With a large music industry such as Japan has, 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 couple of videos that were released in week 53 of the year 2020 and a bit of the new year. Enjoy the new discoveries!
PaperCloud – Sleepwalk
Started as a solo project under the name Bell, in 2020 it was decided by the multi-instrumentalist to change the name into PaperCloud. The musician gets influenced by indie rock, hip-hop, and shoegaze and he makes most of his music in his bedroom. In 2020, PaperCloud released his first EP, titled Negative Penguin Society. — Recommended by Francisca
sugardrop – proust
sugardrop are an indie rock band from Tokyo that started out in 2008. At the start of November of 2020, the band released their first EP, titled I.S.O.L.T, after releasing three full albums. During the band’s career, the band members went from Shoegaze to alternative rock with roaring guitars, a pop tune and completed with nostalgia and sentimentalism as the themes. — Recommended by Francisca
ユレニワ (Jureniwa) – Birthday
Active since 2016 and based in Chiba, the four-piece band Jureniwa decided to release a single for 4 consecutive months, the first release was one week before the year 2020 ended, titled Birthday. The strong base in the music are the lyrics where vocalist and guitarist Shiro Nakamura conveys his feelings from topics about life, death and love. The band is not necessarily linked to a musical genre, but has a strong foundation in rock and alternative music. — Recommended by Francisca
Moon In June – TRUE
Dream away on Moon In June, if you have a preference for indie rock, dream pop and shoegaze, then this band from Tokyo is the one for you. The band started in the fall of 2018 and last summer they released their first self-produced EP titled 海鳴り (uminari). Because of the high quality of their music, they seem to get a lot of attention in the shoegaze music scene from inside and outside Japan. Nice coincidence after the discovery: the vocalist of Moon in June has been working on a number of tracks on Sugardrop’s latest EP. — Recommended by Francisca
ノンフィクション (Non Fiction) – ぼくらのディストーション (Our Distortion)
Non Fiction from Kitakyushu consists out of guitarist and vocalist Takahiro Iiji and guitarist Souichirou. In 2019, this rock band was celebrating its 10th anniversary. In that same year, they released their fourth mini-album and it took a year before they were able to produce this music video. If you are not a fan of trendy music, then don’t worry. According to the band they are not in fashion. — Recommended by Francisca
ハリィさんとスイカくらぶ (Mr.Harry & Suika club) – Hide and Seek
Rina Saitou is a Nagoya-based singer-songwriter, guitarist and producer of music. Together with drummer Kuma, a white bear, she formed the band Mr.Harry & Suika club in 2017. The band presented themselves for the first time on Nagoya’s largest music festival and directly released a single. In 2020, they released their first album, filled with catchy danceable pop tunes. — Recommended by Francisca
Slingshot Million2 – じぶんDiscovery (Jibun Discovery)
It once started in 2008 with Slingshot Million that was known as the band that created the Comic Core music genre. After several tours, releases and line-up changes, the band went on a hiatus. In 2016 the band returned as the five-piece Slingshot Million2 with the focus to spread ‘Happy Punk’. The band has an album planned for February filled with new tracks, already existing tracks in a new look and songs that could only be heard live. — 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! Next week we will be back with week 1 of 2021.