New Kindan No Tasuketsu: “Chyuuto Han Pa Hayamete” Featuring Izumi Makura

Kindan No Tasuketsu just released a new collection of songs, Entertainment, and here’s a woozy taste of it. Kindan handles the dreamy chorus, while guest rapper Izumi Makura adds some flair to the verses. It’s a focused number, and features a very nice outro. Check it out above.

Nice Nice: SAWA’s “RingaRinga”

New single from one of the many electro-pop artists who got a stab at the mainstream in the wake of Perfume’s landscape-shifting album GAME…and one of the many to recede from the spotlight and end up on some tiny imprint once the market decided they only really wanted one future-pop group bumrushing the charts. Which is a shame, because SAWA is pretty good overall, and “RingaRinga” is a nice synth-pop workout. Part cheerful electro-pop, part dance-floor-aiming release (that beat).

SAWA is also responsible for writing and co-arranging Especia’s “Midnight Confusion,” if you needed an extra nudge to click ‘play.’

New The Moments: “Vertigo”

Geez, did everyone just go and decide to release new music this weekend???

Nagoya’s The Moments were one of the first bands to excite us about the possibilities of the burgeoning Japanese indie-pop scene…which is always there, but seemed extra exciting around this time about two years ago…and one that has been mostly quiet since releasing an EP earlier this year. We sorta lost track of the indie-pop world (and got into Internet dance songs) but The Moments popping up with a new song has our attention. “Vertigo” features a darker mood for the band, albeit one still supported by skippy drum playing and a generally uptempo speed. Yet it’s a downer lyrically, and even as the song progresses it turns more buzzy and forlorn. Listen below.

New Her Ghost Friend: “Knock Knock”

Geez, this week is off to a great start. Colorful J-pop duo Her Ghost Friend are back with “Knock Knock,” an extremely playful number that finds producer DJ Obake treating sounds like gooey taffy. From the start, “Knock Knock” drips in samples of birds, scattered sounds and the titular phrase before segueing into a slightly more traditional structure. Still, Obake messes with pitch, bass sounds and Shinobu Ono’s voice twisted into various directions (at times sounding like it is drifting off into space). Yet there is also a bouncy pop number here, just one off-set by stuff that would seem out of place on an Oricon-charting single. Listen below, or download it here.

That’s One Way To Launch: New Label Neo-Mo-De Records Releases New EPs By Kai Takahashi And Soleil Soleil

A new label…whether they be net-centric or capable of producing physical object…isn’t a particularly newsworthy development. Imprints start up all the time, so Kyoto outfit Neo-Mo-De Records initially look like yet another bunch of people with wi-fi and musical ambitions, even if they are planning an event in Yokohama this January. Yet Neo-Mo-De demands attention with their first two offerings, from two names in the Japanese indie-electronic community always worth checking out. Their debut release is by producer Kai Takahashi, the three-song Soda Pop. Takahashi has kept busy in 2014 – he released the Sweet Vacation Part 1 album, and he’s the lead singer in the afternoon-breezy group Lucky Tapes – but this trio of songs highlight everything great about his style. His earliest creations were mostly colorful creations, which is how these songs play out, albeit with an extra dash of splayed samples ala bo en or Wave Racer. “Party Talk” takes a De-De-Mouse-ish approach to vocal samples, before going full playroom bounce. “Be Crazy” is the best song here, built off a a vocal hook backed by head-nodding beat and splashes of colorful synth. Only the title track finds Takahashi himself singing, and that one has a heck of a shiny finale. Listen to it below.

Their second outing comes courtesy of Osaka’s Soleil Soleil, with the finely titled Love Is The Greatest Refreshment In Life EP. The title track is a slow-burning bit of tropical house featuring Kyoto artist Littlebear providing vocals, made all the sweeter by flute samples and some fantastic steel drum. The rest of the EP is solid enough – Boys Get Hurt offers a solid remix of the title track, and Littlebear swings by for the other original song, the more fidgety “Don’t Matter” – but “Love Is The Greatest Refreshment In Life” is the young label’s strongest shot yet. Listen below.