Tokyo Music Scene – New Japan Releases May 2022

Tokyo Music Scene – New Japan Releases May 2022

Your monthly dose of new music from Japan

By and

Spring is nearly over and the warm summer winds are beginning to sweep across the city. Our May playlist, led by some of our favorite new female artists and featuring lush contemporary city pop and R&B music will make the perfect addition to your humid summer nights. Listen to the playlist here and check out some of our favorites below.

A子 – ジェラシー

Hot off the heels of her January EP release, Ako’s new single “Jealousy” was released earlier this month. Independent and self-produced, Ako’s releases brim with confidence and dynamism that often elude most artists long into their careers, despite her only releasing music since 2020. Bright, ethereal and driven by Ako’s signature breathy vocals, “Jealousy” further cements Ako’s sound and her position as a musical force beyond her years. 

Haruy – Swimmer

Making her solo debut in April, Haruy is a 21 year old singer-songwriter from Tokyo. Gearing up for her debut EP release this June, Haruy has released two singles since last month, April’s “Swimmer” and the new track “Ryan” which was released last week. Both tracks were produced by Hayata Kosugi from Yokohama rock band, Suchmos, who began working with Haruy after Suchmos’ indefinite hiatus but before suddenly dying in October last year. Kosugi’s city pop influences shine through in the groove-laden “Swimmer” while Haruy’s delicate vocals drive the more stripped-back sci-fi vibes of “Ryan.” 

gato – ARK

Tokyo electro group, gato, continue their current stream of releases with their third single in as many months, the ostentatious “ARK.” Anyone who has listened to gato or seen one of their shows knows they bring a frenetic, almost manic energy to their music, often packing a variety of sounds and influences into their tracks and “ARK” is no different. In just over two minutes gato deliver an underground techno and 90s big beat track bookended by serene percussive and vocal segments that wouldn’t seem out of place in a 2000s anime soundtrack. An erratic journey not for the faint-hearted. 

Kinami – i was ur girl

Gojiai is the debut EP from Okinawan singer-songwriter Kinami. While upbeat soul and R&B tracks feature prominently in the EP, Kinami’s musical versatility shines through on the emotive and bitter-sweet “i was ur girl.” In an EP packed with explosive vocal performances, Kinami’s incredible range and disciplined delivery take center stage on this track, proving that she will be an exciting artist to watch in the years to come. 

WONK – Umbrella

Released on May 11, the six-track mini-album, artless is the latest offering from Tokyo-based experimental soul band, WONK. In stark contrast to the band’s previous album, EYES, which was produced entirely online and electronically, artless saw the band living together in a remote studio to record their instruments, resulting in a final product that feels organic and spacious. The final track on the album, “Umbrella,” is a comparatively minimalist composition, driven by a simple piano line and an intimate performance from vocalist Kento Nagatsuka entirely in Japanese, a first for the band. Listeners can hear the album in Dolby Atmos and check out a live performance on their album tour this June, July and August.