We’re back with our monthly dose of new music from Japan and this month saw exciting new releases from across the country including Hiroshima, Osaka and Okinawa, to name a few. From up-and-coming artists such as Okazaki’s BBBBBBB to a new release from Hikaru Utada, while away the cooler autumn nights with our latest playlist and check out our events section to stay up to date on local gigs from some of this month’s artists. Our full August playlist is available here and our special mentions for the month are below.
HOME – Lucy
“Lucy” is the debut single from Okinawan band HOME. Formed in 2020, the trio has been steadily building a reputation as artists to watch and their highly anticipated debut single has not disappointed. Buoyed by jangly guitar tones, reminiscent of 80s new wave and recent lo-fi indie contemporaries, the track brims with nostalgic summer road trip vibes and resonates long beyond its three-minute run time.
LIL SOFT TENNIS – i have a wing
Anyone who’s been keeping an eye on Osaka’s hip hop scene over the last couple of years may have anticipated an upcoming full-length release from up-and-coming rapper LIL SOFT TENNIS. Since his second album release in 2021, the young artist has kept listeners happy with regular single releases including recent collaborations with Metropolis favorites such as chelmico. Joined by a diverse group of guest artists, including regular collaborator RY0N4 from Nara’s Heaven crew, i have a wing sees LIL SOFT TENNIS continue to experiment with style and tone. While not completely doing away with guitar-driven elements, this album sits much closer to the intersection of polished pop-oriented hip hop than previous outings. Catch LIL SOFT TENNIS performing at Shibuya’s WWW on September 17.
BBBBBBB – GO
While many in Japan were enjoying the peace and tranquility of nature on Mountain Day, BBBBBBB and their fans were enjoying something quite the opposite. Frenetic, unrelenting and strangely enigmatic, “Positive Violence” is the sophomore album of the Aichi Prefecture-based duo. Their second release through American independent label Deathbomb Arc (Dos Monos, Death Grips, Thurston Moore, Julia Holter), the album rockets through all 15 tracks at breakneck speed with a vibe the label accurately describes as “as close to the sound of being electrocuted as possible.” Catch the duo performing at Daikanyama Unit on October 8.
Meitei – 平和 (Heiwa)
Released on the 76th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, “平和” (Heiwa) is the latest release from Hiroshima-based producer, Meitei. With previous releases capturing the attention of international publications such as Pitchfork as well as brands such as Cartier, Meitei creates lush soundscapes that draw equally on Japanese folklore and modern-day hip hop and minimalism. Originally titled “1945,” the new track signals the release of the forthcoming album Kofū III, a continuation of his current trilogy series which includes Kwaidan, Komachi and Kofū’(parts I & II).
Hikaru Utada – Gold ~ また逢う日まで (Until We Meet Again)
August also saw the release of the music video for Hikaru Utada’s latest single “Gold,” as well as a remix of the track by Taku Takahashi. Directed by Tomokazu Yamada, the new clip marks the first time for Utada to film a music video in Japan, let alone shut down massive portions of Tokyo, and sees the artist make her way through a balmy summer night in Shinjuku. The track serves as the theme song for the film KINGDOM: The Flame of Destiny and is the third collaboration with English producer AG Cook.