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Blog

A Global Noise Magazine

Cruyff in the Bedroom - "HATE ME"

Matthew Bedford

Not much remains of the "golden age" of Japanese shoegaze, which started on April 1, 1998 and lasted until some point in the early to mid 2000s.  Few of the bands from that era are still around, and only a handful of those have released anything.  But while most of their contemporaries have either disbanded or abandoned the genre, Cruyff in the Bedroom has remained an active and important member of the Japanese shoegaze scene.  Still going strong after almost two decades, the proclaimed "Japanese King of Shoegazer" is getting ready to release its 6th studio album, HATE ME, on May 10th.  

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Slowdive "30th june" (Japan ver. bonus track) Lyrics

Matthew Bedford

So the big news last week was the release of Slowdive's self-titled record - their first album in 22 years.  The Japanese version of the album comes with the much sought-after bonus track "30th june", and while I've yet to make my way through the album and put together a review of the track itself, I figured I would at least post the lyrics.  If you're interested in purchasing the Japanese release, you can do so here.

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Looprider - Umi

Matthew Bedford

When they released their 2015 debut “My Electric Fantasy”, Tokyo-based rock outfit Looprider displayed some impressive versatility in creating a cohesive record that incorporated sludgy hooks and pop-infused shoegaze.  Released about nine months later, their second record “Ascension” took things in a quite different direction, drawing on hardcore and harsh noise, while steering clear of any pop influence from the first.  Through two albums the band had covered so much ground that predicting where they might go from there was both intriguing and impossible. 

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The Best Japanese Shoegaze and Dream Pop Releases of 2016

Matthew Bedford

There was a lot of new shoegaze and dream pop coming out of Japan in 2016, and , even more so than in previous years, album releases were way outnumbered by EPs, singles, and mini albums.  As a result I was faced with a couple of problems when putting together my annual "best of the year" list.  The first is that there weren't ten full-length releases that qualified.

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A Guide to Daydream pt. 4 - Nagoya

Matthew Bedford

Over the last few years, Kyoto Shoegazer has emerged as the biggest showcase of the local shoegaze scene in Japan.  This year the Kyoto Shoegazer team has put together Daydream, a four day festival spanning three cities that will kick off in December.  The event will host some of the finest shoegaze, dream pop, alt rock, etc. that Japan has to offer.

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A Guide to Daydream pt. 3 - Tokyo

Matthew Bedford

The event will host some of the finest shoegaze, dream pop, alt rock, etc. that Japan has to offer.  I will be previewing each of the events as they come.  Day three of the event will be held at Shinjuku Nine Spices in Tokyo this Saturday, December 10th. 

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A Guide to Daydream pt. 2 - Kyoto Day 2

Matthew Bedford

This time I'll be looking at Daydream Kyoto Day 2, which will take place at Nijo Nano.  Follow the links below for event info and ticket reservations.

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A Guide to Daydream pt. 1 - Kyoto Day 1

Matthew Bedford

Over the last few years, Kyoto Shoegazer has emerged as the biggest showcase of the local shoegaze scene in Japan.  This year the Kyoto Shoegazer team has put together Daydream, a four day festival spanning three cities that will kick off in December.  The event will host some of the finest shoegaze, dream pop, alt rock, etc. that Japan has to offer.

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Softsurf - "Blue Swirl/Beautiful Day"

Matthew Bedford

I get really excited any time I hear about a new shoegaze band popping up here in Nagoya.  Though Nagoya is a big city with its own rich music scene, there isn't a whole lot going on in the way of shoegaze or even the dreamy indie pop that's been taking over elsewhere. 

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Kinoko Teikoku - "Ai no Yukue"

Matthew Bedford

Well, it's finally arrived.  The new Kinoko Teikoku album - the second since signing their major label deal with EMI - is here, and fans finally get to find out if the band is continuing on their major label J-pop trajectory or veering back toward the noisy alt rock we fell in love with years ago.  While "Neko to Allergy" had listeners resigned to the former, there were a couple of encouraging signs leading up to "Ai no Yukue" that there might be a little more balance this time around.

