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 released in week 44 of 2023. We sincerely hope you enjoy the new discoveries!
ルー・ガルー (Loup garou) – 心臓抜き L’Arrache-cœur (Shinzou Nuki The Heartsnatcher)
We have written about the versatile musician Mariko Nii before, while discussing her work in HOMM∃ and the release of her first solo album The Parallax View, but in the meantime, she started Loup garou. A new solo project that captures a mingling between the darkness of another world and this one, resulting in soft and soothing sounds. With this solo project, Mariko Nii works with YURINA da GOLD DIGGER (of Magic, Drums & Love) on drums and vocals, Romantic (ex-Bakudan Johnny, betcover!!) on synthesiser and vocalist and Okan (ROIJYPSY, WAO!) on bass guitar and vocals. — Recommended by Francisca
Asayake No Ato – Picture
Earlier this month, a new release from the Tokyo-based four-piece rock band Asayake No Ato (stylised as asayake no ato) was released, 君の目は燃えている (Your burning eyes), a seven-track mini-album celebrating the first anniversary of the band’s current line-up. With the release, comprised of a mix of old and new songs, the math-rock/post-rock band shows where they are now and to what extent they have evolved. The description on this release includes a couple of interesting facts, the mini-album was released 1 year after their first album, the band chose to re-record a demo song and add electro sounds to another song for the first time, but also that Picture, which was chosen to receive a music video, symbolises the atmosphere of this mini-album. — Recommended by Francisca
PINOS – 夕影 (Yuukage)
We have written about PINOS before, consisting of Nao and KyoN, both vocalists who have been active in different corners of the music scene, think emo pop-rock to hard rock, Nao has been active in bands like 7 DAYS PAPARAZZI and THE SOLISH, KyoN has been active in the band BLUE CLOUD (ten years ago, they were at Japan Expo Belgium). Since 2017, they work together as PINOS, a pop-rock unit, where they both sing and play instruments. The pair’s new music video for 夕影 (Yuukage) is filled with cinematic elements with the feeling of being left behind and pain incorporated into it. — Recommended by Francisca
ロッカ (Rocca) – Reverb Loss
For some, the (hot) summer season seems far away, but maybe this music video by rock band Rocca will bring you some warmth, as this video was shot in the scorching heat in the month of August. Rocca started operations in the summer of 2021 and so far managed to release a handful of singles, it looks like Reverb Loss is yet to be released as a single. The four-piece band also seems to be concentrating mostly on gigs in mainly Tokyo and will host the second edition of their independent project at the Shimokitazawa Daisybar later this month. — Recommended by Francisca
My bird warms a blanket for Colette – サカサマ (Sakasama)
On 4 November, this band with an interesting long name performed for the last time for now, but with this last show, the four-member band from Sapporo also released a four-song EP, サカサマ (Sakasama). This performance was not only their last show before their break, but also a celebration of the band’s 10th anniversary. Bittersweet information, especially if you have just discovered the band. So after doubting whether it was a good idea to share this music video filled with melancholy, the decision was made easily but it is shared with the hope that the alternative rock band will come back, stronger and full of inspiration. — Recommended by Francisca
TYTW – LOVE&POP
Last summer, TYTW’s third EP, with the title ttt, was released. The three-member alternative rock band has mainly released EPs since the band’s formation in 2018, but has also participated in several compilations. We have written about this band several times – currently active in Tokyo – before, and given the names given to releases of the band (T, Youth Youth, and ttt), the expectation is high that the next release (would it be another EP?) will be one starting with the letter W, and maybe four words starting with the letter W. The music video for LOVE&POP seems perfectly fitting for autumn, the dark days and the gloomy mood. — Recommended by Francisca
香山こりす (Koris Kayama) – トーラス (Torus)
Koris Kayama started his musical career at the age of 15 when he joined a rock band as a vocalist and guitarist. Following a hiatus in band activities, Koris Kayama decided to go solo in 2021 with the aim of being able to fill arenas with his live performances and songs. The single Torus was released in the summer of this year, but only recently received a music video. The song has an intricate arrangement with rapid development and interprets themes from life. The liner notes state that there are things we never want to let go of, but time inexorably takes them away. Yet it also suggests that time has the power to nurture and grow certain aspects of our lives. To date, the singer-songwriter has released two EPs and several singles. — 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.