New Japanese Vibes (113) – The Wisely Brothers ‘Thursday’

After the first few minutes of listening to ‘Thursday’ by three-piece band The Wisely Brothers, you’d probably be forgiven to be swaying along to a gentle wave of indie rock tranquillity and dreamy vocals. However, the all-female trio unleash a sonic riot filled with clamorous drums, voltage-boosted guitars and anthemic vocals over an adrenaline-rushed pulse. Sumptuous yet sometimes manic, this is one song that you cannot let your ears drift away from.

Other Info

  • Listen to more of The Wisely Brothers in my blog post here.

© Isaku Takahashi

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New Japanese Vibes (83) – TK from 凛として時雨 Ling Tosite Sigure ‘Wonder Palette’

TK from 凛として時雨 Ling Tosite Sigure is peerless when it comes to musical identity and innovation. ‘Wonder Palette’ is the latest track to emphasise his eminence as an emblem of Japanese prog-rock. A radiant undercurrent shimmers with bristling energy from the outset, while rhythmic piano riffs, voltage-laden guitars, clamorous drums and TK’s somersaulting vocals in the chorus urge the track to soar above the sonic stratosphere. If you allow me to express my thoughts on this track in the most superficial way, it simply takes the listener to another musical galaxy.

Other Info/Context

  • White noise was released on September 28th.
  • TK from Ling Tosite Sigure will begin his “Signal to Noise’ Tour on November 3rd.

© Isaku Takahashi

Picks of the Week #10

  • 幾何学模様 Kikagaku Moyo – ‘Silver Owl’

It’s been a year since I started this blog, and since then it has become a platform for you and myself to discover new and unusual bands like幾何学模様 Kikagaku Moyo. As you close your eyes and widen your audible senses for their dream-inspired track ‘Silver Owl’, you will float gently through a cloud of psychedelic folk filled with pensive vocals, delicate guitars and dreamy harmonies. Their considerable reputation today makes me wonder why I didn’t discover them much earlier on in my life.

Sumptuous and stirring, ‘Signal’ by TK (Toru Kitajima) from prog-rock band凛として時雨 Ling Tosite Sigure is a compelling rock number enriched with orchestral power. Away from the punishing rock anthems of his band, ‘Signal’ is a resplendent number that could well crown TK as the prince of prog-rock in Japan today – full of opulent strings, colouristic textures, dynamic guitars and drums, and rich vocals that reach heavenly yet anthemic heights in the chorus. Find out more about Ling Tosite Sigure in my blog post here.

Featuring in their EP 霊感 Reikan, りんごの質感 ‘Ringo no Sitsukan’ is one of the handful of tracks that kick-started the acsent of Taiko Super Kicks. The psychedelic-indie quartet takes the listener through a nostalgic musical fantasy with yearning vocal melodies, dreamy guitar riffs and gently pulsing drums. A guitar solo rockets through the sonic ceiling, ceaseless in energy and fiery emotion before cascading down back to wistful vibes. Listen to another one of their songs in my blog post here.

© Isaku Takahashi

New Japanese Vibes (69) – polly 沈めてくれたら ‘Shizumete Kuretara’

Polly’s new song 沈めてくれたら ‘Shizumete Kuretara’ (‘If you let me sink…’) is a sonically chaotic (in a good way) yet equally enticing experience. Featuring in their new mini album 哀余る Aiamaru, the four-piece band strikes a sonic lightning from the outset with a bolt of clamorous guitar feedback and drum noise. After a raucous intro, polly immerses the listeners in a tranquil and rich indie rock/shoegaze vibe, before unleashing one more pocket of energy in a blissful yet haywire ending.

Other Info/Context

  • Polly’s new mini album Aiamaru was released on July 13th.

© Isaku Takahashi

Picks of the Week #8

  • MARQUEE BEACH CLUB – ‘eye’

It is not just the likes of Sakanaction making waves in the new wave/electro-pop scene. MARQUEE BEACH CLUB caught my attention with their track ‘eye’ from their upcoming album Flavor. The track instantly coaxes an infectious dance vibe with pumping beats, radiant synth colours and seductive vocal melodies, and is sure to persuade listeners to get up on their feet and feel the sonic energy from start to finish.

