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 cover new Japanese music highlights from various areas of the industry over the past seven days worth your time. This week: Technicolor electro-pop, hammock-ready rock and scrambled dance music.
Nakamura Sanso — Nakamura Sanso Ni Mou Muchyuu
For those seeking a pick-me-up as the weekend nears, Nakamura Sanso is here for you. The singer/songwriter crafts buzzy electro-pop across the seven songs found on Nakamura Sanso Ni Mou Muchyuu. She maximizes space here, filling every gap with some synth melody or machine-generated beat, resulting in bouncy cuts topped off by ample use of Autotune over her voice, which skips between singing and a more rap-like delivery. Fans of Perfume, YUC’e or any kind of Technicolor dance-pop with a computer flair should check it out. Listen above, or buy it here.
nyankobrq and YACA — arbeit
Nakamura Sanso actually pops up here too, but the somewhat unlikely team of electronic artist nyankobrq and rapper/virtual YouTuber YACA end up being the focus here. They’ve made one of the nicer surprises of 2019. This short but sweet release finds nyankobrq edging away from the cuter sounds popping up on his earlier releases in favor of something more fitting for rap. Which is what him and his guest do, tag teaming over these songs to introduce a fresh new energy. Read our original post, listen above, or get it here.
never young beach — Story
One of the dominant feelings to emerge in music embraced by younger Japanese audiences over the last few years is “relaxed.” Maybe because of nostalgia for a time when tropical resorts were an easy destination trip — or possibly because it’s so hard to chill in the country circa now — any outfits offering up some kind of breeze-grazed escape has found a following. Five-member band never young beach tap into this better than most. Their fourth full-length Story unfolds at hammock speed, guitar melodies and drum beats in no real rush. It can get a little too lethargic at times, but the best moments here recall the early ‘70s output of pioneering Japanese artists Haruomi Hosono, whether it be acoustic meditations or more tropicalia-stained numbers (see opener “Let’s Do Fun”). Sit back, and try to soak in those good feelings. Listen above.
samuragosha — “fake documentary / Wi-Fi”
Released via Tofubeats’ Hihatt imprint, producer samuragosha offers up a pair of dance tracks caught somewhere between scrambled and euphoric. The lead-off number captures this tension best of all, featuring long stretches of near-malfunctioning electronics and what sounds like broken dial tones criss-crossing one another. Yet from that emerges periods where a bright piano melody emerges, offering glimpses of release that never fully come, but still push you upwards. Get it here, or listen above.
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu — “Kimi ga Iine Kuretara”
She’s back and wasting no second of her return. Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s latest single finds her and producer Yasutaka Nakata mixing woodwind touches with 8-bit sprints, all tethered to one of the brighter hooks Kyary has been at the center of in a bit. Factor in the whirlwind video — Virtua Fighter graphics! Social media jabs! — and you’ve got a force courtesy of a J-pop heavyweight. Read our original post, or listen above.