It’s Olympic season and, similar to the Games, Japan’s new music releases in July were dominated by precocious youth. With tracks from Wez Atlas, PEARL CENTER and ASA Wu, our roundup this month is jam-packed with relative newbies, all of whom are shooting targets in their respective genres. Whether you’re looking for fun, summery pop jams, emo vibes from the 2000s or hip-hop, this month’s roundup of our most popular new releases delivers gold. Listen to the full playlist on Spotify here, and check out some highlights below:
Wez Atlas – Overthink
From the recently released mini-album Chicken soup for one“Overthink” is a thoughtful hip-hop track that combines technical lyricism with gentle and melodic singing. Born in Japan and raised in Colorado, 23-year-old Wez Atlas often switches between Japanese and English and uses both on this track to create a lyrical manifesto about achieving mental clarity. That Chicken soup for one Release Party will take place on October 29th on the WWW in Shibuya.
ASA Wu – Die Dozen (Meisterstück KM)
“Dozen Die” is the new single from Taiwan-born ASA Wu, released on July 2nd. Even referred to as “Emotional RnB”, the raw content and the masterful execution of the track make it hard to believe that this is only the artist’s third release. With influential Japanese producer KM, it’s probably the most upbeat and catchy song about dying you’ll hear this summer.
PEARL CENTER – Flutter
The relatively newcomers PEARL CENTER, founded in 2019, also have a knack for writing catchy pop songs early on. “Flutter” is bursting with nostalgic optimism in the style of the 80s and is reminiscent of the kind of midnight drive-through Tokyo images one expects from a modern city pop band. They got off to a stumbling start to their careers without the opportunity to perform mostly live, but have been releasing material continuously since signing with the Japanese label RALLYEYE in March 2021, including a number of successful collaborations. See them perform at the Local Green Festival in September.
Millennium Parade – U
It acts as the theme song for Mamoru Hosoda’s new anime Belle, “U” is the new track from Millennium Parade. Under the direction of King Gnu frontman Daiki Tsuneta, Millennium Parade is a creative collective that brings together artists from the fields of music, film, design and illustration who have quickly made a name for themselves since their founding in 2019 and also the title track “Fly With Me “For the new series” Ghost in the Shell “. The film Belle premiered in July at the Cannes Film Festival with a 15-minute standing ovation and – driven by frenetic percussion and haunting vocal performance – “U” feels like an instant classic in the world of anime theme songs.
GOLD – 7624
“7624” is the opener of DYGL’s new album A daze in the haze. “7624” is reminiscent of emo from the early 2000s and is a melancholy counterpoint to an otherwise rather optimistic third album. DYGL (pronounced day-glo) will tour Japan in late 2021 and early 2022.
Miletus – Ordinary days
Milet’s new single “Ordinary Days” is the title track of the newly released drama series “Police in a Pod”, which is based on the manga of the same name. Millet didn’t start her career until 2018 and rose to fame with a number 1 debut album and many of her tracks on various television series. “Ordinary Days” is a serious love song full of positive energy that will make you forget the stifling summer heat of Tokyo.
Read more about music in Japan:
Dreamy indie songs straight from Tokyo
Water goes all out
The unconventional with Utena Kobayashi
How Belief in a Steel Pan changed a college dropout’s life