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#251 Edited by Wemibelle (2623 posts) -

Got a lot going on right now, so I figured I’d do a quicker post this week that focuses on new releases from artists I’ve already covered in detail. These are all releases from the last month or so, and each of them is excellent in their own way. I hope you enjoy them!

Umarvelous - Monkey Majik (2018)

This is a marvelous disco-inspired track from Monkey Majik as a collaboration with Japanese comedy duo Sandwich Man. It’s a supremely catchy song with entirely stupid lyrics that I recommend looking up. The video also GOES FOR IT in every way possible, nailing the retro look and costuming perfectly.

Harbor - Koutei Camera Girl Drei (2018)

Another fantastic recent release from Koutei Camera Girl Drei, maybe even better than the last one. The beat is so...damn...good, coming pretty close to the greatness that was Swallow Maze Paraguay. Paired with the hypnotic flow and nicely repeating vocals, this is a song you do not want to miss out on.

Dual Harmonics - toe (2018)

I believe Toe to be one of the greatest modern math rock groups and this track (off their newest EP) certainly supports that belief. It’s a gorgeously intricate song that just gets better and better as it builds, before gently fading into silence as the song ends. If you haven’t checked this group out, now is the time to do so.

Future Pop - Perfume (2018)

Another Perfume release for 2018. While I found the main rhythm of their previous release to be more creative, I think that this is a much tighter song overall, with stronger vocals and some great energy. I certainly would call this a “safer” song, falling back on the same tricks that Perfume has used countless times, but I can’t say that this isn’t a fun, catchy release.

Ironman of Rap - Rhymeberry (2018)

Rhymeberry is back as a trio, with new(ish) member Yuika, and and they have a new track. This is a great rap song with killer flow delivered at blinding speed from all three of the girls. The verses are always fantastic, but the chorus sadly falls a bit short for me due to a lack of catchiness and a weirdly intense instrument sound mix. Still, the verses alone make this worth a listen.

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#252 Posted by Wemibelle (2623 posts) -

For this week, I just decided to go with three songs from 2018 that I’m really enjoying. Hope you enjoy them too!

Hitchcock - Yorushika (2018)

Yorushika has two “main” members, n-buna (guitar + composition) and suis (vocals), but they also utilize some support musicians to add extra instrumentation--Mitsuru Shimotsuru on guitar, KITANITATSUYA on bass, and Masack on drums. n-buna started out composing vocaloid tracks as VocaloP, earning a fair amount of renown on sites like Nico Nico Douga. There’s not much out there about suis or even how the two decided to form Yorushika together, sadly. They’ve only been around since 2017, but they’ve already gotten a lot of attention because of their diverse songs and striking music videos.

Hitchcock is a track off the Yorushika’s latest album and is probably my favorite. suis’ airy style of singing here is beautiful, and her vocals flow smoothly from verse to verse, giving them an especially catchy rhythm. The lyrics themselves are also quite powerful, seemingly about overcoming depression and how to live one’s life with such a condition. I enjoy the instrumentation too, particularly how it goes from simplicity during the vocal sections to flashier riffs and drum fills during the instrumental sections.

2045 - Man With A Mission (2018)

Man With A Mission is a rock band that formed in 2010 with five members: Tokyo Tanaka (vocals), Spear Rib (drums), Jean-Ken Johnny (guitar + vocals), Kamikaze Boy (bass), and DJ Santa Monica (DJ). This lineup is still current and hasn’t changed at all in the last eight years. A noteworthy gimmick of the group is how they always wear wolf head masks while performing. The reason for this is tied to an elaborate and COMPLETELY CRAZY backstory for the group, which you can read on their website. It somehow involves Jimi Hendrix and has to be read to be believed. MWAM has found a lot of success in Japan with their unique and intense mix of rap, rock, and pop sounds that sometimes resembles Western nu-metal.

2045 is one of the group’s newest releases, with a music video from July. It follows the same basic format as their other songs--intense rock instrumentation interspersed with bits of electronic synth and and a mix of forceful vocals and slick raps, all in English--but it’s a format I still find myself enjoying nonetheless. This is actually one of my favorite songs of theirs now, with fantastic guitar and bass riffs and an intensely catchy chorus that I can’t help but sing along with every time I hear it.

Zurui Hito - Tetora (2018)

Tetora is a three-person band with members Hayune Ueno (vocals/guitar), Inori (bass/chorus), and Miyuki (drums/chorus). They started out of Osaka in 2017 with a different lineup, but some members left and the current lineup manifested just this summer. This new lineup also came with a name change from Tetra to Tetora. There really isn’t a lot else to say about this group, unfortunately. They haven’t done much yet, only releasing 3 singles thus far (and 2 of those in the few months since forming as Tetora). Each of them has a Twitter account and two have Instagram accounts, but as someone who still can’t fluently read Japanese, this was about all I could learn of the group.

