good japanese indie stuff?

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anyone have any recommendations for cool, edgy-but-listenable japanese indie groups/artists? surely there must be loads of great bands outta tokyo/osaka/sapporo/etc i don't know of but should! what little i know of already i dig, in particular:

cornelius (starfruit surf rider is a cool little song, and some of his other stuff i like as well)
supercar (though i've only heard a few songs, if anyone has any album/song recomendations let 'em out)
cibo mata obviously

shonen knife and that band in "kill bill" i can take or leave, but i'd give both of them another chance if someone wants to point out a standout album by either of them...

messiahwannabe, Friday, 29 August 2008 04:31 (thirteen years ago) link

ps. the ruins are cool but i consider them more "noise" than "indie" but that's mere semantics of course

messiahwannabe, Friday, 29 August 2008 04:34 (thirteen years ago) link

Oh! Penelope's 'The Red Balloon' is stunning.

I went through a Cymbals faze back in 2000 or so. Mr. Noone Special was my album at that time especially. Not sure it dated all that great, but still fun.

I'm sure someone will point you to the Shiina Ringo thread, if you're not already in the know.

I downloaded a lot of Chocolat a couple years ago but haven't spent enough time with it to suggest it. Maybe now's the time to pull it back out.

Flipper's Guitar I imagine would be the ILX fave.

PappaWheelie V, Friday, 29 August 2008 04:36 (thirteen years ago) link

I'd suggest Asian Kung Fu Generation and Triceratops off the top of my head. Both are fairly straightforward indie rockers.

A more off the wall suggestion would be Limited Express (Has Gone?) or maybe Tokyo Pinsalocks.

Take a look at our blog for a few more suggestions ;)

fooel1001, Friday, 29 August 2008 06:50 (thirteen years ago) link


The's singles comp Bomb The Rocks is as good a place to start as any if you want to give them another chance.

Colonel Poo, Friday, 29 August 2008 08:21 (thirteen years ago) link

Aiha Higurashi from Seagull Screaming Kiss Her Kiss Her has a new band called Loves. It is excellence.

Johnny Fever, Friday, 29 August 2008 08:50 (thirteen years ago) link

Kazumasa Hashimoto's latest album Euphoriam is pretty great, not strictly indie (in inverted commas) it's more gentle and reflective, folktronica stuff.

In-fact, anything on Noble records is great.

MaresNest, Friday, 29 August 2008 09:09 (thirteen years ago) link

Angel in Heavy Syrup are a great all-girl psychadelic rock band. Some stuff produced by Jojo from Hijokaidan. Thre third album is excellent.

And for Shonen Knife, their self-titled record rules.

gnarly sceptre, Friday, 29 August 2008 09:24 (thirteen years ago) link

Maher Shalal Hash Baz "From An Egypt To Another Egypt"

ian, Friday, 29 August 2008 15:59 (thirteen years ago) link

2nd Angel In Heavy Syrup, also Slap Happy Humphrey, a kind of/sort of spin-off. Can't think of anything current.

contenderizer, Friday, 29 August 2008 16:02 (thirteen years ago) link

Nissenen Mondai do a cool "intense kraut"/post-punk thing. But they are a current group and the songs are good.

ian, Friday, 29 August 2008 16:03 (thirteen years ago) link


Mackro Mackro, Friday, 29 August 2008 16:04 (thirteen years ago) link

"indie"'s too stifling a word for her but

the Shiina Ringo thread

Mackro Mackro, Friday, 29 August 2008 16:05 (thirteen years ago) link

If Buffalo Daughter still around?

Mackro Mackro, Friday, 29 August 2008 16:08 (thirteen years ago) link

You might wanna take a look at this thread.

At the risk of sounding like a creepy Japanophile, I honestly think that the Japanese do rock music better than just about anyone these days.

In the above thread I mentioned some bands and why I like them, I don't want to be too redundant so I'll just post some youtube links:

Zazen Boys, one of the bands which rose from the ashes of Number Girl, are pretty much essential.

