Picks of the Week #29

  • VIDEOTAPEMUSIC – ‘Fiction Romance’

The avid traveller I am, I always picture geographic landscapes when listening to music that is naturally evocative of a distant city or terrain. VIDEOTAPEMUSIC transports one’s senses to an environment surrounded by palm trees, sand and beach with their song ‘Fiction Romance’, a throwback Jamaican-inspired tune served sunny-side up that both juggles the body in rhythmic sync and lays down a towel on the sand for the listener to indulge in its colourful melange of saxes, trumpets and tuned percussion.

Fiction Romance’ features in their album ON THE AIR. Find out more about VIDEOTAPEMUSIC on their website.

  • Alfred Beach Sandal + STUTS – ‘Horizon’

In a collaboration between solo act Alfread Beach Sandal (北里彰久 Kitasato Akihisa) and producer STUTS, ‘Horizon’ is a sensual collage of rock, latin and R&B vibes that is mellow and urban-cool in equal measure. Throughout the track, one can open their ears to a sumptuous sound world that is harmonically and sonically amicable yet at times elusive, but at the same time, one cannot help but bop along to the punctuating beats and grooving bass.

Horizon’ features in their album ABS+STUTS. Find out more about Alfread Beach Sandal here and STUTS here.

  • Ghost like girlfriend – ‘fallin’

For something a bit more urbanesque, ‘fallin’ by Ghost like girlfriend is the perfect track to play through your earphones while soaking in the cosmopolitan sights and neon lights of Tokyo. The song shines in its opulent electronic production, centred around a pulsating and soulful pop vibe, while spinning around a colourful mix of synths, melodic melancholy and refined, intimate vocals in orbit.

‘fallin’ features in their mini album WEAKNESS. Find out more about Ghost like girlfriend on their website.

© Isaku Takahashi


New Japanese Vibes (127) – AKLO×JAY’ED ‘Different Man’

AKLO and JAY’ED wind the clock back in a vivid homage to the 80s/90s chilled out hip-hop and R&B sound world in ‘Different Man’. Featuring in their first EP as a collaborative act, the track pounds the listener’s eardrums in a seductive sonic ambience with swirling synths orbiting around the stereo field, JAY’ED’s sultry vocals reminiscent of the likes of Chris Brown, AKLO’s bold rapping that offsets the smooth vibes perfectly.

Other Info

  • AKLO×JAY’ED’s new EP Sorry…come back later will be released on September 6th.

© Isaku Takahashi

New Japanese Vibes (122) – Shunské G & The Peas ‘Groove Me’

Throwback tunes never fail to resonate with my ears, perhaps none more so than ‘Groove Me’ by Shunské G & The Peas. The band winds back the decades, not least in their name (the band is named after the track ‘Pass the Peas’ by James Brown’s band The J.B.’s) but also the song’s retro soul and groove vibes. With its colourful harmonies, bopping rhythms, blissful solos and groovy guitars, ‘Groove Me’ revives the disco ball in my living room.

Other Info

  • Shunské G & The Peas’ new album PEAS OF MIND will be released on July 5th.

© Isaku Takahashi

New Japanese Vibes (55) – D.A.N. ‘Native Dancer’

As I write this post looking for inspiration and stimuli, the clock approaches 12.00am midnight, and up came electro-pop band D.A.N. and their new track ‘Native Dancer’, a magical sonic affair perfect to indulge under the nocturnal gaze.

The track sees the R&B and pop worlds mingle together to coax an enchanting musical ambience filled with colourful synth textures, beautiful ghost-toned vocals, and seductive rhythmic phrases through flowing pulse changes and a gentle harmonic journey. The camaraderie of 桜木大悟 Sakuragi Daigo、市川仁也 Ichikawa Jinya and 川上輝 Kawakami Teru is showcased to great breadth in this alluring number.

Other Info/Context

  • D.A.N.’s new album will be released on April 20th, featuring the track ‘Native Dancer’.

© Isaku Takahashi

New Japanese Vibes (11) – Nissy ‘Playing With Fire’

As a fan of Japanese pop group AAA, it was only natural that I would join the bandwagon of 西島隆弘 Nishijima Takahiro (‘Nissy’ as his solo artist name) enthusiasts. Bringing back glimpses of previous hits like どうしようか? ‘Doushiyouka’ (‘What should I do?’) and ‘DANCE DANCE DANCE’, the high spirited 1/7th of the avex-born group takes it up a notch with his new single ‘Playing With Fire’.

The track and music video exists within a similar sphere as Justin Timberlake, Ne-Yo or Austin Mahone. Crossing over between R&B flavours, electro-pop and dance beats, it has all the fundamental qualities to pierce every fan’s heart and lure them into sonic ecstasy: bright brass bullets, sumptuous backing vocals, foot-tapping beats and the seductive vocals of Nishijima that extends towards his falsetto range.

Other Info/Context

  • Playing With Fire’ will be released on Dec 24th.
  • Nishijima’s entertainment career spans many areas from music, TV dramas, movies and model work.

© Isaku Takahashi