Zurui Hito is a song from Tetora’s newest release and is the only video so far of them as this new lineup. Almost immediately, you can tell that the vocals are the highlight. The singer has a deep, throaty voice unlike most voices found in Japanese songs, especially from female vocalists. She packs so much emotion and power into her singing that her voice actually seems to break during certain lines. It’s the most stunning vocal performance I’ve heard all year, and this song immediately sent me looking for more songs from this artist. While I can’t say enough good things about the vocals, the instrumentation is surprisingly solid too. It starts out mellow and jumps up in intensity when the singer does. There’s not much to it, but it perfectly backs the vocals without getting in the way.

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#253 Edited by BrunoTheThird (807 posts) -

Old-ass song, I know, but I've been re-listening to Utada Hikaru's discography and stumbled on a track called Kremlin Dusk (2005) that really stuck out to me. It has baroque and symphonic elements, with her voice even acting as a simple counterpoint to the staccato acoustic guitar at points. Really interesting arrangement and structure: verses going into little vocal lifts/transitions, into pre-choruses that change things up quick and often, all leading to a huge, soaring chorus three minutes in, driven by what sounds like a rock or hammond organ (I know right?). To top it off, she uses references to Edgar Allan Poe and his work as metaphors for loss and longing, which is pretty heady for pop. That is way my cup of tea, so this immediately made the playlist.

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#254 Edited by Wemibelle (2623 posts) -

I’m back!

It’s been a busy month and I’ve not had much time or energy to put together a post in the last four weeks. I’m also working hard on compiling songs for my Top 10s of 2018, so that eats into my time too. As such, I'm probably not going to post much in the next month as I get the bigger lists done. I might poke in here and there with some cool songs, though.

Anyway, I’m doing a quick post this week that focuses on some recent Japanese punk songs that I’ve enjoyed. Hope you enjoy them too!

Walking - Longman (2018)

Longman is a three-piece punk band that’s steadily released new music since their debut in 2013. Walking is their newest video off their newest album of the same name. This song has a ton of energy, especially during its choruses. The verses are a bit more measured but still feature some intense instrumentation. This is a song that feels very Japanese punk to me, in particular..

Dear Mr. VAP - Maximum the Hormone (2018)

Maximum the Hormone is predominantly known as a metal band nowadays, but they do have some songs in a more punk-ish style, such as this track titled Dear Mr. VAP. This song’s title refers to their old label, VAP, and their departure to a new label. I almost get a weird ska + punk vibe from this song, despite no telltale aspects of ska (such as horns). The choruses change style slightly but have a super catchy female vocalist that really makes this song stick in my head.

I Fell For You, Fuck You - Ken Yokoyama (2018)

Ken Yokoyama has been putting out music for years, both on his own and with a variety of groups. I Fell For You, Fuck You is a perfect example of his recent work and one of the most mid-90s punk songs I’ve ever heard, despite coming out this year. It’s an incredibly fast-paced song with fantastically catchy vocals, particularly in the choruses. I also really enjoy the video with its strangely erotic scenes that don’t fit the tone of the song whatsoever. You can’t beat the name too; it’s so perfect!

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#255 Posted by Wemibelle (2623 posts) -

Just giving a heads-up in this thread that my Top 10 Japanese songs of 2018 list is up on Giant Bomb now--check it out here if you're interested!

As for this thread, I should be back with new music at some point in January, after a small break. Happy holidays to everyone!

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#256 Posted by Wemibelle (2623 posts) -

For my first few posts of the year, I will likely still be sharing music from 2018, as it (usually) takes a good month or two to gather enough memorable stuff to keep a steady flow going. Don't worry, though, as there were tons of great songs from 2018 I never got around to covering as well as a handful of things that came out near the end of the year--such as these!

Doctor - Chanmina (2018)

Chanmina is a very interesting, newish artist I've been meaning to talk about. Part Korean and part Japanese, her style and aesthetic straddle the line between her two nationalities depending on the song. Doctor features a more Korean rap sound (or Western, in some ways) and a bright, unsettling Japanese-styled video. It's a really weird song and video, and although this is a type of song I don't usually enjoy, I find it oddly compelling and catchy.

No Scrubs - Anna Takeuchi (2018)

Here's another strange one: a minimalist acoustic/drum cover of a TLC song. Anna Takeuchi is a pretty small indie artist with a focus on acoustic guitar and pretty vocals who's put out a couple EPs. She's covered a few songs on these too, such as No Scrubs (and Sweet Child of Mine apparently, which I can't find but NEED TO HEAR). It's really strange hearing this song come out of this petite, adorable Japanese girl, but it's actually a solid cover.

Oto no Kuni - Kyary Pamyu Pamyu (2018)

Kyary snuck in one last release for 2018, on the 31st of December! There's not much I really need to say about I, I feel. It's a solid track with nice energy and some solid production. After Kimino Mikata earlier in 2018, a more striking song with a FANTASTIC video, this feels a bit plain, but I still enjoy it all the same.