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 (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 (155) – The trees ひらり ‘Hirari’ + 春のとなり ‘Haru no Tonari’

There’s nothing better than indulging in some luxurious and radiant shoegaze vibes by Tokyo-based quartet The trees while basking in the warm sun. The two tracks they released earlier this week run on the same musical highway, but at the same time showcase their different personalities. ひらり ‘Hirari’ is a pulsating rhythmic drive down the Route 66 with a steadfast beat adorned with jangling guitars, while 春のとなり ‘Haru no Tonari’ takes the listener through a more tranquil journey withアリマ タカマサ Arima Takamasa’s purifying vocals and shimmering guitars promising three minutes of sonic bliss.

New Japanese Vibes (154) – Homecomings ‘Songbirds’

Reflective and modestly pulsing in equal measure, ‘Songbirds’ by Homecomings is a breath of fresh air fit for the relaxed spring period. The theme song for the film リズと青い鳥 Liz and the Bluebird, the Kyoto-based four-piece shimmers a delicate and radiant mid-tempo vibe with comforting harmonies, cradle-rocking beats and pulse, floating guitars full of lustre and 畳野彩加 Tatamino Ayaka’s purifying vocals. So simple yet so perfect.

Other Info

  • Homecomings’ new single ‘Songbirds’ was released on April 25th. More info is on their website.
  • Listen to more music by Homecomings on my blog post here.

New Japanese Vibes (153) – Kensei Ogata ‘Someone Will Love You’

A short spell of summer has arrived in London, so it makes sense to blast a voltage-induced sunny rock number while soaking in the sunshine. Much to one’s delight, a new tune by Kensei Ogata cropped up out of the blue. ‘Someone Will Love You’ marks a coming of age in two ways – it’s the first song Ogata released as a band line-up, and musically diverts into new stylistic territory. In contrast to much of the spellbinding synth-led songs in his album Her Paperback (released in 2012 under Dead Funny Records), Ogata unleashes powerful rays of post-rock energy with an infectious rhythmic and harmonic motor that throws back the days to the teenage rock generation.

Other Info

  • Find out more about Kensei Ogata on his website.