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 34 of 2023. We sincerely hope you enjoy the new discoveries!
山二つ (Yamafutatsu) – 号外 (Newspaper Extra)
Formed in 2021, this four-piece band was formed by musicians from diverse backgrounds. They explore alternative pop music with a spirit of freedom and expression. Kenta Suzuki, Mahaya Takara, and Hirotomo Kawai take on composition responsibilities, adjusting their vocals and instruments to suit the needs of each song during live performances. Additionally, Kana Sakato contributes dance elements to their live shows. Recently they have released their first album, titled テレビ (Television), where most of the songs were self-produced and filled with melodies and rhythms inspired by rock, jazz, classical music and more. — Recommended by Francisca
長嶋水徳 (Minori Nagashima) – serval DOG – – 不透明なままで (Futoumei Na Mama De)
This is the seventh digital single by singer-songwriter Minori Nagashima – serval DOG -, who is also known for her work in the band MINOR THIRD. In her solo project, she handles all aspects of music creation, including lyrics, composition, arrangement, recording, and mixing, all from her own home studio. According to the musician, this song is about the beauty of ephemeral life. She made use of an electro sound with many synthesisers instead of the guitar rock that Nagashima is best known for and shows her true ability as a track maker. — Recommended by Francisca
HAPPY – Sundowner
Just in time before the summer ends, the band HAPPY released a new digital single and music video with the title Sundowner. It is the band’s first release in four years, since the release of their album High Planet Cruise. Japan’s HAPPY can be best described as a psychedelic band and the five members are active in a wide range of musical experiments and explorations. This means that the format of the band sometimes will vary from project to project, with live performances they have extra musicians to grace the stage to add some experimental vibes. — Recommended by Francisca
Paddy Isle – Queen In Red
Paddy Isle (written as paddy isle) began in 2017 as a psychedelic pop duo, consisting of guitarists and vocalists Ryo Maruyama and Tatsuya “Andre” Miura, that recorded songs at home. The music project’s sound is influenced by a wide range of Western rock songs from the 1960s and 1970s. With the addition of bass player Ayumu Aragaki and drummer Yuhi Shiraishi., the band evolved into a four-piece band two years later, in 2019. Last year, the four-member band managed to release their very first album via WATER ROOM RECORDS, titled Cavemen’s Law. Queen In Red is the first release of three consecutive releases. — Recommended by Francisca
チリヌルヲワカ (Chirinuruwowaka) – 化ケノ皮 (Bake No Kawa)
Chirinuruwowaka (often stylised as CHIRINURUWOWAKA) got formed by Yumi Nakashima (active as Yuu), who was at the time part of the rock band GO!GO!7188. When Nakashima was working on her second solo album, she felt the desire to create a band, which eventually became Chirinuruwowaka. The band name comes from one sentence of the famous Japanese pangram poem, Iroha, created around 1000 years ago. At the moment, the three-piece rock band has released several albums and singles and they have arrived at album number 14, titled 七ツノ無実 (Nanatsu No Mijitsu). — Recommended by Francisca
THE SPELLBOUND – LOTUS
A few after the passing of BOOM BOOM SATELLITES’ vocalist Michiyuki Kawashima, the remaining band member Masayuki Nakano started a search for a vocalist to form an entirely fresh musical project. This quest led him to Yusuke Kobayashi, the vocalist of THE NOVEMBERS. Officially launched at the beginning of 2021, THE SPELLBOUND swiftly became active by releasing a series of singles and performing at big festivals such as FUJI ROCK Festival. The rock band eventually released their debut album in early 2022. Alongside their musical journey, they contributed an ending theme song for the fourth season of the anime series Golden Kamuy. THE LOTUS stands as the latest creation from this dynamic duo. — Recommended by Francisca
LESSFEAR – RAGE
In the world of visual kei, where artistic expression and theatricality reign supreme, a new band has emerged with the name LESSFEAR. At the start of August, the five members of this visual kei metal band presented themselves on social media. This was followed up with a music video just this week. Some band members seem to be brand new to the music world, while others have already been active in session bands, as support musicians or full band members, such as guitarist Toto who was active in ANSIFLE until the band disbanded earlier this year. They will make their first appearance on stage on the first of September. — 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.