New Japanese Vibes (71) – 折坂悠太 Orisaka Yuta あさま ‘Asama’

折坂悠太 Orisaka Yuta’s あさま ‘Asama’ is a track to let your body and senses float away from reality and indulge in a beautifully lazy vibe. Smooth harmonies flow in dainty fashion and vocal melodies evocative of the Showa-era kayokyoku sound world trickle out of Orisaka’s rich vocal colours, while offbeat chords from the electric guitar infuse a tinge of reggae in the song’s gentle vibe.

Other Info/Context

  • Orisaka’s new album たむけ Tamuke will be released on September 7th.

© Isaku Takahashi

Picks of the Week #9

  • おとぎ話 Otogibanashi セレナーデ ‘Serenade’

セレナーデ ‘Serenade’ by four-piece alt-rock band おとぎ話 Otogibanashi is the perfect soundtrack for the dazzling summer weather that has finally arrived this week. The track is full of feel-good sounds that take you under the glaring sun and bright blue skies (get your sunglasses ready!) – jangling guitars, velvety harmonies and romantic vocal melodies evoke the nostalgic British sound world of 60s Merseybeat.

  • SKY-HI – ナナイロホリデー ‘Nanairo Holiday’

From one summery tune to another – SKY-HI (Hidaka Mitsuhiro) is back with a new disco/hip-hop number ナナイロホリデー ‘Nanairo Holiday’ (‘Seven Colour Holiday’). Bringing back the uptempo vibes of previous hits like スマイルドロップ Smile Drop and 愛ブルーム Ai Bloom, vintage-coloured harmonies, jangling guitars and SKY-HI’s seductive vocals entice a zestful ambience that gets listeners up on their feet. Stuttering beats in the bridge add a tinge of hip-hop edginess before the song plunges back into the guitar funk ocean.

  • yonige – センチメンタルシスター ‘Sentimental Sister’

All-female rock bands have always had a strong presence in the Japanese music scene, and for good reason. センチメンタルシスター ‘Sentimental Sister’ by yonige oozes with indie rock dynamism from its driving guitars and drums, but also trickles a tinge of wistfulness and melodious charm with牛丸ありさ Ushimaru Arisa’s rich and velvety vocals. This track features in their new mini album かたつむりになりたい I Want To Be A Snail.

© Isaku Takahashi

New Japanese Vibes (70) – ぼくのりりっくのぼうよみ Boku no Lyric no Bouyomi ‘Newspeak’

ぼくのりりっくのぼうよみ Boku no Lyric no Bouyomi is back with another seductive hip-hop number ‘Newspeak’, from his latest EP Dystopia. The track spawns an attractive blend of ebbing and flowing rapping, silky melodies, sleek harmonies, pumping beats, and a gorgeous chorus that is enough to grab the musical heartstrings of Japanese soul/hip-hop enthusiasts.

Other Info/Context

  • Boku no Lyric no Bouyomi’s new EP Dystopia will be released on July 20th.

© Isaku Takahashi

New Japanese Vibes (69) – polly 沈めてくれたら ‘Shizumete Kuretara’

Polly’s new song 沈めてくれたら ‘Shizumete Kuretara’ (‘If you let me sink…’) is a sonically chaotic (in a good way) yet equally enticing experience. Featuring in their new mini album 哀余る Aiamaru, the four-piece band strikes a sonic lightning from the outset with a bolt of clamorous guitar feedback and drum noise. After a raucous intro, polly immerses the listeners in a tranquil and rich indie rock/shoegaze vibe, before unleashing one more pocket of energy in a blissful yet haywire ending.

Other Info/Context

  • Polly’s new mini album Aiamaru was released on July 13th.

© Isaku Takahashi

Picks of the Week #8

  • MARQUEE BEACH CLUB – ‘eye’

It is not just the likes of Sakanaction making waves in the new wave/electro-pop scene. MARQUEE BEACH CLUB caught my attention with their track ‘eye’ from their upcoming album Flavor. The track instantly coaxes an infectious dance vibe with pumping beats, radiant synth colours and seductive vocal melodies, and is sure to persuade listeners to get up on their feet and feel the sonic energy from start to finish.

  • 雨のパレード Ame no Parade – ‘Tokyo’

Four-piece J-rock band 雨のパレード Ame no Parade has only spent three years in the business, but is fast capturing the younger generations of Japan’s pop/rock enthusiasts with their catchy and cool post-rock personality. ‘Tokyo’, from their latest album New generation glistens with a tinge of melancholy in the wistful bridge section, but also strides with verve in the euphoric chorus laden with glittering guitars and glorious vocals.

As with every song by パスピエ Passepied, an infectious energy lies at the heart of their new track永すぎた春 ‘Nagasugita Haru’ (‘The Spring that lasted too long’). Colourful synths pervade the sonic field to evoke the golden days of synth-pop, while the perpetual pop pulse, ‘kawaii’ vocals and sing-along melodies make the track as catchy as any other cute J-pop hit of today. Their new single will be released later in July.

  • Analogfish – ‘Baby Soda Pop’

Dreamy, propulsive and anthemic, ‘Baby Soda Pop’ by Analogfish is a totally unique musical experience more listeners should encounter. The three-piece alt-rock band is no stranger in today’s music scene – they have been active for more than 15 years, and perhaps best known for providing the ending theme for the big anime Naruto with their song ‘Speed’. However, ‘Baby Soda Pop’ is a considerable shift in style – ethereal synths shimmer seamlessly to coax a magical ambience, while sumptuous vocal melodies, harmonies and pounding beats liven up an anthemic pop vibe.

© Isaku Takahashi

New Japanese Vibes (68) – moo ‘Kite Flying Society’

Conjuring a nostalgic 90s indie band sound is moo, a four-piece indie pop/rock band from Sapporo prefecture and newcomer in the Dead Funny Records musical locomotive with their new track ‘Kite Flying Society’. In their 20s, the quartet show just how much potential they have got to attract attention from the Japanese indie pop/rock enthusiasts with a seductive mix of feel-good guitar riffs, evocative soundscapes, silky textures and unwinding vocals and harmonies under a leisurely pulse.

Other Info/Context

  • moo’s debut album Kite Flying Society will be released under Dead Funny Records on September 14th.

© Isaku Takahashi

New Japanese Vibes (67) – guitarsisyo ‘teks’

Kagawa prefecture-born artist guitarsisyo is making waves with his beautiful blend of nostalgic guitar pop and electronic beats. ‘teks’ features in his latest album gift to her. The track floats about in a whispering and melodious vibe filled with warm acoustic guitar riffs, melancholic piano and synth colours, yet slowly builds up a sumptuous sonic crescendo with a rich bed of harmonies, beats and effects.

Other Info/Context

  • Guitarsisyo’s new album gift to her will be released on July 17th.

© Isaku Takahashi