Issue Index

  Mini Features
  Cultural Features
  Life in Japan
  Big in Japan
  Rant & Rave
  Cars & Bikes
  Health & Beauty
  Money Talks
  Tokyo Tech
  Web Watch
  Food & Drink
  Restaurant Reviews
  Bar Reviews
  Word of Mouth
  Travel Features
  Japan Travel
  International Travel
  Tokyo Talk
  In Store
  Japan Beat
  CD Reviews
  In Person


bar news and views
bar news and views
bar news and views


774: Presidents of the United States of America
773: Keith
767: Tony Williams Lifetime Tribute
764: Kaiser Chiefs
760: Tim and Puma Mimi
759: Ice Cube
758: Vinyl Soul
757: Bajofondo
755: The Troubadours
752: Spiritualized at Summer Sonic
749: Cajun Dance Party
744: Heat and Noise
739: The Checks
737: Blue King Brown
735: Asian Dub Foundation
734: Scouting For Girls
732: Buzzcocks
730: Old Man River
728: The Kills
726: KT Tunstall
725: Jason Collett
722: Brotherís Sisterís Daughter
720: Sufjan Stevens
716: Gossip
714: The Go! Team
713: Cafť Tacvba
711: Celtic Woman
709: Jack PeŮate
706: Soulive
703: Animal Collective
703: Reverend and The Makers
702: Battles
700: Dinosaur Jr
696: The Polyphonic Spree
695: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
692: Golden Age of Rock
691: One Fine Day
688: Rhombus
687: Corneille
685: The Cinematic Orchestra
683: 747s
680: Pete Murray
679: Mice Parade
678: Enter Shikari
676: The View
674: !!!
671: Donavon Frankenreiter
670: Herbie Hancock
669: Krystal Meyers
668: The Roots
666: Lily Allen
664: Two for Christmas
663: The Datsuns
661: Peaches
660: Tapes ín Tapes
658: Mystery Jets
656: Shayne Ward
654: The Beat
653: Eumir Deodato
652: Mt. Fuji Calling
650: Juno Reactor
649: Yo La Tengo
648: Hyde Park Music Festival
647: Juana Molina
646: Sierra Leoneís Refugee All Stars
645: Tool
644: Juan Formell y Los Van Van
643: The Benevento-Russo Duo
641: TV On The Radio
639: Summer Music Festival Guide 2006
638: ESG
636: Editors
634: Greenroom
632: Ben Harper
630: Matmos
627: Arctic Monkeys
626: Erykah Badu
624: Cake
622: Bent Left
620: Mogwai
618: Deerhoof
617: The Album Leaf
616: Tristan Prettyman
614-615: 10, 9, 8....
613: Madonna
612: John Tropea and Incognito
610: Boy
608: Underworld
607: Niyaz
606: The Beautiful Girls
605: Miho Hatori
604: Doves
600: Bang Gang
598: Feist
596: Fantomas
595: Hyde Park Music Festival
593: Little Barrie
591: Juliette Lewis
589: James Chance & The Contortions
588: Carnival: Vice Bongo 1st Anniversary Party
585: Stereophonics
583: Little Joe Washington
581: Caetano Veloso
579: Maximo Park
578: Moe
577: Death From Above 1979
576: Destiny’s Child
575: Megadeth
574: Bandstand
572: Ozomatli
570: The Dirty Dozen Brass Band
568: Prefuse 73
566: Pat Metheny
565: Rachel Yamagata
564: The Shins
563: The Music
561-562: Metropolis music survey 2004
559: Blues Explosion
557: The Libertines
555: G. Love
554: Dropkick Murphys
553: Kasabian
552: Fertile Ground
551: Recliner
550: Jah Shaka
548: Faithless
547: Tokyo Rotation
546: Yokosuka Reggae Super Bash
545: The Roots
544: True People's Celebration
543: Trans Europe Fes
542: Matthew Sweet
541: Heaven Artists
540: Manolito y su Trabuco
539: Rabble rouser
537: The Offspring
535: Janet Kay with Omar and Thriller U
533: Critters Buggin’
532: Cyndi Lauper
531: Cat Power
530: Standing in the shadows
528: Missy Elliott
527: Stereolab
526: Organic Groove
525: Questions of the day
523: Tough Cookie
521: Conversion
520: Iggy's inner artist
519: Control freak chic
518: Down to the Wire
517: Incubus
516: Kraftwerk
515: Black Eyed Peas
514: Pretenders
513: Sonicmania
511: Suburban funk boys
509/10: Incognito
508: Celtic Xmas 2003
507: Limp Bizkit
506: Robert Randolph and the Family Band
505: Out on a limb
503: Electraglide
501: Super Furry Animals
499: Geezer's groove
498: Ashanti
497: Syn city
496: Slacker rock rules!
495: Television
494: Lou Reed
493: Joao Gilberto
492: The Used
491: Gypsy Summer 2003
