New Japanese Vibes (82) – フレデリック Frederic リリリピート ‘Rererepeat’

If the previous hits of J-rock band フレデリック Frederic are anything to go by, then one simply wakes up with excitement when finding their new video for their song リリリピート ‘Rererepeat’. The track oozes with youthful energy and their trademark repetitive infectiousness takes center stage, driven by voltage-laden guitars, pulsating drum rhythms and the band’s buoyant vocals. If this song gets you in the mood, then free your musical senses with another one of their songs here.

Other Info/Context

  • Frederic’s new album Frederhythm will be released on October 19th.
  • Find out more about Frederic in my blog post here.

© Isaku Takahashi


Picks of the Week #13

  • Miyuu – ‘Southern Waves’

Reminiscent of the honey-toned personality of YUI, Osaka-based singer-songwriter Miyuu makes her major debut with ‘Southern Waves’. A warm guitar-pop vibe shimmers after every harmony and strum on the guitar, tinged with a hazy ambience from Miyuu’s delicate vocals. From those days playing covers of Maroon 5 and Bruno Mars at temples and shrines around Kyoto, Miyuu has paved the way for what is surely a bright future ahead of her.

  • Fumika – アオイトリ ‘Aoi Tori’

Recently, 久保帯人 Kubo Tite said his farewells with the end of his popular manga series ブリーチ Bleach. アオイトリ ‘Aoi Tori’ (‘Blue Bird’) by J-pop singer Fumika is a throwback to the days I enjoyed watching (& reading the manga) the anime of Bleach. (For the avid fans, you will recognise the series of episodes this track was used as the closing theme song). Anime can often open people into a world of musical wonders, and ‘Aoi Tori’ is one of many songs I have had the pleasure to uncover.

  • サカナクション Sakanaction – ワード ‘Word’

There is just something about サカナクション Sakanaction’s music that draws many listener’s senses into a unique musical atmosphere within a blink of an eye. ワード ‘Word’ is no different. Its infectious rock motor married with a dazzling kaleidoscope of electro-pop colours stimulates every rhythmic muscle of the listener to get in sync with the track. Find out more about Sakanaction in my blog post here, and hear another track by them here.

© Isaku Takahashi

New Japanese Vibes (81) – The OXs ‘Candy of Youth’

Make way for the latest shoegaze/dream pop enthusiasts to launch their debut in the Dead Funny Records record label – Tokyo-based band The OXs. From the outset of their debut track ‘Candy of Youth’, the quartet drives through with brisk rhythmic energy, but also submerges the stereo field in a wash of dreamy harmonies, wailing synths, hypnotic guitar riffs and nostalgic musical richness. If the other tracks from their debut EP Candy of Youth is as impressive as this one, then they are surely ones to keep a watchful eye on in the future of shoegaze and dream pop in Japan.

Other Info/Context

  • The OXs’ debut EP Candy of Youth will be released on October 12th.
  • Find out more on Dead Funny Records here.

© Isaku Takahashi

New Japanese Vibes (80) – bonobos ‘Cruisin’ Cruisin’’

A rainbow of colourful musical vibes glimmers in ‘Cruisin’ Cruisin’’, the latest track by five-piece band bonobos from their upcoming album 2323Ku (23 ward, referring to the 23 districts of Tokyo). Although they are regarded as a Japanese dub band, the kaleidoscope of musical colour that dances throughout this track belies their simple band setup. From soul to electronica, samba, folk and many more, bonobos takes strands from a rich array of styles to sew a musical story that is simply gorgeous.

Other Info/Context

  • Bonobos’ new album 23Ku will be released on September 21st.

© Isaku Takahashi

Picks of the Week #12

  • 片想い Kata Omoi – パーティーに殺される! ‘Party Kills Me’

Where gentle blues, jazz and folk vibes meet a NHK educational program-inspired video, パーティーに殺される! ‘Party Kills Me’ by片想い Kata Omoi is a strangely fascinating experience. Taken from their latest album QUIERO V.I.P, the eight-piece band showcases their mellow yet rich ensemble sound – from yearning brass harmonies to a fleeting rap interlude and melancholic vocals sung by a humorous entourage of puppets.

  • EVISBEATS と PUNCH & MIGHTY – 夜風に吹かれて ‘Yokaze ni Fukarete’

A gentle hip-hop breeze flows in 夜風に吹かれて ‘Yokaze ni Fukarete’ (‘Blown by the night breeze’) by EVISBEATS (a.k.a. AMIDA as an MC), featuring fellow hip-hop duo PUNCH & MIGHTY (Michel Punch & Mighty Mars). The Wakayama-based track maker has built a reputation as an emblem of today’s Japanese hip-hop spirit, and this track lives up to his name as he entices a cool, nostalgic ambience with chilled vocoder-filtered melodies, feathery harmonies and a mild rhythmic groove.

Watching the Tokyo 2020 presentation (which incidentally椎名林檎 Shiina Ringo helped produce) at the Rio Olympics Closing Ceremony brought back memories of the Japanese singer-songwriter’s eclectic solo catalogue. ‘NIPPON’ was actually the theme song for the 2014 World Cup, but the track’s anthemic rock vibes driven by voltage-laden guitars and Shiina’s razor-cut vocals rumble an energy that may well hopefully reflect the atmosphere of the Olympic Games in Tokyo four years time. Find out more about Shiina Ringo in my blog post here.

© Isaku Takahashi

New Japanese Vibes (79) – SHISHAMO 夏の恋人 ‘Natsu no Koibito’

As we say farewell to another summer, it’s time to indulge in some swaying autumnal songs, including SHISHAMO’s new track夏の恋人 ‘Natsu no Koibito’ (‘Summer Lover’). The song sees the all-female trio embrace a nostalgic rock ambience to vivid effect, and shines a rich musical glaze filled with 宮崎朝子 Miyazaki Asako’s breezy vocals, sumptuous strings and an undercurrent of laid-back indulgence.

Other Info/Context

  • SHISHAMO’s new single ‘Natsu no Koibito’ will be released on September 7th.

© Isaku Takahashi

New Japanese Vibes (78) – Rei ‘COCOA’

An infectious guitar-driven energy tingles in ‘COCOA’, the latest track by Hyogo-born singer Rei to crop up from the SPACE SHOWER MUSIC channel. Bilingual in English and Japanese, she spent her childhood in New York, and it is clear that the rock and blues traditions of America have a lasting influence on Rei’s songwriting. The track’s jangling guitars, electrifying riffs that shout ‘vintage’, pulsating drums, Rei’s razor-sharp vocals and bright synth hits blend together to create a musical sensation hard to resist.

Other Info/Context

  • Rei’s mini album ORB will be released on September 21st.


© Isaku Takahashi