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 (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.

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 (148) – aaps ‘Tower’

Formed by three female musicians, ayaka, assan and panda, Okayama-based trio aaps slows down the body clock with their idle and nostalgic number ‘Tower’. The gentle drum beats, buzzing bass line, shimmering guitar chords and cool-calm vocals oar through the song unperturbed (with the odd psychedelic u-turn in the harmonies), taking the listener with them in the blissful indie rock air and stroking the relaxed senses from every corner.

Other Info

  • aaps’ new album Chilly Morning was released on March 7th. More info is on their website.

New Japanese Vibes (146) – D.A.N. ‘Chance’

In a sonic universe where the hypnotic minimal pop of The XX, ambient music and psychedelic grooves orbit around each other, D.A.N. continue to transfix listeners with their mesmerising musical palette and their new single ‘Chance’. The alt-pop trio concocts a perpetual spell of post-minimal richness, but continually expands the kaleidoscope of sounds from the spectral vocals of 桜木大悟 Sakuragi Daigo to the perennial guitar riffs and synth colours that waver with subtle unpredictability. My personal highlight has to be the blissful ending, enriched by the voltage-boosted guitar solo and clamorous drums in the back.

Other Info

  • D.A.N.’s new single ‘Chance’ is available to download on their website here.
  • Listen to more music by D.A.N. here.

Picks of the Week #28

  • POP ART TOWN – ノンフィクション ‘Non-Fiction’

For a tune that oozes energy and positive vibes, ノンフィクション ‘Non-Fiction’ by Osaka-based quartet POP ART TOWN is one to add on your playlist. The band say that this song is “the perfect spell for when your heart and body feel separated and you want to take a breather”, but one also thinks the track tugs at the listener’s celebratory senses and rhythmic muscles with its heart-pounding beats, なるおさやか Naruo Sayaka’s vocal purity and an unapologetically ‘pop’ spark.

Non-Fiction’ features in their latest mini album Variety. Find out more about POP ART TOWN on their website.

  • Yellow Studs – ブーツ ‘Boots’

For a refreshing throwback to the golden ages of rock, jazz (perhaps even cabaret), tune your ears to ブーツ ‘Boots‘ by rock five-piece Yello Studs. Led by 野村太一 Nomura Taichi’s seductively hoarse vocals, the track will take you on a trip to the urban underground and entertain you with a sultry mix of voltage-laden riffs and solos, pulsating rhythms, infectious melodies and a frisky party atmosphere.

‘201’ features in their EP GRAB. Find out more about the twenties on their website.

  • the twenties – ‘201’

The cool rock energy of ‘201′ by the twenties resonates both an innovative and familiar sound world, where psychedelic colours meet the millennium-launching rock sound. Formed in the Kyushu region of Japan, the quartet bring the max out of their vocal and instrumental range in this track with its stratospheric vocals and guitars, booming bass line and clamorous drums that all shake the sonic tectonic plates. A particular hats off to ウルマヒロユキ Uruma Hiroyuki for enticing riffs and colours that pierce the sonic spectrum.

201′ features in their latest album GLIMMER. Find out more about the twenties on their website.

 

© Isaku Takahashi