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 25 of 2023. We sincerely hope you enjoy the new discoveries!
キノコホテル (Kinoco Hotel) – キネマ・パラノイア (Kinema Paranoia)
It was finally time for a new full-length album from rock band Kinoco Hotel, album number nine. After all members, with the exception of the leader (or hotel manager, given the theme), Marianne Shinonome, had left, it was waiting to see what the next step would be for this music group. The new album, マリアンヌの教典 (Marianne no Kyouten), ushers in a new era while simultaneously commemorating Kinoco Hotel’s 16th anniversary. For the music video of Kinema Paranoia, several musicians and artists were featured, including members of ACM::: and Shinonome’s other band Palastleben. With roots in rock and roll from the 1960s, over the years the band evolved a musical style that incorporates elements of psychedelic, punk, new wave, progressive rock, and even bossa nova. — Recommended by Francisca
cali≠gari – 銀河鉄道の夜 (Night on the Galactic Railroad)
The latest album of cali≠gari, titled 16, has been released at the start of the summer through Victor Entertainment. For the music video, the visual kei experimental rock band chose the closing track of the album, which is based on the fantasy novel by Kenji Miyazawa with Mount Fuji Radar Dome Museum as the location for the complete picture. This year the band celebrates their 30th anniversary and the three-piece band has shared several live videos on YouTube as a warm-up for the Japan tour. — Recommended by Francisca
kasa. – ダ・カーポ (Da Capo)
This is the seventh single from this band based in Mie prefecture, they describe themselves as a high-quality depressive pop band with the slogan “Have a good dream”. Formed in the summer of 2017, the band kasa. got a push in the right direction after they participated in Battle de egg 2019 and they performed at several large-scale events in Japan. In April 2022, the music group kasa. began to transform into their current form, a duo featuring singer-songwriter Rui Ogawa and bassist Yamashita. Several songs released in 2022 were used as theme songs for plays, including the linked song, and a TV show by Mie TV. — Recommended by Francisca
リフの惑星 (Riff no Wakusei) – RUMBLE
It’s been a while back (we’re talking 2020) since we wrote about this four-piece rock band from Tokyo. Around that time, they released their first album, odds and ends. Since then, they have released several singles and two EPs, including the most recent one which was released last week. Title? EUREKA. With their roots in British rock, they are not averse to experimenting and this can be heard on their latest release. The result: catchy yet danceable rock with of course the riffs. — Recommended by Francisca
COLLAPSE – BIRTHLIGHT
It has been a year since shoegaze band COLLAPSE’s very first album, titled BLACK SHEEP IS STILL DREAMING, came out. The four-piece band decided to release a music video of one of the songs on this album to celebrate. The video was shot while it was still cold and snow was on the ground, now that summer has arrived, this music video with this song could be a good way to cool off. What else will this one have in store for this year? In July, they will be releasing a digital single, titled PATH. — Recommended by Francisca
MIKUROMIKA – Now, I know
It was quiet around the singer-songwriter MIKUROMIKA for a while, but it seems she has taken time for herself and for her music. On the 3rd of June, the musician came with the surprising news that she had a new single release in the works, which has now been released digitally. It is another song under the umbrella of MIKURO POP with a chill pop vibe combining house, vocal trance and Japanese pop. Now, I know was filmed in Paris, during the time that MIKUROMIKA was touring Europe last year. — Recommended by Francisca
TYOSiN – 13’s
Most people familiar with TYOSiN (read it as Tokyo Sin) know that he is a rapper, but he is also a singer-songwriter. Besides being involved in the Los Angeles-based collective Midnight Society, he has collaborated with several local and international artists, is active in the rock band Help Me Plyz (as Sin) and is also active solo as a guitarist and vocalist. For his most recent single, 13’s, he drew inspiration from grunge rock and punk. This shows once again that he likes to experiment with various musical genres. — 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.