Sambomaster have three solid albums of fantastic, manic pop/rock under their belt, but their most recent material has been a bit disappointing.

Bloodthirsty Butchers are pretty solid indie-ish rock as well.

Unfortunately, I think a lot of this really good stuff doesn't crossover to US audiences as easily as stuff like Polysics, Boredoms, etc. because it's more "serious" and doesn't fall in line with our stereotypes about "wacky japanese people." It's a shame.

telepathy_rock!, Friday, 29 August 2008 16:32 (thirteen years ago) link

Bloodthirsty Butchers used to be a more metallic/post-hc sort of thing, didn't they?

contenderizer, Friday, 29 August 2008 16:35 (thirteen years ago) link

Well to me that sort of thing falls under the "indie" umbrella...but I don't want to get into one of those hair-splitting arguments about what "indie"'s like the definition of "pornography"--you know it when you see (or in this case, hear) it. It's all purely subjective, you know?

telepathy_rock!, Friday, 29 August 2008 16:42 (thirteen years ago) link

Zazen Boys, for example, DEFINITELY do the "metallic post-hc" thing, but then, they also do jazzy breakdowns and weirdo minimalist pop.

telepathy_rock!, Friday, 29 August 2008 16:43 (thirteen years ago) link

Another thing is that these bands are all moderately successful/popular within Japan. Actual "japanese indie" is probably much tougher to get a hold of over here.

telepathy_rock!, Friday, 29 August 2008 16:45 (thirteen years ago) link

Well, in that case, Paintbox! Awesome melodic hc.

contenderizer, Friday, 29 August 2008 16:48 (thirteen years ago) link

plus-tech squeezebox
flying rhythms

Steve Shasta, Friday, 29 August 2008 19:00 (thirteen years ago) link


is it one word? what does it mean?

ian, Friday, 29 August 2008 20:41 (thirteen years ago) link

"y2k problem"

Steve Shasta, Friday, 29 August 2008 20:45 (thirteen years ago) link

GREAT band name.

ian, Friday, 29 August 2008 20:46 (thirteen years ago) link

^They have some nice youtube clips. Wish I got to see them when they were in Chicago for the first Million Tongues event. Nissennenmondai, that is.

Trip Maker, Friday, 29 August 2008 20:54 (thirteen years ago) link

plus-tech squeezebox

I LOVED them around 02/03 but I never thought of them as indie. sorta post shibuya-kei

and if we're going that route, today, YMCK has a couple tracks in my playlist now. chiptune, but with heavy j-pop/post-shibuya melodies.

capsule too, but they're closer to shibuya-kei

This might be worth taking recommendations from if you're into this brand of stuff:

PappaWheelie V, Friday, 29 August 2008 22:54 (thirteen years ago) link

I don't know if Petty Booka are exactly what you're looking for...

dlp9001, Saturday, 30 August 2008 00:31 (thirteen years ago) link

piana has made three lovely records, she's vaguely in the cocteau twins realm and mostly avoids the annoying helium voice syndrome.

keythkeyth, Saturday, 30 August 2008 05:03 (thirteen years ago) link

three weeks pass...

Rie Tanaka - Raison D'etre (from Chobits)

tony orlando and dawng (PappaWheelie V), Sunday, 21 September 2008 16:34 (thirteen years ago) link

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Godmother and Godfather of Shibuya-kei, Takako Minekawa and Cornelius. Get Fantasma if you haven't already. Cornelius's music nowadays is really like listening to music that will be on spaceships fifty years from now. Takako Minekawa is perhaps one of my favorite musicians of all time and any album by her is worth getting, especially the Maxi-On EP.

Adam Bruneau, Sunday, 21 September 2008 21:45 (thirteen years ago) link

Adam Bruneau, Sunday, 21 September 2008 21:48 (thirteen years ago) link

Destroy: Maher Shalal Hash Baz. Maybe could pass for "edgy" but certainly not listenable...

