Monday, January 18, 2010

Finding Japanese Music Online


Ever since I started studying Japanese five years ago, my interest in Japanese music has steadily grown. In the past, having even a passing interest in Japanese music meant getting hit hard in the wallet, having to pay import costs on already expensive Japanese albums. Well, I won't say why that problem's been solved in the 21st century but if you're reading this, you likely know what I'm talking about. I don't want to out and out endorse the current (anti-)business model of music on the internet, but hey, it sure is convenient for us music fans.

OK, financial part solved. But how do you find the music? I'm the first to admit, it can be tough. Randomly stumbling on good Japanese music blogs is one way, as is getting links from friends who've done the same. I've been stockpiling bookmarks to some of the best Japanese music sites and I thought I'd share them with you.

Beautiful Noise
http://beautifullnoise.blogspot.com/
Not exclusively about Japanese music but there's a lot of it on this site that focuses on post-rock, ambient and shoegaze music.

Japanese Old Prog/Psych Rock
http://community.livejournal.com/japan_old_prog
Pretty much what it says. It hasn't been updated in a while but there's still lots of great old bands from the 60s and 70s here, like Les Rallizes Denudes and Flied Egg.

Oldies But Goodies
http://tsuzilla.blogspot.com/
Here is where I reveal my inner nerd. Yes, this is a repository for 80s idol groups. Yes, I love it. And you should too.

Japshare
http://japshare.wordpress.com/
Name aside, this is a great site for discovering recent Japanese bands that don't make the charts. My latest faves Supercar are well represented (plus their solo material) and there's tons more like them.

Cutetapes
http://cutetapes.wordpress.com/
This is a very recent discovery and as such I haven't had much time to explore, but it looks promising. More on the fringe than any other site mentioned here. A cursory look reveals Merzbow & Pan Sonic, the Japanese Eel, and lots of non-Japanese breakcore.

Another good source for Japanese music are message boards, particularly ones from Thailand, Russia and China (actually, this is true for anything Japanese you may want, like pictures or magazines).

Happy hunting.

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