北原美月 (roomgirl) wrote in ohnotheydidnt,

Japanese music post: some new J-indie for February 🎶✨

I have seen a lot of people on ONTD lately saying that they're out of the loop on Japanese music or they'd like to learn more about it, so I wanted to pull together a roundup of some of what was released in February.

Disclaimer: I don't keep close tabs on most J-pop per se, AKA the major stuff making waves on the charts, but Japan has the second-largest music industry in the world and this is only a fraction of what comes out in a month. There is quite a lot more that could've been included if I had the space or time, but I hope it can generate some discussion that fills in the gaps of what I didn't cover!

Towa TeiBirthday (feat. Haruomi Hosono and Hana) [electronic, Shibuya-kei]

Towa Tei is a pioneering figure in Japanese music with a career spanning over thirty years. He is perhaps best known to western audiences as a founding member of the American house trio Deee-Lite ("Groove is in the Heart," 1990), whereas some ONTDers may recognize him from his collaborations with Kylie Minogue, "GBI (German Bold Italic)" and "Sometime Samurai," released in 1997 and 2005, respectively.

"Birthday" features Haruomi Hosono of YMO fame, and the video is the usual Towa Tei fare, which is to say that it's full of supermodels and punchy visuals. The B-side is a repressing of the underrated "Luv Pandemic" off his 2015 album Cute, either because it also featured Hosono or because we are unfortunately still in one. His upcoming album titled LP will be released on March 3rd.

[more singles]TAARLove (feat. haruy) [dance/electronic]

This is the first solo release in four years for DJ and producer TAAR, who has primarily been active as one half of the unit YOSA & TAAR since 2018. The song features singer-songwriter haruy, vocalist and bassist of the all-girl band Tasty, where she performs under the name Haruka.

Mega ShinnosukeSweet Dream (feat. Jinmenusagi) [pop, funk]

Mega Shinnosuke is an up-and-coming young singer-songwriter, born in 2000, who writes, composes and produces all his own music. Jinmenusagi previously featured on ONTD K-pop fave (?) Eyedi's Japanese debut single "Sign" in 2018.

FoiDon't play the love song (prod. TiMT) [pop, R&B]

Foi is a Japanese-Chinese singer-songwriter, "[i]nfluenced by both Japanese and Chinese pop music since her childhood," according to her Spotify bio. She is "good at mixing traditional oriental music elements into modern pop music works, [becoming] her own signature music style," and has been working with some of the current Japanese R&B/hip-hop producers of the moment, including TiMT on this track and Shin Sakiura previously.

Ichiko AobaAsleep Among Endives [folk]

Singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Ichiko Aoba has received high acclaim since her debut in 2010 at the age of 19. Her songs are said to be inspired by her dreams as well as the music of Disney and Studio Ghibli. In 2019, she was featured on the soundtrack of the Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening Nintendo Switch remake, and last year, she founded an independent label, Hermine, through which she now releases all her music.

For Tracy HydeEthernity [dream pop, shoegaze, rock]

Described by the band as "[their] heaviest work to date with elements of grunge, emo, and alt rock," For Tracy Hyde's latest is steeped in the sounds and imagery of Americana. The album includes a sample of then-president Barack Obama's 2016 Fourth of July speech and an interpolation of the iconic Twin Peaks opening music in the intro "Dream Baby Dream (Theme for Ethernity)."

Content warning: the MV contains references to gun violence, because America.

Stream: Apple Music, Spotify

[more albums]80KIDZAngle [electronic]

Emerging from the Japanese electronic boom of the late 2000s, 80KIDZ have become one of the most prominent and consistently active faces on the scene since the duo made their debut in 2008. Their first full-length album in five years not only introduces some of J-indie's rising stars, including vocals by mabanua and AAAMYYY, but it also takes a noticeably multicultural approach with features by Korean-Japanese YonYon (who made a notable appearance on Yaeji's 2020 album What We Drew), French-Japanese Maika Loubté and Na Polycat of the Thai band Polycat, showcasing five different languages across its eleven tracks.

Stream: Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube

She Her Her Herssilver rain EP [alternative]

According to their Spotify bio, She Her Her Hers is an alternative band that fuses "chillwave, shoegaze, synthpop, and ambient music." Yuto Uchino of The fin. oversaw the EP as a mixing engineer, and it features a rework of their 2020 single "s," the MV for which depicted a romance between two women.

Stream: Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube

HeavenstampFrom the Basement [rock]

Heavenstamp attracted attention at the time of their major label debut in 2011 for their association with Russell Lissack of Bloc Party, who worked with them as a producer. Their contract lapsed after the release of their first full-length album in 2012, and since then, they've become a duo, releasing music on a smaller scale. Currently, they are managed by a British label specialized in exporting Japanese acts.

Stream: Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube

maco maretsWSIV: Lost in November [rap, hip-hop]

This is the fourth of maco marets' albums to be released on his independent label, Woodland Circle. His new album features production by Shin Sakiura, TiMT and others, with a feature on the lead single "L.A.Z.Y." by satomoka and a remix of the pre-release single "Torches" by Maika Loubté, following his remix of her song "Niet II" last year. The MV for "Torches" was produced in collaboration with online fashion and lifestyle publication Neut Magazine, featuring a diverse cast of models.

Stream: Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10

What Japanese music are you listening to lately? Did you find anything you liked in this post? Any recommendations/questions/general J-pop chat or whatever, fire away in the comments!
Tags: cpop / jpop / kpop, new music post

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