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.
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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

New Japanese Vibes (141) – Pea Coat Pizza Club 明けおめーしょん ‘Akeomeshon’

In Japan, children often receive pockets of money called お年玉 ‘Otoshidama’ to kick off the New Year (I still get some every year, courtesy of the generous parents!).

My musical ‘otoshidama’ however, to accompany the New Year relaxation period features Pea Coat Pizza Club. The trio, who formed in the spring in 2016 under Kiiro Records, go by the label’s motto “easy listening for everyone”. They certainly stick by the theme in their new track明けおめーしょん ‘Akeomeshon’ – an indulgent mix of soulful keys and swirling synths intertwined with the trio’s genial vocoder-filtered vocals. For a track to soothe one’s ears in this relaxed time of year, ‘Akeomeshon’ is one tune to wade in.

Happy new year to all my readers!

Other Info

  • Pea Coat Pizza Club’s new song ‘Akeomeshon’ is available to download

© Isaku Takahashi

New Japanese Vibes (137) – katyusha ‘I Like Me’

Katyusha, also known as えつこ Etsuko from pop trio DADARAY embarks on her solo project with ‘I Like Me’, the headline track from her new album of the same title. She proved to be a key name in the development of the handful of bands 川谷絵音 Kawatani Enon gave birth to, and while her solo music strays away from the relentless rhythmic propulsion of indigo la end or ゲスの極み乙女 Gesu No Kiwami Otome, ‘I Like Me’ radiates a feel-good vibe with its vibrant vocal harmonies, bubbly rhythm section and katyusha’s belting and tender voice.

Other Info

  • Katyusha’s new album I Like Me was released on November 22nd.
  • Listen to DADARAY on my blog post here.
  • Find out more about indigo la end and Gesu No Kiwami Otome here.

© Isaku Takahashi

New Japanese Vibes (129) – LUCKY TAPES ‘Gravity’

Featuring in their new EP Virtual Gravity, indie pop band LUCKY TAPES return with a charming new number ‘Gravity’. The mellow brass chorus, genteel band sound, feathery melodies, honey-toned vocals and sweet riff that curtains every chorus orbit around the stereo field in a nostalgic musical galaxy. The song also provides the perfect city pop vibe as I write this post on the final night in New York, and reflect on what has been such an incredible trip going to Flushing Meadows (for some tennis) and roaming around the city that never sleeps.

Other Info

  • LUCKY TAPES’s new EP Virtual Gravity will be released on September 6th.

© Isaku Takahashi