The longest day has gone, and the midway point of the year is upon us, but the music scene is just getting warmed up. There has been a lot of great music to dive into this month in the world of JRock, so its time for another round up of our favourite songs to get us through the heat and the sunshine. Festivals might not look likely to happen this year and live gigs aren’t looking much better, but there is still a lot to love.
If these songs get you moving, be sure to check out the Rice Digital JRock Playlist on Spotify for our monthly recommendations to keep you up to date with the latest and greatest songs from Japan.
Around here, we love Scandal. These Osaka girls have been rocking for fifteen years and don’t show any sign of slowing down. Their last album, Kiss from the Darkness, was my album of the year last year. Ivory isn’t their first release since then, but it does seem the most likely to be leading toward a new album from the band.
It has a chilled out sound, written and performed by guitarist Mami, whose passion and emotion come through throughout the song. The last year has been tough for most JRock acts and Scandal is no exception. With their world tour celebrating their 15th anniversary cancelled, they have had a lot of time to reflect, which shows in the lyrics to this track.
Into the Deep (Man With A Mission)
Man With A Mission go out of their way to be difficult to define. Between the masks they wear during their performances and videos and the way their music jumps from genre to genre with surprising ease, they can be tough to pin down as JRock, punk, or house.
Into the Deep is no exception. The song is heavily influenced by the band’s industrial roots, with lots of effects and synth sounds to keep you moving and dancing throughout. But the chorus’ epic energy is hard to deny, which is often the defining feature of a Man With A Mission song. And if you are wanting more from them, you can catch their song Merry-Go-Round as the newest opening track to the My Hero Academia anime as well.
Aoi (Polkadot Stingray)
Polkadot Stingray is another band that I’ve fallen in love with over the past year. Shizuku’s vocals and often eclectic style bring the band’s sound to life, including the excellent work on guitar and bass that comes through in all their songs. The band is known for their unique sound that brings funk and pop influences into the JRock roots as well as their often unusual visual style that they showcase in their videos. This is a band that defines effortlessly cool and it is always a joy to watch them perform.
Aoi is the ending theme to the new Godzilla Singular Point anime, so fans might recognise its epic opening score and the honey-dipped vocals on display throughout the track. Polkadot Stingray bring their trademark quirkiness to the music video, making this one fun to both watch and to listen to.
No. 9 (Oreskaband)
Buckle up, everyone, cause I’m gonna talk about ska again. Before I fell in love with Japanese music, I grew up devouring every ska sound I could get my hands on, so I have been delighted to find more ska music thriving in Japan. Oreskaband (which literally translates to “We’re a Ska Band”) is an all-female group who have been touring and playing together since 2003 while the members were still in middle school and they have contributed closing themes to major anime like Naruto and Bleach since then. They are a serious group of musicians who regularly put out great music and great performances.
This latest song isn’t classic ska, really. It feels as much a reggae track as it is ska with a bit of synth added in for added depth. It feels like this is a more experimental sound from Oreskaband but it is undeniably a cool one to listen to. Singer ICas’ voice is smooth and buttery as you could hope for and the trumpets are used to perfect effect. This is one that you need to have a listen to sooner rather than later.
What are some of your favourite new music releases of late? Why not pen us a letter for the Rice Digital Friday Letters Page and share some of your favourites? Hit up the widget over on the right and get writing! And don’t forget to check out the Rice Digital Spotify playlist if you’re in need of listening material today.
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