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 16 of 2023. We sincerely hope you enjoy the new discoveries!
奇祭 (Kisai) – A Rainy Day in Tokyo
After releasing an upbeat pop tune reminiscent of the early 2000s, it was time for the band Kisai to release a chill and catchy song, we went from Sunny Side Down to A Rainy Day in Tokyo. This song is accompanied by an attractive video that invites you to take a rest. Kisai’s versatility is evident when you look at the other singles they have released and even though the band has already had to lose some members, the band is still going strong. We are now looking forward to a full-fledged album. — Recommended by Francisca
YOWLL – Alice in apathy
Consisting of three members, vocalist and guitarist Ryota Mori, bassist Hideo Suzumura, and drummer Takahiro Ashihara, this Osaka-based band makes rock music that sounds good to the ears. But if you are a bit familiar with the name Ryota Mori, you might understand why that is. Does the name Brian the Sun ring a bell? A popular rock band that is now inactive but has produced several songs that have been used for anime series. We have highlighted Mori’s solo work before on the website, and it is interesting to note that YOWLL is yet another new project (of many!) from the hand of Mori, who wrote all the songs and lyrics for YOWLL’s first EP. — Recommended by Francisca
つきみ (Tsukimi) – ねー、ダーリン (Nee, Darling)
This duo comes all the way from Iwaki (Fukushima Prefecture), active under the moniker Tsukimi, the two ladies describe their band as a spirited crushing terrorist band. ねー、ダーリン (Nee, Darling) is the title of their first single and is a rock love song about the strong determination of a girl with a broken heart. Additionally, it appears to be the duo’s first release in a project for four consecutive months of releases. The duo has been active for a couple of years and consists of guitarist and vocalist Nini and drummer Shuka. — Recommended by Francisca
colormal – 回転 (carousel)
What began as a solo project has now grown into a full-fledged indie rock band, the Osaka-based colormal began with activities in 2015 by guitarist and vocalist Ienaga making recordings from home. After releasing a mini-album and performing with support musicians, Ienaga decided to form a band with guitarist Yasasaku, bassist Matsuyama and drummer Tainaka in 2021 and released an EP titled anode that ties in with the upcoming third EP, cathode, which will soon be followed up with the second mini-album, titled diode. Both will be released in May. — Recommended by Francisca
Kiyoshi – Change
From a young age, Kiyoshi played the piano, but it wasn’t until she was 15 that she first played the bass guitar. This has been the start of an interesting career for the musician, who, in addition to her activities for her own project as a singer-songwriter, has been active for several other (well-known) bands and artists. In 2016, she took the step to release her first album which was also the start as a solo artist, and from then on she decided to release a new album every year, in 2021 the sixth album, KIYOSHI6, was released. Noting that not a single guitar was used for this album. She is currently in the studio recording new work. — Recommended by Francisca
Enfants – Play
On 19 April, Enfants’ first digital EP was released, bearing a letter as its title: Q. (including the dot) The band has been active since 2022 – to be precise, the band made itself known in early March 2022 – and has a focus on ‘play’ and ‘wearable’ awareness. Play was the very first song the band shared on YouTube in April 2022 and garnered positive feedback from everyone who watched it. After sharing some demo songs, it was really time for something official from the four-piece rock band. Definitely a band to keep an eye on! — Recommended by Francisca
LOBSTER – Stressed Town
With the mission to create sounds that you have never heard before, the Tokyo-based post-punk band LOBSTER just released their first EP, titled Sunburnt. The songs are filled with lyrics about the youth of their generation living in a contemporary society and a consistently brooding and numbing sound. Stressed Town got the honour to become the first song to get a music video which demonstrates what the band means with Stressed Town (especially in a metropolis like Tokyo), by showing the stressful situations of the five band members, it might make you feel stressed out. — 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.