Gezan with Million Wish Collective — Anochi

A quintessential punk band of the Japanese underground scene, Gezan enlisted the help of a host of familiar faces to join the chorus for their fantastic new album, Anochi. Under the name Million Wish Collective, 15 members, including Kopy, provide vocals. Singer and trombonist Midori from The Hatch, who produced one of our top albums of 2022, is also part of the collective.

As the band have come to encapsulate since their first album over 10 years ago, their songs often include protest messages. We can hear this in the whimsical opener, “A Story Before Life,” which simply repeats (wishfully, perhaps) “We are the chilled age,” as well as “Fight War, Not Wars,” and “We Can’t Take it Anymore.”

Frontman MahiTo The People appeared at the No War demo in Tokyo last year and it seems that Anochi is an album dreaming of a world without wars. In contrast to Gezan’s highly acclaimed album Klue in 2020, many of the tracks on Anochi embody the band’s wish for peace, including “Third Summer of Love.” The messages are made even more powerful with the backing of 15 singers, creating a musical metaphor for the world.

As a whole album, the message is powerful, and the music is too. We found ourselves coming back again and again and can testify it gets better with each listen. Every song is a calculation in itself from the vocal-focused “Tokyo Dub Story,” a homage to “Tokyo Love Story,” to bagpipes on the first track. Who knew bagpipes could be so cool?

Le Makeup — Odorata

Pure Voyage producer and DJ, Le Makeup, released his second album to critical acclaim. The album was picked up by major news outlet Pitchfork, causing waves in Japan.

Each song on the 18-track album is slickly produced by the artist, tight beats sucked in and vocals panning smoothly to each side. Listening with headphones is recommended. From the pensive number, “Dress,” to “Play,” a collaboration with Tohji and Gummyboy from Mall Boyz, the album is a showcase of Le Makeup’s moods.


Fukushima export AJAH released her debut album last month. Sounding like Kali Uchis on steroids, the singer and producer blends fuzzy artificial texture with controlled vocals and wobbly beats.

On the standout track, “Waruginai,” Sorry Cherry excels as the producer, giving it depth and taking it to another dimension. Punchy beats pounding one in each ear, gunshots snap from left to right as her voice blends seamlessly into the track.

With UKD (Double Clapperz) on mixing and mastering duties, the UK garage-inspired beats shine through across the album.

Singles and EPs

Tamanaramen — Hajimari

Tamanaramen released a new EP, Hajimari, along with new artist pics, showing the pair as pale-faced faerie ghosts. The duo have always been on the experimental side of odd-pop, and Hajimari encapsulates both sides of this with a new flair. Poppy beats and dreamy synths make for the perfect EP to listen to while cooking in the kitchen, as it is not too invasive as to distract you from a task. Singer and producer Pikam’s vocals sound like an ascended 2011 Lykke Li. Barely-there on “Yurikago” and half-murmured over lullaby synth on “Ebi,” while the closer “Baby Fish,” sees her whisper over a house beat.

Bailefunk Kakeko — Chou Climax

Bailefunk Kakeko released their third EP in the self-labeled ‘hyper-inflation pop’ genre. Baile funk, gabber, trance, noise and rave are mashed together into a strangely likable chaotic mess. “Volcanic Emotion” with long-term collaborator Valknee is probably the best starting point for those unfamiliar with the artist. Valknee’s attitude acts as a grounding point while everything else descends into chaos.

Tina Moon — Koshitantan

Avant pop artist Tina Moon releases “Koshitantan” (waiting for a chance to pounce), an experimental pop ballad which has all our favorite things: wailing balladry, cowbell and funky beats. We don’t know how she manages to make it sound good, but we love it. An outlier in the Japanese scene. If this was a rating column, it’d be a nine out of 10.

Considering the rise of Rina, maybe this is Tina Moon’s time too.

Kaoruko — Opal

Former idol Kaoruko has turned to making pretty decent hands-in-the-air-at-your-desk music, building on the success of last year’s danceable “Babyface” with Tsubame and kZm. “Swipe Up” is a song for the new generation, with jumpy beats and lyrics reflecting the phone-obsession from many of Kaoruko’s peers. “Babyface” sees a re-edit, with syncopated rhythms heading into an experimental chop-down to finish.

Monju N Chie — Wakkachairukedo Yamerarenai

A feel-good big band sound from the trio on what is their first release in three years. Video included. Put it on, play it loud and look forward to the album coming in March.

If you’re a Japan-based musician and are interested in featuring in this series, please send any forthcoming releases over to editor[at]tokyoweekender[dot]com and include the subject line: “FAO Music Editor.”