Thanks to the global new coronavirus pandemic Tokyo’s revered live houses won’t be hosting live bands any time soon. We at Tokyo Weekender miss watching our favorite bands perform, so we did the next best thing. We asked them to record their own performances for us to stream on TW Facebook Live.
So that’s what we’re doing. This Saturday, August 29 in the cursed summer of 2020 from 10pm an eclectic, and extremely talented, group of musicians have graciously leant their unique musical stylings to provide us a bit of entertainment for one fun evening. Here’s the starting lineup:
Rhyming Gaijin arrived in Japan 12 years via Philadelphia. Teaching English in the day and making music at night, he is a mainstay in Tokyo’s underground hip hop scene. A prolific freestyler, Rhyming is known for his ability to make rhymes on the spot about any topic. To raise money after 3.11 he freestyled for over 13 hours to beat the World Guinness Book of records for longest freestyle. This January he completed a 365-day rap challenge.
Catch up with his latest endeavors on his Instagram page at @rhyminggaijin
Often shortened to Three, the ’80s soul pop trio skyrocketed to worldwide fame in part thanks to vocalist Shohey Uemura’s appearance on Netflix’s 2018-2019 season of Terrace House Opening New Doors set in Karuizawa. Three1989 had a busy 2019. With an average of two shows a week across two nationwide tours and a studio album release, they didn’t have much down time. Yet, they were kind enough to provide a song for TW to share with our online audience.
Check out Lisa Wallin’s interview with Three1989 from the March 2020 issue of Tokyo Weekender
After studying a wide range of music at Yale University and Eastman School of Music, the native New Yorker made a university performance trip to Japan, and after studying at Sophia University, moved to Tokyo. In addition to co-starring with the late Ray Brown, Kenny Burrell and other jazz masters, Katz also actively composes and arranges music. In 2008, he established Tokyo Big Band, a 19-member formation, providing over 50 songs for the same orchestra.
In March 2019, Tokyo Big Band released their first CD, Sakura.
Tiernan is one-half of Tokyo-based acoustic singer-songwriter duo nature airliner. Having performed extensively around Japan, their international touring credits include the Hard Rock Café (USA and Scotland) as well as circuit-style festivals such as Liverpool Sound City (England) and Zandari Festa (South Korea). Their latest album – Cardinal – was recorded at the former Columbia Studio A, in Nashville, Tennessee, and was released on June 1, 2018.
Learn more about Tiernan’s escapades on his website, TiernanSongs.com.
American pop and soul singer with an edge, Josiah Hawley celebrated the release of his first single, Gonna Let You Go, in fall 2019. The Arkansas native wrote and recorded the single with a friend in LA and finished producing and mixing it from Tokyo. It’s the song Hawley hopes will reintroduce fans to who he is as an artist after years of silence on the original music front following his appearance on NBC’s The Voice, where he was a top 10 finalist on Team Usher.
Stay up-to-date on Hawley’s latest on his Instagram account at @josiahhawley
Brilliant singer-songwriter Satoko Shibata not only knows her away around a guitar, but she also has a special flair for wordsmith. The Sapporo native has collaborated with several top musicians on her wide range of albums – her latest album, Slow-In, came out this summer – while also contributing articles to several literary magazines. Shibata’s first poetry collection “Sabaku,” published in 2016, won the newcomer award for modern poetry.
Read TW music writer Ed Cunningham’s review of Satoko Shibata’s album, Slow-In.
The;Cutlery released their debut album, water ; echo, this April on Japanese indie label Zankyo Record. The album ebbs and flows with volume and corresponding anger (or angst). Guitarist Fukushima and guitar/vocals Fumio met in high school, while drummer Pino and bassist Nakayama met through their university circle. However much Fumio’s vocals and the ensemble owe to their gothic, emo and shoegaze forebears, The;Cutlery modernizes these genres with their post-rock flourishes.
For more about this up-and-coming band check out TW’s album review.
Band members Jesus Salinas and Elliot Cormack – originally from Mexico and Brighton, England respectively – met in Tokyo. After catching a live show, Jesus asked Elliot if he’d like to sing on the first single, “A Ghost in Town.” Jesus’s desire to re-explore the sounds of ’80s synth and new wave music led to them writing a full album together. The final songs are a product of many long conversations about relationships, moments The songs were recorded between Tokyo and Mexico City with the production of Jay De La Cueva (Titan) and Diego Solorzano (Rey Pila / Cult Records) and Nick Zinner mixing their first single “A Ghost in Town.”
Keep up with the band on Instagram at @kurodekoband
The Tokyo-based, Australian musician is member of The Lagerphones, a DJ and the bass playing star of NHK’s Musica Piccolino. He released his debut solo album, Trio I, earlier this year, and with jazz band SMTK they released their first full-length album, SUPER MAGIC TOKYO KARMA, in May. This genre-bending album of free jazz distinguishes SMTK from their contemporaries, while hearkening to the tradition of improvisation.
Find out more about the life of a touring jazz bassist in TW’s Q&A with Holoubek.