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Friday, Dec. 14, 2007

WRAPPING UP MUSIC OF 2007

Drum for your life and bring the noise


Special to The Japan Times

"Taiko no Tatsujin (Taiko Drum Master)" (Namco) for the Nintendo DS

Unleash the tribal instincts in your family members (or your own on the way home from work) with this hand-held version of the popular arcade game.

While the original gave players a full-size taiko drum to batter into submission, DS users will have to content themselves with a touch-screen and two teeny drumsticks with all the muscularity of a pair of toothpicks. Still, the game's fundamental appeal remains: easy to master and more addictive than crack.

Your fellow commuters will look at you like you're an idiot, but they're just jealous that they don't get to play the William Tell Overture while riding the train.

"Bring the Noise: 20 Years of Writing About Hip Rock and Hip Hop" By Simon Reynolds (Faber and Faber)

Trying to sum up the last two decade's worth of developments in popular music might sound like a quixotic task, but that's exactly what Simon Reynolds attempts in the followup to his acclaimed post-punk history, "Rip It Up and Start Again." For the most part, he succeeds, too: this collection of his scribblings from 1985 to the present day is dazzling in both its diversity and, at times, its perversity.

Reynolds is as enthusiastic and lucid when extolling the virtues of long-forgotten 1980s indie popsters as he is dissecting the appeal of Radiohead, Public Enemy and the U.K. grime scene. Quality stuff from one of music journalism's most engaging voices.

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