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New Sakanaction: “Shin Takara Jima”

1. Sakanaction’s music-video game remains near the top level of contemporary Japanese music, goodness gracious the bubble-era beauty of this.

2. It isn’t like Sakanaction went anywhere, but 2015 felt more like a celebration of the band’s rise up the rungs of the Japanese rock scene than…well, a glimpse of whatever was next. Mainly, the summer was spent revisiting music from a few years ago via a special compilation collection. The band got up to various activities — lead singer Ichiro Yamaguchi’s Night Fishing events have been particularly cool looking — but no new releases.

The wait is over with “Shin Takara Jima,” Sakanaction’s latest single (technically out this week, for those still paying about ten dollars for singles). It’s a welcome return — the song does what Sakanaction have done so well in recent years, which is build a groove that explodes into a big, emotionally charged hook, all while subtly changing over the course of its playtime. It’s not the band’s most daring look in recent years, but as a return-to-spotlight number, very good. Watch above.

3. Sakanaction are also getting in on another J-Pop trend…they are launching their own label, called NF Records. I mean, more on that later, but the key is a new NF Records YouTube page launched alongside “Shin Takara Jima,” which features all of the band’s older videos re-uploaded in good quality. Most importantly, you can now watch the video for 2011’s masterclass “Rookie” in non-garbage quality.