Nisennenmondai are really cool, guitars look giant

sonderangerbot, Sunday, 21 September 2008 22:07 (thirteen years ago) link

Chocolat - Like a Starberry

tony orlando and dawng (PappaWheelie V), Sunday, 21 September 2008 22:42 (thirteen years ago) link

Not sure where Momus is, but:

Kahimi Karie - One Thousand 20th Century Chairs

tony orlando and dawng (PappaWheelie V), Sunday, 21 September 2008 22:47 (thirteen years ago) link

two weeks pass...

Kaji Hideki - Good Morning Call Song

tony orlando and dawng (PappaWheelie V), Monday, 6 October 2008 03:46 (thirteen years ago) link

what is the feeling here (if any) about yura yura teikoku

thorn, Monday, 6 October 2008 06:58 (thirteen years ago) link


milling through the grinder, grinding through the mill (S-), Monday, 6 October 2008 07:09 (thirteen years ago) link

Green Milk from the Planet Orange. More of a live band than a studio band, but amazing nonetheless.

Nate Carson, Monday, 6 October 2008 08:34 (thirteen years ago) link

the new tenniscoats record is lovely. they ought to have a thread. i think we're edging away from edgy. eddie marcon, two of lsd march, are really great. there's a new nagisa ni te lp, and shogu tokamaru's touring. i trust monorail music for albums of the month with a japanese theme.

schlump, Monday, 6 October 2008 12:50 (thirteen years ago) link

The new Zazen Boys album has been out for about a month now, and it is bananas:

telepathy_rock!, Wednesday, 8 October 2008 01:21 (thirteen years ago) link

one month passes...

"Chameleon Man" (PappaWheelie V), Tuesday, 11 November 2008 17:35 (thirteen years ago) link

what is the feeling here (if any) about yura yura teikoku

love em. especially the live album. "sweet spot" is pretty good but more subdued than I expected, I like when they freak out more

does Nisennenmondai have an album? or a single? I've only heard their track on the first Million Tongues comp

huh looks like they have a couple EPs and a bunch of CDRs

dmr, Tuesday, 11 November 2008 17:43 (thirteen years ago) link

what is Bump of Chicken considered to be?

the sir weeze, Tuesday, 11 November 2008 18:00 (thirteen years ago) link

new midori hirano is lovely

keythkeyth, Wednesday, 12 November 2008 02:14 (thirteen years ago) link

dmr, Saturday, 15 November 2008 16:49 (thirteen years ago) link

Instant Cytron

The New Herb Stempel (PappaWheelie V), Saturday, 22 November 2008 14:51 (thirteen years ago) link

six months pass...

new midori hirano is lovely

I loved LushRush, is it on the same label, Noble?

MaresNest, Sunday, 21 June 2009 22:58 (twelve years ago) link

that sounds very cornelius produced, were they "together" at some point? Milk Rock (Cornelius remix) - Takako Minekawa is great as well

also digging Tenniscoats, 坂本龍一 + 嶺川貴子, and supercar is getting even better after repeated listenings

messiahwannabe, Tuesday, 23 June 2009 09:53 (twelve years ago) link

Aside from her first album possibly, everything Takako Minekawa has ever recorded is mindblowingly awesome.

I got a couple of albums by Seagull Screaming Kiss Her Kiss Her and they were pretty cool. The "17" record is wonderful and stripped down 90s experimental j-rock. They made a LP-length video for it called "Motorhead and Drive Video" and I recently transferred my copy and put a few videos on youtube:

Adam Bruneau, Sunday, 28 June 2009 01:38 (twelve years ago) link

Sakanaction rules! My favourite band of the past five years at least - seeing them at Summer Sonic two years ago was some of the most fun I've ever had at a festival. tried and failed to get them on the EOY 77 several times lol.

"Music" is basically an early-to-mid 00s indie dance track and its own Jacques Lu Cont remix at the same time:

Roz, Thursday, 13 September 2018 10:42 (three years ago) link

i also enjoy the fact that a band as outre as sakanaction are considered a huge mainstream pop act in Japan, with endorsements for everything from beer to space robots.

