With less than a month until the end of the year, Christmas has come early with a bunch of new releases from some our favorite Japanese artists. With a new album around the corner for Tokyo hip-hop artist Miyachi and a long awaited new track from indie/electronic quartet yahyel, there’s plenty to be excited about this month with our second last playlist of the year. Listen the full playlist out here and check out some of our favorite selections below.
Crystal Kay VivaOla – No Pressure
A veteran of the Tokyo pop, R&B, urban and dance music scenes, Crystal Kay’s first studio album was released when she was only fourteen. Since then releasing another 12 studio albums as well as numerous EPs, compilations and video albums, Kay is no stranger to collaboration and experimentation and the new track “No Pressure” is proof of that. Featuring alternative R&B singer-songwriter and producer VivaOla, “No Pressure” is a bittersweet track about saying goodbye to summer, propelled by equal parts smooth and powerful vocals from both artists.
Toko Miura – 風になれ
Theme Song for the upcoming film Sobakasu, “風になれ” (become the wind) is the new track from Japanese actress and singer Toko Miura. Written by Hitsuji Bungaku’s Moeka Shiotsuka and arranged by Esme Mori, the track was released in early November to instant acclaim. Speaking about her enthusiasm for working on the track, Miura says she’s a big fan of the film and wanted to do it justice by “singing as the wind blows.” Sobakasu will be released in theaters in the middle of December.
yahyel – Highway
After four years of silence, Tokyo’s yahyel have re-emerged from what they describe as an embryonic movement into a new phase with their new track “Highway.” Featuring typically dark and harmonic vocals, the new track adds 90s-influenced dance rhythms and record scratches do create a heavy and somewhat busy soundscape compared to their slightly more spacious 2018 singles. With so much going on for the band prior to their period of silence, we’re excited to see more of their new phase of life in 2023.
The Spellbound – すべてがそこにありますように
Featuring Masayuki Nakano from BOOM BOOM SATELLITES and Yusuke Kobayashi from THE NOVEMBERS, “すべてがそこにありますように” is the new track from The Spellbound. Formed in late 2020, the band came together around five years after BOOM BOOM SATELLITES disbanded due to the death of vocalist Michiyuki Kawashima with Kobayashi being the first to reply to a vocalist callout on social media by Nakano. The new track, originally released in October, comes from a compilation of new tracks and remixes released this month as a follow up to their debut self titled album which was released earlier this year. With a number of shows including headlining the Red Marquee stage at Fuji Rock this July, the band will be hosting a release party for the new track at Spotify O-EAST on Thursday December 15.