New Japanese Vibes (114) – MINAKEKKE ‘Grateful Dead’

Enter the pulsing yet hypnotic sound world of ‘Grateful Dead’ by female singer-songwriter MINAKEKKE. Dabbling in new wave, shoegaze and punk to name just a few styles, the perpetual drumbeats offset the swirling synths and haunting vocal tones to concoct an utterly spellbinding yet rhythmically infectious vibe under a nocturnal sonic gaze. If you’re seeking an artist that roams about in a dark, mysterious musical fantasy, then MINAKEKKE is one to capture.

Other Info

  • MINAKEKKE’s debut album TINGLES was released on April 26th.

© Isaku Takahashi

New Japanese Vibes (107) – 白線生活 Hakusen Seikatsu 漂流生活 ‘Hyouryu Seikatsu’

漂流生活 ‘Hyouryu Seikatsu’ (‘Drift Life’) by Kyoto-based shoegazers 白線生活 Hakusen Seikatsu shimmers a sound world oozing with nostalgia. The river of tranquil guitar riffs, beautifully twanging tones and the band’s hazy glossolalia-like vocals is strongly reminiscent of the evocative minimalist-rock of Sigur Ros and dream-pop icons Cocteau Twins. Yet there’s something more as well – for me, the track seems to conjure a sonic universe that vividly pictures a blissful aurora-like landscape, bringing nature and music in harmony with each other.

J-Christmas Vibes [3] – edy two arc ‘hide intention’

Thanks to a recommendation from a user on a Facebook group dedicated to supporting awesome shoegaze tunes form Japan, ‘hide intention’ by Sapporo-based duo edy two arc captures the next spot in my final few days of blogging in 2016. A math-rock-esque piano riff cues the shimmering guitars and melancholic vocals to coax a sound world that is both content and eager to unleash more sonic energy. If the adventure is somewhat subdued, then wait until before the conclusion as the duo from the north of Japan let loose a roar of shoegaze bliss before cascading down to a wistful ending. Their new EP hide intention will be released on Christmas day.

© Isaku Takahashi

New Japanese Vibes (93) – Cuicks ‘blink,blink,blink,blink’

The past is a playing ground for the future – perhaps this is an inescapable idea that has lingered throughout the diverse pop world. ‘blink,blink,blink,blink’ by ambient-pop duo Cuicks is a potent reflection of this concept. Laden with hazy shoegaze colours, seductive electro-pop beats and ambient mystery, this track injects the listener’s eardrums with a sonic tranquiliser and entrances the mind in a woozy yet blissful cosmos.

Other Info/Context

  • Cuicks’ new album warp will be released on December 14th.

New Japanese Vibes (89) – For Tracy Hyde ‘Favourite Blue’

My recent trip to Paris was a tale of new and nostalgic experiences – from watching tennis at Bercy to roaming around the streets of Paris, walking across the River Seine and embracing the wonderful Parisian cultural life. Perhaps this juxtaposition of ‘new’ and ‘nostalgic’ carries through in ‘Favourite Blue’, a new track by Tokyo-based indie-pop quintet For Tracy Hyde from their new album Film Bleu. Laden with shimmering guitars and airy synths, the song evokes a hazy yet turbo-charged dream pop/shoegaze vibe that is both evocative and fresh in equal measure.

Other Info/Context

  • For Tracy Hyde’s first album Film Bleu will be released on December 2nd.

© Isaku Takahashi

New Japanese Vibes (85) – Kidori Kidori アウトサイダー ‘Outsider’

A vibrant, pulsating and unswerving energy sets off sparks in Kidori Kidori’s latest track アウトサイダー ‘Outsider’. Made up of 川本直樹 Kawamoto Naoki and マッシュ Mashu (or Matthew), the duo’s latest release from the record label Hip Land Music comes just four months after their previous EP フィールソーグッド Feel So Good. The track drives through an infectious post-punk motorway, while it also resembles the rich shoegaze soundscape of My Bloody Valentine, though much more mellow and melodious.

Other Info/Context

  • Kidori Kidori’s new EP OUTSIDE was released on October 5th.
  • Find out more about Kidori Kidori in my blog post here.

© Isaku Takahashi

New Japanese Vibes (81) – The OXs ‘Candy of Youth’

Make way for the latest shoegaze/dream pop enthusiasts to launch their debut in the Dead Funny Records record label – Tokyo-based band The OXs. From the outset of their debut track ‘Candy of Youth’, the quartet drives through with brisk rhythmic energy, but also submerges the stereo field in a wash of dreamy harmonies, wailing synths, hypnotic guitar riffs and nostalgic musical richness. If the other tracks from their debut EP Candy of Youth is as impressive as this one, then they are surely ones to keep a watchful eye on in the future of shoegaze and dream pop in Japan.

Other Info/Context

  • The OXs’ debut EP Candy of Youth will be released on October 12th.
  • Find out more on Dead Funny Records here.

© Isaku Takahashi