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 47 of 2023. We sincerely hope you enjoy the new discoveries!
Periwinkles – Good-bye
Consisting of two ladies, vocalist and guitarist Riho and Ikumi on drums, this alternative indie rock duo hails from Niigata. Since the formation of the band in 2019, Periwinkles created music influenced by American indie and British rock from the 1980s and 1990s with a touch of lofi. Last summer, they released their second album, titled A Day In The Life, with Good-bye being the closing track of the 12-count release. The third track on the album features a guest appearance by American punk band Peach Kelli Pop. — Recommended by Francisca
お風呂でピーナッツ (Ofuro de Peanut) – エンドレス (Endless)
Ofuro de Peanut’s music incorporates the experiences of both musicians, including vocalist Kayako Higuchi, who is also an international model and has a soulful singing voice, and guitarist and composer Jun Wakabayashi, who actually has experience with jazz, R&B and big bands, and that just makes for an interesting fusion. They don’t really seem to be attached to a genre, more towards pop than anything else, but still in their own way. The band has released an EP and several singles, will the next step be a full-length album? — Recommended by Francisca
狐の嫁入り前 (Kitsune No Yomeirimae) – 空創 (Kuusou)
With a band name almost equivalent to a folk belief regarding a (supernatural) phenomenon and closely related to foxes, it is interesting to find out what kind of music you can expect from this band. The three-piece band consisting of vocalist and guitarist Peco, drummer Ami and bassist Sanana, is a rock band from Matsuyama (Ehime Prefecture). Their music can be described as melancholic pop-wrapped, mysterious tunes. The band has been active since 2018 and its discography consists of a number of singles and a mini-album. What will be next for this intriguing band? — Recommended by Francisca
きばやし (Kibayashi) – 騒音クラスルーム (Souon Classroom)
This is singer-songwriter Kibayashi. The first thing that stands out is her unique singing voice, which manages to bring enough charm to the mix to ensure that Kibayashi doesn’t really need any gimmicks to stand out with her straightforward songs with deep lyrics. With a collection of compelling singles and two EPs, including the second EP released last summer titled うつしよ (Utsushiyo), it remains to be seen what else the young musician plans to continue to carve out a unique place in the music world. — Recommended by Francisca
CIGARETTE in your bed – Insane Supermarket
We can look forward to the second album from the noisy grunge shoegaze (also described by the band as heelgaze) band CIGARETTE in your bed, titled Lost in. The pre-release party is on 1 December at Koenji HIGH and can even be seen via a live broadcast via Zaiko. This album took nine years to complete, with the four-piece band seeking to capture their own ideal sound through a series of self-produced EP releases. The result is a record with ten tracks featuring a mix of new songs and re-recordings, with mixing work done by Elliot Fraser, guitarist of RINGO DEATHSTARR. — Recommended by Francisca
シナリオアート (Scenarioart) – センシティブガール (Sensitive girl)
There is a lot to say about this band, but so little space. The three-piece Scenarioart started activities in 2009, made their major debut from Ki/oonMusic in 2014, and became independent in 2018. They have released several singles, mini-albums and albums, including theme songs for anime series such as Boruto: Naruto Next Generations, Subete ga F ni Naru, and The Tatami Galaxy. This music video is the first music video in over a year for the three-piece band. The theme of this song is a contrast to the modern consumer society. In case this song is too slow, it is also possible to listen to the song at double speed. — Recommended by Francisca
Michiganized – Open Mind
I have written before about Yumi Aoi’s solo project Michiganized, she is also active as a support bassist in A To Fade In. Michiganized’s music has influences from shoegaze, new wave, 90s pop music, as well as electronic music with the mission to evoke nostalgia and that sense of feel-good. In a social media post, Aoi explained that the song was created only after she received a request from a student to make a music video for their portfolio, resulting in a danceable track where the musician is also featured many times. The end result is well worth it! — 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.