2021 has been full of amazing releases from Japanese artists across the board and August was no exception. As the year continues on at a furious pace, so too does the quality of new music releases from artists like CHAI, AAAMYYY and んoon. You might be wondering where the year has gone, but we’re here to make sure you at least haven’t missed any of the best Japanese releases of the month. Listen to our full August playlist on Spotify here and check out some highlights from Tokyo’s music scene below:
AAAMYYY – Elsewhere
Annihilation is the second full-length album from solo artist and synth player for psych rockers Tempalay, AAAMYYY. Released on August 18, the album takes a gritty look at life and death in various forms while blending elements of rock, soul and electronic pop. Signaling a departure from her first album which she produced electronically, Annihilation features a full backing band and “Elsewhere” opens the album in bittersweet fashion. AAAMYY will perform at Ebisu LIQUIDROOM on September 10.
んoon – Sniffin’
んoon (pronounced Hoon) are a Tokyo-based band formed in 2014. After dropping EPs in 2018 and 2019 and collaborating with established artists such as toe, “Sniffin’’” comes from their third EP Jargon. Known for traversing multiple genres in a single song, “Sniffin’’” lives up to the band’s reputation. Led by vocalist JC’s silky vocal delivery, the track reaches a frenzied, neo-soul crescendo half way through before transitioning — without warning — into a jazz-fusion style jam that hits you like a sudden, cool breeze.
34423 – 34423
Ehime-born electronic artist 34423 has been experimenting with electronic music from a young age and has risen to prominence as an artist known for her dark, heavy beats. Releasing her first album in 2013 and composing music for popular films such as “Tokyo Noir” in 2018, her latest album Logos UI is a dark and brooding release featuring collaborations with such artists as Mizuki Ohira and ermhoi. The track “34423” is a heavy, spacey number with vague nods to Daft Punk.
ermhoi – Mountain Song
Irish/Japanese soloist ermhoi adds to an already busy year with her latest release “Mountain Song.” As a member of Black Boboi and millenium parade, ermhoi is no stranger to experimentation, and “Mountain Song” showcases a much more ethereal side of her songwriting skills than previous releases. Allowing her vocals to do the majority of the heavy lifting, ermhoi makes excellent use of string instruments and percussion in what results in a strangely organic, stripped-back electronic track.
Shaka Bose – Beta
Shaka Bose is a young hip-hop artist from Tokyo and the brains behind the underground hip-hop event TOKIO SHAMAN. Regularly drawing from a variety of influences all the way from alternative rock to computer game music and anime, Shaka’s new track — “Beta” — borrows heavily from 90s rave artists such as The Prodigy. “Beta” is taken from the new EP RYO.
Chai – Miniskirt
Everybody’s favorite neo kawaii rockers CHAI are back with their new single “miniskirt.” Released as part of the Adult Swim Singles series, “miniskirt” maintains the clean and polished style heard in their May album, Wink, while leaning further into their electronic influences. Thanks to its spacious production, the drum and guitar parts shine in this dreamy, synth-pop bop.
Elsewhere on Metropolis:
Five punk-fuelled friends are out to revive Tokyo’s indie music scene
See who’s kicking goals in the Japanese music scene this Olympic season
Dreamy indie tunes straight from Tokyo (warning, you will fall in love)