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Thursday, Oct. 6, 2011

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Hotel Mexico

LISTENING POST: LIVE

Second Royal


Special to The Japan Times

Record label Second Royal won't just be putting on a concert this Sunday in their hometown of Kyoto, but rather a state-of-Japanese-indie-music address. The imprint's event at Club Metro features some of Japan's most buzzed (and blogged) about artists going today. Past gigs point to this being a great live event, but it will also be a chance to see a handful of Japanese artists who are poised to grab attention both domestically and overseas next year.

Kyoto-based Hotel Mexico have been generating hype since early last year, nabbing praise from various online sites including web magazine Pitchfork. The group became the face of Japanese chillwave in 2010, and they haven't been slouching this year either - Second Royal re-released their debut album nationwide while the band released two new songs, the Ariel Pink-tinged "Dear Les Friends" and the awkwardly-titled-but-sounds-good jam "We Are 69 Years Apart." Their music even appeared in American producer Pharrell's documentary "Tokyo Rising." Last month, Hotel Mexico played at Tokyo's Shibuya Echo, where they packed the venue tight. Don't be shocked if they fill up their hometown's Club Metro this Sunday.

Tokyo's The Brixton Academy appeared on the same bill as Hotel Mexico back in March, at Club Asia's 15th-anniversary show, and will do so again this Sunday. The quartet embrace 1980s new wave in a nonironic bear hug, loading up on neon-soaked synths and setting them against club-friendly beats. Their recently released second album, "Bright As Diamonds," finds The Brixton Academy in familiar territory, crafting dancey songs about nights out and heartache with a few new sonic developments added for good measure.

Also making the trip out west from Tokyo will be Cuz Me Pain, the record label mainly dealing in shadowy bedroom music. The Second Royal show serves as the swansong for Aaps, the project fronted by founding Cuz Me Pain member Keisuke Tsukanome. Over the band's brief existence, Aaps played the electronic-heavy ghost music favored by the label, but also flirted with far-flung genres like dubstep and ambient. Faron Square will also play, the duo of Yosuke Tsuchida and Yuji Oda injecting a little funk into their productions. The label's fourth member, Nobuyuki Sakuma, will DJ under his Nites alias. He also records as Jesse Ruins, grabbing attention from various blogs and having his music appear in the aforementioned Pharrell documentary.

Rounding out the event is Canopies And Drapes, also from Tokyo. Formed following the break-up of sadly unheralded noise-pop duo Nu Clear Classmate, Canopies And Drapes is the solo output of that group`s vocalist "Chick." She has traded in the suffocating distortion marking her old work in favor of dreamier electronic pop, though her new tracks still feature plenty of her entrancing voice and often show off her ability to craft inviting atmospheres. Canopies And Drapes released a debut EP called "Violet Lilly Rose Daisy" this week, and will play a couple more shows with The Brixton Academy in the coming months.

Second Royal presents Hotel Mexico × Cuz Me Pain × Love Action takes place as two events at Club Metro in Kyoto on Oct. 9 (Event #1 at 5 p.m.; ¥2,000 in advance; and Event #2 at 11 p.m.; ¥1,500). For details, visit www.metro.ne.jp.

Other Music this week

LISTENING POST: LIVE

Seiji

By PATRICK ST. MICHEL


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