490: The Lucksmiths
489: Maxi Priest & Shaggy
488: Chuck Berry
487: Summer Sonic
486: The redheaded stepchild makes good
485: Positive punk mom
484: Duran Duran
483: Unapologetically acoustic
482: Break and Remake
481: Ron Sexmith
480: Folk Implosion
479: The Brand New Heavies
478: The Blood Brothers
477: Eminem
476: The Kills
475: Jackson Browne
474: N.E.R.D.
473: Shred a tabloid, make music
472: Garage Redux
471: Bringing the jams east
470: Asian Dub Foundation
469: Badly Drawn Boy
468: Massive Attack
467: Teenage Fanclub
466: The All Wave Grrls
465: J. Mascis + the Fog
464: Catching up with Sonic Youth
463: Deep Forest
462: Magic Rockout
461: Jurassic 5
460: Snuff
459: Queens of the Stone Age
457/8: On the phone: The Jeevas
456: K-Ci & JoJo and The Roots
455: Sleater-Kinney
454: Beast Feast
453: Contrasts in young UK rock
452: Tahiti 80
451: Pink
450: The Artist (no longer) formerly known as..
449: Paul McCartney Previewed
447: Jamiroquai
446: On the phone: Taxiride
445: Bad Religion
444: Jennifer Love Hewitt
443: Camp in Asagiri Jam
442: The Cinematic Orchestra
441: On the phone: Moby
440: True People's Celebration
439: Roots Revival
438: The politics of sampling
437: Summer Sonic sampler
436: The Jazz Mandolin Project
435: Indie icons
434: Cato Salsa Experience
433: Get's Bossa Nova 2002
432: Janet Kay with Omar
431: Kottonmouth Kings
430: Bowes & Morley
429: Christina Milian
428: Elvis Costello
427: Space Kelly
426: Diana Krall
425: Jay-Z
424: The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion
423: The Brian Setzer Orchestra
422: Weezer
421: The Music
420: Lenny Kravitz
419: Speech
418: Tool
417: Green Day
416: Chuck Berry & James Brown
415: Ozomatli
414: Britney Spears
413: Music Mary J. Blige
412: Incubus
411: The Chemical Brothers
410: David Byrne
409: The Prodigy
408: Roger Walters
407: Ozzy Osbourne
406: Lisa Loeb
405: Aerosmith
404: Garbage
403: Sloan
402: Jamiriquoi
401: Park Tower Blues Festival
400: Mercury Rev
399: Bjork
398: The Isley Brothers
397: Janet Jackson
396: Ian Brown
395: Tortoise Orchestra
394: Regurgitator
393: Art Garfunkel
392: Belle and Sebastian
391: Super Furry Animals
390: Ben Folds
389: Elton John
388: Dido
387: Papa Roach
386: Beast Feast 2001
385: Summersonic
384: David Sylvian
383: Maxi Priest & Big Mountain
382: Fuji Rock Festival 01
381: Roxy Music
380: Bo Diddley
379: John McLaughlin & Zakir Hussain in Remember Shakti
378: Paul Weller
377: Coolio
376: Backyard Babies
375: Marcus Miller
374: Black Crowes
373: Megadeath
372: Dionne Warwick
371: Arrested Development
370: Mouse on Mars
369: Duran Duran
368: Linkin Park
367: Maceo Parker
366: Japan Blues Carnival 2001
365: Ben Harper
364: Cheap Trick
363: Stephen Malkmus
362: Mogwai
361: Weezer
360: Marilyn Manson
359: Green Day
358: AC/DC
357: Richard Thompson
356: Bob Dylan
355: J. Mascis
354: Leigh Stephen Kenny
352/3: Limp Bizkit
351: Boyz II Men
350: Reef
349: Park Tower Blues Festival
348: Roni Size
347: Compay Segundo
346: Incognito
345: Jimmy Page and The Black Crowes
344: Bad Religion
343: Japan Soul Festival 2000
342: Rocktober 2000
341: Richard Ashcroft
340: Motorhead
339: Festival Halou
338: Ricky Martin
337: Taj Mahal
336: Asian Dub Foundation
335: Lou Reed
334: Earth, Wind & Fire
333: Sting
332: No Doubt
331: Camel
330: Fuji Rock: Smash Talks
329: Summer Sonic
328: Mt. Fuju Aid 2000
327: Salif Keita
326: Buena Vista Social Club
325: Bill Frisell
324: Maxi Priest
323: Lenine
322: Rage Against the Machine
321: Tommy Flanagan Trio
320: Smashing Pumpkins
319: Pet Shop Boys
318: Japan Blues Carnival
317: Gipsy Kings
316: Steely Dan
315: Pshish
314: Big Night Out
313: Femi Kuti and the Positive Force
312: Harry Connick Jr.
311: Sonny Rollins
310: Speech
309: Santana

The All Wave Grrls

Top ‘90s alt-rock act The Breeders are back with a new album and philosophy. Dan Grunebaum takes the call.

