New Japanese Vibes (106) – feather shuttles forever ‘feather shuttles forever’ [Album]

There’s nothing better than listening to tropical pop and soul vibes in the morning of a day off work. Feather shuttles forever (made up of the duo Hikaru Yamada and マリ Mari (Mukuchi)) released their first album of the same title on bandcamp, and is a winsome combination of ten bright and nostalgic tunes. From the soothing calypso and shuffling beats of 海辺の電車 ‘Umibe no Densha’ (‘The Beach Train’) to the contrasting radiant ambience of ジュース ‘Juice’ and jazzy riffs that colour 小さな飛行機 ‘Chiisana Hikouki’) (‘The Small Aeroplane’), feather shuttles forever delve in a gorgeous array of styles to make the perfect soundtrack that will lift any dull morning.

Other Info

  • Feather shuttles forever was released on February 25th.

© Isaku Takahashi

Picks of the Week #20

  • The Wisely Brothers – 鉄道 ‘Tetsudou’

One has to admire bands that can turn ideas that are seemingly repetitive into a song that is tranquil and sumptuous, like 鉄道 ‘Tetsudou’ (‘Railway’) by indie-rock trio The Wisely Brothers. A sedate electric guitar ambles along a single note before Madachi Haruko dips into the mix with her honey-toned vocals. The band gradually spurs the song to a euphoric peak, only to dwindle down to a cosy ‘weekend coffee’ vibe.

  • カノエラナ Kano Erana – トーキョー ‘Tokyo’

Bubbly and vibrant – two of many adjectives that encapsulate カノエラナ Kano Erana’s lively number トーキョー ‘Tokyo’. The Saga-born singer sparks a dazzling fiesta of J-pop/rock fireworks, full of bouncing rhythms, gleeful vocals and a jamboree of brass. While much of the song gallops through a carnival pop atmosphere, Kano takes a brief and quirky detour with some unapologetic rapping before driving back on the country rock highway.

  • YOUR ROMANCE – ‘RUN’

In collaboration with indie-rock band PAELLAS, RUN’ is one of three tracks YOUR ROMANCE contributed to their split EP lute. The synth pop/rock quartet rides a surfboard of voltage-driven guitars and propelling drums, while they also indulge in a seabed of radiant synths and electric organ-like harmonies. The band’s sultry vocals add another zany dimension to the track, making this a worthy addition to my never-ending playlist of indie gems.

  • Sasakure. UK – ネジ巻き師と太虚鳥 feat. Lasah ‘Nejimakishi to Taikyotori’

The sonic universe and hypnotic sensations one hears and feels from Sasakure.UK’s track ネジ巻き師と太虚鳥 feat. Lasah ‘Nejimakishi to Taikyotori feat. Lasah’ is like no other artist or song in Japanese electronic music. Skittering drum patterns drive the rhythmic, drum ‘n’ bass-like propulsion of the track, and a galaxy of textures, colours and instruments orbit around the listener’s senses like oblique, celestial beings.

© Isaku Takahashi

New Japanese Vibes (105) – the perfect me ‘Have been waiting for a long time’

The Perfect Me, the latest arrivals on the Dead Funny Records bandwagon tangle a homely indie rock vibe with mellow dance grooves and radiant synth-pop colours in their new track ‘Have been waiting for a long time’. The Fukuoka-based duo of Takumi Nishikawa and Takuhiro Yoshikawa kickstarted their presence in the indie music scene through supporting American indie/experimental rock band Deerhoof (the duo named themselves from one of Deerhoof’s tracks). With their debut album INTO THE HOUSE coming later this month, the perfect me pave the way for the future of Japanese indie music.

Other Info

  • The perfect me’s debut album INTO THE HOUSE will be released on February 22nd.
  • Find out more about Dead Funny Records in my blog posts here.

© Isaku Takahashi

New Japanese Vibes (104) – Ivy to Fraudulent Game ‘Dear Fate’

Featuring in their upcoming mini album 継ぐ Tsugu, Ivy to Fraudulent Game’s new track ‘Dear Fate’ sees the rhythmic aggression of hard rock, the intricacy of math rock and the soulful and introspective ambience of gothic rock and shoegaze collide and burst in sumptuous fashion. Once you hook onto the song’s bullet train, there’s no chance for a pit stop – voltage-charged guitars, soul-searching vocals and relentless drum rhythms strike a lightning of potent sonic power.

Other Info

  • Ivy to Fraudulent Game’s new mini album Tsugu will be released on March 7th.

© Isaku Takahashi

Picks of the Week #19

  • in the blue shirt – ‘toward morning’

Groovy and chilled in equal measure, in the blue shirt (real name 有村陵 Arimura Ryo) coaxes a sound world of meticulous sonic precision in ‘toward morning’. Juggling a rainbow of soulful vocal samples, bitpop-esque beats and hypnotic synths, the track brews a jumble of musical nonsense fit for my lazy Sunday afternoon soundtrack. ‘toward morning’ is the title track of his EP Toward Morning.

  • 宇多田ヒカル Utada Hikaru – 忘却 ‘Boukyaku featuring KOHH’

After six years hidden away from the public eye, 宇多田ヒカル Utada Hikaru returned back into the spotlight last September with her latest album Fantôme. The influential singer-songwriter employs the help KOHH in the track忘却 ‘Boukyaku’. The Japanese rapper delivers a sermon-like narrative over shimmering synths and booming drumbeats, while Utada’s resplendent vocals re-echo the ethereal ambience that glints in the backdrop.

Behind the merry march and Irish folk fiddle vibes of ‘Hey Ho’ by SEKAI NO OWARI lays a message of solidarity. The quirky pop quartet wrote this song in support of the Bremen Project, a campaign to stop the unlawful slaughter of stray animals in Japan. With a charming melange of sunny melodies, march rhythms, folk merriment and a colourful array of instruments, the band sends an uplifting vibe for a cause that they hope will grow for the good. Find out more about SEKAI NO OWARI in my blog post here.

© Isaku Takahashi

New Japanese Vibes (103) – 米津玄師 Yonezu Kenshi ‘orion’

米津玄師 Yonezu Kenshi is one that keeps growing from strength to strength. The Tokushima-born singer-songwriter’s new track ‘orion’ glorifies in a charming and anthemic pop ambience that is richly unique and fit for the mainstream in equal measure. His radiant vocals resonate a youthful energy that soars above the song’s stratosphere, while luminous synth strings, sonorous harmonies, rapturous handclaps and pounding drums summon a life-affirming spirit and sense of inspiration that spills into my soul.

Other Info

  • Yonezu Kenshi’s new single orion will be released on February 15th.
  • ‘orion’ is the ending theme song for the anime 3月のライオン Sangatsu no Lion.
  • Find out more about Yonezu Kenshi in my blog post here.

© Isaku Takahashi

New Japanese Vibes (102) – The Rouges 海辺にて ‘Umibe Nite’

Perhaps the bleak February weather is not the perfect setting to indulge in some laid-back lo-fi and surf rock vibes, but I couldn’t help but rouse my curiosity for The Rouges and their new tune海辺にて ‘Umibe Nite’ (‘At the Seaside’). From the outset, clanking drums and jangling guitars drenched in reverb ooze premonitions of the glaring beach, and the trio’s juvenile personality comes to full bloom in their wonderfully frivolous vocals, and enriches the vintage backdrop.

Other Info

  • The Rouges’ new SWIM LOVE EP will be released on February 25th.

© Isaku Takahashi