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 6 of 2023. We sincerely hope you enjoy the new discoveries!
Laura day romance – sweet vertigo
Last year, four-member pop band Laura day romance launched a special project called Sweet Seasons, Awesome Works, selecting songs from a number of demos from the band’s total career for four different EPs themed around the four seasons. They have now arrived at release three, the winter edition, titled Works.ep. This project is almost finished and it is just a matter of waiting to see what they will do next. Formed in 2017, this pop band is influenced by western music but manages to weave layers of Japanese pop sound through it. — Recommended by Francisca
Esprit D’Air – 雫 (Shizuku)
The song used in this brand-new music video by Esprit D’Air is a re-recording of the band’s single which was released in 2012. Through a crowdfunding campaign, fans of the melodic metal and electronicore solo project helped to create the animated music video for 雫 (Shizuku). In the video, you see the singer and multi-instrumentalist Kai as a modern nomad shinobi roaming the dystopian world overrun by mech drones. For this new version of Shizuku, Kai has worked with Australian producer Misstiq on synthesisers. The song has a special meaning for Kai as it was the first song he produced in 2010. — Recommended by Francisca
mekakushe -きみのようになれるかな (Kimi no You ni Nareru Kana)
mekakushe is a singer-songwriter who has been active since 2014, previously operating under another name, namely Hirone/Hirone-chan, but since 2018 she has been performing as mekakushe on her own label. She started playing classical piano at a young age which is still part of her music today, but now she is making pop music with her own twist. This week saw the release of mekakushe’s second album, あこがれ (Akogare), in addition, she has released two music videos, dedicated to this new release. (click for the other video) — Recommended by Francisca
nhomme – 一種の過音ⅰ (Isshu no Kanon i)
Just under a month after the publication of their digital single, テトラ (Tetora), Tokyo-based post-rock/emo band nhomme will release something new, an EP on a cassette tape, 一種の過音 (Isshu no Kanon). The band manages to interpret different styles of music in a technical and chaotic way. This music video can be seen as a tutorial of how the band made the cover of their EP, something I’m sure people with a passion for DIY can appreciate. — Recommended by Francisca
アカネサス (Akanesas) – 最愛 (Saitei)
After the three girls of Akanesas left their home base of Shimanto in Kochi prefecture behind for the big adventure in Tokyo after completing school, it was finally time for a new music release. Currently all three are 19 years old and getting through their days with part-time jobs and band life in the metropolis of Tokyo, they have incorporated these experiences they are having now into new songs that will be found on their first EP, 今、私は19歳 (Ima, Watashi Ha 19-sai, Now I am 19 years). — Recommended by Francisca
HOWL – アンダーテイカー (Undertaker)
Not to be confused with US sludge metal band or Norwegian rock band Howl, this four-piece visual kei band HOWL launched in 2018 with Tokyo as their home base. This band interweaves vocalist Mayoi’s charmingly sweet voice with poppy melodic rock music. Soon after their formation, HOWL released a single, which was followed up in 2019 with a full-length album, Artist, and an EP, titled KILLER TUNE. On 14 March, the four-piece will release their fourth single, アンダーテイカー (Undertaker). Containing three songs, the band created a dark and mysterious music video for the title track. This rock band also has an alter ego band under the name Meta Knight, who first performed on Christmas Eve in 2021. — Recommended by Francisca
mouse on the keys – The Dawn
In essence, this instrumental band from Tokyo should not be an unknown name, active since 2007, an extensive discography and toured all over the world, for those who are not familiar with mouse on the keys, make this your introduction to the band. With Akira Kawasaki on drums, Daisuke Niitome on keyboard, along with Takumi Shiroeda (piano, keyboards), the trio creates a distinct sound that combines elements of jazz, funk, post‐rock and electronic music, resulting in the evolution of their own musical genre. The music video for The Dawn uses live footage filmed during the first gig in three years for mouse on the keys last December. — 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.