2016 is just round the bend, and with it goes another great year of music. 2015 has provided us with more first-rate songs than we can list in just one post, so instead of rattling off the tracks that have been stealing the limelight these last 10 months, we’ve put together 8 of our favourite tracks that might’ve snuck under your radar this year so far.
Bassist of math rock four piece Zazen Boys, Yoshida Ichiro is a bit of an eccentric, and with his latest solo project Yoshida Ichiro Untouchable World (吉田一郎不可触世界), we see him stray into new territory with a blend of hip hop, synth pop, and a pinch of the experimental, creating not only one of the most catchy tracks of the year, but one of the most stand-out albums.
The Kyushu born newcomers showed they have a lot of promise with the release of their album ‘new place’, creating a sound that matches the a-game of top artists like androp, sakanaction, and amazarashi. With an emphasis on creativity, Ame no Parade attempt break the confines of music with a heavy focus on compelling visuals, so if art rock is your thing, these guys are a must listen.
Like young Brit Jake Bugg and Ireland’s The Strypes, GLIM SPANKY ride the wave of the 1960s and 1970s guitar revival scene, with frontwoman Remi’s husky voice and right-hand man Hiroki’s bluesy rock guitar backing taking them to new heights in the last year. Their first major single release ‘Homeroyo’ hit the charts hard with it’s raw rock ‘n roll vocals and bluesy riffs, making it one of the best rock tracks of 2015.
Take everything that made the synthpunk movements in Japan and the west great, mix in some J-pop, and give it a trendy Tokyo street makeover, and what do you get? RECORIDE. This three piece are revitalising the genre, and their 3rd LP ‘FRESHLESS’ only amplified this statement when it dropped back in July. ‘Kowarenai Paradaise’ gives us an insight into the breakneck world of RECORIDE, but for the full electrifying experience you best pick up the album.
Not sure if 0.8Syooogeki can be considered an art band, or just off their rockers. For years now this post-punk duo have been coming out with balls to the wall tracks and nonsensical videos, and 2015 was no different. With the release of their latest album ‘Hakai POP’ came ‘ Nijiiro no Kotoba’, a sporadic tune with a big sound, though more tamed compared to some of their other work (if you can believe that). Also, if you’re thinking the voice of co-lead J.M sounds familiar, she recently joined AA= on their latest release ‘→MIRAI→ (POST MIRAI)’. The more you know.
Just over a year ago in August 2014, this youngster quintet (average age 23) are blending some of the best sounds of 70s and 80s Japanese folk rock with psychedelic pop, akin to that of Haruomi Hosono and his work in Happy End. ‘Doudemo Iikedo’ has been this year’s summer chill track, working nicely alongside the likes of top indie rock groups such as The Maccabees and The Drums.
This street punk foursome have been operating in the heart of Osaka since 2007, spreading their message of the plight of the working class drifter and earning themselves the title of Osaka’s #1 (and possibly only) street punk band. After 8 years they released their long-awaited first album ‘FOR ONCE IN MY LIFE’, a non-stop boisterous romp of an LP, and with it their 3rd single ‘HOMEWARD BOUND’, the feel good mosh anthem we didn’t even know we wanted.
MOTHBALL aren’t just a melodic hardcore unit, they are a “pair of space pirates” called K Flair and ICE G that have come from a “galaxy far away” to “tell their love and worries of the earth through music”. According to their website anyway. So the plot might be a bit out there, but if ‘Mayday’ from their debut album ‘What a Wonderful World’ is anything to go by, they’re also one of the most promising fresh faces to hit the genre.
Words by Charles Shepherd
8 Best Tracks You Might Have Missed In 2015