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 48 of 2023. We sincerely hope you enjoy the new discoveries!
大宮陽和 (Hiyori Omiya) – リゼントメント (Resentment)
Hiyori Omiya is a singer-songwriter based in Nagasaki. Since high school, she has been actively writing songs and the tally has landed somewhere over 500 song lyrics, which is a very impressive number for this young singer-songwriter in her twenties. The songs she has written are rather closer to her, describing the thoughts and feelings associated with a high school student and now as a twenty-something student, and still manages to present an interesting angle. In case you are interested in hearing more from this artist, Hiyori Omiya has released several singles and an EP to date, and they can be found digitally. What will 2024 bring? — Recommended by Francisca
BOND LOST ACT – 祝祭日の前日譚 (Prequel to the Feast)
Three years back, we wrote about the band fog., the predecessor band of BOND LOST ACT, now with two band members, vocalist Ryuma who also plays the synthesiser and manipulator, and Ren on drums. This year, the band has released new releases in three consecutive months and the latest chapter resulted in an EP, titled 祝祭日の前日譚 (Prequel to the Feast) with all these releases. For the title track, the band members drew inspiration from Afrobeat and electro-pop. — Recommended by Francisca
CULTE – Sugarmuffin
Not to be confused with Sapporo-based rock band CVLTE, this Sendai-based four-piece rock band was formed in the winter of 2020. The band’s sound is described as destructive shoegaze with a catchy rhythm section, roaring guitars, and freewheeling vocals and, in a nutshell, the music genre is described by the band as mixture shoegaze. After releasing an EP earlier this year, it was finally time for the band’s first full-length album to round off 2023 properly, titled After the CATASTROPHE. The album’s teaser can be found here. — Recommended by Francisca
三四少女 (Sun Soo Girl) – ユートピア (Utopia)
This four-piece rock band from Osaka has released their very first music video full of humour and goofiness with this video. It seems that the band pulled out all the stops to create a music video where a lot happens and thus shows the diverse sides of the four band members. It seems that is has been well appreciated, given the number of views (nearly 3,000 2 days after release). The promising new band was formed in October 2021, only started activities the following spring and they released their first EP in March this year. — Recommended by Francisca
安次嶺希和子 (Kiwako Ashimine) – 抱擁 (Warm Embracement)
Singer-songwriter and producer Kiwako Ashimine has released her third single, 抱擁 (Warm Embracement), a year and a half after her last single release, Flower song. The musician revealed via her social media channels that this song had actually been on the shelves for a year, but that she needed the time to finally give it a music video to match the song, as she had biggest plans. That seemed to have been a good decision because the result is worth seeing. It seems the singer-songwriter has not been active for very long; in 2021, she came straight out with an EP titled Bed side story. It is hoped that in 2024, she manages to produce even more magic in the form of music. — Recommended by Francisca
Original video was privated and a new version was uploaded on 23 December 2023
鬱ギ乃 (Utsugino) – lawless fruit
This Fukuoka-based visual kei band has just been around for a year, so there is not too much to tell about the four-member band yet. What is interesting to report is that the band members have different backgrounds in the music world, with one, namely the vocalist with a white-painted face (shironuri), once being a part of the idol group QunQun (the group has been renamed to Qun☆RiniU), other musicians have been active elsewhere in rock and visual kei bands or just entered the music world with this band. They released their first single in May, on vocalist Guino’s birthday, and several music videos where they did manage to attract attention from outside Japan. There is also an acoustic version of this band, called うつぎのぺトリコール (Utsugi no Petrichor). — Recommended by Francisca
Qisano – キュビズム (Cubism)
Tokyo-based singer-songwriter Qisano began her activities during the pandemic in 2021, with that she was actually forced to mostly focus on digital activities such as sharing music videos on YouTube which worked out well for the musician. With song lyrics that symbolise the struggles and doubts in everyday life and the expressive power of the singer-songwriter that can also motivate to make a push in the right direction or give some solace, the musician managed to attract the attention of the Millenials and Generation Z. Interestingly, Qisano has currently only released singles, which can be listened to digitally. Even more remarkable, this is the first music video in colour. — 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.