Over the last month or so the anticipation of this year’s Japan Shoegazer Festival has been building.  This year’s edition of the event has reverted back to it’s previous two city format, with the first leg taking place in Osaka and the second in Tokyo.  This year’s Shoegazer Festival features a whopping thirty artists (twelve in Osaka and eighteen in Tokyo) and a ton of DJs, shaping up to be the biggest events in the fest’s history.
A couple months ago event organizer and guitarist of annual headliner Lemon’s Chair, Masashi Imanishi announced a that a special promotion with net label Kiiro Records would take place at this year’s festival.  Around that time Kiiro Records, whose catalog consists largely of free-to-download pop releases, put out its most recent shoegaze compilation titled Forever Shoegaze.  While details were completely unknown at the time, it was assumed that some sort of collaborative release was in the works.  Today the details were announced via Imanishi’s blog.

People who attend the event will receive a free copy of the Japan Shoegazer Festival-exclusive compilation, kiirorecords & JAPAN SHOEGAZER FESTIVAL V.A.  The full track list of the limited edition CD-R was released today as well.  Though it does include some songs that have appeared on previous Kiiro Records comps, it marks the first physical release by the label.  It’s a pretty nice bonus for folks who are able to attend what has to date been a really enjoyable day of music.  One can asuume that when the Japan Shoegazer Festival concludes, this release will make its way to Bandcamp as well.  The track listing for the CD is as folows:

01. SAPPY / 天国のフィーリング
02. adgreen. / mieko maiko 
03. The Feedback Radio’s / smile 
04. HUSH / Dumb
05. kazuma / I am waiting last summer 
06. penguin airways / heatdown
07. PARASOL/ Sometimes 
08. 17歳とベルリンの壁 / サーチライト 
09. Cuicks / warp to the next door 
10. daisyblue / early wing 
11. ヨシオテクニカ / 夜汽車で見た古い夢 Old dream takes somewhere 
12. magao / 海へ沈む
13. magu / 轟音少女はうつむかない 
14. なゆたのつぶて / 星座
15. the Jinn’s / din
16. nina likes light blue skirt / Wednesday
17. cosmos / 素晴らしい世界

To check out more of Kiiro Records’ releases visit their Bandcamp page.


[Chile] Slowkiss Demos

There’s seemingly always something fun happening in Chile, with new and impressive bands popping up all over the place.  Jairo Manzur has certainly done well to keep up with everything in his work on Latinoamerica Shoegaze as well as his contributions to Muso Planet.

This time around the focus is on Santiago’s Slowkiss, a Santiago-based throwback to 90s alternative music.  The quartet, which also includes Adelaida frontman Jurel Sonico, just released a 4-track demo EP on its Bandcamp page.  And it’s only a dollar!  The release is a solid introduction to the band’s sound which is somewhere between early Veruca Salt and the Pixies, with a dab of shoegaze influence here and there.  Check it out and enjoy!

[Taiwan] TuT Demos Now Available

One of my personal favorites, Taiwanese shoegaze quartet TuT, have made their long-awaited demos available for download.  They originally released their first demo Send Me earlier this year in Muso Planet volume 4 and have been working hard since to get some more recorded music out there.  Along with Send Me they have uploaded 4 more tracks to Indievox, all of which are available for whatever you are willing to pay.  All money earned will be going toward putting out a proper release.

The site is in Chinese so navigating can be a little difficult, but it is definitely worth the time to get some really wonderful music.  http://www.indievox.com/tut

kipu kirota x club vijon present “toivoa vol. 1”


I headed down to Osaka today to visit one of my favorite venues, Kita-Horie’s Club Vijon.  My brother is in Japan and had wanted to go to a show, and the timing couldn’t have been better as local shoegazers kipu kirota had planned this pretty exciting event.  In addition to a solid lineup, it was great to be able to catch up with some good folks I’ve been fortunate enough to meet over the last couple years and to meet some new folks in person.  Special thanks to my buddy, the other Matt, for taking some photos while my phone was dying.


We got there just in time to grab a beer and catch opening act Euphrates.  I always look forward to seeing these guys live, but was a little surprised to see only half of the usual lineup take the stage.  Tonight was a bit of a special set featuring their bassist on vocals and percussion and their usually animated guitarist sitting down with an acoustic guitar.  I’ll be honest that I was a little saddened to see that I wasn’t going to be treated to the live set I’ve come to look forward to at seemingly all of these events, but the performance was great.  The duo absolutely killed it with the acoustic performance of “Come With Me”, always a fan favorite.

Fubuki (吹雪)

Next up was Fubuki (吹雪), the only band on the card I had never seen or even heard before.  The Tokyo three-piece kicked their maiden live in Osaka off with delay drenched bowed guitars and blaring fuzzy bass, before everything sort of exploded into this big enveloping mass of sound.  The instrumentation was phenomenal, and each of the three songs they performed was breath taking.  When their first song, which transitioned from beautiful soundscape to raw, edgy guitar riff, to gut rumbling finale, wrapped up I felt like I had just run a marathon, and by the end of the set I was completely wiped out emotionally.  Fubuki was by far the most pleasant surprise of the night, and a band I plan on getting around to seeing a bit more often.

Astro Attack

Astro Attack, perhaps the most generally well-known band on the card was up third.  They were sort of the life of the party with some really danceable tunes and the most active stage presence.  I was pretty familiar with Astro Attack’s music going in, though it was my first time seeing them live.  The set was fun, the tracks were catchy, the crowd got pretty into it.  The Kobe/Osaka band was a nice palate cleanser at this point in the show.  Their performance didn’t blow my mind, but it could just have been that Fubuki was a really tough act to follow.


