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 11 of 2023. We sincerely hope you enjoy the new discoveries!
paranoid void – travel # afterward
This year, Osaka-based paranoid void are celebrating the math-rock band’s 10th anniversary, and to make it even more fun: soon the three-member instrumental band will be in Europe for a number of gigs. Last August, the three-member band released their second album, travels in my universe, track 5 from this album has been given the music video below. paranoid void’s music is a mixture of odd time signatures and polyrhythms, characterised by a guitar sound with a floaty feel. — Recommended by Francisca
peanut butters – 悪魔くん (Akuma-kun)
Nishihara, the guitarist and composer behind peanut butters, has been creating catchy lo-fi pop-rock music with a variety of support musicians since 2019. A new EP titled ロンリーメイビー (lonely maybe) will be released in April, on which Nishihara has collaborated with singer Honoka and musicians from bands such as Panorama Panama Town and Mississippi Khaki Hair. From the first release in the summer of 2020, peanut butters’ music seemed to be picked up by music lovers inside and outside Japan. A year later came an album by Nishihara which was followed by two EPs. — Recommended by Francisca
エコツミ (Ekotumi) – ザ・ソウル・オブ・ナイト (The Soul Of Night)
We have highlighted the artist Ekotumi before, the singer, author, dancer, and poet started a project during the pandemic to capture memories of this time period through recorded sounds during lockdowns around the world. The result can already be heard in the songs Tokyo Chant, A Wingless Country and The Birds’ Song. The song The Soul of Night is also part of this project and for the music video, several video recordings were made from several locations around the world. The theme of the song itself is about the god of the moon in Japanese mythology, Tsukuyomi-no-Mikoto. — Recommended by Francisca
SHACALANDA – 熱 (Netsu)
Last year, the duo SHACALANDA released a mini-album titled Bonfire, a 5-track record. Consisting of vocalist TANEKO and guitarist Kazuma Seko, the duo’s focus is to release colourful rock songs with EDM elements that should make you dance and raise the roof during live shows. Both musicians also have other music projects running, TANEKO has a solo project called WAKUSEI ABNORMAL and Seko is currently the guitarist in Owarhythm Benkei and with that knowledge and experience, they do everything themselves in SHACALANDA. — Recommended by Francisca
曇ヶ原 (KUMORI GA HARA) – くじらの歌は聴こえない (Kujira no Uta wa Kikoenai, The Inaudible Whale Song)
Kujira no Uta wa Kikoenai, aka The Inaudible Whale Song, is the title of KUMORI GA HARA’s latest EP release, which features a contrast of delicate folk songs of fundamental human sorrow and progressive rock. The now four-piece band found its origins in the summer of 2010, when Shota Ishigaki launched it as a solo project. Three years later, it transformed into a band and with several line-up changes, the rock band now has a permanent line-up since the end of 2019. — Recommended by Francisca
polly – Kikoeru
We have highlighted a music video before of this four-piece shoegaze band out of Utsunomiya, polly. When the band member’s former bands broke up around the same time in 2012 and met each other just before the disbandings, it felt like fate for the members to start a band together. The band’s sound is based on well-known Japanese pop melodies and a sound that has absorbed numerous music genres from overseas and this shifts with each release. In 2020, they have started their own label 14HOUSE. To date, they have released three albums and three mini-albums. In May, they will release an EP, titled Heavenly Heavenly. — Recommended by Francisca
アトゾメ (Atozome) – 飄々として (Hyouhyou to Shite)
Atozome’s very latest album is finally out, 飄々として (Hyouhyou to Shite), almost three years after their first album, 幻灯 (Phantom Light). What to expect in terms of music from this four-piece rock band from Kofu (Yamanashi prefecture)? With the help of some serious and nostalgic tunes, artistic lyrics, and the engaging and vivacious vocalist Maikohan’s delicate and strong vocals, a drama-esque scene is presented in the music of Atozome. It is here and there evocative of songs from the 80s and 90s, culminating in music full of passion and energy. Overall? It’s really cool! — 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.