It’s the end of another month, and another chance to check out some of the best sounds that JRock has to offer.
For August, we have some new music from classic performers, including solo work from people best known for their work in JRock powerhouse groups.
Need a bit more music in your life? Remember that we have the Rice Digital JRock Playlist over on Spotify, updated every month with new tunes to get you through the long nights ahead.
Ken Yokoyama – Helpless Romantic
Punk rock is something that never goes out of style, and it always has a place on my playlist for the month.
Ken Yokoyama here made it big as part of a group called Hi-Standard back in the 90s, who opened for bands like Green Day, NOFX, and No Use for a Name. Since then, Yokoyama has had a successful solo career as well as continuing to record with the band when it suits them.
This song is a fairly classic take on the pop punk sound from the ’90s, which hits just right in the summer months for me. It feels both nostalgic and fresh at the same time, with lyrics that speak to the hopelessness of heartbreak as well as the resilience to carry on afterward. It is a solid addition to Ken Yokoyama’s most recent album 4Wheels 9Lives, which I highly recommend for folks looking for a pop punk fix.
Man with a Mission – Merry-Go-Round
You could say that I have been on a Man with a Mission kick the past year or so. This is a band that has featured on a few of my JRock Round Ups since January, but I don’t feel bad because they never cease to put out absolute jams. Their mix of rock and electronic genres with the theatrics of their wolf-head costumes and bizarre backstory always get me moving in the gym or on a run.
Merry-Go-Round is the latest offering from the band and first came to my attention for being the opening of the second half of the current season of My Hero Academia. Though the season itself has been somewhat lacking for me, the openings continue to be top tier and isn’t that half of what we love about anime? This song fully embraces the unique sound that Man with a Mission is known for, melding genres and sounds to create something unique to them.
Hiroji Miyamoto – Sha – la – la – la
Hiroji Miyamoto is definitely a case of “late to the party” for me. For years he has been part of Elephant Kashimashi, a classic band who have been touring and recording since 1981. In fact, their 1988 album Elephant Kashimashi II has been listed as one of the top 50 JRock albums by Rolling Stone magazine. Though Elephant Kashimashi still tour consistently, that hasn’t stopped their lead singer and guitarist Miyamoto from finding time to put out a few jams on his own.
This particular song is from Miyamoto’s more recent solo outings. Sha – la – la – la brings a lot of what makes Miyamoto such a good frontman to the forefront, with his slightly raspy, passionate delivery along with a sound that is equally equipped for radio, arenas, and more intimate venues. He lists his major influences as The Doors and The Rolling Stones, so fans of classic rock will find something to love in this offering.
Remember that if you’re looking for more of the best music on offer from Japan, we have a whole channel in our Discord server dedicated to sharing our favourite tunes, and our Rice Digital Spotify Playlist will keep you supplied with fresh JRock songs the whole month long. Feel free to share your favourites, too — we always love to discover new tunes!
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