Lots of good music came out of Japan in August, but keeping track of it all can be a challenge, especially for those living outside of the island. Don’t sweat it, we've highlighted a few Japanese releases well worth hunting down...
“Occult idols” NECRONOMIDOL push many of the heavier elements that have materialised in J-pop lately to the extreme. The metal-inspired chug, popularised by BABYMETAL, and the darker lyrics of BiS go asphalt-black with them, the five-piece even wading into darkwave territory. DAWNSLAYER is their latest, and a great gateway into their world. It features something approaching a pop song, which is to say it sounds closer to BABYMETAL than NECRONOMIDOL have ever sounded, while also touching on shadowy synth-pop and more topsy-turvy metal.
Japan’s experiencing a boom in rap music in 2017, yet the style feels just outside of the mainstream. The country’s hip-hop community lacks an artist (or hit) that could act as a bridge to casual listeners, if they so want that. Chelmico could possibly be that link. The duo offer up a pop friendly take on the style, building up to big hooks, but preceded by verses that treat rap seriously and not as J-pop topping. EP spotlights all of this, and includes some of the year’s stickiest rap-pop numbers out of this side of the world.
Japanese electronic music doesn’t come as off-kilter as this. Producer Koeoosaeme’s Sonorant is a whirlwind treat for those unafraid of music zooming off in all sorts of directions. Released via America’s Orange Milk Records, the album zig-zags from herky-jerky dance tunes to more rippling numbers. It’s a manic, at times disorienting collection, and a thrill with every listen.
Let’s make a circle out of this one; if NECRONOMIDOL often take the intersection of metal and idol music to far-out edges, PassCode have reeled it in further to the center. Zenith, the outfit’s latest album, stands as one of their most immediate to date, featuring catchy metal-leaning numbers such as “Same To You” and rap-sung cuts such as “Bite The Bullet.” In the world of louder J-pop idol groups, Zenith shows that PassCode are one of the ones that could connect with a larger group of listeners.
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