Roz, Thursday, 13 September 2018 10:54 (three years ago) link

Heard about Toe after they had just played a DC show that I missed.

curmudgeon, Thursday, 13 September 2018 15:18 (three years ago) link

one of these days I'll start a Mitsume thread, they are my fav japanese indie stuff for sure, vibe is similar to Real Estate, but they're super precise and effective in their playing, here's their latest jam:

― niels, Wednesday, September 12, 2018 5:30 AM (yesterday) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

really like this song

ciderpress, Thursday, 13 September 2018 15:32 (three years ago) link

two months pass...

Just got around to listening to Quruli - it's amazing!!

tangenttangent, Saturday, 17 November 2018 21:38 (three years ago) link

one month passes...

Listening to Piana's _Snowbird_ this morning, came here to ask if she'd followed up her three albums with a fourth. Did a quick search first, though, and yes! _Muse_ out in 2014, available on Bandcamp. Will be downloading tonight myself, but FYI for any other fans.

the body of a spider... (scampering alpaca), Monday, 7 January 2019 18:16 (three years ago) link

two months pass...

Really looking forward to mitsume's new one. New single is fantastic:

afriendlypioneer, Wednesday, 27 March 2019 16:09 (two years ago) link

Not strictly indie but here's some lovely eclectic art-pop

like him hate us? Sure you are. Its in the cool aid. (ultros ultros-ghali), Thursday, 28 March 2019 17:56 (two years ago) link

Digging the hell out of this. Can't easily find the album that just came out, unfortunately. Any good?


afriendlypioneer, Monday, 1 April 2019 14:03 (two years ago) link

afriendlypioneer, Monday, 1 April 2019 14:09 (two years ago) link

I like the way Japanese indie bands all seem to be heavily influenced by The Sea And Cake. Or is it some other, more obvious influence?

Zeuhl Idol (Matt #2), Monday, 1 April 2019 14:29 (two years ago) link

That Ai Kamano record is sounding great, thanks uug.

Even though they're not exactly "indie" (more psych rock), this is probably a good thread to encourage UK ilx0rs to go see Kuunatic when they come back over here this summer.

emil.y, Monday, 1 April 2019 15:17 (two years ago) link

Forgot that it's good practice to actually say what the links are, but anyway, glad someone likes it!

I keep meaning to bring up Jyocho as well so I'll do that now, they're sort of math-rock with a strong influence from Midwest emo. That's not particularly unusual but they do it in a way that make my eyes moist, their album from last year is lovely stuff

are eX-girl indie?

just found out they're a thing again. there's a single. guess i'm gonna have to buy it.

afriendlypioneer, Tuesday, 2 April 2019 19:47 (two years ago) link

whoa, I was listening to them just yesterday. I wonder if it's the same line-up

this is what the official page says:

It is a pleasure to be able to announce everyone on eX – Girl reunion today.Last summer, when I returned from Mt. Hakusan, which was opened for climbers 1,300 years ago.
Suddenly, I thought I wanted to play again as ‘eX-Girl’, which was the rock band consisted of three women who were playing
mainly in overseas for 10 years since 1997.
At that time, I did not tell anyone that story.But the next day, suddenly from the US record label called Secret Records contacted me and told they were interested in releasing the sound source
from old ex-Girl on a vinyl.Yes! All of a sudden!And we released it in the US at the end of last year.Also, I received a message asking for having a live concert tour in the US.
I answered, “If I could find a new member.”
To find someone who can sing, play musical instruments, with atmosphere and mental strength, and also can do performance must be quite difficult, I thought.
However, I found them!Both of them are beautiful women who “love Mother Earth”.
I am so delighted and am thinking this must be heaven’s discretion!We will be playing in the US in the next spring, and in Europe in the summer.As we are a new member, and in 11 years absence, we are going to have several live performance in Japan, and will continue to
power up.The first reunion live concert will be held at Kichijoji GB on Thursday, 18th October, 2018!We are psychedelic, spacious and unique rock band with the concept of “Came to save the Earth from the Planet Kero Kero!”Please do come to the first celebration live concert of our reunion!

