Weekly J-Song Roundup #4 – tofubeats, EARPHONES, frederic (and more!)

Hello hello! Welcome back to another Japanese song roundup, it’s almost surreal that I’ve maintained doing this segment weekly. I thought I’d be too lazy to continue by the third week, but the streak is now four weeks and hopefully it goes on for many more.

But if you happen to be new to this segment on SoA; basically every week I compile a short list of J-music songs I’ve discovered throughout the week (or songs I’ve listened to in the past) that, I believe, are worth listening to. These songs can come from a variety of sources, whether that be YouTube, an anime show, or what I frequently use, Spotify.

I also want to talk about where I’ve been recently; even though I find myself to have a lot of free time after school, I’m usually pretty exhausted and can’t seem to actually write much. Alongside me not finding much motivation to complete a post and wanting to do other things/hobbies, it’s been a bit tough blogging of recent (lol). However, I have a few post ideas I want to do very soon, as well as shows to review on #moe404, so I hope you can be a bit patient with me.

But I don’t want to stray too much away from this week’s roundup, so let’s jump right in!


“Suisei / 水星 (Young & Fresh Mix)” – tofubeats feat. Kariya Seira

This is really only one of the couple songs I’ve heard from Kobe-based DJ and record producer tofubeats, but damn… this song is nice.

“Suisei”, as well as tofubeats’ other tracks, is what you would call “house” music. Basically, it’s a genre of EDM (electronic dance music) that includes drum machines, synthesizers, etc. as the instruments used. It’s very hip-hop like, and while I don’t usually listen to the electronic/EDM style of music, I still find it nice and I think tofubeats definitely makes me want to discover more.

This song is pretty mellow/slow for a house-style song, and I think that’s one of the main reasons why I love it. The repetitive synth noises, the beats from the drums, and even Kariya Seira’s vocal performance; all those and more make this track a nice, chillax one to listen to. There are many different versions of this track, but I believe this one is the best out of all of them.

Also, the 80s anime art style for the album cover is an amazing addition.


“Rainy Day” – Ohashi Trio

We’re taking a drastic turn from tofubeats, and discussing a song from one of my favorite Japanese musical artists, Ohashi Trio.

As I’ve mentioned before in a past post, my two absolute favorite American musical artists are Jason Mraz and Jack Johnson. I’ve grown up to enjoy their music, play their albums on repeat, and even try to learn some songs on the guitar. If you don’t know who those two are, basically they make music that allows you to unwind, relax, and even some of their songs can be some good pop songs to listen to. So with my preferred style of music being smooth and relaxing, it was natural for me to love Ohashi Trio (real name: Ohashi Yoshinori) when I discovered his music last year. While he’s pretty different from someone like Jason Mraz or Jack Johnson, there are definitely hints of them in Ohashi Trio’s musical style. Plus, I love jazzy music.

“Rainy Day” is probably one of my favorite tracks from Yoshinori-san. It’s a nice track more on the pop side of things but his selection of instruments like the acoustic guitar and the piano, as well as his soothing and fun voice singing the song in full English… it’s a song I frequently come back to.

And I thought of this song since it rained, like, a few days ago here in the Bay Area (lol),


“Lonely Lonely” – LUCKY TAPES feat. Chara

I know I already talked about LUCKY TAPES a couple weeks ago but they released a new album and this MV a couple days ago, soooo it was hard to not include this song.

Other than the usual mixture of jazz, funk, and pop being present, it seems like Takahashi Kai went a more hip-hop/sort of rapping style when it comes to his vocal performance. Unlike in songs like “Touch!” or even “22”, he gives off that kind of vibe during verses, maybe because he sings in more of a faster pace and deeper voice. But other than that, I loved the inclusion of trumpets in this song, adds another layer of jazz/soul.


“Ikitsukushi / イキツクシ (Remix)” –  DADARAY

Again, I know I talked about DADARAY already in this weekly roundup segment but I REALLY couldn’t pass up showing you guys this incredible remix of one of their songs.

As I said, this is actually a remix of one of their songs, “Ikitsukushi”. While the original is still good, this remixed version definitely gives the song a much different nature, thanks to the groovy guitar riffs and the electronic drum beats added into it. It sort of reminds of a “lo-fi” style kind of song, but with the addition of REIS’s really nice, high-pitched vocals.

Also, I HIGHLY suggest listening to their “DADAX” album. I’ve been listening to it endlessly of recently. (it’s on Spotify!)


