Picks of the Week #4

Space imagery and cosmic sound worlds meet classic bossa nova in London-based Japanese/German singer-songwriter ケンコバヤシ Ken Kobayashi’s new track ‘Like The Stars’. Kobayashi continues to kindle Japan’s obsession for ‘city pop’ and ‘Shibuya-kei’, terms used to revive feelings of nostalgia and illustrate Japan’s fascination for Western musical styles. Its lush harmonies and syncopated rhythms stir up a quintessential bossa nova vibe, while a sparkling array of synth colours resonate an otherworldly experience.

  • とけた電球 Toketa Denkyu – いらない ‘Iranai

J-rock can be dynamic and voltage-driven, but it can also be melodious and even romantic. Four-piece band とけた電球 Toketa Denkyu (‘Melted Light Bulb’) tugs at the listener’s heartstrings with their track いらない ‘Iranai’ (‘I Don’t Want It’). Swaying in its mid-tempo beat, the quartet belts out a passionate rock ambience driven by harmonies banged out by the bright piano and guitar, clamorous drums, an electrifying solo before the final chorus and Iwase’s vivid and full-bodied vocals and poignant melodies.

  • DATS – ‘Some boy’

Representing Tokyo’s youth culture is four-piece indie-rock band DATS. Since their debut in 2013, the foursome has made waves in the Japanese music scene with tracks like ‘Some boy’. Perhaps reminiscent of The 1975, the track resonates with the British band’s alt-rock vibe with its haunting synths, jangling guitar colours, pulsating drum rhythms and anthemic vocals enriched in octaves.

Catchy J-pop doesn’t get better than Frederic, who unveiled their latest single ‘ONLY WONDER’. Infused with pentatonic flavours in the melodies, the current three-piece band from Kobe prefecture dances away on the musical motorway with infectious guitars, snappy melodies, and Mihara Kenji’s breezy vocals.

© Isaku Takahashi

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