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 12 of 2023. We sincerely hope you enjoy the new discoveries!
鳩とスパイス (Hato to Spice) – ワンデーユートピア (One day Utopia)
Last time we highlighted this alternative rock band, centred around vocalist Masaki Kougo, they were about to release a mini-album, which was in the summer of 2021. Since then, they have released a number of singles and are frequently on stage. Songs about Kougo’s actual experiences have a reputation for stirring the soul. The concept of having something as familiar as a pigeon, but spicing up daily life inspired the band name Hato to Spice. — Recommended by Francisca
柳ひろみ (Hiromi Yanagi) – Darkness
This song is in connection with the just-released 3D action game ONI: Road to be the Mightiest Oni from the upcoming studio KENEI DESIGN, based on the Japanese fairy tale Momotaro. The song is written entirely in English by Hiromi Yanagi and follows the worldview of the video game. Hiromi Yanagi is a singer-songwriter and a composer, she has worked on quite a lot of commercials and also a short film. In 2020, she released an album titled Sei. — Recommended by Francisca
とがる (Togaru) – 海に鳴る (Umi ni Naru)
This week, the split EP とがるとらせん。 (Togaru to Rasen) was released, featuring three songs from the grungy Japanese pop project Togaru and three from the project Rasen. Togaru began as a solo project, but currently functions as a four-piece band with Imou Nakanishi at the helm. Last summer, Togaru released their second album, and with the release of the new CD, the pop project seems to be on a potent path to keep doing what they are strong at; a solid message coupled with pop music with hints of grunge and shoegaze. — Recommended by Francisca
Conton Candy – 桜のころ (Sakura no Koro)
This Tokyo-based three-piece got formed in 2018, when they were still in high school. While vigorously performing live, the band continues to steadily grow as a live band. They entice the listener into their chaotic world with the help of Tsumugi’s eerie vocals, raucous pop guitar sound, lyrics that meticulously describe the sadness, pain, bitterness, and sweetness that suddenly pierce the body, and the one-of-a-kind groove made by the twin rhythm section of bassist Fuka and drummer Sayaka. This is their fifth digital single, a sweet spring-themed song, they also have two EPs out. — Recommended by Francisca
Last lily – In midair
Last lily would appear to be the very latest project from the mind of multi-talented SHILoN, who was also previously active as EPSILON*CHILD. It seems that the musician, artist and cosplayer is eager to innovate and not attach herself to one musical genre to bring out her talent. The first performance as Last lily was in January this year and this week saw the release of the very latest EP for the collective project. Looking forward to what else Last lily will bring this year. — Recommended by Francisca
RIS-707 – BLACK NIGHT KITTY
After RIS’ solo project was renamed to RIS-707, the addition of the three digits coming from her trusty guitar synth Roland G-707, the Tokyo-based singer-songwriter is working hard to reach more people worldwide. She is currently releasing digital singles one after the other, the latest being BLACK NIGHT KITTY, which will eventually lead to a new album, titled DANCE CULT, whose release date is still unknown. Keep an eye on this musician! — Recommended by Francisca
らせん。(Rasen.) – DIScommunication
We mentioned above about the split EP, とがるとらせん。 (Togaru to Rasen), in addition to Togaru releasing a music video this week, Rasen. (with a full stop at the end.) also thought this was a good plan. Started in 2016 as a solo project by Hiroshi Uezato, who is also active as guitarist and vocalist in the three-member band Half-life, Uezato performs as Rasen. in various styles, genres and compositions, including storytelling, quartet and band set with the concept of music that confronts the everyday life. — 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.