New Japanese Vibes (123) – Homecomings ‘PLAY YARD SYMPHONY’

The Japanese music scene is abundant in nostalgic indie rock nowadays, and ‘PLAY YARD SYMPHONY’ by Kyoto four-piece Homecomings is the latest tune to serenade my weekday evening. Four years since first catching the attention of Second Royal Records, the indie quartet exude a youthful bounciness in their zippy guitars, feathery vocals, twinkling xylophone-like synths and up-tempo rhythms.

Other Info

  • Homecomings’ new album SYMPHONY was released on July 5th.

© Isaku Takahashi

New Japanese Vibes (121) – indigo la End プレイバック ‘Playback’

A smoky yet vibrant musical universe oozes out when indigo la End bursts through the speakers. Their latest track プレイバック ‘Playback’ is not exception – led by 川谷絵音 Kawatani Enon’s sweet and mellow vocals, the track shines an opulent mix of precision-engineered drums, heavenly backing vocals and sparkling harmonies and catchy licks in the guitar. The band turns up the sonic euphoria in the final chorus before the final guitar chords glisten away into the horizon.

Other Info

  • Indigo la End’s new album Crying End Roll will be released on July 12th.
  • Find out more about Indigo la End in my blog post here.

© 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 #24

Distance was my first encounter with J-pop legend宇多田ヒカル Utada Hikaru. 15 years later from the rhythmic and synth-driven vibes of the album, the singer-songwriter returned to the spotlight, plunging into musical and emotional depths like never before in her slow-burning ballad 真夏の通り雨 ‘Manatsu no Tooriame’ (‘Summer Shower’). The sweeping strings, poignant piano and angelic vocals weigh down a reflective and crestfallen air, marking a new leaf in Utada’s musical palette.

  • LAMP IN TERREN – 地球儀 ‘Chikyuugi’

Riding between the sonic waves of 米津玄師 Yonezu Kenshi and BUMP OF CHICKEN, 地球儀 ‘Chikyuugi’ (‘Globe’) by LAMP IN TERREN ignites a display of anthemic rock fireworks fit for the concluding number of any summer festival. Simple yet refreshing, the quartet shines a sparkling mix of voltage-charged guitars, pulsating and clamorous drums, and 松本大 Matsumoto Dai’s herculean vocals that is sure to resonate with the young generation’s listening senses.

  • MONDO GROSSO – ラビリンス ‘Labyrinth’

大沢伸一 Osawa Shinichi, better known as MONDO GROSSO is a name that speaks volume in Japanese electronic music. With the help of 満島ひかり Mitsushima Hikari, the DJ/producer from Tokyo concocts an infectious and dreamy electro house number ラビリンス ‘Labyrinth’. Pounding beats keeps the track on the rhythmic locomotive without any room for musical diversions, while airy piano tones fall like raindrops creating ripples on the sonic lake and Mitsushima’s angelic vocals float above the stereo field with delicate lyricism.

© Isaku Takahashi

New Japanese Vibes (118) – 花男 Hanao ど田舎行進曲 ‘Doinaka Koushinkyoku’

Featuring on his new album 暮らし Kurashi, ど田舎行進曲 ‘Doinaka Koushinkyoku’ (‘Countryside March’) by 花男 Hanao is an unapologetic throwback country tune. Rewinding decades back and flying off to the Southern states of America with is country harmonica riffs, chugging guitar chords and husky and resonant vocals, one can picture a nostalgic camp side fire backdrop with the Hokkaido-based singer-songwriter warming up the ears and surrounding air with no-nonsense vibes.

Other Info

  • Hanao’s new album Kurashi was released on May 24th.

© Isaku Takahashi

New Japanese Vibes (117) – carpool 予感 ‘Yokan’

予感 ‘Yokan’ (“Premonition’) by indie rock band carpool is the ideal number to wake me up on the weekend with their radiant yet romantic mix of jangling guitars and male-female octave unison melodic charm. Featuring in their upcoming new album Come & Go, the quartet is the go-to act if you want you speakers and headphone to radiate sensations of summer above a wave of warmth and delicacy.

Other Info

  • Carpool’s new album Come & Go will be released on June 28th.

© Isaku Takahashi

New Japanese Vibes (114) – MINAKEKKE ‘Grateful Dead’

Enter the pulsing yet hypnotic sound world of ‘Grateful Dead’ by female singer-songwriter MINAKEKKE. Dabbling in new wave, shoegaze and punk to name just a few styles, the perpetual drumbeats offset the swirling synths and haunting vocal tones to concoct an utterly spellbinding yet rhythmically infectious vibe under a nocturnal sonic gaze. If you’re seeking an artist that roams about in a dark, mysterious musical fantasy, then MINAKEKKE is one to capture.

Other Info

  • MINAKEKKE’s debut album TINGLES was released on April 26th.

© Isaku Takahashi