Tokyo Music Scene: New Releases September 2023


We’re back with another round of our favorite Japanese tracks from the last four weeks to see you through to around about the time that the Halloween decorations come down and the Christmas carols start blaring through department store speakers. Women dominated September’s new releases with a heavy-hitting EP from the inimitable Haru Nerumi, a new single from the up-and-coming Julia Takada and yet another banger from the always-exciting Xiangyu. Check out the full playlist here and get to know some of our favorite artists below.

Haru Nemuri – I Refuse

Somehow finding time amongst her hectic touring schedule, Haru Nemuri released her latest EP INSAINT on September 29. Further cementing her status as one of the most exciting artists around at the moment, the release comes off the back of performances at Summer Sonic, SXSW and a huge string of international tour dates in support of her critically acclaimed sophomore album Shunka Ryougen. “I Refuse” the lead single from the EP makes use of corrugated iron, heavy pipes and a live band to create one of her heaviest tracks yet. 


Back with their first release in three years is Tokyo-based hip hop group TOKYO HEALTH CLUB. Formed in 2010, the four-piece has maintained cult status since their 2013 debut album Play despite relatively infrequent releases and live performances. The new track 日々 (Hibi) smoothly mixes melodic and rhythmic samples for a slightly 90s-influenced, optimistic reflection on the day-to-day monotony of the last three years. 

Julia Takada – Meet U

“Meet U” is the latest single from Japanese/American artist Julia Takada. Member of Tokyo-based indie label WAU, “Meet U” is the artists fifth single release and her fifth through the label. Produced by Ryuju Tanoue, one of the label’s founders, the track takes on less of a dreamy, bed room pop feel than previous releases, instead leaning more into acoustic instrumentation and narratively-driven lyrics. 

Jo0ji – 不屈に花

One of the biggest highlights from September is the debut EP release from Tottori native Jo0ji. Featuring track arrangement from members of WONK and drums from Mono no Aware drummer Yutaka Yanagisawa, each track incorporates a variety of stylistic influences from folk to hip hop and rock for a final product that promises plenty more exciting releases from the 24-year-old artist. “不屈に花” (Fukutsu ni Hana) is a rearrangement of his first ever track, initially created for a friend and released on YouTube.