How’s everyone doing? Hope y’all are doing all right (if not even better!) as I welcome you guys once again to the Monthly Recommendation Round-Up (!!!). We’re right in the middle of spring so I’m pretty sure a lot of you have been up and about this past month going to to different places and whatnot because of that (even I was out for a couple of weeks myself). I assume everyone has settled down by now for the most part though, leading towards the end of this month, so yeah — welcome back 😀
Before anything else though, for those of you are new to this blog, or are now seeing this kind of post from me for the first time:
Basically I put together a post featuring Japanese music that I’ve listened to and subsequently recommend to you guys at the end of every month. Keep in mind that these songs don’t all have to have been released within that timeframe, as they might also be just songs that I only just discovered myself, or songs that I just want to feature and recommend on a whim (xD)
The songs that I’ll end up featuring will all come from YouTube links of their respective PVs so there is a fair bit of restriction on what I’ll be able to put on here, but I find that keeping it all to one platform ensures the most universality (with remedies easily available in the case of region restrictions). This also allows me to put together a playlist for every song that gets put on the Round-Up that I’ll update and share at the end of each post.
Now, because I was actually straight up gone for two whole weeks since the start of April (at a place with very minimal internet/streaming capabilities) I wasn’t really able to be on top of preparing this month’s Round-Up like I normally do. I do like to build up my list slowly throughout the month as opposed to just cramming it towards the end so as a result we’re having a bit of a shorter one this time around. I made sure to make these entries count though (xD)
So as we do; grab your most trusted pair of earphones (or IEMs ’cause we all know they’re bette-), set your volume to your liking, and well, you know what to do from here 😛
by シナリオアート (ScenarioArt)
It’s hard not to love ’em really
There’s something very… wholesome about ScenarioArt’s sound that’s just so oddly appealing. I would surmise that that is in large part due to Vocalist/Drummer (yes, you read that right) Kumiko’s peculiar existence as, well, a drummer that also predominantly sings. Not to say that this hasn’t been a thing in the past already (hyper energy Pop/Rock band Gacharic Spin and the prodigious Shishido Kavka come to mind as notable examples). However, in contrast to their predecessors, ScenarioArt’s brand of Rock is a softer one generally. There is a pleasant airiness and lightness to their delivery overall whilst still keeping to an otherwise Pop/Rock base which makes for a nice change of pace really. “Adahada Alien” here is all that, with some splahes of Jazz here and there (quite surprisingly) as an added treat for the unexpecting listener.
by BAND-MAIKO (BAND-MAID)
And by that I mean, BAND MAID has, for the second year in a row, come out with a song as BAND MAIKO for April Fools (here’s the first one). Of course, like last time, the joke here really is that BAND MAIKO is actually legitimately good (xD). Unlike the previous year though, instead of making another alternate rendition that utilizes traditional Japanese instruments to one of their older songs (not that I’d mind if they did that instead), BAND MAID makes a totally new song with that same sound that still kept (if not even emphasized further) the traditional Japanese aesthetic that they were shooting for before. “Gion-cho” is almost like an infomercial of sorts, both in its “Old Japan” visual, and its lyrics that highlight the intricacies of Maiko attire.
だから僕は音楽を辞めた/dakara boku wa ongaku wo yameta
by ヨルシカ (Yorushika)
suis has a very unassuming power in her voice
Something I noticed when I went and listened to Yorushika’s second mini album ‘Losers Have No Need For Encores (make inu ni ankooru ha iranai)‘ for the first time (great mini album by the way, check it out for sure when you have the time) is that suis can go hard when she wants to. I mean, you’d have to go as far back as ‘Say It (itte)‘ from their PVs to hear suis really just sit down on a line. suis’ uncannily clear and controlled voice has always been captivating without a doubt but hearing this sort of power from her is very much gripping as well. Yorushika’s music have been such a playful mastery of sound and artistry in tandem, and giving credit where credit is due, n-buna’s compositions really make both shine.
by あいくれ (aikure)
“Now, come and eat!”*
*Note: ‘now, come and eat’ (saa, meshiagare) is the last line of the song
Much like a bag of jelly beans, life its own mix of sweetness and sourness, coming in different shapes and sizes and colors. Sometimes we get what we want, while at times (or more often even) we don’t. But we stick our hand in that bag regardless; because that’s what we call living — now, come and eat. […] Aikure have always been really good at being melancholic (lol) despite what their fairly aggressive style of Alternative Rock would lead you to believe and I think that a lot of that does come from Yukimi’s harrowing’y beautiful vocals. “Jelly Beans” is a clear testament to that and then some with this otherwise minimalist/straightforward PV that just has the band performing for the most part (which I do prefer that some bands do at times).
by パスピエ (PASSEPIED)
Everyone likes a good comeback
PASSEPIED was, at one point in time, a prospective band on the rise thanks to their massive cult following. That said, the general reception towards PASSEPIED (particularyl their music) was fairly divisive. It’s safe to assume that High Energy Electro Pop isn’t really everyone’s cup of tea to begin with, but I also believe that one of the main things that made or break PASSEPIED for people at the time (at least it did for me) was Ogoda Natsuki’s nasal style of singing. Regardless, the band did receive immense support, and in turn was given the opportunity to perform the Opening Theme for Spring 2015’s Kyoukai no Rinne. Hype for PASSEPIED started to peter out afterwards (just goes to show how crucial anison for bands looking to make a name for themselves). “ONE” sees PASSEPIED trying to reclaim that hype that once carried them, and if they keep up this Low Tempo Pop instead, then they have a fan in me.
Gion-cho by BAND-MAIKO/BAND-MAID
If you caught my 2018 Round-Up awards post you might remember that BAND-MAIKO’s “secret MAIKO lips” ended up being my ‘Most Played Song of 2018’. Despite the gimicky nature of the songs they’ve made as BAND-MAIKO, I really do appreciate how BAND-MAID incorporate wa-gakki (traditional Japanese instrumentation) with their now-trademark Hard Rock escalation. Very nice.
The YouTube playlist is updated so as a reminder, if you wanna catch the songs that will be featured in the Round-Up right away (that is, even before I publish the post proper), just add the playlist on your account’s dashboard. Just, remember to come back here once you finished listening so you can share your thoughts on the tracks 🙂
As I said earlier we do have a bit of shorter-than-usual Round-Up owing to shorter prep time on my end, and I’m pretty sure I missed out on some songs that came out this month, so if you guys listened to anything good that came out recently (or just anything good in general really) then please feel free to send them my way in the comments section below 😀
Happy Listening guys~!!