Shoegaze can often be such a sonically immersive experience, that one may feel drenched in sounds without room to breath. However, Nagoya-based duo SWIM SWEET UNDER SHALLOW’s new track ‘KITCHEN’ glimmers a more pleasant and tranquil sensation. While engaging in a heavy guitar atmosphere, ‘KITCHEN’ leans more towards an infectious indie-pop vibe. The wonderfully cool camaraderie and mellow vocals of タナカヒロキ Tanaka Hiroki and ヨシダミドリ Yoshida Midori carries a spacious tone and adds a calmness in the musical horizon.

Other Info/Context

  • SWIM SWEET UNDER SHALLOW are currently working on their fourth album.

© Isaku Takahashi


New Japanese Vibes (41) – 蒼い芝生 Aoi Shibafu / The Blind Kids ‘bond’

Two alt-rock bands蒼い芝生 Aoi Shibafu and The Blind Kids mark their close musical and personal affinity in their new track ‘bond’.

The Nagoya-based bands bring elements of math rock and post rock to kindle a rich and youthful band sound with radiant guitar riffs, intricate rhythmic tapestry, voltage-charged timbres against gentle jangling colours, subtle harmonic embellishments and boyish vocal tones. As the title suggests, Aoi Shibafu and The Blind Kids harness their similar musical identity while working through their individual voices.

© Isaku Takahashi


New Japanese Vibes (40) – Caro kissa ‘Imagination’

Osaka indie-pop duo Caro kissa showcase their appetite for skipping beats, memorable riffs and well-founded pop vocals in their latest track ‘Imagination’, featuring in their new Imagination EP.

One can enjoy from the camaraderie between vocalist Sunachu and composer/arranger Takahiro the moment the song launches in a rainbow-coloured, often kitsch-infused pop extravaganza. From the start gun to the finish line, neon synths, funky guitar comps and foot-tapping drum beats spice up the stereo field and harmonise with the charming vocal tone of Sunachu.

Other Info/Context

  • Imagination EP was released on February 19th.

© Isaku Takahashi

New Japanese Vibes (39) – House Of Tapes ‘Twinkle Colors’

House Of Tapes’ new track ‘Twinkle Colors’ seduces the listener in a glistening world of electronic colours. Based in Nagoya, the Japanese producer/track maker expressed his intentions to create a “cute song that blends a toytronica element with electronica”. From the opening riff, the tone is set. A vibrant array of synth harmonies, sparkling percussive effects, twinkling high range melodies and an infectious beat collide like particles in space to radiate a bright and wonderful sound world.

Other Info/Context

  • House Of Tapes will perform at this spring’s Nagoya-Elektronic-Fes 2016 alongside other electronic artists.

© Isaku Takahashi

Masayoshi Iimori

Masayoshi Iimori is a name gaining attention in the electronic music scene. The Japanese track maker from Saitama prefecture started off with a modest following on SoundCloud, and gradually expanded towards greater milestones that include grabbing the attention of electronic enthusiasts across the ocean and online platforms such as NEST HQ.

Living in Tokyo means that Iimori gets to experience many aspects of the vivid and cosmopolitan city, but is also a cultural hotspot in which musicians embrace styles from outside the Japanese border, which is perhaps reflected in his rainbow-coloured tracks such as ‘Break It’. One cannot sleep through this enticing trap number constantly changing in atmosphere and sonic intentions. It is full of in-your-face vocal samples, alluring synth harmonies, pounding beats, laser-coloured timbres, and unashamedly echoing glimpses of viral tune ‘Harlem Shake’.

Badly’ sees a vibrant palette of sounds and riffs collide with each other to coax a gritty and downright seductive electronic number. Taken from his Futon EP, Iimori brings elements of trap, hip-hop and techno music under one creative filter. Perpetuating synth phrases, a meticulous drum line, sporadic vocal particles cast a sonic spell under a relentless rhythmic propulsion.

Whirlwind’ is the track that marks NEST HQ’s enthusiasm for Iimori’s unique creations. No two bars or phrases are the same – the track has a relentless energy that galvanises a “whirlwind” of sonic ideas from the quirky laser-tinged synth lead, pounding drumbeats, intense dynamic shifts, skittish vocal fragments and complex rhythmic lines woven with precision-engineered craft.

Other Listening:

  • Super Mellow Beat
  • Papapa
  • Justice – Stress

© Isaku Takahashi

New Japanese Vibes (38) – Fluffytails & Bloom Waves ‘Before the Sun’

The shoegaze outfit of Japan just keeps on expanding, and this time it is the creative mind of Fluffytails that adds fuel to the genre’s fire with their new track ‘Before the Sun’.

This track is a joint collaboration with fellow New York shoegaze artist Bloom Waves, allowing both minds to coalesce and resonate a greater creative energy. As one meanders through the shoegaze journey of ‘Before the Sun’, a strong lo-fi dynamism is radiated from the shimmering guitar effects, jangling riffs, evocative vocal tones and slow-brewing melody. It’s a perfect track to indulge in for the final winter days.

© Isaku Takahashi

New Japanese Vibes (37) – ほそいあや hosoiaya 夜食 ‘Yashoku’ (Album)

It’s been 12 years since Japanese writer and singer ほそいあや hosoiaya last released an album. Now, the J-Pop outfit has been enriched with some new glitter with the album 夜食 Yashoku (‘Late-night snack’).

This pleasant and unique pop record comes from the same person who wrote a book titled ゆる猫生活 ‘Yuru Neko Seikatsu’ (‘Free cat lifestyle’). With the help of producers ビーフ Beef, チバマコト Chiba Makoto and 和田泪 Wada Namida, hosoiaya dreams up an 8-chapter jovial journey with tinges of android vocal textures. Like the way a cat spends its life, she exudes a playful and gentle vibe with bubbly vocals, timeless arrangements and charming melodies.

Other Info/Context

  • Yashoku will be released on March 16th.

© Isaku Takahashi