Summer is starting to settle in Japan, and fittingly, the mood in Japanese music is starting to warm up.
A new wave of Japanese bands have risen in popularity in recent years thanks to sunny guitar melodies and lyrics celebrating the simple joys of life — hanging out with friends, enjoying bright days in the city and at the beach.
Here are four bands who have new music out now, or on the horizon, who will brighten up your summer months (or warm up your winter).
Yogee New Waves
Four-piece Yogee New Waves offer a good gateway into the recent sun-dappled rock scene in Japan because the band highlights both sonic sides of this style. Their latest album Waves features numbers such as “World Is Mine” (above), a zippy song boasting a quick pace nodding, to retro rock numbers from the ‘70s and back. It’s energetic but ultimately carefree, basking in the moment. Yet Yogee New Waves can slow things down on cuts like “Climax Night,” which moves at a slower stroll and embraces a nocturnal vibe. Yogee New Waves handle both well, and offer a nice overview of an approach to rock that has proven popular with younger listeners in Japan.
never young beach
The easiest way to take stock of a Japanese rock band’s value in 2017 is to look at how many summer festivals they're playing at. As more and more punters opt to save up for one big gathering in place of going out to clubs a few times every week, getting spots at these biggie-sized events is vital for groups. never young beach have a busy itinerary this season, as the surf-rock-tinged five-piece plays at most of the country’s biggest festivals. Which makes sense because their galloping rock peppered with optimistic lyrics and shout-along hooks are perfect for a warm-day out.
The band with the most aggressive moments on this list, DYBL, bring a garage-rock sensibility to their music, with tracks on their just-released debut album Say Goodbye To Memory Den often leaning towards the fuzzed-out and (vaguely)) political. But they fit this list fine because they also have moments like the above “Let It Out,” a relatively laid back albeit melancholy number that matches up well with other young bands rising up in the Japanese rock world today.
Special Favorite Music
And now, for something a bit more mellow to close out the list. Special Favorite Music lean towards slower, brass-accented numbers optimal for slow strolls during dusk rather than shambling beach tunes, and if the above three groups can soundtrack your summer day, a song like “Ceremony” works well as the moon comes out. They have a new album out later this summer.
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