  • 雨のパレード Ame no Parade – ‘Tokyo’

Four-piece J-rock band 雨のパレード Ame no Parade has only spent three years in the business, but is fast capturing the younger generations of Japan’s pop/rock enthusiasts with their catchy and cool post-rock personality. ‘Tokyo’, from their latest album New generation glistens with a tinge of melancholy in the wistful bridge section, but also strides with verve in the euphoric chorus laden with glittering guitars and glorious vocals.

As with every song by パスピエ Passepied, an infectious energy lies at the heart of their new track永すぎた春 ‘Nagasugita Haru’ (‘The Spring that lasted too long’). Colourful synths pervade the sonic field to evoke the golden days of synth-pop, while the perpetual pop pulse, ‘kawaii’ vocals and sing-along melodies make the track as catchy as any other cute J-pop hit of today. Their new single will be released later in July.

  • Analogfish – ‘Baby Soda Pop’

Dreamy, propulsive and anthemic, ‘Baby Soda Pop’ by Analogfish is a totally unique musical experience more listeners should encounter. The three-piece alt-rock band is no stranger in today’s music scene – they have been active for more than 15 years, and perhaps best known for providing the ending theme for the big anime Naruto with their song ‘Speed’. However, ‘Baby Soda Pop’ is a considerable shift in style – ethereal synths shimmer seamlessly to coax a magical ambience, while sumptuous vocal melodies, harmonies and pounding beats liven up an anthemic pop vibe.

© Isaku Takahashi

Picks of the Week #7

Putting aside the recent chain of events and controversies surrounding 川谷絵音 Kawatani Enon, mastermind behind Indigo la End (and sister group Gesu no Kiwami Otome), 藍色好きさ ‘Aiiro Suki sa’ (‘I Like Indigo Blue’) showcases the alt-rock band’s creative potential to great magnitude. The four-piece skips away with intricate drum rhythms, shimmering guitar riffs, electric piano harmonies and pulsating bass lines. The whole rhythmic vibe is lightened up by Kawatani’s dainty yet rich vocals.

  • Shespider – ‘Imitation’

It seems as though rock music has taken much of the limelight on my blog, so it’s time to dive into the vibrant sonic colours of electro-pop with Tokyo-based trio Shespider and their track ‘Imitation’. While the punctuating beats keep the rhythmic energy alive, the reverb-laden sound world, glittering guitars and serpent-like vocals intensify the track’s mysterious flavour. The track will be featured on their upcoming mini album Imitation early next month.

  • ya-to-i – となえるよ ‘Tonaeruyo’

Hidden within the P-VINE archive is an unusual number by three-piece band ya-to-i. となえるよ ‘Tonaeruyo’ (‘Chant’) is born from the creative minds of 山本精一 Yamamoto Seiichi, 岡田徹 Okada Toru (from 70s band Moonriders) and 伊藤俊治 Itou Toshiharu. Making use of the stereo field in spellbinding fashion, the track is a rich mix of android vocals, bright guitar licks, and styles see-sawing from post-rock to dance and ambient vibes.

© Isaku Takahashi

Picks of the Week #5

  • Hearsays – ‘Talking Across The Room’

Gorgeous 70s/80s vibes ooze out from Hearsays’ music, including ‘Talking Across The Room’. Upbeat and tranquil in equal measure, the four-piece indie rock band based in Fukuoka fill an evocative sound world with reverb-laden guitars, dreamy riffs and harmonies, driving drum pulse and wistful male-female vocals, taking their listeners as well into the nostalgic musical journey.

  • ゆだち Yudachi – ‘(die staadt) Norm’

Music has the power to transport listeners to otherworldly experiences. ゆだち Yudachi coaxes a smooth, ethereal soundscape in their track ‘(die staadt) Norm’ from their first album 夜の舟は白に折りたたまれて The Night Boat is Folded in White. Filled with glassy synth harmonies, tranquil guitar lines, rippling crescendos and beautifully languid vocals, the track will hypnotise listeners in a blissful musical trance.

  • 宇宙コンビニ Uchuu Konbini – ‘Pyramid’

The intricate rhythms and propulsions of math rock and prog rock collide in ‘Pyramid’, a track by Kyoto-based three-piece “progressive pop” band宇宙コンビニ Uchuu Konbini. Above the precision-engineered rhythmic drum patterns, time signature changes, lush harmonies and colourful guitar timbres lies Ohki Emi’s feathery and wistful vocals rippling away with elegance and emotion. ‘Pyramid’ embodies the true qualities of post-rock awesomeness.

© Isaku Takahashi