We managed to make it a third of the way into 2022, which is a heck of an accomplishment. But as chaotic and weird as the world can sometimes be, at least we always have new JRock to listen to. For the past month, I’ve been balancing new songs with some old classics to keep my energy levels high and my motivation strong.
As always, here are a few of my choice JRock tracks that have given me life for the past couple of weeks. And you can still find even more on the Rice Digital Spotify Playlist. It stays updated every month so you never run out of new music in your life.
More Than Words by Man With A Mission
We’re less than a month away from Man With A Mission’s new album dropping from our friends over at JPU Records, but the band has already released the first track from the record. More Than Words is beautiful and uplifting, highlighting the thumping drums and the smooth vocals that have become hallmarks of every Man With A Mission song.
I’m a huge fan of Man With A Mission. They don’t look or sound anything like anyone else out there, which is one of the best things a JRock band can do. If Break and Cross the Walls II has more of this kind of music on there, it could easily make a run at being my album of the year.
Aoino by go!go!vanillas
Sometimes a song is a perfect balance of playful and cool, which is what I immediately thought when I found this song by go!go!vanillas. This is a group out of Tokyo, made up of a group of young men who have been playing together since 2010. Their music blends pop-rock with a country twang while their name is, in fact, a JoJo’s reference. The singer explains that he was going to stick with The Vanillas for the band’s name until he spotted Gyro Zeppeli’s golden teeth in Part 7 of the manga. Soon the band was called go!go!vanillas instead.
This band has a lot of talent and Aoino showcases the energy and enthusiasm that they carry with them. It is a fun, vibrant track that can help give you a shot in the arm when you’re feeling sluggish. It highlights some of the western influences that have helped shape go!go!vanilla’s sound.
Hit In The USA by Beat Crusaders
Speaking of American influence seeping into JRock, this track by Beat Crusaders feels like it could have come from an American punk band. It’s fascinating to hear a Japanese band’s take on a quintessentially American sound. It isn’t any surprise that this band was chosen to create the title track for Kappa Mickey, a cartoon about an American actor going to Japan to star in a tokusatsu show. Very few bands blend American and Japanese punk sounds quite as well as Beat Crusaders did.
Unfortunately, the band has been broken up since 2010, but Hit In The USA is still one of my favourite tracks from them. It fits perfectly on the road or at the beach in the same way that many late ’80s or early ’90s punk did. The hint of harmonising vocals and the brief appearance of a guitar riff and a simple clap-along style drum beat gives this track a fantastic, unique sound. We might not be getting any new tracks from Beat Crusaders, but at least the music we got remains top-notch.
Do you have any other JRock tracks that have been bubbling along in your brain? Any new bands we might not have caught on to yet? You can always let us know in the Rice Digital Friday Letters Page! There is nothing better than finding new music to jam to.
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