“Sanki Tousen! / サンキトウセン!” – EARPHONES

For us Japanese idol fans who also enjoy watching various anime shows, I think we know at least one or a couple groups that are labeled as a “seiyuu idol” group. Essentially, a “seiyuu idol” group means a group of J-idols who do usual idol things like sing songs and perform at public events, but also are featured as voice actors/actresses in different anime. There are a bunch of those types of groups such as the Milky Holmes group, the petit milady duo featuring Yuuki Aoi and Taketatsu Ayana, Sphere with Tomatsu Haruka and Toyosaki Aki, etc.

But today, we’re talking about EARPHONES; a young seiyuu idol group consisting of Takahashi Rie, Nagaku Yuki, and Kouno Marika. Most likely you’ve heard of them in the many popular shows they’ve been casted in such as KonoSubaUma Musume: Pretty Derby, and Hajimete no Gal. But this trio was actually featured together in the main cast of a few anime shows like Akiba’s Trip: The Animation. The one I personally know them from was an anime called Sore ga Seiyuu, where the trio played three aspiring voice actresses who want to make a name for themselves in the massive industry. If you’re interested in my thoughts about that show or if you’re just curious about it, definitely go check out my review on it over at #moe404.

“Sanki Tousen!” is one of the endings to Akiba’s Trip, and probably one of my favorite tracks from the group. It’s fast-paced, upbeat, a nice electronic-style beat accompanying the group, and I think what makes EARPHONES so unique is that each and every one of the ladies’ voices are distinct. You can clearly tell who is singing a certain part, whether that be Marika’s more high-pitched and cute voice, that part before the chorus with Yuki singing in a more traditional Japanese music-style, or even Rieri’s deeper voice (given she has voiced tomboy-kind of characters like in Comic Girls or even KonoSuba).

Also, I only featured the short version of the song b/c I wanted to show the dance video alongside the music. You can listen to the full version here!


“Beside / ビーサイド” – NEGOTO

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My buddy Leap actually introduced me to this band, and showed me their 2012 album “ex Negoto”, in which this track is from. It’s a quite a nice album, and I’ve repeatedly listened to it throughout the summer and even recently I came back to it (my personal favorite song from that album is “メルシールー / Mercirou”). NEGOTO, to me, seems to be somewhat different from other Japanese Girls Rock bands; maybe because of their style of music and how they blend electronic and rock, maybe because they add a keyboard to their usual rock-style instruments, maybe because it seems like they give off a different vibe as a rock band. But even so, they’re still a great rock group to listen to, and Aoyama Sachiko’s more unique and high-pitched voice is like the icing on the NEGOTO cupcake.

“Beside” is probably one of the more unique tracks in this album, mainly because they go towards a more somber direction with the overall atmosphere of the song. This song actually sort of reminded me of another J-music suggestion Leap gave to me, which was Kinoko Teikoku’s album “Uzu ni Naru”. That album’s overall “shadowy and mysterious” nature while also sometimes having loud vocals, “Beside” just sounded fairly similar to it. But, yeah. Great song lol


“TOGENKYO” – frederic

If you happened to follow the Summer anime season back in 2017, you may remember a particular show called Koi to Uso. Personally, I didn’t finish it but I did hear from others that it wasn’t really… good (Hanazawa Kana couldn’t even save it?!). However, I think most of us can agree about one good thing that came out of that show: the hella catchy opening song, “Kanashii Ureshii”. I don’t know about you, but the lines “kanashii kanashii ureshii ureshii” were stuck in my head for a while lol

That song was composed by Kobe-based indie rock band frederic. I think one of the big reasons why I find this group interesting and great to listen to is definitely the main vocalist, Mihara Kenji. He has such a distinct voice, a lot more high pitched and almost sounds nasally… if that’s the correct word to describe it. And I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, he still gives a nice vocal performance for frederic’s songs.

“TOGENKYO” is pretty different from other frederic songs I’ve listened to like “Kanashii Ureshii” and “oddloop”, as it sounds a lot more rock-like. While the songs I listed had more of a fun and upbeat sound to them, “TOGENKYO” on the other hand has a more “cool” vibe to it and a very traditional instrumental arrangement, as for the the most part they used the the usual guitar, drums, and bass lineup in this song. But despite the slight uniqueness of this frederic song, it definitely still includes the overall charm and sound the band usually has.


And I think that’s all I gotta say for today! I hope you enjoyed this week’s song pile, I believe it was a good week for music for myself 😛

Also if you didn’t know, I’ve been adding various J-music songs I’ve discovered on Spotify for the past year or so into a single playlist. If you’re interested in checking that out, click here! I update it pretty frequently with new additions (once a week, at the least), so also feel free to follow it on Spotify.

And as always, if you have any J-music suggestions of your own, by all means submit them in the comments! I’m always happy to discover new tracks 😀

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Thanks for reading!! 😀 (also a new, not fully music-related post should be coming out in a day or so)

-al

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