With Golden Week fast approaching, we’re easing into holiday mode here in the Metropolis office but not too soon to bring you our favorite selection of new Japanese tracks from the last month. Indie bands were very much at the forefront throughout April with new releases from heavy hitters such as Luby Sparks, mitsume and Helsinki Lambda Club as well as some exciting announcements for further releases and shows just around the corner. Listen to the full playlist here and check out our special mentions below.
Joe Cupertino – Pool (Feat. Sart)
American-born Japanese rapper, Joe Cupertino, is back with his second release in as many months, “Pool.” Making use of a diverse combination of samples, gritty, bass-heavy beats, and smooth bilingual rhymes, the track, produced by Japanese beatmaker T-Razor, traverses stylistic moods, painting a dystopian picture of societal decay and de-evolution. Also featuring Flat Line Classics rapper, Sart, this is the first time for Cupertino to collaborate with a guest rapper on one of his tracks and his second time collaborating with British artist kingcon2k11 on the single artwork. Part of a series of releases, fans of Cupertino have another two new tracks to look forward to in the next two months.
mitsume – 忘れたい
“忘れたい” (Wasuretai) is the latest single from Tokyo-based rock quartet mitsume. Blending elements of garage rock, shoegaze, and pop, mitsume have earned a strong following domestically and overseas over the past 14 years and “忘れたい” is another example of the band’s ability to craft memorable, high-energy rock songs. Despite the somewhat gloomy theme of trying to move on from painful memories, the song is buoyed by lush and hooky guitar lines and laid-back vocals, perfect for warm spring afternoons. Along with the new track, mitsume have announced a new four-track EP called Drive, due for release on May 17, as well as a launch party for the EP at Tokyo Kinema Club on Friday, June 9. Head to the band’s official website for more details.
Helsinki Lambda Club – スピード
Coming up to their 10th anniversary as a band, Tokyo trio Helsinki Lambda Club released the new track “スピード” (Speed) early last month. In stark contrast to their previous single, the 15-minute epic “New Heaven,” “スピード” stays true to its name as a playfully tight and nimble track, clocking in at a brief 1:45 and ending hastily part-way through a guitar solo. The track is accompanied by an animated music video by Marina Takahashi who also worked on their previous video for the track “GNIBN II.” In celebration of their 10th anniversary, the band has announced another new single due for release next month as well as two live shows at Sanrio Puroland on May 20. More details available via the band’s website.
SAGOSAID – Brainstop
Japanese indie fans had a lot to be happy about this month with the release of SAGOSAID’s new single “Brainstop,” her first since June last year. Coming onto the local indie scene with a string of independent tape releases selling out at record stores across the country in the summer of 2019, band leader SAGO had a busy 2022 with four singles across four months in the first half of the year. Now, after a brief hiatus, the new track sees SAGO continue to come into her own as an artist with the kind of beefy instrumentation and hook-laden vocals she’s become known for.