Picks of the Week #10

  • 幾何学模様 Kikagaku Moyo – ‘Silver Owl’

It’s been a year since I started this blog, and since then it has become a platform for you and myself to discover new and unusual bands like幾何学模様 Kikagaku Moyo. As you close your eyes and widen your audible senses for their dream-inspired track ‘Silver Owl’, you will float gently through a cloud of psychedelic folk filled with pensive vocals, delicate guitars and dreamy harmonies. Their considerable reputation today makes me wonder why I didn’t discover them much earlier on in my life.

Sumptuous and stirring, ‘Signal’ by TK (Toru Kitajima) from prog-rock band凛として時雨 Ling Tosite Sigure is a compelling rock number enriched with orchestral power. Away from the punishing rock anthems of his band, ‘Signal’ is a resplendent number that could well crown TK as the prince of prog-rock in Japan today – full of opulent strings, colouristic textures, dynamic guitars and drums, and rich vocals that reach heavenly yet anthemic heights in the chorus. Find out more about Ling Tosite Sigure in my blog post here.

Featuring in their EP 霊感 Reikan, りんごの質感 ‘Ringo no Sitsukan’ is one of the handful of tracks that kick-started the acsent of Taiko Super Kicks. The psychedelic-indie quartet takes the listener through a nostalgic musical fantasy with yearning vocal melodies, dreamy guitar riffs and gently pulsing drums. A guitar solo rockets through the sonic ceiling, ceaseless in energy and fiery emotion before cascading down back to wistful vibes. Listen to another one of their songs in my blog post here.

© Isaku Takahashi

Picks of the Week #6

  • Awesome City Club – ‘Don’t Think, Feel’

Illuminated by the colourful cosmopolitan life of Japan, Awesome City Club released their new track ‘Don’t Think, Feel’ in collaboration with global chain GAP. The song tugs the listener’s senses to dance along to the refreshing disco vibes, filled with dazzling strings, an array of jangling guitars, foot-tapping bass and drum lines, and led by atagi’s seductive vocals.

  • Taiko Super Kicks – 釘が抜けたなら ‘Kugi ga Nuketa nara’

Taiko Super Kicks are equally captivating live as they are on record. 釘が抜けたなら ‘Kugi ga Nuketa nara’ (‘If the nail has fallen out’) is one of many tracks featured in their latest album Many Shapes released last December. Also featuring extra vocals and guitar from singer-songwriter may.e, the Tokyo-based four-piece beautifully strolls through the song’s wistful melodies, evocative guitar riffs and vivid psychedelic rock ambience.

  • Super Ganbari Goal Keepers – プログレッシブな愛 ‘Progressive Love’

Super Ganbari Goal Keepers takes listeners back a few decades with their nostalgic track プログレッシブな愛 ‘Progressive na Ai’ (‘Progressive Love’). Based in Tokyo, the four-piece rock band recalls the vivid sounds of 60s surf rock with twangy guitars, up-tempo rhythms and tuneful riffs and vocal melodies driving through the musical motorway.

© Isaku Takahashi

 

Picks of the Week #2

The groovy and soulful ensemble Special Favorite Music prepared for the release of their new album World’s Magic with another preview of one of their tracks, ‘Magic Hour’. A few months ago, this band first came to my attention with their song ‘Dribble’, a gentle yet up-tempo disco/jazz jam. ‘Magic Hour’ meanwhile, is a much more indulgent, tranquil affair with lush soul sonorities, jazzy melodic riffs, vintage electric piano and sax colours against a contemporary drum beat and a silky texture of feathery vocals. The album is out now from P-Vine Records.

  • Suchmos – ‘STAY TUNE’

Suchmos offer their slightly unusual take on hip-hop and acid jazz with ‘STAY TUNE’. Taking their name from ‘Satchmo’, the nickname of jazz legend Louis Armstrong, the six-piece band from Kanagawa prefecture coax a seductive sound world livened up by jangling guitar chords, iridescent electric piano riffs and harmonies, groovy propulsion, and alluring vocals that stretch from full-bodied to falsetto tones. If your Friday night is looking dull, then this may be the one to jam along to.

  • phonon – ゼロと白 ‘Zero to Shiro’

The Japanese rock scene is in good hands with youthful bands like phonon, who churn out appealing yet unique tunes like ゼロと白 ‘Zero to Shiro’ (‘Zero and White’). This track is exuberant rock at its finest, led by the husky yet strong vocals of イマイズミヒカル Imaizumi Hikaru. Then all of a sudden, the band plunges into filled out with celestial synths, glistening guitars and reverb-laden vocals before gradually climbing back to their trademark high-energy rock.

Beautifully lugubrious is how one may describe Taiko Super Kicks’ style of psychedelic rock. 低い午後 ‘Hikui Gogo’ (‘Flat Afternoon’) embodies their musical personality, plodding through a laidback beat, shimmering nostalgic guitar colours and melodies, and murmuring wistful vocals to immerse listeners in six minutes of sonic bliss.

© Isaku Takahashi

New Japanese Vibes (21) – Taiko Super Kicks メニイシェイプス ‘Many Shapes’

メニイシェイプス ‘Many Shapes’ by Taiko Super Kicks exudes a sonic atmosphere akin to both psychedelic and indie rock. Surfing along the same wavelengths as Radiohead, Pink Floyd and Tame Impala, a melancholic vocal melody is at the core of this track, with clean, twangy and bleary guitar sonorities trading spotlights with one another and restrained drums laying out some rhythmic interest in what feels very lugubrious and laidback. Accompanied by a music video exploring space in abstract form, one’s ears can only be pulled by gravity into everything extra-terrestrial.

Other Info/Context

  • Their album Many Shapes was released on December 23rd.

© Isaku Takahashi