3 of the best JRock songs from July

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Congratulations to everyone who made it through the terrible heatwave that hit the UK last month. The heat might have made getting to gigs difficult for some, but it couldn’t stop some great releases from our favourite JRock artists. There are some fantastic tracks to throw onto your playlist that have been released this month, plus some that we’re just getting caught up with.

As always, you can catch all these songs plus loads more on the Rice Digital Spotify Playlist, which is updated every month to bring you some fresh JRock to listen to.

Never Meant To by One Eye Closed

One Eye Closed feels like a band that is just on the cusp of becoming the Next Big Thing in JRock. Just three years after their debut EP Cain, they have torn up the underground rock scene in Japan. Their guitarist, who simply goes by “none” makes even the toughest riffs look effortless. They are one of the most exciting bands in Japan right now.

Never Meant To is their latest track and offers some great vocals from singer REI, but what really stands out here is how they blend genres into a single song. Sometimes it is a bit metal. Sometimes it is a bit grunge. However, it always sounds distinct and unique. Keep at least one eye – see what I did there? (truly, you are a comic genius – Ed.) – on this band, because it is clear that they are going places.

Ocean by Mikuro Mika

If Cyndi Lauper made JPop, she would probably sound a lot like Mikuro Mika. She offers up an element of chill in her music that goes well with whatever you’re working on at the moment. Considering how she blends music and fashion so effortlessly, it is no surprise that Mikuro has just finished touring Europe and the UK with FEMM. If you were lucky enough to catch the pair at Hyper Japan last weekend, you have my eternal jealousy.

Ocean is very typical of the kind of Jpop that Mikuro Mika produces. It has elements of trance and house music, with beautiful vocals to carry everything through. She is fun and clever in equal measure, giving a great performance almost casually. There is a sense that this is a recording artist that puts an emphasis on the art, always having something to say for herself. Even though this isn’t necessarily the kind of JRock that we usually feature on these lists, it is well worth checking out.

Aiyaiya by Mongol800xWanima 

Punk rock has never gone out of style, and these two bands show that beautifully. With more than a decade of touring and recording each, Mongol800 and Wanima have become mainstays in the JRock scene. They’ve each done some great tracks individually but this unexpected team-up that was released last month shows that they are still eager to try new things and, more importantly, celebrate the years they’ve spent together.

Aiyaiya draws influence from ska punk to create a light-hearted, fun, relaxed sound that blends the sound of these two bands together without either getting lost in the confusion. Even without the brass section that many people associate with ska, the guitar playing on the upbeat is a clear indication of this song’s influence. Like most Japanese ska bands, both Wamina and Mongol800 have a decidedly fun and light tone, perfect for lifting your spirits after a rough day.

Got another JRock track that you’re dying to share with us? Be sure to let us know through the Rice Digital Letters feature. We’re always on the lookout for more bands to follow and music to listen to.

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