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Thursday, Dec. 23, 2011

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Rising: Otori strike fear in the hearts of popstars. JAMES HADFIELD

Five freshman acts to watch out for in 2012

Special to The Japan Times

Formed in April 2011, Hysteric Picnic could be set to make a splash in the Tokyo indie scene with a sound influenced by 1970s/'80s British new wave, echoing Joy Division and Young Marble Giants in their simple but memorable melodies and arrangements.

On a more ambient and psychedelic tip, Buddy Girl & Mechanic combine the dreamy experimental sound of Damo Suzuki-era Can with a languid blues influence that wouldn't sound out of place on a David Lynch film soundtrack. Also worth a look is vocalist Xiroh's other band, jittery postpunkers LoveBuyLove.

One of the most fearsome young bands in Tokyo right now are Otori. Emerging in 2010 out of the wreckage of new wavers The Shop, they recruited vocalist Sae Kobara, and started spitting out tightly wound but accessible nuggets of no-wave noise.

Nagoya has for a while been a hotbed of creativity, albeit one rarely glimpsed by the outside world. Next year should see that change, with indie-rock trio Pop Office's bags full of great melodies making them leading contenders.

Another city whose music scene has been lively of late is Kumamoto in Kyushu, where a diverse scene has been attracting attention for a while now. I'm going to stick my neck out here and suggest Gang of Four-meets-Soutaisei Riron geek-wave quartet Kobayashi Dorori will make their mark, based on some pretty smart tunes and the fact that they wrote a book of short erotic manga to explain each song on their CD.

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