Looks like they were at SXSW. I honestly had no idea. Been listening to them a bit lately as well and just assumed they were totally defunct.

afriendlypioneer, Tuesday, 2 April 2019 20:13 (two years ago) link

new mitsume album, ghosts, is out today

it's a keeper

afriendlypioneer, Wednesday, 3 April 2019 14:41 (two years ago) link

I'd like to actually hear what it sounds like before spending $8, but eX-girl's new single is being released Stateside by Alternative Tentacles:

afriendlypioneer, Monday, 15 April 2019 19:25 (two years ago) link

Their last album was on Alternative Tentacles, and is fantastic

tbh I only know their last 2 albums - are the first 5 similar cos I should probably listen to those at some point

Colonel Poo, Monday, 15 April 2019 19:32 (two years ago) link

Yes, pretty much. One is almost entirely acapella. Kero Kero Kero is really good and less 'proggy' than the last two albums.

afriendlypioneer, Monday, 15 April 2019 19:41 (two years ago) link

New Yogee New Waves album is really good, particularly this track

afriendlypioneer, Tuesday, 16 April 2019 13:08 (two years ago) link

Does Shintaro Sakamoto count, or is he too popular/western

Dan I., Tuesday, 16 April 2019 13:17 (two years ago) link

three months pass...

new Sakanaction double came out last month without me realising. great video:

Hmmmmm (jamiesummerz), Tuesday, 16 July 2019 14:10 (two years ago) link

i'm on track 3 and can confirm this album is REALLY REALLY GOOD.

Hmmmmm (jamiesummerz), Tuesday, 16 July 2019 14:18 (two years ago) link

never heard of this group but that video is indeed great, captures a vibe that's very in right now

frogbs, Tuesday, 16 July 2019 14:26 (two years ago) link

the album doesn't quite reach the same heights as "Music" or "Yoru no Odoriko" from the s/t and probably leans a little more mellow/MOR than i'd prefer from them overall but they're still enjoyable as always. their run of singles over the past 6 years is still pretty strong when compiled on this album, especially "Shin Takarajima" and "Sayonara wa Emotion". out of the new stuff "Wasurerarenaino" is definitely my favourite and yeah the video is great too - they have a knack for excellent videos

ufo, Tuesday, 16 July 2019 14:27 (two years ago) link

Posted this in the J-pop thread too.

Agree with all of the above - the album is great but definitely could have used some editing. Either way, they're easily my favourite band of the past five years or so - an instinctive knack for building and releasing tension, soaring pop choruses, great videos, morose but with a sense of humour about it. Everything I love in a band pretty much.

Roz, Tuesday, 16 July 2019 15:00 (two years ago) link

Nice video, checking that album out! Sort of strikes me as vaporwave and future funk being reflected back from where the bulk of the sounds came from.... or are those movements not as western in origin as I'm thinking? I lived in Japan for a couple years in the 00s and just sort of remember those sounds just being everywhere out in the air (radio/TV), while I was more concerned with the local indie and hiphop of the time. It was all a good mix. Got to dip into this thread's suggestions some more.

maffew12, Tuesday, 16 July 2019 15:11 (two years ago) link

vaporwave/future funk etc. have been heavily drawing from and sampling 80s japanese city pop in addition to western disco etc., and over the past decade or so there's also been a city pop revival in japan, though much more mainstream than in the west where it's mostly just been a hip influence and sample source etc. though there is "plastic love"'s bizarre youtube popularity

ufo, Tuesday, 16 July 2019 15:22 (two years ago) link

oh i think i misread that a bit but anyway, "wasurerarenaino" is very much in the tradition of that city pop revival rather than any western vaporwave/future funk influence i'd think. there has been the occasional actual crossover from vaporwave back to the city pop revival, most notably 'vaporwave idol group' Especia whose music was city pop revival music but also drew heavily on vaporwave aesthetics after their producers stumbled upon some vaporwave on soundcloud via its heavy use of japanese text lol.

