With summer in full swing and a bunch of live shows and festivals around the corner, June has blessed us with a tonne of great new Japanese music releases. New tracks from Haruko Tajima and tamanaramen will satiate electro fans while rock fans still have plenty to look forward to with new tracks signalling the arrival of upcoming album releases from artists like Jan Flu and bloody.
Saho Terao – Tashikana Koto wa Nanimo
This month marked the release of the 10th original album from singer-songwriter Saho Terao. Terao has been prolific since starting her solo career in 2006, releasing countless tribute albums, traditional nursery rhyme compilations, soundtracks, books, and essays in addition to her original music. Her 10th album, Yohaku no Melody, features input from popular up-and-coming artists such as Mom and explores the theme of what can be found at the fringes and in empty space. “Tashikana Koto wa Nanimo” is a poetic social commentary, on brand for Terao, while the cover track “Glory Hallelujah” marks a checkpoint in her career, stating that the original track by Kyozo Nishioka is what inspired her to start her career in music.
Haruko Tajima – Tajiharu Samba
Haruko Tajima is an independent rapper and producer whose latest EP Jikyuu 5000 Chooen dropped in the middle of the month. Since their debut in 2016, Tajima’s music has often explored notions of gender and identity, constantly evolving along with their personal sense of self. The latest EP, produced with Tokyo-based producer BAILEFUNK KAKEKO, is a fast-paced mix of dance, rave, breakcore and trance resulting in a sub-genre Tajima describes as Hyperinflation Pop. The release party for the Jikyuu 5000 Chooen will be held on July 9.
Jan Flu – Beaver Creek
Lo-fi indie-pop outfit Jan Flu made their return to streaming services this month with their catchy new singles “Beaver Creek” and “Hedgehog Spin.” Shortly after forming in 2016, Jan Flu’s early demos attracted attention from numerous international blogs with their debut album release in 2018 cementing their popularity. The first new releases since their 2020 EP Sports (which featured titles such as “Fishing,” “Tennis,” “Billiards,” and “Karate”), come ahead of an album release slated for early August and, if the new tracks, cover art and promotional materials are anything to go by, animal-loving indie pop fans are in for a treat.
SAGOSAID – Sukipi
SAGOSAID came onto the Japanese indie scene with a string of independent tape releases selling out at record stores across the country in the summer of 2019. Re-recordings of those tracks found their way onto SAGOSAID’s debut album REIMI which was recorded during the pandemic and released in late 2021. Now, SAGOSAID, a solo project of guitarist and vocalist SAGO, has released a new single each month since April, with the latest single “Sukipi” rounding out this series of releases. While SAGOSAID’s earlier tracks drew heavily from 90s artists such as Sonic Youth, Pixies and Dinosaur Jr., the latest tracks see SAGO coming into her own as an artist.
blondy – Love
“Love” is the lead single from Osaka power trio, blondy’s, upcoming album release. Formed by Riku Okuno and Daichi Hamada in 2018 with bassist Akane Kinoshita officially joining the band in 2019, the band’s debut mini-album Last sparked industry attention with its tight and powerful instrumentation and polished production. “Love,” taken from the sophomore album noise and you to be released on July 6, further solidifies the band’s sound with the trio proving once again that they pack more of a punch than many quartets. The album release tour for noise and you begins in Osaka on July 15, with further stops in Fukuoka, Hiroshima, Okayama and Tokyo.
tamanaramen – Love Theme
Showing no signs of slowing down, audiovisual duo tamanaramen continue their current run of output with their third single this year, “Love Theme.” Formed as a solo project by Hikam in 2018, with her sister Hana officially joining the project in 2020, Tamanaramen’s style has become more refined with each release, with the most recent singles incorporating a menacing combination of dark, sinister beats with delicate, measured vocals. Despite the track’s positive message, “Love Theme” retains the moody and minimalist electro vibes of the duo’s March release “New Perfume.”