Next up was the first of two bands I have really grown to love, Cigarette in your Bed.  I’ve gushed about them pretty extensively in the last few months, including them in Muso Planet volume 5 and praising the hell out of their debut full-length album darkness.  Though their debut album was produced with a little more of an “easy listening” feel in mind, their live show remained as up tempo and aggressive as ever.  The grungy shoegaze trio came out of the gates running with lead single “Let Me Out” and proceeded to deliver a brutally loud and extremely pleasing show.

Ether Feels

Ether Feels was the last band I was able to catch, and it felt like forever since I had seen them last.  The first time I went to see a Japan Shoegazer Festival event, Ether Feels was there and something about their sound really stuck with me.  Their frontman Tomo is as genuinely kind a guy as there is, and their music is light and extremely easy on the ears.  As I had to hurry up to catch the last bullet train back to Nagoya, I was only able to stay for three songs.  Fortunately for me, the last song of my night was my favorite from Ether Feels, a whimsical, feathery shoegaze track called “Annabelle”.  It was great to see them and I’m definitely looking forward to their new EP “Twilight Dreams” next week.

As is so often the case when I catch a show in Osaka, I was unable to stick around for the headliner.  It is a bummer to not be able to stick around and support the bands until the end, especially in this case where Kipu Kirota had really put together an excellent show.  Having heard a bunch of their recorded material I was really looking forward to finally seeing them, but it wasn’t meant to be.  There will definitely be more opportunities in the future though, as they have been busy gigging recently and are part of a really nice looking JSF Osaka event in September.

All-in-all, I had a blast.  Club Vijon is a great venue, the bands all offered something a little different, and the crowd was great.  With the Japan Shoegazer Festival dates set and their details being steadily revealed, this was a perfect warm up for some really good upcoming events.  It was also a good time to catch up with the guys in cigarette in your bed for the first time since their participation in Muso Planet, and get a celebratory photo:


[Germany] Jaguwar – I


Late last week German shoegaze trio Jaguwar released their debut four-track EP simply titled, I, and it is well worth a listen.  It’s ultra-noisy, packed to the brim with sludgy, fuzzed-out guitars.  The intro track “Breathe Bullets Which Taste Like Pure Fruit”, gets things started like a kick to the face with a grimy hook, before it switches gears into the swirling beauty you sort of expect form a shoegaze album.  The music never gets too pretty though, and the most enjoyable quality of Jaguwar’s sound is the harmonious contrast of the echoing, entrancing vocals and the sheer nastiness of the guitar tone.  If you like noise it’s definitely worth your while to pick this up, and you can do so at Bandcamp.

[Mexico] New Single from Bleak Boys


Aguascalientes-based psych/shoegaze outfit Bleak Boys are back with a brand new track titled “Bleak Mates”.  The 7-minute track follows up the band’s debut EP Corrosive, one of my favorite releases of the year so far.  “Bleak Mates” is a powerful down tempo effort, featuring the band’s tendency toward massive guitar noise and distant, echoing vocals before diving into a gorgeous finale of swirling guitars.  A bit more on the shoegaze side of things, it’s definitely worth picking up at Bleak Boys’ Bandcamp page.  Hopefully this is a sign that more new music is coming soon!

[France] Songs from Nøthing #2

France-based art collective Nøthing recently released their second compilation album Songs from Nøthing #2, a followup to last year’s We Want Nøthing More Than Nøthing #1.  The album features tracks from the collective’s stacked lineup of bands including music by Venera 4, future, Maria False, Dead Horse One, and more.  It can be downloaded via Bandcamp for whatever you’re willing to pay.  It’s pretty cool to hear covers of Nøthing artists made by other Nøthing artists, including this nice little track:


[Holland] Wolvon – New EP and “BTHR” Music Video

Dutch noise-makers Wolvon, whose 2013 album folds. was one of my favorites of the year, released their new EP bother. last week.  The band picked up right where they left off, pounding out four more blurry, uptempo tracks for your enjoyment.  You can pick up the EP on Bandcamp.  Wolvon today announced the music video for sort-of-title-track “BTHR”.  Check it out here:

[Norway] The Megaphonic Thrift – “Bergen Revels”


Norwegian noise quartet The Megaphonic Thrift have released the latest single from their upcoming album. “Bergen Revels”, named after the band’s hometown, isn’t quite as dark as the singles we’d been accustomed to, but it’s really good nonetheless. It’s a lighter song, primarily showcasing TMT’s female vocals over a melodic base, lacking the harshness of its predecessors, but equally addictive.

The Megaphonic Thrift’s third album is expected to be released in the fall. Over the last couple years they have been building up quite a reputation with some great music, some stunning videos (thanks to creative studio Blank Blank), and touring in support of the likes of Dinosaur Jr, Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks, and A Place to Bury Strangers.

[Japan] Cigarette in your Bed – “Darkness”

Cigarette in your Bed have been a part of the Japan Shoegaze scene as it has been growing over the last few years.  The trio released their debut LP Darkness earlier this month via shoegaze label High Fader Records (Lemon’s Chair, sugardrop, Yellow Loveless).  They’ve been gigging alongside Lemon’s Chair, who released an album of their own in April and who are getting ready to re-release their much sough after debut.  Cigarette in your Bed released a video for their first single “Let Me Out” and today announced that they will be shooting another for the album’s title track.  The EP version of “Let Me Out” is available for free download as part of Muso Planet volume 4.