We’ve been given plenty to be thankful for this Thanksgiving season, with new music from some of our favorites like Chelmico plus long-awaited albums from Greeen Linez and The fin.and a fresh discovery in newcomers Sugar House. Audiovisual duo Tamanaramen also share with us their visually stunning new music video and Chip Tanaka takes us on a wild ride with his 8-bit-style album. Whether you’re looking for new indie, hip hop, electronic or experimental tunes from Japan, you’ll think Christmas has come early with our November wrap-up playlist. You can listen to the new playlist here and check out some of our favorites below.
South Penguin – vitamin (featuring 没 a.k.a. NGS)
Largely a solo endeavor since 2017, South Penguin is the musical project of Tokyo musician Akatsuka. “vitamin” is the new single and the first release since the 2020 double single bubbles/mad love and features producer and rapper Botsu a.k.a. NGS on guest vocals. Continuing the more experimental direction the project has taken since last year, this track has a disarming effect, combining sinister, eerie-sounding guitar lines and latin percussion with blistering, noise-rock style saxophone breakdowns.
Chelmico – 三億円
Chelmico continue to elude classification with their new single “three hundred million yen.” Since 2016 the duo have proved time and again that they can rap to anything from indie rock to heavy electro and 80s city pop tunes and this sax-laden, heavy latin groove adds yet another jam to their ever-expanding repertoire. A portmanteau of the duo’s names Rachel and Mamiko, Chelmico are known for their tongue-in-cheek lyrics and use this track to demand three hundred million yen every month, with no tax.
tamanaramen – The light behind my eyelids
tamanaramen is the audiovisual project of sisters Hikam and Hana. After beginning as the musical project of Hikam in 2018 and releasing a slew of EPs in 2020, Hana joined the project in earnest as visual designer earlier this year, solidifying the collaboration. 2021 has been another big year for the duo with a number of single releases as well as collaborations and performances with artists such as D.A.N., Aya Gloomy and NTsKi. “The light behind my eyes” is the third single from the duo this year, featuring a Fifth Element’esque video directed by Hana to accompany the track’s apocalyptic electro vibes.
Chip Tanaka – Fennec
Hirokazu Tanaka returns with his third album under the alias Chip Tanaka. Legendary in the video game music industry, Tanaka is considered a pioneer of chiptune music and is credited with composing soundtracks for games such as Metroid, Super Mario Land and Tetris. The tracks on Domani are said to cover a broad range of topics such as permanence, impermanence, ephemerality and dreams and go beyond the use of chiptune into ambient, psychedelic, dub and reggae realms. The track “Fennec” is a more typical chiptune style Tanaka track, which frantically traverses rock, drum and bass, dance and heavy metal rhythms.
The fin. – Over the Hill
“Over the Hill” is the new single from indie rock duo, The fin. Featuring songwriter and producer Yuto Uchino and bassist Kaoru Nakazawa, The fin. has drawn domestic and international attention since 2012 for their releases which blend elements of dream-pop, shoegaze and chill wave. “Over the Hill” comes from their third album Outer Ego and stands out from the rest of the album as a largely guitar-oriented track featuring soaring, fuzzed out guitar lines and staunch, metronomic drums, like a cross between Real Estate and The War on Drugs.