New Japanese Vibes (120) – ハンバートハンバート Humbert Humbert がんばれ兄ちゃん ‘Ganbare Niichan’

Fresh from my recent travels to Prague (and the lack of decent wifi…), I stumbled across a charming number by ハンバートハンバート Humbert Humbert before boarding my flight back. がんばれ兄ちゃん ‘Ganbare Niichan’ (‘Come on Brother’) serenades the ears with its vivid folk and country colours, namely the twanging riffs, gently pulsating rhythms, and the duo’s caramel vocals and honey-toned harmonies.

Other Info

  • Humbert Humbert’s new album Kazoku Koushinkyoku will be released on July 5th.

© Isaku Takahashi

Picks of the Week #24

Distance was my first encounter with J-pop legend宇多田ヒカル Utada Hikaru. 15 years later from the rhythmic and synth-driven vibes of the album, the singer-songwriter returned to the spotlight, plunging into musical and emotional depths like never before in her slow-burning ballad 真夏の通り雨 ‘Manatsu no Tooriame’ (‘Summer Shower’). The sweeping strings, poignant piano and angelic vocals weigh down a reflective and crestfallen air, marking a new leaf in Utada’s musical palette.

  • LAMP IN TERREN – 地球儀 ‘Chikyuugi’

Riding between the sonic waves of 米津玄師 Yonezu Kenshi and BUMP OF CHICKEN, 地球儀 ‘Chikyuugi’ (‘Globe’) by LAMP IN TERREN ignites a display of anthemic rock fireworks fit for the concluding number of any summer festival. Simple yet refreshing, the quartet shines a sparkling mix of voltage-charged guitars, pulsating and clamorous drums, and 松本大 Matsumoto Dai’s herculean vocals that is sure to resonate with the young generation’s listening senses.

  • MONDO GROSSO – ラビリンス ‘Labyrinth’

大沢伸一 Osawa Shinichi, better known as MONDO GROSSO is a name that speaks volume in Japanese electronic music. With the help of 満島ひかり Mitsushima Hikari, the DJ/producer from Tokyo concocts an infectious and dreamy electro house number ラビリンス ‘Labyrinth’. Pounding beats keeps the track on the rhythmic locomotive without any room for musical diversions, while airy piano tones fall like raindrops creating ripples on the sonic lake and Mitsushima’s angelic vocals float above the stereo field with delicate lyricism.

© Isaku Takahashi

New Japanese Vibes (119) – Sunny Day Service 青い戦車 ‘Aoi Sensha’

Enter the hypnotic and infectious sound world of 青い戦車 ‘Aoi Sensha’ (‘Blue Tank’) by Sunny Day Service. Featuring in their new album Popcorn Ballads, the alt-rock trio celebrate 25 years in the Japanese indie family in chic style -topped with a dreamy and nostalgic 90s coat, winding synths swim gauzily in the chorus, funk-infused guitars coaxes the listener’s senses to bop in the beat, and 曽我部恵一 Sokabe Keiichi’s languid yet alluring vocals struts a dapper look on the musical catwalk before the track comes crashing down at the very end with total sonic chaos.

Other Info

  • Sunny Day Service’s new album Popcorn Ballads was released on June 2nd.

© Isaku Takahashi

New Japanese Vibes (118) – 花男 Hanao ど田舎行進曲 ‘Doinaka Koushinkyoku’

Featuring on his new album 暮らし Kurashi, ど田舎行進曲 ‘Doinaka Koushinkyoku’ (‘Countryside March’) by 花男 Hanao is an unapologetic throwback country tune. Rewinding decades back and flying off to the Southern states of America with is country harmonica riffs, chugging guitar chords and husky and resonant vocals, one can picture a nostalgic camp side fire backdrop with the Hokkaido-based singer-songwriter warming up the ears and surrounding air with no-nonsense vibes.

Other Info

  • Hanao’s new album Kurashi was released on May 24th.

© Isaku Takahashi

New Japanese Vibes (117) – carpool 予感 ‘Yokan’

予感 ‘Yokan’ (“Premonition’) by indie rock band carpool is the ideal number to wake me up on the weekend with their radiant yet romantic mix of jangling guitars and male-female octave unison melodic charm. Featuring in their upcoming new album Come & Go, the quartet is the go-to act if you want you speakers and headphone to radiate sensations of summer above a wave of warmth and delicacy.

Other Info

  • Carpool’s new album Come & Go will be released on June 28th.

© Isaku Takahashi

New Japanese Vibes (116) – Dony Joint ‘One & Only Thing’

I confess that rap music has never been of great appeal for my musical palette (maybe with the exception of SKY-HI at his most verbal and lyrically confrontational). Having said that, there’s a brooding yet soulful spirit that one feels in ‘One & Only Thing’ by Dony Joint, which makes it such an intriguing and soothing listen. The rapping has a slick quality that glides with ease, and the neo-soul colours from the guitars, electric piano and backing vocals coaxes a feel-good atmosphere. A brief reprimand by Gottz (fellow rapper singing ‘Savoy’) changes the sonic gears before winding back into the nostalgic vibes.

Other Info

  • Dony Joint’s new album A 03 Tale, ¥ella will be released on 24th

© Isaku Takahashi

New Japanese Vibes (115) – little moa ‘Trampoline’ [Album]

Cute, heavenly and pulsating in equilibrium, little moa preview their slick new album ‘Trampoline’. Alongside tracks like ‘Stereo’ and ‘Lemonade’, which permeate the stereo field with tripping beats and radiant synths, an innocent musical spirit also shines within the album in the form of Sigur Ros-like rippling piano chords, transparent textures and sonic tranquility in ‘Outerstellar’, ‘46610’ and ‘Airport’. If a glimpse into their new music already takes me into sonic bliss, then one would love to imagine where my listening senses will be transported to when immersing myself in their seductive sound world.

Other Info

  • Little Moa’s new album Trampoline will be released on May 31st.

© Isaku Takahashi