ufo, Tuesday, 16 July 2019 15:30 (two years ago) link

hahaha. no you got me. this is exactly the kind of link i was curious about. I'd only even heard of "city pop" recently. Living there it was just like, oh this is what 'new wave' was over here?


maffew12, Tuesday, 16 July 2019 15:34 (two years ago) link

I'm never far away from being in a Clammbon phase, I keep all they rekkids close to hand despite the fact the last three EPs have been available only in Japan and not in normal shops but music instrument shops, coffee houses and little stationery shops in Kichijoji back streets, severely testing my fanhood, but they're more than worth the hassle.

MaresNest, Tuesday, 16 July 2019 16:20 (two years ago) link

I saw Clammbon perform live a zillion years ago and they did a serviceable cover of Judee Sill's "That's The Spirit", let me see if I can find it on the 'tube.

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Tuesday, 16 July 2019 19:16 (two years ago) link

(this would have been ~2005, forget who they were opening for...)

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Tuesday, 16 July 2019 19:20 (two years ago) link

I am jealous !

MaresNest, Tuesday, 16 July 2019 20:27 (two years ago) link

Sakanaction album is kind of dull (to me) outside that incredible first track. The video, oh my. One of the best I've ever seen.

afriendlypioneer, Wednesday, 17 July 2019 14:05 (two years ago) link

five months pass...

Love these guys -

Maresn3st, Tuesday, 17 December 2019 17:57 (two years ago) link

Ha, I love that. That pace shift really gets in your head!

Le Bateau Ivre, Tuesday, 17 December 2019 18:17 (two years ago) link

this is messing with my brain

frogbs, Tuesday, 17 December 2019 18:18 (two years ago) link

one month passes...

beautifully bonkers

afriendlypioneer, Monday, 27 January 2020 20:05 (one year ago) link

this is awesome, thanks

culture of mayordom (voodoo chili), Monday, 27 January 2020 20:58 (one year ago) link

I hope there's more to come. I've been playing the hell out of Endangered Species over the last couple weeks and it is a fantastic record.

afriendlypioneer, Thursday, 30 January 2020 16:59 (one year ago) link

nine months pass...

japanese indie mp3 store and stream, looks to be tenniscoats-focused and -run

some interesting stuff

adam, Monday, 16 November 2020 21:20 (one year ago) link

two weeks pass...

I love this band so much -

Maresn3st, Friday, 4 December 2020 16:20 (one year ago) link

This is great. You would probably like a lot of other stuff in the vocaloid scene.

Allen (etaeoe), Friday, 4 December 2020 18:51 (one year ago) link

if you can point me to bands that use it but aren't J-Pop, Techno or more traditional vocaloid music, I'd be super interested to hear.

Maresn3st, Friday, 4 December 2020 23:01 (one year ago) link

eleven months pass...

two recent singles from AprilBlue who sound kind of like the Beths but with a bit of a shoegaze thing going on:
AprilBlue - Clarity
AprilBlue - シーサイド

o shit the sheriff (NickB), Monday, 8 November 2021 17:19 (two months ago) link

one month passes...

If I may shill for myself and my friends for one sec.

Japan Alternative Sessions, a radio show I started a few years back has been reactivated, it's not just indie/alt we cover as much ground as possible, old and new music. The plan is to do a 2 hour+ show once a month and put it out on Mixcloud and YouTube or wherever else we can.

This is the latest edition:

Maresn3st, Sunday, 26 December 2021 12:53 (three weeks ago) link

Stumbled across this little gem today, really great debut, for fans of Clammbon, Tricot, Spangle Call Lilli Line etc:

Maresn3st, Saturday, 8 January 2022 16:05 (one week ago) link

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