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.
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New Japanese Vibes (156) – Lamp ‘1998’

With the initial idea of creating a “small series of ballads”, LAMP’s new album 彼女の時計 Kanojo no Tokei is a breath of fresh nostalgia. At the heart of the trio’s sound lies a sweet and sumptuous blend of 80s brazilian colours and retro city-pop vibes that wind the clock back a further few decades, musical elements that are vividly evoked in the wistful melodies, synth colours and harmonic progressions of ‘1998′, one of eight tracks in their new album. The song is in no way an inferior pastiche of the past, but injects a new and cool lease of life that makes this sound current.

Other Info

  • LAMP’s new album Kanojo no Tokei will be released on May 15th, and is available to buy through their website.

© 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

New Japanese Vibes (124) – Poor Vacation ‘F/E/E/L/S’ [EP]

While perfecting a particular track gig after gig and day in and day out may be satisfying for some, Poor Vacation has their own way of living life in the music scene. The six-piece band’s new EP F/E/E/L/S is an incarnation of their efforts to refashion their headline track ロンググッドバイ ‘Long Goodbye’. The latest version rides the waves of 80s city pop, yet still retains the tropical summer vibrancy of their previous takes and resonates the contemporary band sound of today. While we can indulge in ‘Long Goodbye’ as a weekend soundtrack, one must also not forget about the title track ‘Feels’, an infectious retro, synth-pop number that dances on the chequered disco floor and above the glistening mirror ball.

Other Info

  • Poor Vacation’s new EP F/E/E/L/S was released on July 20th.

© Isaku Takahashi

New Japanese Vibes (100) – 阿佐ヶ谷ロマンティックス Asagaya Romantics 所縁 ‘Shoen’

Oozing with soulful and romantic vibes, five-piece band 阿佐ヶ谷ロマンティックス Asagaya Romantics glows a musical sunset picture in their new track所縁 ‘Shoen’ (‘Connection’) from their new album 街の色 Machi No Iro (‘The Colour of the Street). The song taps into the retro sound world of ‘city-pop’ with a rich array of silky harmonies, breezy electric piano colours, an unwinding sax solo and 有坂朋恵 Arisaka Tomoe’s charming and lovable vocals slightly reminiscent of AIKO. If you ever feel the need to wind down in your living room one evening, then decorate the space with some smooth jazz and laid-back pop.

Other Info

  • Asagaya Romantics’ new album Machi No Iro will be released on January 25th.

© Isaku Takahashi

New Japanese Vibes (96) – evening cinema 原色の街 ‘Genshoku no Machi’

Tokyo-based quartet evening cinema infuse new life to the J-pop soundscape and retro ‘city-pop’ trend with their new track原色の街 ‘Genshoku no Machi’ (‘Street of Colour’). Reminiscent of idol-pop emblem SMAP during their youth, 原田夏樹 Harada Natsuki expresses his love for the recently disbanded Johnny and Associates stars with his breezy and boyish vocals. Likewise, the band scatters a mellow yet funky feel-good vibe with a pleasant harmonic ambience and easy-going rhythmic energy that resonates with young listeners.

Other Info

  • Genshoku no Machi’ is out now on free download.

© Isaku Takahashi

New Japanese Vibes (86) – Caro kissa メリーゴーラウンド ‘Merry-Go-Round’

A nostalgic and gentle 80s vibe shimmers in Caro kissa’s new track メリーゴーラウンド ‘Merry-Go-Round’. Evoking the breezy sound world of ‘city-pop’ (a term or ‘mood’ genre used to describe the growing trend and popularity of Western popular music in Japan in the 80s), the Osaka-based duo’s craving for musical indulgence is conveyed to great effect in the track’s beautiful mélange of smooth jazz, soul, fusion and funk colours.

Other Info/Context

  • Caro kissa’s new mini album LaLa Luna Park will be released on October 30th.
  • Listen to another track by Caro kissa here.

© Isaku Takahashi