Picks of the Week #3

  • AL – 花束 ‘Hanataba’

A nostalgic folk-rock ambience resonates from花束 ‘Hanataba’ (‘Bouquet’), written by AL. Originally a duo project involving 小山田壮平 Oyamada Souhei and 長澤知之 Nagasawa Tomoyuki, the group expanded to a four-piece band, and one can feel a warm chemistry kindling between the quartet in this track. Beginning in a sedate acoustic guitar vibe enriched with endearing vocal harmonies, the track gradually builds up to a rhapsody of folk-rock wonder.

  • コブクロ Kobukuro – 何故、旅をするのだろう ‘Naze, Tabi wo Suru no darou’

To celebrate the 5th anniversary of the Kyushu Shinkansen, the duo of 小渕健太郎 Kobuchi Kentaro and 黒田俊介 Kuroda Shunsuke released the song何故、旅をするのだろう ‘Naze, Tabi wo Suru no darou’ (‘Why do we travel?’). The song follows the classic celebratory J-pop formula with rich vocal harmonies, sumptuous strings, enchanting melodies and an electrifying guitar solo. With glimpses of Kumamoto prefecture appearing in the video, one feels a greater sense of poignancy after the earthquakes that shook the area and the people affected.

  • Gateballers – 東京 ‘Tokyo’

From one nostalgic tune to another. 東京 ‘Tokyo’ by three-piece band Gateballers meanders through a gentle rock ambience filled with vintage-laden guitars and organ harmonies, a laid-back beat and beautifully melancholic vocal melodies swirling around the listener’s senses, and hints of country and very subtle vocoder colours deepen the dreamy sound world.

  • LEGO BIG MORL – ‘end-end’

A cosmopolitan rock vibe exudes from Osaka-based four-piece band LEGO BIG MORL’s latest track ‘end-end’. With a rich mix of energizing guitars, foot-tapping drums, colourful synths, enchanting vocals and a fine hint of meditative shoegaze, the band submerges the listener in a sumptuous sonic universe that stimulates a familiar pop-rock feel but also transports the senses to new heights.

© Isaku Takahashi