We’re more than halfway through 2021 and the JRock scene doesn’t show any sign of slowing down. With new music hitting from the ska, punk, and metal scenes in Japan, we’ve been spoilt for choice in our monthly JRock roundups. So here are a handful of the songs that have kept us going through the recent heatwave.
If your personal favourite didn’t make this list, don’t worry! Our Spotify JRock Playlist is updated every month and has over an hour of fresh tunes from Japan to tide you over! There is sure to be something in there to catch your interest.
Namba69 – Maniac IV
I talked about Namba69 in my list of Japanese punk rock bands that you need to check out and they continue to deliver here. Maniac IV is, as the name implies, the fourth song in a series from the punk band. From its dark, ominous opening, this is a song that delves deeper into a metal sound than Namba69 have done before, but their vocals adapt surprisingly well to the shift in genre.
The result is a mix of pop-punk and metal that you don’t generally hear, but the high-energy delivery and Namba69’s solid musicianship show that they are a far more diverse band than I’d previously given them credit for. This might not be the kind of song that gets heavy radio play, but it absolutely should get a spot on your own playlist.
Saucy Dog – Kimigainai
Saucy Dog are a three-piece JRock band that have been touring and playing together since 2013. In that time, they’ve released four albums, with their fifth being due for release in just a few weeks. Each of the albums have charted higher and higher, giving a lot of hope that this will be the time that they break out and get the mainstream success that they are sorely due.
Kimigainai (You’re Not Here) is a song that showcases the best of the pop-rock sound. With solid energy and musical delivery, it is a polished song that sounds like it could be at home on the radio in Japan or in the West. I must admit that this was the first time I had come across the band, but if this is a representation of what they have to offer, it is fair to say that I’ll be checking them out more in the coming months and keeping an eye on their new album.
My First Story – Kokuhaku
This is a band I’m always excited to hear more of. My First Story come from Tokyo and, in the ten years they’ve been together, have released ten albums and been featured on video games and TV shows in Japan. They have a big, dramatic style that gives plenty to enjoy as you take a dive through their catalogue. They’ve already caught the eye of groups like Fall Out Boy when they opened for them in 2018, so you would be silly to overlook them.
Kokuhaku (Confession) is a dramatic ballad from the band and you can feel the emotion behind it even if you can’t speak the language. From the moment the piano opening plays through to the powerful yet delicate vocals of lead singer Hiro, this is exactly the kind of dramatic song that we’ve come to expect from My First Story. If you’re looking for a ballad to round out your workout playlist, this one is a solid choice.
Got a song that didn’t make this list? Let us know in our music channel on our Discord! And don’t forget to check out the Rice Digital JRock Playlist for a whole slew of fresh tracks to get you through the day.
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