With a large music industry such as Japan has, the second largest in the world, it is inevitable that music fans will be inundated with a profusion of good (and also less good) music from this country. It is impossible to keep track of this and write a review about it per video. But to avoid missing out on gems, it is time for a weekly list of new music videos from lesser-known Japanese musical acts that are definitely worth watching.
We are now looking back on a selection of videos that were released in week 4 of 2023. We sincerely hope you enjoy the new discoveries!
NAMELESS – 人魚姫 (Ningyo Hime)
With a band name like NAMELESS, it might have given an idea that the visual kei rock band is out of ideas, but nothing could be further from the truth, considering they presented a full-length album at the first live show. Formed in 2021, the four-member band is working hard to show what they have to offer with the idea of bringing a fresh wind into the visual kei scene. We’ll just have to wait and see what else they have in store for us in 2023. This music video serves as a start. — Recommended by Francisca
goethe – 煙管 (Kiseru)
In September last year, Sapporo-based four-member band goethe released their first-ever EP, titled 残像の行方 (Zanzou no Yukue). Launched in 2020, the band’s speciality is to produce a somewhat mysterious and comfortable sound that blends and immerses the essence of R&B, soul, jazz, and funk and elevates them with the rhythm of the Japanese language. If the first EP caught your fancy, it is good to know that the band has also released three digital singles. Hopefully later this year, we can look forward to a full-length album from goethe. — Recommended by Francisca
HOLLOW SHADE – VIOLATION
HOLLOW SHADE’s very first album is on its way and will be released in April, and will be titled ABySS. In 2022, HOLLOW SHADE celebrated their fifth anniversary as a band and joined Starwave Records shortly before to establish themselves more fully. From the start, the three-piece band from Niigata has been trying to put down a hybrid sound of loud rock and metalcore elements with a dark and visual kei atmosphere, allowing them to perform in various scenes. — Recommended by Francisca
HAIMEN WORKS – 毒々(Dokudoku)
The best description of HAIMEN WORKS would be: a one-man pop-rock band. Active since 2021 and operating out of Hiroshima, this project has already had several collaborations, including pop/hip-hop group HOT DOG MARKET, and released several singles and EPs. It seems the person behind HAIMEN WORKS, Osuteru, has never stood still. HAIMEN WORKS’ third EP was released earlier this year with the almost appropriate yet tricky title Ill (It is not the Roman numeral for three, but read it as capital i and twice the letter l), with sickness as the suitable theme. — Recommended by Francisca
止め処なく、渇き (Tomedonaku, kawaki) – 可憐な毒薬 (Karenna Dokuyaku, Beautiful Poison)
For us as a webzine with an unquenchable thirst for new music, it’s always nice to come across interesting musicians and bands to give them a spotlight. Tomedonaku, kawaki’s second single has just been released and the Tokyo-based two-piece indie band manages to impress with their ability to blend alternative rock, electronic, post-rock and math-rock. They have only been active since the summer, but we already know: this is a band to keep an eye on! — Recommended by Francisca
Marmalade butcher – XXXphobia
In November last year, instrumental band Marmalade butcher released their first album in eight years, titled Onomatomani[a]kus. The four-piece band manages to move freely between various musical genres from alternative rock to electronic music to even game music. After guitarist Nienu transformed his solo project into Marmalade butcher in 2012, the band seemed to have caught quite some attention with their music. From contributing music for a video game to even a TV programme, the band is also active as a backing band for idol group Dai Dai Dai. — Recommended by Francisca
THE DESPERADO – The Cry Against
This metalcore band already has quite a following in Japan and beyond, which is not at all surprising given the history of some of the band members who formed THE DESPERADO. From the start in 2019, the band consisted of vocalist Nero, ex-DEVILOOF guitarist Seiya and drummer Hiroto (who left the band in 2020). This immediately sparked a lot of interest. Now as a four-piece band, the band is mostly working to publicise to the world the versatility that they have to offer and seem to be focusing mainly on digital activities. Currently, the band has released six singles and now it is waiting for the mini-album, THE CRY AGAINST, to be released in February. — Recommended by Francisca
Next week we will be back for a new list of new music videos to check out. But you can also look back to the earlier editions of this weekly article series for when you yearn for more musical gems! Want to read more about how this project started or check out the YouTube playlists? Click here for all the information.