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

New Japanese Vibes (142) – POLTA 土星少年 ‘Dosei Shounen’

2018 is a milestone year for youthful rock duo Polta, as it marks 10 years since they first formed and pleased audiences with their down-to-earth pop-rock sound. After listening to glimpses of their previous EP HELLO AGAIN, their latest energetic tune 土星少年 ‘Dosei Shounen’ (‘Saturn Boy’) provides the fuel for a new angle to their musical palette. This tune mixes much of the ingredients for an attention-grabbing song – a cool guitar riff in the introduction to invite me into their sound world, 尾苗愛 Onae Ai’s vocals that both radiates energy and soothes the ear drum, and a voltage-piercing guitar solo that looks to blast the speakers.

Other Info

  • POLTA’s new album LOVE TO DIE will be released on January 17th, and will be available to buy on their website.

© Isaku Takahashi

New Japanese Vibes (139) – Half Time Old アウトフォーカス ‘Out Focus’

With the freak snow trapping much of the sounds of my surroundings, I was craving an up-tempo tune to break through the bed of white snow and quiet air. Upcoming rock trio Half Time Old woke me up with their pulsating new number アウトフォーカス ‘Out Focus’, which features on their latest album 発見と疑問 Hakken to Gimon. Thunder-bolting guitar riffs, ground-pounding drums and 鬼頭大晴 Kitou Masaharu’s razor-sharp vocals inject the fuel to the track’s sonic engine, which drives through with great conviction and dynamism.

Other Info

  • Half Time Old’s new album Hakken to Gimon was released on December 6th.

© Isaku Takahashi

New Japanese Vibes (138) – 634noHz 知らない ‘Shiranai’

Struggling to dig out a new song to write about, Kichijoji-based indie trio 634noHz (pronounced Musashino Hertz) popped up in my video recommendations at the most opportune time with their new track 知らない ‘Shiranai’ (‘Don’t know’). A melancholic rock number infused with a soft shoegaze scent, the trio both cocoons and energises the listener’s ears with a sumptuous mix of tender vocals reminiscent of singer-songwriter Miwa, clamorous drums, cradle-rocking guitar riffs and a heart-beating pulse.

Other Info

  • 634noHz’s new EP Amplifier will be released on December 17th.

© Isaku Takahashi