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The Really Good Japanese Rock Music Guide — 37 Comments

  1. I love 東京事変 and The Pillows! I like a few songs by マキシマム ザ ホルモン too. I’ll have to try out these other bands.

    You should give ミドリ and 385 a listen. Both are pretty similar to eachother. They’re like noise/punk rock and they’re really insane. Female vocals too.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FTk3nqYZKiQ

    • Oh yeah, I am a big fan of Fishmans too. :) I just wasn’t sure if I should include it here because it isn’t entirely rock. Whatever it is, it’s a lot of fun. Good to see another fan. :) Also, they probably had the best vocalist ever. R.I.P.

      Glad you liked the post! :)

  2. Of all those bands there, “Mono” was by far the most interesting to me. I’ve always liked long, slow and melodious rock like that. Unfortunately it doesn’t fit into my (still very small) Japanese music list, since I want vocals for immersion purpose.

    Does anyone know of any similar band like that, but with vocals? Or any type of laid-back, Japanese vocal rock music that you can just chill to.

  3. I love Japanese music. I’m hoping to be working in the Japanese music industry at some point, and it’s a big part of why I’m studying Japanese. I go to a lot of Japanese Rock concerts in Tokyo, and I think Eric and I listen to a lot of the same music. I saw FLiP, tricot, Unlimits, Scotland Girl, and Four Get Me A Nots, this past Sunday (I mostly went to see tricot (Math Rock) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZjTXh_zaXc). I also went to my friend’s concert last Thursday; he’s the singer for Nothing’s Carved In Stone (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYZT0JzCfjU). One of my favorite bands that I saw live was きのこ帝国 (Kinoko Teikoku), a Indie Rock/Shoegaze band (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xLLqGseXBTs) when they played with la la larks (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xLLqGseXBTs), a new band with the former singer of School Food Punishment.

    Ah, man. This kinda makes me want to write an article or two for JALUP. I’ll at least share one last thing. I write for a website that promotes Japanese Indie, Alternative, and Electronic music over at SparkPlugged.net. If people like the music in this article, there is definitely some overlap.

    • Oo, スゴイ! I don’t see much live music, mostly because half the bands I like are overseas and I live in a fairly isolated part of America. I was really mad last year because Melt-Banana, one of my favorite Japanese bands was playing just about right next to me, but I couldn’t go because it was at a 21+ venue. A year too soon. Life is rough! :) Very cool that you’ve gotten to see all of those bands live, tricot and きのこ帝国 are especially amazing.

      Thanks for the link to SparkPlugged! It’s good to find another good Japanese music blog. Oh, and glad to hear you enjoyed the new 惑星アブノーマル album too :)

      • I hear Melt Banana’s new album is great, but I haven’t heard it yet.

        I also love ゲスの極み乙女。 (same singer as indigo la end), I mention them because I found them around the same time as 惑星アブノーマル. In fact, I believe ゲス signed a major contract the other month.

        I mostly see Indie bands (I saw Czecho no Republic a few weeks after their major debut last Fall), but I saw my favorite current Visual Kei band, Jupiter, in December, too (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h78r7MnWRkM). I also saw one of my favorite Japanese rappers, Ken the 390 (pronounced さんきゅうまる) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9T0-yG–Fss) perform somewhat recently.

        There is some sort of weird misinformation in the West that the audiences at Japanese concerts are very dull. Don’t believe these lies. I think they were spread by people who had strange experiences, or went to dull shows. The most extreme moshing and crowd surfing I’ve witnessed in my life was at the show for a Japanese female Punk rock band. Crowds here are extremely into audience participation. I hope you get to see Melt Banana (or Maximum the Hormone, perhaps. I really want to see them, personally) some day soon!

        • Melt-Banana’s new album is great, I was very glad to see a new album from them after a long break.

          Oh, I haven’t heard anything from ゲスの極み乙女 yet, but I have heard a lot of good things about them. Funny, because I always hear them mentioned in the same breath as 惑星アブノーマル as well. I should get around to checking them out.

          Sounds like fun! Very cool that you are able to make it to all kinds of live shows. :) I’ve never heard of Jupiter or Ken before. I’ll give Jupiter a listen because I haven’t really listened to much Visual Kei that I’ve liked yet. A lot of bands were really boring and turned me off of the genre for a while.

          Thanks for the comment :)

          • Oh! Well you’ve heard of Versailles; Jupiter is the new band made up of members from Versailles, sans Kamijou (the singer).

    • I actually typed up a reply recommending three of the bands you mentioned, along with a few others (mass of the fermenting dregs *cough* just had to get their name out there despite them splitting up the year before last), but decided not to finish it because it was starting to turn into an article in itself.

