Next Music from Tokyo brings back fan favourites, and a brand-new indie-pop trio!

Yubisaki Nohaku. Shin Ishihara photo.

Next Music from Tokyo is a twice-annual touring sensation that treats Canadian audiences to some of the best underground music from Japan.

On May 23, the 12th edition comes to the Biltmore Cabaret (2755 Prince Edward St.). This one features four returning bands—three from NMFT Vol. 10 and one from Vol. 11—and a group coming to North America for the first time.

To find out more about the bands, see below (click on names to watch video). This is one event that fans of adventurous and exciting new music won’t want to miss!

The Taupe—In a write-up on the Next Music From Tokyo website, tour organizer/sponsor Steven Tanaka describes The Taupe as taking “a quirky, soulful and experimental approach to psychedelic post-punk… Their music switches unpredictably from calm, beautiful soundscapes to ear-shattering chaos in a heartbeat. On stage, The Taupe are menacing—exuding an aloof, cooler-than-thou aura—but such presence melts away as they perform with passion and show their love for crowd interaction.” They’re one of the returnees from Vol. 10.

The Taupe. Natsuki Ono photo.

Yubisaki Nohaku—An all-female quartet, also returning from Volume 10, “throws down a technical but fun combination of prog, noise, pop, and post-rock,” according to Tanaka. “Last year, guitarist Junko may have broken all sorts of records in Canada for stage-diving, crowd-surfing and coaxing free beers from the audience.” (Next Music From Tokyo regularly includes stops in Toronto and Montreal as well as Vancouver.)

Yubisaki Nohaku. Yosuke Torii photo.

Bakyun the everyday—Tanaka again: “… a 4pc rock band that plays melodic pop-punk of the pleasantly dreamy variety before switching gears into ultra-fast, ultra-loud mayhem… a fun band to watch live and surprisingly badass when they go full throttle.”

Bakyun the everyday. Chiaki Machida photo.

Koutei Camera Girl Drei—In the Japanese phenomenon known as idol groups, producers assemble collections of ambitious (usually) singers to create pop hits. Koutei Camera Girl Dei is an all-female idol rap unit now in its third incarnation (“drei” = “three” in German). Remarkably, their performances as part of Next Music Vol. 11 marked the trio’s first live shows together; despite having only passed their auditions a couple of months before their live performance debut in Toronto, the trio pulled off all performances with aplomb. Says Tanaka: “… not only did they perform admirably, they improved exponentially with each show and absolutely killed it with a floor live performance in the centre of the crowd in Vancouver.” Two of the three members of KCG Drei perform as a separate, more hip-hop-influenced act known as Koutei Camera Gal. They will perform as the tour’s opener.

Lucie, Too—A female indie-pop trio hailing from Utsunomiya, a town two hours by car north of Tokyo, Lucie, Too is making its Next Music From Tokyo (and Canadian) debut. According to Tanaka, “[group member] Chisato writes all of the songs… She is unbelievably talented at songwriting and has a genius level aptitude for composing simple yet great songs with timeless melodies.” The music is jangly-pop that draws on North American indie-pop groups like The Vaselines and Tiger Trap.

Lucie, Too.

Next Music from Tokyo comes to the Biltmore Cabaret May 23.

Tickets are $14 advance at, $20 at the door. (But advance tickets strongly advised: Next Music from Tokyo regularly sells out.)

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