I’m not going to rank the top ten sites because people may find each site useful in their own way, as the sites sometimes focus on different things regarding Japanese music. They will be numbered, but are simply listed in alphabetical order.
01. centrigrade-j: http://www.centigrade-j.com/
Centrigrade-j offers reviews, news, and a forum on the latest in Japanese music. It is most famous for its translations, however. Most English speakers don’t know what Japanese artists are singing, but this site helps to inform them.
02. circle with a dot: http://www.circlewithadot.net/
Circle with a dot offers profiles on a varied group of musicians and also has a forum. The site has a couple of features and offers samples of songs by the musicians profiled there. The site even provides some videos, ranging from live footage to music videos.
03. J-Music.com: http://www.j-music.com/
J-Music.com solely covers Japanese jazz musicians, which makes it a very interesting site. For you jazz fans out there that might be visiting Japan sometime soon, be sure to take a look at this site since it highlights many jazz clubs around Tokyo.
04. Japan Files: http://www.yesjapan.com/japanfiles/
Japan Files is unique in that it offers music samples, mp3s, videos, and albums of various independent and lesser known Japanese bands. The intent of the creators’ was to make a site that directly supported the artists. The site also features some live reports and a message board dedicated to Japanese artists.
05. Japan Live: http://japanlive.blogspot.com/
Japan Live is an interesting blog written by Ken McCallum, who is a foreigner in Japan. His site mainly focuses on the live music scene in Japan, as he reports on various bands and artists through the shows he’s seen live. Some information about lesser known artists is given, but his site is more dedicated to their live shows than to the artists’ history.
06. Japanese Music Archive: http://www.japanesemusicarchive.com/
Japanese Music Archive focuses primarily on profiling artists from all over Japan. It also discusses various genres and labels and some of the influential artists that came out of them. Another interesting feature of the site is the ability to read about the popular music scenes in different Japanese sites.
07. Junk Magnet: http://www.junkmagnet.com/
Created by Nick Freeman, Junk Magnet has a number of profiles and links about Japanese artists ranging from pop stars to hard rockers. The site is quite unique as it also offers an interesting look into Japanese pop culture compared to Western pop culture.
08. Keikaku: http://www.keikaku.net/
Keikaku’s staff covers underground Japanese music dealing with every genre: everything from electronic artists to reggae bands. The site offers reviews, live reports, interviews, and profiles on many different artists and bands. The site also lists upcoming Japanese releases and has a forum for discussing underground Japanese musicians.
09. Musicwhore: http://www.musicwhore.org/
Although this blog deals with music in general, Japanese music is one of the most popular things discussed on the site. Greg Bueno, the creator of Musicwhore, has a rather extensive list of profiles and album reviews on various Japanese bands. He also updates the site with various music news, which can come in handy.
10. Rock of Japan: http://www.rockofjapan.com/
Rock of Japan provides album reviews and interviews on an eclectic mix of Japanese bands and artists. It also focuses heavily on live coverage of the bands, particularly when they play in America. For fans hoping to catch a Japanese band in America, the site is great for its tour dates.