New Japanese Vibes (135) – YeYe うんざりですよ ‘Unzari Desuyo’

Japanese singer-songwriter Yeye dabbles in a feathery soundscape of emotional sincerity in her new track うんざりですよ ‘Unzari Desuyo’ (‘Bored’). The track swims alongside both the spiritual folk of Sufjan Stevens and the genteel vibes of tropical pop and folk. From the quietly sparkling trail of 7th chords in the acoustic guitar to the elephantine trombone solo towards the end of the song, the song paints a vanilla-coloured sand bed and tranquil beach water for the listener to imagine.

Other Info

  • YeYe’s new album MOTTAINE will be released on November 8th.

© Isaku Takahashi

Advertisements

New Japanese Vibes (131) – CRUNCH ‘Blue’

Swimming in a new wave and indie-pop ocean coloured with folk-like melancholia, CRUNCH embraces a solitary musical ambience in their new song ‘Blue’. Taken from their upcoming new album 天気雨 Tenkiame, the all-female trio from Nagoya drenches the stereo field in jewel-like guitars, distant glockenspiel tones falling like rain drops and timeless melodies and vocals led by 堀田 倫代 Hotta Noriyo.

Other Info

  • CRUNCH’s new album Tenkiame will be released on November 22nd.

© Isaku Takahashi

New Japanese Vibes (130) – 平賀さち枝 Hiraga Sachie 10月のひと ‘Jūgatsu no Hito’

Featuring in her new album まっしろな気持ちで会いに行くだけ Masshiro na kimochi de aini ikudake, 10月のひと ‘Jūgatsu no Hito’ (‘October Person’) by平賀さち枝 Hiraga Sachie is the latest indie folk goodness to serenade my short break away from the office desk. Slightly reminiscent of the hazy folk and pop vibes of SOAK (Bridie Monds-Watson), the young singer-songwriter from Iwate prefecture swims in a reverie with her cute, honey-toned vocals that wades through a field of dreamy mellotron harmonies, cradle-rocking guitars and gently pulsing drums.

Other Info

  • Hiraga Sachie’s new album Masshiro na kimochi de aini ikudake will be released on September 20th.

© Isaku Takahashi

New Japanese Vibes (125) – 富澤タク Tomizawa Taku 今夜抄 ‘Konyashou’

Judging from the opening strums on the guitar, one would expect their ears to luxuriate in a serene folk vibe. However, 富澤タク Tomizawa Taku is not the usual guitar-led singer-songwriter – his mix of nostalgic acoustic guitar folk colours and digital-filtered vocals in his new track 今夜抄 ‘Konyashou’ is sonically unusual to say the least, but does shimmer traces of Bon Iver and his characterful vocal effects. Blended with faint sounds of the beach near the end, this is a song I’m glad to have discovered and worth a listen.

Other Info

  • Tomizawa Taku’s new song ‘Konyashou’ was released on July 19th.

© Isaku Takahashi

 

New Japanese Vibes (120) – ハンバートハンバート Humbert Humbert がんばれ兄ちゃん ‘Ganbare Niichan’

Fresh from my recent travels to Prague (and the lack of decent wifi…), I stumbled across a charming number by ハンバートハンバート Humbert Humbert before boarding my flight back. がんばれ兄ちゃん ‘Ganbare Niichan’ (‘Come on Brother’) serenades the ears with its vivid folk and country colours, namely the twanging riffs, gently pulsating rhythms, and the duo’s caramel vocals and honey-toned harmonies.

Other Info

  • Humbert Humbert’s new album Kazoku Koushinkyoku will be released on July 5th.

© Isaku Takahashi

Picks of the Week #18

  • 山崎まさよし Yamazaki Masayoshi – ‘One More Time, One More Chance’

All of my picks this week are songs especially written for films directed by 新海誠 Shinkai Makoto, hailed as ‘the next Miyazaki Hayao’. After witnessing the latest creation by the established yet fresh director to touch audiences around the world last year, I decided to look back further into his works and the memorable music that came along the journey.

One More Time, One More Chance’ by singer-songwriter 山崎まさよし Yamazaki Masayoshi provided the closing theme for Makoto’s 2007 film 秒速5センチメートル Byousoku 5 Centimetres (‘5 centimetres per second’). The song glimmers a sentimental folk ambience with Yamazaki’s yearning vocals and a gentle cradle-rocking beat, and perfectly conveys the scenic and pensive final scene where Tono and Akari cross paths one more time under the falling cherry blossoms.

Rain’ was originally a song by singer-songwriter 大江千里 Oe Senri. However, it was秦基博 Hata Motohiro’s wistful rendition of the 80s song that fit Makoto’s musical visions for his 2013 drama film 言の葉の庭 Koto No Ha No Niwa (‘The Garden of Words’). A twinkling piano riff glimmers like the raindrops that ripple delicate waves in the pond, before Hata’s husky vocals and the rest of the gentle rock-ballad backdrop grows to full bloom.

Find out more about Hata Motohiro in my blog post here.

From the ending theme to the image song, 言の葉 ‘Koto No aha’ by Hata Motohiro dips into a humble rock-pop vibe akin to ‘Rain’, but also radiates an anthemic richness that likens the song to a number by the likes of The Script. Gently pulsing chords on the piano draw the harmonic bridge under Hata’s mellow voice, honey-toned guitars and riffs glisten with nostalgia and the drums stride with anthemic pride to drive the track (and film) towards an emotional conclusion.

  • RADWIMPS – なんでもないや ‘Nandemonaiya’

While 前前前世 ‘Zen Zen Zen Se’ may be the RADWINPS tune that people recognise as the stand out track of Makoto’s 2016 big-hit movie 君の名は Kimi No Na Wa, (‘Your Name’), my personal favourite from the film has to be the tranquil mellow-rock number なんでもないや ‘Nandemonaiya’ (‘It’s Nothing’). 野田洋次郎 Noda Youjirou’s vocals breathe a delicate yet soul-stirring air that resonates with the listener’s emotions, and the guitars glow an idyllic harmonic river that cocoons the ears

Listening back to this song brings back to my mind the fantasy, drama and emotions that immersed my senses like no other film did. I feel extremely privileged to have witnessed such a remarkable visual work.

Find out more about RADWIMPS in my blog post here.

© Isaku Takahashi

New Japanese Vibes (88) – Num Contena ‘Smile When You’re Dead’

Reminiscent of 90s American alt-rock and indie-folk, Fukuoka-based indie rock quartet Num Contena uncover their new track ‘Smile When You’re Dead’ from their upcoming first full album Smile When You’re Dead. Flowing vocals, gleaming guitar riffs and a cradle-rocking beat is layered with tranquil psychedelic musical waves to spellbind listeners in a charming and wistful rock vibe. Not only does this track excite me for the Num Contena to come in the future, it also endorses Dead Funny Recordsname as a source of Japan’s great indie artists.

Other Info/Context

  • Num Contena’s first album Smile When You’re Dead will be released on December 14th.
  • Find out more about Dead Funny Records and their artists here.

© Isaku Takahashi