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 50 of 2023. We sincerely hope you enjoy the new discoveries!
Plastic Tree – ざわめき (Zawameki)
While Plastic Tree is not an unknown name in the visual kei rock scene having explored and incorporated a variety of musical genres in their releases and are said to be groundbreaking, it is definitely worth highlighting this band and their newest release. In any case, it is interesting to see what a visual kei rock band like Plastic Tree is doing 30 years after their formation. This summer, the rock band put out a new single release for the first time in almost four years, also the first song after the release of their album 十色定理 (Jusshokuteiri), released in 2020, and it looks like the band will end the year 2023 with Zawameki. Eager to see what 2024 will bring for this band. — Recommended by Francisca
MOTHER – 最終兵器、きみ (The last of my friends)
Last week saw the release of the first digital single for Tokyo-based alternative rock band MOTHER (not to be confused with the Oxford-based band Mother). Alongside this release came the unveiling of their first official music video after releasing several live videos on their YouTube channel. While this isn’t the band’s initial venture into the music scene, as their very first album, 揺りかごから墓場まで (From the cradle to the grave), was released in late 2022. With this release, it also seems to be a return of sorts for the five-piece band, considering they temporarily stopped activities overall earlier this year. — Recommended by Francisca
OGRE YOU ASSHOLE – 家の外 (Outside of the House)
There is so much to say about a band like OGRE YOU ASSHOLE, but unfortunately, there is not enough space to do so. The musical style of this four-piece band, which has been active for more than 20 years, is usually described as indie rock or alternative rock, but this band is best known for mixing melodic elements with lots of guitar work, but also because of their live performances where they do a lot of improvising and jam sessions. They have toured North America, but it seems that they still have to visit Europe, released several albums and Outside of the House is the title of OGRE YOU ASSHOLE’s newest EP released last summer. If you happen to like this song, it is definitely worth delving further into this band’s discography. — Recommended by Francisca
H I N A N O – Tragic Love
Thai-Japanese singer-songwriter H I N A N O, rooted in Bangkok, Thailand, made her debut in 2020 with the single Tomorrow I’ll Be Twenty-Two. The track also became the centrepiece of her seven-track EP released in the autumn of 2022. This year, she unveiled two singles, with the latest being Tragic Love. Taking on multiple roles, H I N A N O is the creative force behind the composition, production, arrangement, and songwriting of her songs. Her musical style seamlessly blends alternative pop and rock, enriched with classical influences and marked by operatic improvisations. — Recommended by Francisca
Tokyo lil boy – IKEBUKURO MIDNIGHT GIRL
Imagine punk rock meeting folk songs in a cosmic collision of sound, all wrapped up in the comforting embrace of Japanese lyrics. Formed in 2021, this band is led by vocalist and guitarist Azuma Shigeki. After releasing two EPs in 2022 and the first digital single last summer, the rock band released single number two digitally, IKEBUKURO MIDNIGHT GIRL. This was also accompanied by a music video. This single was released in September and was soon followed up with a split release with punk rock band THE RUDY. — Recommended by Francisca
ストラウス (Strauss) – 爆弾 (Bomb)
Last November, the brand-new music unit Strauss unveiled their first release, Bouquet, accompanied by an intriguing music video. Following this, a month later, the duo treated fans to a captivating instalment with the release of the music video for Bomb, a clear sequel to the story in the first music video. The videos are also described as films and we will have to wait and see if this story continues in 2024. Behind Strauss are composer Maru and vocalist Sachi, who have not only completed their first EP but are also hinting at the imminent arrival of a second. The productivity and creativity demonstrated by this recently launched duo, Strauss, is impressive. — Recommended by Francisca
通行人B (TsukoninB) – 21。
Do you ever get those moments when YouTube suggests interesting music videos? That’s how I stumbled upon this new music video by Nagasaki-based rock band Tsukonin B. The band consists of four university students and actually, they haven’t been around for that long, only since earlier this year and yet they released the EP passerby in the summer. Furthermore, they have released several singles this year, including their very first song ever finally getting a music video. Earlier this month, they released another brand new single, namely コイトポップ (Koi to Pop). — 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.