New Japanese Vibes (159) – ぼんち Bonchi 6月 ‘Rokugatsu’

My ceaseless workload these past few days has led to an inexcusable absence from this blog. However, sometimes one has to literally sweep the paperwork off the table and wind down in the lounge with a genial, summery pop-rock tune, this time by young Tokyo-based trio ぼんち Bonchi. It is clear that the band pour their heart and soul in their songs as they go by the concept of conveying “A view we saw one day” in their music. Slightly reminiscent of the feel-good ambience of Special Favourite Music (though different musical styles), 6月 ‘Rokugatsu’ (‘June’) wakes the body’s summer cells up with their infectious rhythms and vocal melodies, but also oozes a mellow vibe fit for playing while one indulges in the sunset.

Other Info

  • Bonchi’s new single ‘Rokugatsu’ will be released on June 23rd, with a launch event at Shibuya 7th Floor. More info available here.
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New Japanese Vibes (158) – Ghost like girlfriend ‘sands’

Music is often a good antidote for me, especially during the past few weeks where I’ve been re-assessing my career and personal life. Letting my senses get soaked in four minutes of rhythm, harmony and melody both relaxes and invigorates my mind, something that Ghost like girlfriend does well with their new song ‘sands’. A sultry mix of razor-sharp and neon-coloured guitars, groovy bass lines and drum beats, and flowing, soulful vocals, the track does justice to their unique identity, reviving the haydays of ‘city-pop’ while in the fore exuding a musically current and fresh vibe.

Other Info

  • Ghost like girlfriend’s new EP Witness will be released on July 25th. More info is available on their website.

New Japanese Vibes (157) – TENDRE ‘RIDE’

As spring gradually shifts into the early days of summer, TENDRE (a.k.a 河原 太朗  Kawahara Taro) is riding the transition as well with their new summery, radio-blasting tune ‘RIDE’. The new song comes after only five months since he released his debut EP, but one must marvel at his confidence and creative mind that churned out this anthemic number. With TENDRE driving the musical convertible with his sleek vocals, the track collages an infectious mix of groovy bass lines, a spectrum of instrumental colours enough to paint a rainbow, and pounding beats to keep the body moving.

Other Info

  • TENDRE’s new digital single SOFTLY – RIDE will be released on May 23rd. More info is available on his website.

© Isaku Takahashi

New Japanese Vibes (147) – さとうもか Sato Moka ‘Lukewarm’

Hailed as one to look out for from the next generation of artists, さとうもか Sato Moka enchants listeners with an endearing number ‘Lukewarm’, which is the lead track of her upcoming album of the same title, produced by fellow P-VINE artist 入江陽 Irie YouWhile a simple and charming ambience pervades through Sato’s honey-toned vocals and gently bopping beats, its sensitive facade belies the interesting sounds and colours that swirl throughout the track, particularly the kaleidoscopic synths that embellish the harmonies and love story narrative that is delicately spun by Sato.

Other Info

  • Sato Moka’s new album Lukewarm will be released on March 14th.

New Japanese Vibes (145) – tofubeats ふめつのこころ ‘Fumetsu no Kokoro’

A week off in Rotterdam gave me the space to recharge my batteries, and also be inspired by the cool, modern vibes of the Dutch city. Now back in my hunt for new tunes to come out of Japan, tofubeats returned to my gaze with his new track ふめつのこころ ‘Fumetsu no Kokoro’ (‘Immortal Heart’). The great appeal about Kawai Yusuke’s music and this track is the way it achieves harmony with such a spectrum of musical ideas – its radio-friendly melodies inflected with oriental colours, woozy synths and vocals, its genre-bending style and blissful dance vibe makes this song universally loved by Japanese listeners.

Other Info

  • Fumetsu no Kokoro’ was digitally released on February 16th, and is available to download here.
  • Find out more about tofubeats in my blog post here.

New Japanese Vibes (144) – SEKAI NO OWARI サザンカ ‘Sazanka’

In Japanese floriography (more commonly known as 花言葉 Hanakotoba), the 山茶花 Sazanka means ‘overcoming hardship’. This is the inspiration behind SEKAI NO OWARI’s new song ‘Sazanka’.

Written especially as the NHK broadcast theme song for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, the song speaks a simple yet powerful message for people chasing their own dreams and ambitions and resonates it with an anthemic ballad that gradually grows from a sparkling and serene opening with the electric piano to a grand and glorifying orchestral peak filled with glittering harp glissandos and belting trumpet riffs. I find a measure of a great song is how far the message touches people’s emotions – whether an athlete is chasing for an Olympic gold medal, or a student is studying hard towards their university entrance exam, ‘Sazanka’ is a song that relates to anyone around the world.

Other Info

  • SEKAI NO OWARI’s new single ‘Sazanka’ is available to download on their website.
  • Find out more about SEKAI NO OWARI on my blog post here.

© Isaku Takahashi

New Japanese Vibes (143) – FIVE NEW OLD ‘Sunshine’

Sunshine’ by Kobe-born trio FIVE NEW OLD is the perfect musical antidote for the winter chills and flu-riddled season. The band first made their mark on the music scene with their likeable and fresh sound that kindles a new lease of life for 80s old-school urban vibes with an infectious alt-rock drive. ‘Sunshine’ embodies their appealing summery and youthful sound, and surfs the waves with a gorgeous mix of seductive vocal melodies, bubbly riffs and enticing beats and harmonies.

Other Info

  • FIVE NEW OLD’s new album Too Much Is Never Enough will be released on January 31st, and will be available to download/stream.
  • Listen to more FIVE NEW OLD on my blog post here.

© Isaku Takahashi