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Magic Love - "Night Falls"

Matthew Bedford

So remember that new release from magic love that I predicted would come around the end of 2014?  Well it's finally arrived.  ight Falls is the Tokyo trio's first new release since they put out their previous EP Dawn in the summer of 2014.  Just as their sophomore effort followed a pretty lengthy transitional period, magic love has spend the last two years...

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The Florist - "Blood Music"

Matthew Bedford

After a stellar debut in 2014, Tokyo's The Florist have returned with an even better sophomore effort.  With Dark Entries, my third favorite album from two years ago, the band burst onto the scene with its own unique sound.  In a year when the best shoegaze albums were infused with everything from grunge to post rock to indie pop, The Florist drew heavily on 90s American emo to put together a lush, dreamy record.

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Kinoko Teikoku - "Natsuno Kage"

Matthew Bedford

So after what I thought was a really successful single release in "Crybaby" this past June, Kinoko Teikoku have put out another track as they approach the release of their new album Ai no Yukue this November.  "Natsuno Kage" (or "Summer's Shadow") hit iTunes at midnight Japan time - I'm assuming it's just going to be another limited digital-only release like "Crybaby" - and my fingers were crossed, as I prepared to hit the play button, that this would be yet another sign of a return to pre-major form.  

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Cigarette in your Bed - "Nothing E.P."

Matthew Bedford

When I came to Japan and started a blog about Japanese shoegaze music, I almost immediately found the Kansai scene to be the most accessible.  I have fond memories of a bunch of bands who were not only really welcoming but also supportive of the blog and zine, especially bands like Lemon’s Chair and Ether Feels.  The Japan Shoegazer Festival in Osaka was a very comfortable spot for me, and thanks to the bands and the community that grew around the event I was able to get to know some great folks and learn a lot about the Japanese shoegaze scene.

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Mississippi Khaki Hair - "1st Demo"

Matthew Bedford

It doesn't feel like very long ago at all that I was gushing over a promising teen indie shoegaze outfit from Osaka called Whisper Voice Riot.  2015 was a great year for the band, who established themselves as one of the promising young bands to keep an eye on - and not just in the indie scene.

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Kinoko Teikoku - "Crybaby"

Matthew Bedford

When I started this blog in early 2012 I was completely in love with Kinoko Teikoku.  Just about everything I tweeted was gushing praise of their music, and when I finally moved to Japan that spring it felt like fate that they were playing in Nagoya a mere weeks after I would arrive.  Seeing them at Club Rock n Roll is still one of my favorite live experiences ever.  Their music was powerful and emotional, and really struck a chord with me.  

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Juvenile Juvenile - "Perfect Lies"

Matthew Bedford

In the Japanese indie scene, the mingling of indie pop and shoegaze is something that happens pretty frequently.  The former has been riding a steady wave of popularity for a while now, and the latter is oft-misunderstood but nevertheless enjoying an ever-growing resurgence of its own.  These two genres, vague as they may be, are a perfect marriage.  However, like a lot of bands who dabble in shoegaze, there are plenty who scoff at being called a shoegaze band.

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Sapporo Shoegazers Edy Two Arc

Matthew Bedford

After a couple years of trying to hunt down their music, I was finally able to get my hands on a release from Sapporo's Edy Two Arc.  The CD, titled Kurakute, Oto no nai Tokoro (暗くて、音のないところ), is actually an 8-track split, featuring two tracks apiece from four Sapporo bands.

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Shun Tanabe - "March of Ghosts"

Matthew Bedford

I'm willing to argue with anyone that the Japanese Shoegaze Group on Facebook is the best place for discussion on the topic.  Through the group people are not only able to introduce bands to a pretty sizable community, but plenty of artists in Japan have a dedicated platform through which they can get their own music out to an eager and thoughtful audience.  The most recent gem to be discovered here is the solo project of one Mr. Shun Tanabe.  

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