With the year just passed its halfway point, here’s a mix sampling of some of the Japanese releases that have caught my attention thus far in 2022. Rock still feels like it’s in a slump here, which might partly be down to the ongoing impact of the pandemic but which is probably part of a broader trend in which no one under 40 really listens to rock music anymore. It means there are a lot of familiar faces in this playlist, although that’s also a simple feature of my attempts to keep up with the output of artists who’ve impressed me over the years (as long as former_airline keeps putting out good music, I’m going to keep including him in these things). Tracklist and brief descriptions are below. I’ve tried to add Bandcamp links where they exist, but where they don’t, you might be able to find them on one of the streaming services — otherwise, they may only exist on a CD-R sold to you by the band directly.
in the sun – Nostalgia Compared to the noise-rock leanings of their first album, 2016’s El Energy, the Metaphor cassette album from the label arm of Tokyo’s Discipline event team takes some similarly kraut-adjacent progressive soundscapery further away from rock and into more industrial territory. Some of the results are caustic and others, like this track, point a direction towards the epic.
A.P.O.S. – 人糞 / Zinpun The band name stands for “a piece of shit” and this Hiroshima duo’s self-titled EP strips away explicitly musical sounds and luxuriates in the textures of the remaining sonic effluence. The results are more subtle than the band name evokes though, as the quiet, ambient hum of this track demonstrates.