      • Aww, too bad, I would have liked to see it :) Yeah, マスドレ’s split was pretty sad. They were a great group.

  4. Thanks for this list! Lots of cool stuff to check out. I’ve always been a huge fan of Maximum the Hormone. My favourite Japanese band is still UVERworld though. Here’s a random live clip for anyone who hasn’t heard them. They are more Pop Rock rather than straight out Rock.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LwyzClhokyw

    Versailles are fantastic as well. I’d describe them as Power Metal.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AWMY5oXKK5M

    Japanese bands always seem to be so tight live!

  5. Thank you thank you for introducing me to Maximum the Hormone! They’re awesome, and I’ve been looking for a band with that kind of flair for a while. My favorite band from here is Coheed and Cambria so I love the progressive, always changing kind of stuff (anybody know of Japanese prog. rock?). I also used to be big into metal as well so it’s rad to hear them throw that into the mix.

    As for any Japanese rock that I’ve listened to, I was really into the ska/punk scene for a while so of course TSPO (Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra). Also in the more punk ska scene I like some Feelflip and Miami Bazooka Head. Those 3 are the main guys I can name off the top of my head.

    • You’re quite welcome! :) They are awesome. Glad you liked them. I wish I could give you more recommendations, but I’ve never listened to much progressive rock, Japanese or otherwise.

      Japanese ska is awesome! :) I’m a big fan of TSPO and a bit of Oreskaband. (Jpop/ska band. It’s fun.) Haven’t heard of any of the others, though, sounds interesting.

    • Yep. Don’t worry, I’ll have some hip-hop picks posted soon. :) Do you have any you can recommend? I don’t know of a whole lot, to be honest, and it would be nice to find some more good ones.

      • DJ Motora
        North Smoke Ing – Herbest(album)

        OR just search Youtube for the channel nihongorapyoyo and you have an amazing playlist for the taking!! MUAHAHAHAHAAA! Seriously, it’s goooood stuff. :)

      • Ken the 390, Shing02, 環ROY, Aisha, Sky-hi (from AAA), Haiiro de Rossi, Cradle Orchestra, RHYMESTER, Steady&Co., 鬼, ケツメイシ, 般若… There are a bunch of phenomenal producers in Japan, too!

  6. Around 2003 a friend introduced me to some music by a band whose name a wish I could remember! I want to say they are Japanese, but really not sure. I know they have a song called “Smoke” and use sounds in some of their tracks such as birds chirping and water dripping to great effect. I know maybe it’s a long shot, but can someone please help me figure out the name of this band! I soooooo want to listen to them again!

  7. For those who want some good alt-rock and experimental music, my favorite producer in those genres (and probably my favorite musician ever) is 古川本舗, or FURUKAWA Honpo. I’ll provide two examples of his music: is relatively new 「スカート」(”SKIRT”) and one of his older songs, 「春の」(“Haru No”). Of all songs I’ve ever listened to, Haru No stands out as the best I’ve ever heard and, honestly, the only song to have made me cry.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JHslWI27S4I (春の)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xHOIuReWe4w (スカート)

  8. All mine are sort of on the pop rock side except for High and Mighty Color and Nightmare: UVERworld, School Food Punishment, andymori, Scandal, Stereopony. SFP and Scandal are the best and very different from each other, Scandal being fun and OTT and SFP really relaxed and emotion driven. UVERworld are beast too but I’ve over-listened to them recently. (Maximum the Hormone would also be on my list)

  9. FLOW is also a very good Jrock band. I love their music a lot! Literally listen to it every day. They have fast and slow songs and their vocalists and guitar/s are the best! The raps are also like really great! Hope you enjoy…
    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=rWcKivYS1zg
    This is only 2 songs though. Thank you for reading.

  10. This is a really great list! Usually these “good japanese bands”/ “top 10 japanese bands” lists are dominated by visual kei bands or bands like ONE OK ROCK and SCANDAL who are decent but definitely not the best Japan has to offer in terms of music. The only band I’d say is missing from your list is NUMBER GIRL, they’re considered one of the bands that strongly influenced the current generation of rock bands active in Japan right now – TK from sigure apparently said he probably wouldn’t be playing music today if it wasn’t for NUMBER GIRL!

  11. I know this thread is kinda old, but I’m hoping you can help me find a band I really enjoyed listening to, but I just can’t remember the name of them.. They were an atmospheric Japanese rock type band that reminded me a lot of the Deftones. They are fronted by a female vocalist. If that reminds you of any bands please let me know!

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