Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Saki, the drummer from Tance Boy has another group that she plays with, Cardigan. I went to see them for the first time tonight. They are quite a bit softer than most of the Tokyo bands that I follow around, but they have a great sense of melody and I think are worth checking out. Listen for yourself:

The second song on the playlist, 愛してる, (Ai Shiteru - "I Love You") shows the band's wide range of emotion. I like some of the odd harmonies that heighten the tension during the chorus.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Guitar Wolf - Blurb in Metropolis

Metropolis Magazine's recent feature, Pantheon of Japanese Rock Gods, included a blurb about Guitar Wolf that I whipped up. Scroll down to #12:

Pantheon of Japanese Rock Gods

Here is a shot of frontman Guitar Wolf Seiji that I snapped in spring of 2005 at CBGB's in New York City. I know I've posted this photo before, but I think the occasion is appropriate. I was a college sophomore back then and the show basically blew my mind. I was inspired enough to even try on a pair of leather pants.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Travel Agency at the Ruby Room

Thanks to everyone who came out last night!! Travel Agency put on an incredible show. After a few major technical mishaps, the band got started and played a short yet intense set. I'll upload more photos later, but for now, check out their awesome UV style:

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

This Friday: Travel Agency at the Ruby Room

SUGAR WALLS: Live Music and DJ's
FRI, MAY 20th
The Ruby Room, Shibuya
¥1500 (w/dr)
8-9:30PM            DJ Hoari
9:30-10:30PM     Travel Agency (live French electro-newpop)

This month, Sugar Walls welcomes French electro-newpop trio Travel Agency. They've come all the way from France, so let's show them a big welcome. Their tracks look pretty awesome and I am definitely keen on this show:

Please note the early start time. Beer Pong people, we can set up a table and play, but it has to be before 9:30PM, so please come on the early side.


Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Fractures

This past evening, I went down to Shibuya to check out The Fractures, a great Tokyo rock band that has shared the stage with Sunset Drive on a number of occasions. I've been running into their bassist Nobu at Ruby Room quite a bit recently, and last night, he told me to come down to one of their shows this week.

The band took the stage at Kinoto in the south-side of Shibuya at 9:15 this past evening for a quick but thoroughly enjoyable set. The Fractures are a three-piece band that goes for a garage rock sound that is hard but not too heavy. Singer Daichi sings in Japanese, but takes on the affect of a British-invasion era vocalist. Nobu's backup harmonies add to the vintage vibe. It's been a while since I've enjoyed a live show from a young indie band and I would definitely recommend checking out this group if you get a chance.

Their webpage has some good videos to check out. I think this video best gets at my description:

If possible, I'm going to try to snag them for one of my upcoming events, so please stay tuned.

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Tateyama Alpine Route, Matsumoto, Kamikochi, and Shizuoka

For Golden Week this year, I decided to ditch Tokyo and head to the heartland. I took the train up to Tateyama in Toyama Prefecture to traverse the Tateyama Alpine Route.

One the way up the mountain, the bus passes through Yuki no Otani, the Great Valley of Snow. Huge annual snowdrifts are some of the biggest in the world. This year's wall of snow was 17 meters high!

I stayed in a lodge near the top of Tateyama in Murodo. A quick walk led to amazing views of the snowy mountains. Here you can see a hiker's camp at the base of the peaks.

The next morning, I continued down the other side of the mountain to the Kurobe Dam. At 186 meters in height, it is the largest dam in Japan.

From there, I continued on to Matsumoto, a quiet mountain city in Nagano Prefecture which is famous for having the oldest standing castle in Japan.

The following morning, I awoke early and headed up to Kamikochi, an mountain valley with spectacular views. I was confronted by magnificent alpine scenery, marshlands, and even wild monkeys...

That evening, I called up Toshi from Sunset Drive and joined him and his family at his home in Shizuoka.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Blizzard In Tokyo

No, just kidding. I'm currently high up in the mountains in Tateyama, Toyama Prefecture. This place is the sight of some of the world's biggest snow drifts; the highest observable part of the wall of snow today was 17 meters tall... and it's already May 2nd if you haven't noticed. I feel like it's the middle of winter...