I’m still pretty new to the indie and underground scenes of Japan. In the last few months, I tried to explore these worlds as much as possible, making some great discoveries that made my research for new and almost unknown groups wonderfully rewarding. I’m starting to think the real treasure of Japanese music, the one I wrongly claimed to have found six years ago, is actually hidden in small clubs and underground bars lost in the suburbs of Japan’s cities.
As if to give strength to this, a few days ago I received an email from Yota, young singer and guitarist of the Indie rock outfit Acidclank. As regular self promotion from these groups, I found a Bandcamp link and in the message… and man, I’m so glad this guy contacted me. I don’t think it’s an overstatement to say that this is some of the best music I listened so far this year.
Acidclank self-released two records: the 2015 full length Inner, and the EP Night In, released just a month ago. While the first greatly implements British rock/Shoegaze influences and successfully exposes the talent of this guy in composing valuable tracks, the latter is the one that got me totally hooked: Composed by two tracks, Night In is a brief but extremely pleasant experience, and one that will catch you in no time. The soothing title track, made of delicate acoustic riffs and electric guitar melodies, traps the listener in a mood that could fit a late night walk in Osaka’s Namba district, or in the district of Shinjuku beautifully represented in the record’s cover. The distant vocals, the rich but not invasive arrangement, and the overall vibe of the track, makes Night In one of the best tunes I heard in recent times. The upbeat Yolna delicately leans on the electronic side, with digital beats and fresh synths balanced by a great progression of acoustic chords, keeping itself close to the previous works of the band with distant and filtered vocals.
Acidclank is a valid and talented group that deserves your attention: While the first album is a great piece of work that doesn’t hide its well adapted influences, Night In is an heartfelt and pleasant EP, that gives hope for a future album featuring a fresh and enjoyable sound.
Be sure to listen and freely download Acidclank’s music on Bandcamp, and let me know what you think about it down here in the comments!
I usually ignore emails and tweets from people that want me to publish news about their musical projects. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not being harsh or snobbish here. I do it because ninety percent of the groups contacting me are not japanese, which is kinda curious considering how my blog covers only music coming from the land of the rising sun. The rest is people who pretends I copy/paste their emails into my blog to promote their mainstream groups, something that a worrying amount of websites out there do.
When I received a promotional email yesterday, I was expecting another Swedish or Italian punk rock group promoting their new demo. I was instead contacted to take a listen to an interesting collaboration between Nagoya-based Indie-pop outfit CRUNCH and american trackmaker Alex Ruby.
I had already heard of CRUNCH before, but never really had the chance to analyze their music properly, so I was glad to finally get into the works of the all-female trio hailing from Nagoya. The melancholic Indie-pop sonorities proposed by the group, enriched by mellow and addictive melodies, create immersive soundscapes and make them stand out despite the adoption of a commonly used formula in the genre, an interesting approach particularly enjoyable in the recently released blue blue blue EP. The group also provided upbeat numbers in the past, like Simple Mind, a fresh Indie-pop rock tune that doesn’t sacrifice the reflective mood that identifies the project. Definitely a band I feel like suggesting to fans of thoughtful yet enjoyable Indie-pop/rock.
At this point, I was curious to see how american producer/rapper Alex Ruby merged his influences with the sound of CRUNCH, and I was pleasantly surprised by this collaborative track titled Murasaki: With deep beats and delicate melodies composing a soothing instrumental, this atmospheric piece follows a linear structure that nicely fit the voice of Noriyo Hotta, and the concept of the trio as well. It’s a short and refreshing listen that’s perfect if you’re in the right mood for soothing vibes, and also a valid introduction to the sounds offered by both artists.
I’m glad to see japanese acts collaborating with overseas producers, especially when there’s knowledge and care from both parts, and this collaboration is a good example of that. You can listen to Murasaki above, and start your week with a nice and relaxing tune.
Alex Ruby Soundcloud