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 32 of 2023. We sincerely hope you enjoy the new discoveries!
STRAM – Geist
After dropping their summer 2020 album, All Happy, and releasing the EP SWIM/DULLNESS in early 2022, post-punk outfit STRAM returned a few months ago with a single titled Godin. Now, they’re back with another new single called Geist. In this song, they used the freedom to experiment and see where they landed with the notion that this song could possibly be performed with an orchestra, and the result is by which they ushered in a new era for STRAM. Despite various lineup changes, they continue to grace the stage on a regular basis. — Recommended by Francisca
THE MUSMUS – ヤミヤミ (Yami Yami)
A surprise for many fans of THE MUSMUS: After four years of inactivity the four-piece emo-punk rock band has returned. Besides having a new music video, the band has announced a concert for 4 November at Spotify O-Crest, which immediately marks THE MUSMUS’ official return. This news was apparently so big for fans that the show sold out almost immediately. This song is not brand new, released in 2018 as a live limited single, but is now available to anyone interested. If you are not already familiar with MUSMUS, you might be familiar with the band’s previous name: UPLIFT SPICE. The renaming happened in 2015. — Recommended by Francisca
超☆社会的サンダル (Super☆Social Sandal) – 可愛いユナちゃん (Kawaii Yuna-chan)
This young three-piece band aims to be super socially happy and wants to stir up a whirlwind with their music. While searching for the rock band, I came across an album release from a band with a kind of different name, 反社会的サンダル, which should translate to Antisocial Sandal. That album was released in the autumn of 2021, and in the spring of 2022, the band members decided to change the band name. Soon they will be at the Osaka edition of the big festival Summer Sonic festival. And beyond that, it’s a matter of waiting for maybe an album? — Recommended by Francisca
レトロマイガール！！(Retro My Girl!) – never
Retro My Girl! formed at the start of 2020 with Osaka as the homebase, at a time when there was no knowing what was to come that year and beyond. That didn’t stop the band, thankfully, although their full-fledged activities only started in the spring of 2021. After two EPs, one in October 2021 and one in summer 2022, and a handful of singles, it is finally time for the rock band to release a mini-album titled あの子の居場所 (Ano Ko No Ibasho). The three-piece band says they are not attached to any single genre of music, but they do aim to deliver music with a poppy and catchy sound. — Recommended by Francisca
Limited Express (has gone?) – ラーメンライス (RAMEN+RICE)
We may not have written about this band on this webzine yet, but Limited Express (has gone?) can by now be considered legendary in the underground punk scene, not only because of their music but also their energetic performances. The band has been active for almost 25 years, so you might expect there to be plenty of music to listen to, but certainly not enough according to the band. The song is the first song from their new album Tell Your Story (to be released on 23 August) and the music video is in collaboration with ramen restaurant Ramen HAGGY. — Recommended by Francisca
borderline case – NUE
It was actually last year that we wrote about this roaring alternative rock band called borderline case, but what have they actually done in the meantime? A lot of performing! This year, the four-piece rock band fell just short of winning the Japanese final of the world’s largest live competition Emergenza, where the winner gets to perform at the Taubertal Festival in Germany. This just means they are on the right track with where they are now as a band. And it is hoped that they will announce something new soon, because this music video has the taste for more! — Recommended by Francisca
,ζ,”⊃恋呂百花 (Bukkoro Momoka) – カス (Kasu)
Behind this project is Momoka Kinoshita, who you might know as the founding member and first-generation member of idol group NMB48. Since her graduation in 2017, she has been working on solo work and since the start of this year, she has been active with this intriguing pop project where Kinoshita writes, composes and arranges her own songs. In February, the first EP for Bukkoro Momoka got released. Kasu, or Scum, is the sixth single as part of 12 consecutive monthly releases. In the music video for the track, the musician dressed in a sailor uniform, eliminates her former partners one after another. — 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.