
Mar 17 – Philadelphia, PA @ Boot & Saddle #
Mar 18 – New York, NY @ (Le) Poisson Rouge #
Mar 19 – Boston, MA @ The Sinclair #

 

 

 

Comprised of Nobuyuki Takeda (guitar), Kozo Kusumoto (guitar / synthesizer), Jun Ozawa (bass) and Akinori Yamamoto (drums), the Tokyo, Japan-based instrumental rock band LITE have over their 14 years together and four full-length albums and six EPs  developed both a national and international profile for mischievously playful and complex compositions featuring edgy riffs, complex rhythms and a prog rock and math rock-leaning sensibility, a well-regarded live show and a relentless touring schedule across the US, Europe and Asia. And with “-D,” the first single off the Japanese quartet’s fifth full-length and second proper Stateside release Cubic, the band has released a composition that playfully bridges funk, jazz, prog rock and hip-hop as angular guitar chords are paired with a regular yet ethereal horn line, a sinuous bass line and old school-like breakbeats which hold together a composition featuring three distinct yet incredibly funky sections together.  Sonically, I’m reminded of the Josh Roseman Unit‘s Treats for the Nightwalker (in particular, their rendition of Burt Bacharach‘s “Long Day, Short Night,” which Dionne Warwick sung) and of a contemporary batch of Afrobeat and Afro-pop inspired acts that includes Superhuman Happiness (think of “Half-Step Grind” off their excellent Hands) and others.

Cubic is slated for a November 18, 2016 release through Topshelf Records and the Japanese quartet will be touring to support and build up buzz for the album with a handful of West Coast tour dates, which you can check out below.

TOUR DATES
All dates with Mouse on the Keys

Nov 10 – San Diego, CA @ Soda Bar
Nov 11 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Hi Hat
Nov 12 – San Francisco, CA @ Slim’s
Nov 13 – Sacramento, CA @ Harlow’s
Nov 14 – Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios
Nov 15 – Vancouver, BC @ Biltmore Cabaret
Nov 16 – Seattle, WA @ Sunset Tavern

New Video: Following Young People Hanging Out and Partying in JOVM Mainstay Lust For Youth’s “Tokyo”

Now over the past few years, the Danish electro pop trio have become JOVM mainstays — and you may recall that I wrote about that I wrote about “Better Looking Brother,” and “Sudden Ambition” the first two singles off the their sophomore effort Compassion, which was releaesd earlier this year. And both singles further cemented their reputation for crafting melancholic and aching synth pop that was simultaneously dance floor-friendly. The album’s third single “Tokyo” continues on the same vein of the album’s preceding singles but lyrically the song evokes the sense of confusion, loneliness and disconnectedness and wonder of being on the road, as the song’s narrator describes a life of hotel rooms, hotel room food, a brief chance to wander around a town and get a sense of it, the late night crowds and neon lights, the longing for someone who you either can’t have — or is thousands of miles away, removed from your unusual life on the road.

The recently released video for the song was shot by Tokyo residents, who filmed themselves and their daily lives in their hometown — late nights with Lust For Youth fans, who catch their idols playing at a local club, and then speeding off to the next thing, the next adventure or just goofing off with your crew. And in many ways, the video seems to capture young people almost anywhere.

Currently comprised of Eric Krasno (guitar), Adam Smirnoff (guitar), Neal Evans (keyboards, Hammond B-3 organ, piano), Adam Deitch (drums), Erick Coomes (bass), Ryan Zoidis (saxophone) and Eric Bloom (trumpet) and Rashawn Ross (trumpet), the acclaimed funk/jam-band octet Lettuce can trace their origins back to 1992 when several members of the band met and bonded over a mutual love of Herbie Hancock‘s jazz fusion work in the 1970s, Earth, Wind & Fire and Tower of Power, while attending a summer program as teenagers at Berklee College of Music. And as you can imagine they jammed together over the course of the summer and then went off on their separate ways at the conclusion of the program.

