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 45 of 2023. We sincerely hope you enjoy the new discoveries!
Ivory iris – 蕾 (Tsubomi)
Started in the middle of a pandemic, which brought with it several layers of difficulties to really be active and perform as a band, the three-member band seems to have pulled through just fine. The Osaka-based band uses a diverse range of expressive techniques to vividly bring to life the lyrical world in their unique style, including songs that skillfully manipulate irregular time signatures, medium-tempo songs that are delivered with ease and rock songs that are full of a sense of speed. The song in their new music video can be found on their second EP, titled ノスタルジア (Nostalgia). — Recommended by Francisca
Far. – paralyze
What you can expect from Far. (stylised as far.) is electro-rock with an impulsive roar and effective guitar sounds. Formed in spring 2019, the band released their first full-length album, titled perspective, in April 2020, which was followed up with a digital single in 2022 and now we have arrived at the second digital single a year later. Far. now appears to be mainly a solo project of vocalist and guitarist Hayate Iwagami, while being backed by various musicians. Fun fact: the music video features the right eye of Eureka (Ferri-Chrome, ex-For Tracy Hyde). — Recommended by Francisca
Wosamu – hutari
We sometimes have a knack for presenting brand-new bands in our articles, and this introduction is not much different as we place the spotlight on the five-member pop band Wosamu (stylised as wosamu). The band started operations in the summer of 2022 and is based in Niigata. The band’s concept is music you want to keep by your side, music that makes your heart dance and adds a bit of extra colour to ordinary everyday life. The result is catchy and comfortable music, not tied to any specific music genre. On 9 November, they released their fifth digital single, hutari. Looking forward to the new year, it will be a matter of waiting to see what the next steps are for the band. — Recommended by Francisca
Nilfinity – Turbulence
The activities of Nilfinity, comprising singer Calarn and guitarist Ryoske Tachibana, began five years ago. With a foundation in classical music, vocalist Calarn brings powerful and expansive vocals. In addition, the band’s sound is based on energetic straightforward rock, but they embrace elements of electronica, gothic and symphonic music to keep evolving their approach to music. On 11 November, the band published three music videos on their YouTube channel, of which the linked video below was the latest publication. The songs can be found back on their EP, KZEP, which follows up their previous releases RTEP and SREP. As the name of the song Turbulence suggests, the rhythm changes rapidly and the melodies intertwine with each other, in addition, the lyrics and music depict intense emotional conflicts. — Recommended by Francisca
©︎Dolls – 春夏 (Haru/Natsu)
This Kanazawa-based rock band ©︎Dolls, whose name can be pronounced “sea dolls”, has not been active for very long at this point. The three-piece band – consisting of vocalist and guitarist Reina (previously active in the band ダリア (Dahlia)), bassist Rina and drummer Ayaka – started activities in spring this year and has mainly focused on gigs with their first show on 24 June, but it was finally time to release music and they have done so with their very first music video. This is just the beginning, but it already sounds promising. — Recommended by Francisca
Mizuirono_inu – back to school
A description I found regarding this musical unit seems quite appropriate and fully explains what we can expect from this group of people: “A new chaos of stupidity and emotionality, vulgarity and earnestness.” Looking at Mizuirono_inu’s newest music video for their newest single release, back to school, which is described as a new rock anthem, with the addition of English lyrics on screen, it makes it even more clear what the Tokyo-based group is singing about. The video was shot in a very small space where they easily present you with a rollercoaster ride where you can throw out all your frustration by shouting. No one will look at you funny, maybe that’s what is meant by ‘enjoy the ride’? — Recommended by Francisca
イロクイ。(Irokui.) – おわらないせかいのおわりかた (Owaranai sekai no owarikata)
A blast from the past! Irokui., the visual kei band that embarked on their musical journey in 2005 and disbanded in the summer of 2011, left an mark with their colourful appearances and catchy songs, releasing a wide range of music. Post-disbandment, the band members ventured into new musical projects — Shuuta and Ritsu formed GLAM GRAMM@R, Yuuri ended up in Rorschach.inc after being part of 秘密結社パンピー (Himitsu Kessha Panpi) with Haduki, and Natsuki formed Yeti. More than a decade after the disbanding of Irokui., they returned and kicked off a revival tour earlier this month. Enough reason to release new music, the band’s newest song, おわらないせかいのおわりかた (Owaranai sekai no owarikata) showcases a revitalised Irokui., blending dynamic musical shifts with lyrics that span the continuum of time. — 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.