Lots of great Japanese music comes out every week, but keeping track of it all is a tough task. The folks at Otaquest want to help. In this new series, we’ll highlight several releases from different areas of the Japanese music industry over the past seven days worth your time. This week: pit-starting punk, glitched-out resort music and relaxing tunes hiding a sinister side.
Otoboke Beaver — Itekoma Hits
Imagine being able to corner all of the annoyances of daily life into a corner…and being able to just wail on them to let off all the stress. Kyoto quartet Otoboke Beaver tackle the parts of life that really grate on latest album Itekoma Hits, a high-energy rock affair that finds them hollering about diets, career and romance. It’s less about digging deep into these topics and more about pure release, with songs such as “Light My Fire” and “I’m Tired Of Your Repeating Story” seeing extended guitar barrages and all-together-now screaming. Otoboke Beaver bring energy across this release, and anyone wanting to shake off the work week can find some escape in these pit-sparkers. Listen above, or buy it here.
TREKKIE TRAX CREW and Minami Nakamura — Reiwa
I’m on record of being over era-referencing songs. But I’m cool with this release from TREKKIE TRAX because of how giddy about Reiwa it sounds. The core group of the label teams up with rapper Minami Nakamura (TENG GANG STARR) for a high-energy dance number nailing the general jubilation that surrounded the switch over from Heisei seen earlier in the week. People were going wild Tuesday night and the enthusiasm on display seemed earnest, and makes all the optimism folks have for the future feel on point. Read our original post, or listen above.
Sora — Re.sort
Originally released in 2003 on CD only but re-issued last week, Re.sort is the sound of paradise skipping. Electronic composer Takeshi Kurosawa (recording as Sora) dips into jazz (“line”) and bossa nova (“a caminho do mar”) among other styles, but lets the sounds ripple over themselves to create richly textured numbers revealing new details every few seconds. Think of it as being a cousin to Cornelius’ Point, who owns a timeshare out in Lahaina. Better still, it’s playfulness and creativity only stands out more in 2019, when so much chillaxed Japanese songs built for beach trips from the Bubble days find newfound life with international listeners. Listen above, or buy it here.
PARKGOLF — solar system
Producer PARKGOLF draws from ‘90s drum ‘n’ bass sounds for this brief but energized set of tracks. This isn’t him getting all nostalgic over Metalheadz and replicating though. PARKGOLF uses the tempo of that strain of dance music and melds it into his own wonky synth-heavy sound to create a solid set of tunes. Read our original post here, or listen above.
punipunidenki — Wonder Underground
The music on punipunidenki’s new release Wonder Underground opts for easy-breezy sounds that wouldn’t be misplaced in a cafe. As Otaquest noted about advance single “life is SUPER DOPE,” she fuses jazz and bossa nova elements together to create a chilled-out number. The lyrics, though, move before hopefulness and dejection. This tension between breezy sounds and words concealing a darker side makes this EP a winner.Just check the lonely yearning of “your skin,” or how punipunidenki twists NPR-ready sounds into a backdrop for her to laydown some more spiteful thoughts (“take me to the moon/can you kill your princess for me? /darling, you love me/ listen to whatever i say”). Listen above or get it here.