By the fall of 1994, the members of the band had reconvened as undergraduate students at Berklee, and during that time, they attempted to pick up gigs with local musicians and at local clubs. Ironically, the band’s name is derived from this period, when the band would walk into a club and would ask a club owner or a band leader if they would “let us play.” Mainly through word-of-mouth, the band developed rather fervent followings in Boston, NYC, San Francisco, Chicago and Tokyo, and their profile grew even larger as the band released their debut effort, Outta Here (2001), followed by Live in Tokyo recorded at the Blue Note Jazz Club’s Tokyo location. Over the past seven or eight years, the members of Lettuce have been balancing a number of different projects with busy touring schedules. Krasno along with Evans and Evans’ brother Alan play together in Soulive, a jazz fusion/jam-band act, perhaps best known these days for their annual Brooklyn Bowl residency. But lately, Krasno has been exceptionally busy as he’s picked up roles as a producer, songwriter, released a solo album, and has played on a couple Grammy Award-winning albums by Tedeschi Trucks Band. Smirnoff has been a member of Lady Gaga‘s touring band and has had a stint as a touring member of Robert Randolph and The Family Band. Zoidis is a member of Rustic Overtones but he also joins Soulive during live shows as a member of The Shady Horns. Coomes has been a session player for Britney Spears, The Game, and has contributed to Dr. Dre‘s Compton. Deitch drums for and has produced a number of artists including Pretty Lights, Talib Kweli and has collaborated with John Scofield and Wyclef Jean. And Ross has been a full-time member of Dave Matthews Band since 2010. Of course, as a result Lettuce has had gaps between their recorded output with their sophomore studio effort, Rage! released in 2009, and Fly released in 2012.

Coincidentally during that time Lettuce developed a reputation for being one of the country’s best live acts — and as a result they’ve played at some of the country’s biggest festivals. Interestingly, the band’s forthcoming Crush is reportedly inspired and came to life during the band’s most recent stints on the road together — with a great deal of the material being road-tested. “Phyllis,” the first single off the new album continues the band’s reputation for jazz fusion and hip-hop inspired, psychedelic leaning funk — but with a subtly futuristic sheen as the song is comprised of spidery guitar lines that twist and turn paired with atmospheric and swirling electronics, hip-hop inspired beats and horn blasts. There’s a sense that the trippy composition comes from a basic idea and expanded upon during an expansive jam session, as the band builds up a tight, motorik-like groove — and in some way, the song is a subtle revision of the sound that has garnered the octet such attention.

The band is currently on a rather lengthy tour, which will include two NYC area shows. Check out tour dates below.

Tour Dates

10/14 at Newport Music Hall in Columbus, OH
10/15 at Turner Hall Ballroom in Milwaukee, WI
10/16 at The Pageant in St. Louis, MO
10/17 at Hillberry 2: Harvest Moon Festival in Eureka Springs, AR
10/18 at The Blue Note in Columbia, MO
10/20 at Slowdown in Omaha, NE
10/21 at Liberty Hall in Lawrence, KS
10/23 at Art Outside in Rockdale, TX
10/24 at Hangtown Halloween Ball in Placerville, CA
10/27 at Intersection in Grand Rapids, MI
10/28 at The Vogue Theatre in Indianapolis, IN
10/29 at Headliners Music Hall in Louisville, KY
10/30 at WorkPlay Theatre in Birmingham, AL
10/31 at Voodoo Music and Arts Experience in New Orleans, LA
11/1 at Suwannee Hulaween in Live Oak, FL
11/3 at The Chop Shop in Charlotte, NC
11/4 at Lincoln Theatre in Raleigh, NC
11/5 at The Orange Peel in Asheville, NC
11/6 at Buckhead in Atlanta, GA
11/7 at War Memorial Auditorium in Nashville, TN
11/8 at Track 29 in Chattanooga, TN
11/10 ay Rex Theater in Pittsburgh, PA
11/11 at Tralf Music Hall in Buffalo, NY
11/12 at State Theatre in State College, PA
11/13 at PlayStation Theater in New York, NY
11/14 at PlayStation Theater in New York, NY
12/3-12/6 at Dominican Holidaze in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
12/31 at Riviera Theatre in Chicago, IL
1/6-1/10 at Jam Cruise 14
2/12-2/14 at Gem and Jam Festival in Tucson, AZ