Kim and Kelly Deal and the new and improved Breeders

There was a time after the implosion of grunge when The Breeders were going to save rock. Kim Deal—leader of the group along with twin sister Kelly—hadn’t even blinked at the demise of her innovative indie-rock band The Pixies in 1990, but had gone on to form an even more influential band that would eventually sell millions of records, tour with Nirvana, and provide alternative rock with its most successful woman-fronted act. But all too soon, amid Kim’s reported studio obsessiveness and Kelly’s run-in with the law over drugs in 1995, the game was up.

Fast-forward eight years. It’s early February 2003, and Kim and Kelly Deal are on the phone from their hometown of Dayton, Ohio, sounding as if doing an interview with a faceless Tokyo music hack were the most fun they’d had since Lollapalooza. Passing the phone back and forth, they giggle about the worst interviews they’ve done.

“Here’s my German interview story,” Kim laughs. “This is what he tells me: ‘Your last record is shit: Please explain,’” she says in her best German accent.

Title tracks
One wonders that the interviewer in question has the nerve to say this to rock’s most prominent sisters, and even more, that he misjudges their comeback album, last spring’s Title TK (4AD).

For Title TK is a great album, the kind that grows on you with repeated listening. Debuting only at 130 in the Billboard charts, its subtle shades have been lost on a generation attuned to the simpler sounds of teen-rockers like Avril Lavigne. But—back with alternative rock producer-extraordinaire Steve Albini—The Breeders have turned out a work that is as catchy and crunchy as Pod, but also intimate and expressive, tinged with a bittersweet wisdom gained through experience. Kim’s sweet, little-girl voice lilting out impressionistic lyrics and Kelly’s insistent guitar strumming and periodic storms of feedback reestablish The Breeders as one of a few select alt-rock elder stateswomen in an era dominated by a new wave of bratty garage rockers.

But don’t make a big deal out of the new album, and by all means, don’t say the word comeback. “Well it’s not like I’d been in a cave for ten years,” rebuffs Kelly, getting back on the line. “Kim has been out doing stuff. I’ve been out doing stuff. So it wasn’t that dramatic. I kind of wish it was—it would make a better story.”

But things have changed a lot in the intervening years, right? The return of pop, Napster, nu metal, teen-rock…isn’t the music scene completely different from when The Breeders were alt-rock leaders in the 1990s? “If you’re looking at ten years ago, it doesn’t seem that different,” continues Kelly in a similar defiant vein. “It seems kind of the same, because ten years ago Paula Abdul was on the radio, and now it’s Britney Spears. So what’s new?”

What’s new, actually, are The Breeders themselves. They’ve got three new band members, recruited from veteran Los Angeles punk act Fear. These improved Breeders came about not in LA, though, but in New York, where in the winter of 2000 Kim met guitarist Richard Presley (a distant relative of Elvis) and bassist Mando Lopez, later filling out the lineup with Jose Medeles on drums.

“Sensing instantly that these were brilliant and confident men capable of playing anything,” writes Albini in an online introduction, “she invited them to play informally that evening with her. In a move that makes ‘leap of faith’ sound timid, she decided that night to move to East Los Angeles, where the band resides, and began playing in earnest with them as a new incarnation of The Breeders.”

Despite the long layoff, re-forming wasn’t as difficult as it may seem. “It’s weird,” says Kelly. “People ask if the transition was smooth, and it makes me think, Jeez, I’ve never thought about that. So it must mean that the transition was smooth. It could have been more difficult, but it wasn’t.”

Analog mindset
The recording sessions for Title TK marked the birth of The Breeders’ “All Wave” philosophy, an all-analog approach to recording that arose out of bad experiences with the now pervasive Pro Tools digital recording software. “Instead of sampling the band, the engineer will create a sound using Pro Tools, a brand new sound, so all the music is coming from him and his computer,” Kelly protests.

“The only thing that’s natural is the vocals, and even that’s pitch-shifted up and down. I think that’s not a good thing. You can tell it’s digitally created. You can hear it’s been corrected. I want to hear the drummer slow down at the end of a track because he’s tired. I want to hear the vocalist who’s been screaming their ass off. I want to hear their voice get hoarse. I like that in music. I like emotion—and the other stuff doesn’t have much.”

And how does it feel to be getting back to touring, and playing in front of audiences half their age? Once again, Kelly downplays the significance. “You know, in 1994 I was 30, so I was already older than everyone in the club anyways,” she recounts. “So now guess what: I’m older than everybody else in the club. So what’s new? It kind of works out good actually. If I’d been really young—19 or 20—and the audience had been my peer group, and I could see how I was aging while the audience stayed young, it might have been depressing.”

And are her heroin and alcohol dependencies truly behind her? “I still have the rock and roll unmanageability, I just don’t have the drugs and alcohol,” Kelly says emphatically, noting that attitudes are changing regarding the sex, drugs ‘n’ rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle.

“There are still people out there going full on, but it’s different with each band. A lot of older bands are still partying hard, but a lot of younger ones are sober. There’s a lot more awareness about it. I didn’t even know what sobriety meant when I was younger, but I think a lot of people nowadays do.”

The Breeders play Club Quattro on March 7. See listings for details.

Credit: Smash