Next Music from Tokyo (NMFT) is an annual tour that introduces Canadians to the most creative and skilled bands from Japan’s indie and underground music scenes. The tour began in 2010 and brings a different group of Japanese bands to Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver each year. NMFT 14 has five acts on the rosterand surprisingly, three of the acts draw on reggae, dancehall and dub music to varying degrees.
TAMTAM is a four-piece band who have reinvented themselves over the years. They began playing strictly reggae music but switched to post-rock and then to folk and neo-soul, yet they have always retained a bit of their dub reggae roots. Currently they have an extremely soulful modern funk sound akin to Thundercat but with sultry female vocals.
Koutei Camera Girl Drei (KCGD) is an idol group of three female emcees who rap over incredibly well-crafted electronic dance instrumentals. Recent songs have incorporated the vocal styling and rhythms of dancehall reggae. The sophistication and unusually high quality of KCGD’s music should appeal to fans of Yasutaka Nakata and Perfume.
KO-GO-NO GORAIKO-Z describe their music as the combination of two legendary bands—Fishmans and Number Girl. They amalgamate the beautiful psychedelic reggae of the former with the fast, noisy and abrasive rock of the latter and perform their unique musical style with jaw-dropping skill.
Joining the three above, imai is one half of the famed electro hip-hop duo group_inou, who are currently on indefinite hiatus. Performing solo, imai has compensated for the lack of vocals by injecting even more passion and creativity into his uniquely amazing dance instrumentals.
Stereogirl is a young five-piece band performing US/UK-influenced indie rock with plenty of emotion and soul and a distinctly Japanese quirkiness. They will remind many of NMFT fan favourites Kinoko Teikoku.
With a long track record of sold-out shows, NMFT is proof that music played with energy and passion transcends language barriers and can be appreciated by audiences anywhere. The Toronto shows will be held May 17 at The Rivoli and May 18 at Lee’s Palace. More detailed information can be found on the tour website: nextmusicfromtokyo.com.