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 26 of 2023. We sincerely hope you enjoy the new discoveries!
MoritaSaki in the pool – Ice box
Kyoto-based four-piece MoritaSaki in the pool released their first-ever music video last week, however, this is not the band’s first song. On 1 July, the band’s second EP, Ice Box, was released on the first of July, a year after the first EP, This Is A Portrait Of MoritaSaki. So, who exactly is MoritaSaki in this story? We haven’t quite figured that out yet. Here at AVO Magazine, we do like a bit of mystery, and given the music this new-generation shoegaze band brings with them, dreamy pop, roaring shoegaze with post-punk elements, we’re definitely keeping an eye on MoritaSaki in the pool. You too? — Recommended by Francisca
downt – 13月 (13 Gatsu/Undecember)
The latest release from the three-member band downt from Tokyo, the first new music in almost a year, bears the title III and was released in early June, a nearly 10-minute long single with two tracks where track two – which also received a music video – is described as a new departure for the band. It continues to be music with a lot of emotion. Last year, the alternative rock band was featured on the ROOKIE A GO-GO stage at FUJI ROCK Festival, which was their first performance at an outdoor festival. The anticipation for the upcoming album by this intriguing band has been increased now. — Recommended by Francisca
Mercy Woodpecker – 新世界 (New world)
This past week, the second album by Kumamoto-based rock band Mercy Woodpecker was released, titled 解放のススメ (Kaihou no Susume), two years after the release of the first album. In the same week, the four-piece rock band released two music videos. The band presents a blend between 90s emo and modern guitar rock with the tender and powerful clear voice by Shintaro Naoe and poetic emotive melody lines. After starting out in 2016, the band has been working especially hard to move forward and they seem to be doing well. Keep an eye on them! — Recommended by Francisca
終活クラブ (Shukatsu Club) – 弱パンチで希死念慮 (Jaku Punch de Kishinenryo)
In the summer of 2020, vocalist and guitarist 少年ああああああ (lees als: Shounen aaaaa) sought some band members to start a band with like-minded musicians where they make catchy rock music, this became the five-piece Shukatsu Club. January 2021 saw the band’s very first live show. Besides the strange band name, the band members are a bit mysterious, especially since they use drawn characters to make themselves known, and this combination also seems to attract attention in Japan. Last year, the band released their very first full-length album, 終活のススメ (Shukatsu no Susume), and in August they will release an EP titled 終活大布教盤 (Shukatsu Daifukyouban). — Recommended by Francisca
Colorpointe – Unholy Orchestra
Soon dance and vocal unit Colorpointe will perform at HYPER JAPAN in London, but before all of this will happen, they released a new single, Unholy Orchestra. The ballet-themed ensemble, helmed by choreographer, director, and lyricist HINK, combines alternative music with eye-catching fashion depicting another fantasy world. They began activities at the beginning of 2011 and have since toured Japan as well performed in the United States, Thailand, and Singapore. Colorpointe became an international arts ambassador for the Japanese Agency for Cultural Affairs in 2021 and released in 2022 the first international album Medically BAROQUE via Setsuzoku Records. — Recommended by Francisca
ユメノマ (yumenoma) – it’s a beautiful day
Yumenoma is the solo project of bass musician Shinya Nakashima, a musician formerly active in the band Warsaw and currently part of the group misuto. The song it’s a beautiful day, really gives an atmosphere of summertime where the heat embraces us and we actually want to slow down, this song gives you a soft surface to lie on. The music video goes a step further and conveys the calmness of nature in motion. This song can be found on the brand new mini-album evergreen, with the slogan fresh green harvest festival and English lyrics, collaborating with vocalists Ayumi Melody and Naoko Matsumoto. — Recommended by Francisca
RiqrhoAre00 – 黒いヴェール (Black veil)
RiqrhoAre00 is a music project that has undergone various transformations, but is best described as a comprehensive performing arts ensemble created by Tomoe Ooshima, a stage actor from Gesshoku Kagekidan and Kaiten Hyakume. From the start in 2013, the project released three mini-albums and specialises in theatrical live performances in which music is incorporated into the story. The music can be best described as floating, light and dark songs, at times whimsical, at times paranoid. Black veil is the first digital single by RiqrhoAre00. — 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.