Japanese bands that are not J-Pop ? ( Although that's also fine )

Hi, wondering if there are many fans of alternative/rock etc bands from Japan ? Or Korea, or China or anywhere in that part of the world, infact.

Big hitters from the past are included, like YMO or Godiego etc but i happened across this band 宇宙人 ( uchu-jin ) ( i think that's the name. . . ) and i'd love to find more bands like this. I am pretty sure they're Japanese, or at least the singer is, going by the language...

Video example:
The song is like 6 and a half minutes long, but it goes through so many shifts and changes, whilst keeping lots of varied yet tied melodies within it. I'm a bit blown away to be honest. I like the singer's rough vocals. None of that vocoder stuff, just breaks and slightly flat notes here and there. Sounds real to me, in a vast ocean of studio perfect vocal manipulations, these days.


Anyone into bands from Japan that are highly rated by yourselves ?

Anything from:

Rock, Indie, Metal, J-Pop ( to a degree. Some of it's too cutesy and saccharine for my tastes, although if it's your thing, then i have no problem with what you like of course! )

I have heard a bit of Merzbow and as much as i have tried, i just can't get into it. It's for an altered state of mind i think, but any underground crazy stuff like that, that features a bit more melody and less audio explosions and frequency hammer blows, would be ace.

Thanks in advance, if you are able to point me toward some new and interesting stuff from the far east side of Asia !
One of my favorite albums. 3rd track is the best.
Haven't really heard anything like it. Pop, jazz, punk, rock fusion thing.


I've only heard their last two albums, they have like 5. What I've heard reminds me of recent New Order stuff.
Sadly they blocked the music videos in the US and removed fan uploads recently. You can get their CDs from Amazon, Play Asia or through illicit acts.


Kinda along the lines of Sakanaction but with less synths and more guitars. More indie rock, less dancy trancy stuff. Faster paced. Bubbly. Some aspects remind me a little of the Virgins.


Utada Hikaru
Heart Station is also one of my favorite albums.
Mellow R&B and J-Pop. Did a couple songs for Kingdom Hearts that are really cool too.


Ugh. Fuck. This post is reminding of all this dope shit. Yasutaka Nakata did this, he did Kyary Pamyu Pamyu(which is like COLTEMONIKHA but even cuter(how do you even?)) and he does Capsule.*Sorry I know you said you dont like cute shit. Whatevs


The discography is pretty diverse I think, so unless you hate the vocals I'd listen to handful of their songs before passing.


Tokyo Jihen
Im gettin tired of writing this biz. It's good for you. Listen to it.


They did a Naruto OP. I don't really listen to Foo Fighters. But they sound like what I imagine the Foo Fighters to sound like but with more detailed compostions/extended chords/etc. and gravelly voice. love that gravel.


Nico Touches The Walls
This one actually is a Naruto OP. One of my favorite rock bands.


I think its math rock. like Minus the Bear but cleaner, and without vocals.


Kishida Kyoudan and the Akeboshi Rockets
They did OPs for High School of the Dead and GATE. GATE is a more interesting anime, but HSOTD has blood and boobs. Alternative Pop Punk? I dunno genres.


Kashiwa Daisuke
He did the OST to an anime short film, called the Garden of Words. It's like 45min. It's a beautiful space to visit. I cried.








Dude. That took too long. I'm tired. But a fun trip down memory lane.

For funsies
Quote by EndTheRapture51
who pays five hundred fucking dollars for a burger
Last edited by Banjocal at Mar 29, 2016,

I expected one or two small replies, considering the subject at hand, but not TO HIT THE FREAKING MOTHERLOAD !!!

Oh man, you guys are AMAZING !

Thank you SO much - this is going to keep me going for days upon end !

I'll report back with my views on everything that everyone has posted thusfar, whence i am done watching it all !

Superb posts all 'round, I can't thank you all enough ! ( bows down in worship to you all ).

I have a few more of my own too, should you guys not have heard/seen these before. Maybe to no one's taste, but i'll post up anyway, just in case...

A Last Flower

the original version of the above, by "ASA-CHANG & junray

Jihae - Black Pearl

Rurutia - Abintra

I found a couple of "cute" ones too, by a young lady who is an artist or insane, one of the two - or both !

Moon Kana - Papichan

Moon Kana - Chocolat

Not even sure what category THIS comes under, but the video made me laugh a lot and i find it pretty catchy
Golden Bomber ( title unknown to me. . . )

Thanks again for your help, everyone above !


Forgot about this - Sorry that it's ANCIENT - but i just love the melodies. Looks like a regularly televised NHK variety show or something from the 1970s ? The video is great for the fun of looking at the fashion and the haircuts, yet the music makes me sentimental and happy in a melancholy way. I like it !

