New Japanese Vibes (130) – 平賀さち枝 Hiraga Sachie 10月のひと ‘Jūgatsu no Hito’

Featuring in her new album まっしろな気持ちで会いに行くだけ Masshiro na kimochi de aini ikudake, 10月のひと ‘Jūgatsu no Hito’ (‘October Person’) by平賀さち枝 Hiraga Sachie is the latest indie folk goodness to serenade my short break away from the office desk. Slightly reminiscent of the hazy folk and pop vibes of SOAK (Bridie Monds-Watson), the young singer-songwriter from Iwate prefecture swims in a reverie with her cute, honey-toned vocals that wades through a field of dreamy mellotron harmonies, cradle-rocking guitars and gently pulsing drums.

Other Info

  • Hiraga Sachie’s new album Masshiro na kimochi de aini ikudake will be released on September 20th.

© Isaku Takahashi

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New Japanese Vibes (118) – 花男 Hanao ど田舎行進曲 ‘Doinaka Koushinkyoku’

Featuring on his new album 暮らし Kurashi, ど田舎行進曲 ‘Doinaka Koushinkyoku’ (‘Countryside March’) by 花男 Hanao is an unapologetic throwback country tune. Rewinding decades back and flying off to the Southern states of America with is country harmonica riffs, chugging guitar chords and husky and resonant vocals, one can picture a nostalgic camp side fire backdrop with the Hokkaido-based singer-songwriter warming up the ears and surrounding air with no-nonsense vibes.

Other Info

  • Hanao’s new album Kurashi was released on May 24th.

© Isaku Takahashi

New Japanese Vibes (87) – 青葉市子 Aoba Ichiko ゆさぎ – マホロボシヤ ‘Yusagi – Mahoroboshiya’

ゆさぎ – マホロボシヤ ‘Yusagi – Mahoroboshiya’ by Kyoto-born singer-songwriter 青葉市子 Aoba Ichiko is the perfect balm for my listening senses after another full week of work. The track’s simple façade of Aoba’s whispering vocals and cradle-rocking guitar chords delicately cocoons one’s ears with a crystalline folk beauty. Together with a music video featuring evocative clips filmed in Kyoto and Berlin, Aoba entrances her listeners with a wonderfully nostalgic musical and visual experience.

Other Info/Context

  • Aoba Ichiko’s new album Mahoroboshiya was released on October 19th.

© Isaku Takahashi

Picks of the Week #13

  • Miyuu – ‘Southern Waves’

Reminiscent of the honey-toned personality of YUI, Osaka-based singer-songwriter Miyuu makes her major debut with ‘Southern Waves’. A warm guitar-pop vibe shimmers after every harmony and strum on the guitar, tinged with a hazy ambience from Miyuu’s delicate vocals. From those days playing covers of Maroon 5 and Bruno Mars at temples and shrines around Kyoto, Miyuu has paved the way for what is surely a bright future ahead of her.

  • Fumika – アオイトリ ‘Aoi Tori’

Recently, 久保帯人 Kubo Tite said his farewells with the end of his popular manga series ブリーチ Bleach. アオイトリ ‘Aoi Tori’ (‘Blue Bird’) by J-pop singer Fumika is a throwback to the days I enjoyed watching (& reading the manga) the anime of Bleach. (For the avid fans, you will recognise the series of episodes this track was used as the closing theme song). Anime can often open people into a world of musical wonders, and ‘Aoi Tori’ is one of many songs I have had the pleasure to uncover.

  • サカナクション Sakanaction – ワード ‘Word’

There is just something about サカナクション Sakanaction’s music that draws many listener’s senses into a unique musical atmosphere within a blink of an eye. ワード ‘Word’ is no different. Its infectious rock motor married with a dazzling kaleidoscope of electro-pop colours stimulates every rhythmic muscle of the listener to get in sync with the track. Find out more about Sakanaction in my blog post here, and hear another track by them here.

© Isaku Takahashi

New Japanese Vibes (77) – やなせなな Yanase Nana タロー ‘Taro’

やなせなな Yanase Nana’s new track タロー ‘Taro’ is a luxurious wade into a charming classic soft-rock ballad vibe. Since her debut 12 years ago, the Nara-born singer-songwriter has captured the hearts of many generations. Her enchanting vocals glitters like candlelight within the tender sound world enriched with jazzy piano licks, shimmering Hammond organ harmonies and a rocking drum beat and bass line. This song features in her latest album 夜が明けるよ Yo ga Akeru yo (‘The Morning Will Come’).

Other Info/Context

  • Yanase Nana’s new album Yoru ga Akeru yo was released on August 24th.

© Isaku Takahashi

New Japanese Vibes (71) – 折坂悠太 Orisaka Yuta あさま ‘Asama’

折坂悠太 Orisaka Yuta’s あさま ‘Asama’ is a track to let your body and senses float away from reality and indulge in a beautifully lazy vibe. Smooth harmonies flow in dainty fashion and vocal melodies evocative of the Showa-era kayokyoku sound world trickle out of Orisaka’s rich vocal colours, while offbeat chords from the electric guitar infuse a tinge of reggae in the song’s gentle vibe.

Other Info/Context

  • Orisaka’s new album たむけ Tamuke will be released on September 7th.

© Isaku Takahashi

New Japanese Vibes (62) – ハクブンゴウ Hakubungou 寝台列車 ‘Shindai Ressha’

Nostalgia seems to be a recurring theme in this blog recently, and today is no different. ハクブンゴウ Hakubungou is the latest artist to emerge out of his undiscovered shell. Apart from the fact that he is based in Okinawa prefecture, little is known about the singer-songwriter. However, his latest track寝台列車 ‘Shindai Ressha’ (‘Sleeper Train’) vividly showcases his enchanting songwriting talent. Featuring in his debut EP 彼がいうには Kare Ga Iu Niwa, this slow-brewing track treats listeners with a mélange of evocative guitar strums, wistful harmonies, gentle drums and a solo that evokes images of the beach and surf, all swirling around Hakubungou’s charming singer-songwriter vocal tones.

Other Info/Context

  • Hakubungou’s debut EP Kare Ga Iu Niwa will be released on June 2nd.

© Isaku Takahashi