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 39 of 2023. We sincerely hope you enjoy the new discoveries!
水咲加奈 (Kana Mizusaki) – 終点 (Shyuten)
Kana Mizusaki is a singer-songwriter whose songs are filled with colourful poetry reminiscent of film, literature and art. To make it complete, she uses unregulated time signatures and other influences from jazz and classical music. In 2020, she started a collaboration with music producer Shingo Yasumoto (SEKAI NO OWARI, Yuzu etc) and in 2023, she started a project where she travels around Japan under the banner of Mizusaki Cafe, visiting coffee shops to create a one-minute song about the location. The latest song of hers was created as an uplifting song, a passionate anthem, for individuals yearning for a way of life that they truly want to uphold, wanting to live true to themselves. The song will be an ending theme song for the TV Tokyo programme Premium Melodix in the month of October. — Recommended by Francisca
DaimonOrchestra – キシロカイン (Xylocaine)
Previously highlighted for a Bandcamp Friday article, it is finally time to shine a spotlight on a brand new music video by DaimonOrchestra. It first started with Daimon, a three-piece band that was formed in 2002. This transformed several years later into what we now know as DaimonOrchestra. They describe themselves as a super indie music group and soon DaimonOrchestra will release their first album release in three and a half years, 数字と文學 (Math and Literature), on which they have worked with more than 10 musicians. They make music approaching all genres of music, assuming it is interesting, while also considering the three key elements of music. — Recommended by Francisca
ちゃくら (Chakura) – もういいよ、おやすみ (That’s enough, Good night)
In the summer of 2022, four girls from the same school came together to form the band Chakura. This band is a truly up-and-coming band and it is expected that the four girls may very soon reach much more than just Tokyo or Japan. Chakura’s music embodies a straightforward guitar-rock sound, inspired by pioneers like Chatmonchy and Yonige, but enriched by the unique sensibility of the four musicians. The four girls describe themselves as follows: Sakura (vocals, guitar), who tends to tell strong stories; Wakitaruru (bass guitar), a cheerful eccentric (also said menhera); Mao (guitar), with an insatiable appetite and with a kind-hearted soul; and Haya (drums, keyboard), a sheltered girl. — Recommended by Francisca
Lil! – 悪 (Evil)
This is the ninth track in a series of 12 consecutive monthly releases by the rock group Lil! (stylised as lil!). This band is rather mysterious, started at the start of this year, but as yet little is known about the band and who all are in it. A small hint can be found, though, a small one, with an account of someone who is in this band. But really no obvious answer can be found. With this, the focus is clearly on the music. We will just assume that there are several musicians working on this project and they are working hard to produce bold tracks with a unique sound, using various musical genres such as pop, rock, melodic hardcore, and other loud elements. Clearly an intriguing band to keep an eye on. — Recommended by Francisca
Sex Virgin Killer – Devil
Since Sex Virgin Killer’s unexpected return in 2021, following a three-year break, it’s been interesting to watch what the Tokyo-based band has been up to. The return of the band meant a new phase and new band lineup, including one original band member, Lilii Mar a.k.a masa. After the release of an EP, we can now start looking forward to a new album from this band, whose origins include elements of visual kei, metal, punk and hardcore. It will be Sex Virgin Killer’s second album, titled DEVIL, scheduled for release on 4 November next and now we know we can expect even more styles such as darkwave, deathrock and even noise. — Recommended by Francisca
未遂ドロップス (Misui Drops) – あたしを知らない (Atashi wo Shiranai)
The band members of Osaka-based rock band Misui Drops have recently made a fresh start after a two-year absence. Now they are preparing for their show in November where they will celebrate the band’s 14th anniversary at Club Vijon. (This show can also be watched via a Twitcasting stream) The band makes songs that have an emotional, passionate and powerful sound, and with it, a bit of nostalgia. The latest release by the band was a mini-album in 2019 and it remains to be seen what the four-piece band plans in the future in terms of releases. — Recommended by Francisca
純情マゼラン (JyunJyou Mazeran) – 妖気は感じない (Youki wa Kanjinai)
November will see the release of four-piece rock band JyunJyou Mazeran’s very first album, titled 酔 興 (Suikyou), a release with 10 songs of which they are sure to have been featured several times at gigs. After a hiatus, they made a triumphant return last year with a successful event at Koenji’s U.F.O.CLUB. Since then, they’ve been busy performing and leaving an indelible mark on Tokyo’s indie scene with the dual vocals of vocalist and guitarist Aki Inazuma (also active in rock band KYOKO TOKYO) and vocalist and keyboardist Morikaho (also active in instrumental music unit KOSAME and three-piece alternative band 奇奇愛愛 (Kikiaiai)) and their live performances which are said to be spectacular, although you already get a hint with their latest music video what to pretty much expect. — 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.