Google translate ( sorry! ) says " NHK stage 101 final times - beyond the tears "


Another from, possibly, the same show.

Last edited by akunohana20151 at Mar 29, 2016,
Quote by NothingRocks
Oriental Express are a pretty good Jazz Fusion band with some traditional Korean instruments thrown into the mix.

That was gorgeous. Some of the tones on those instruments were incredible !

Quote by lettucefase
One of my favorite albums. 3rd track is the best.
Haven't really heard anything like it. Pop, jazz, punk, rock fusion thing.

Ok - NOW we're talking You've convinced me within 3 tracks that i love this artist/band. My mind has been blown Track 3 really IS something special. Thank you.

One of THE greatest live performances i have seen on video, by any band. Oh wow, have you opened me up to a whole new world of insane beauty with this band


I can totally dig Sakanaction too. That track reminds me of the band Broken Bells and thier song After the Disco. Real easy going and atmospheric stuff.

The Frederic track was great also. My lady freind is a big fan of a local Tokyo based group called Puff Noide. She went to school with the lead guy, so i think she might still have a crush and is biased toward the music maybe :P But it's pretty neat on it's own. Not quite as mindblowing as being subjected to Midori perhaps, haha, but upbeat and fine for my ears.


Reminds me a bit of Placebo's - Brick Shit House - in the verses. . .

Wow, the lists are long and it's going to take me a couple of days, but i think i owe it to everyone who posted all these links, to at least have the courtesy to reply back to each one with a personal take on them

Regarding Utada Hikaru & COLTEMONIKHA - Pretty nice. Reminds me of some - APOLOGIES UP FRONT - earlier Morning Musume kind of stuff. I like that. Maybe not my go-to kinda stuff, so often, but cool and easy going. Pretty Nice.

Capsule. I did what you said and gave Capsule more than the one chance and happened across this, frankly, excellent track. Reminds me of Vocaloid stuff. I could listen to this kind of thing for hours


EDIT: Hmmm, i might be mistaken and have found a DJ mix instead ? This might not be Capsule as originally intended...i love it anyway.


Tokyo Jihen Season Sayonara - More great upbeat jazzy atmosphere to my ears. It's odd that this kind of music, specifically being Japanese - puts me there ( in my head at least ). Summer days and good feelings. Man, i love it. This is great for working to at my computer. Non intrusive, but certainly not bland to me.

Sambomaster - Similar to the above in many ways, but i agree that the gravel in his voice helps set it apart. Perfectly fine song to me Difficult for me not to sound dismissive, (that's not my intention) but I'm just briefly reviewing each song as it comes and goes. You've initially spoiled all other music for me, having posted up Midori first haha ! Who i just bought a live DVD of from Amazon.

Nico Touches The Walls - I really like this one more. I like the drummer call and response intro a lot. The live mix of this song is superb too. REALLY alive, even when the fans sing the call/response section in the middle. Love it. I'm not one of these people who only wants misery and melancholy in their music. Upbeat, happy songs are equally as wonderful to me. Good choice !

Listened to a few Toe songs after "I Dance Alone" - That drummer is superb. They all VERY accomplished, expert musicians, but i think he brings it all to life. Clear and energetic, without overpowering everyone else. These guys know what they're doing. Ace.

Of the anime/videogame OSTs you posted in your inital set, i liked the Cowboy Beebop a lot and I've always loved the OST to all of the first 4 Silent Hill games. There is something truly unique about the mix or the tone, or something that i can't quite put my finger on - that sets them apart from other horror game OSTs. It might be the phasing effect ( saturated reverb,chorus,tremolo? ) on all the instrumental pieces that just screams Silent Hill. Plus any ambient driven machine noise drones work every time for me.

If one had the time, this mix of ambient artists is something special to me.

It's a little over one and a half hours long, but it takes you places, from the most beautiful and relaxing places to ultimate nightmares. Just a brilliant collection of ambient artists.

Coming back to Japan, regarding Kashiwa Daisuke - i own Garden of Words on bluray infact. I thought this was vaguely familiar to me, even though the music had passed me by, as i've not seen the film in a few months. Wonderful piece!

That Perfume remix wouldn't be out of place on a Hatsune Miku: Project Diva game
Many people may despise Vocaloid effected "voices", but to me, it's just another way of experimenting with sound and melody that produces unique sounds. Only a good thing in my book. Not to be confused with the subtle vocoder effects that studios put on singer's takes, to create a perfect - flawless, unnatural finish to and album's vocal takes. That vocaloid effect isn't there to disguise flaws. It's a to create a specific robotic voice. I assume so, anyway...
The video would work even better with Playstation controller icons moving up and down the screen Once again, happy - upbeat - fun indeed. Ticks many a right box, for me.

Vocaloid case in point. Fun, super happy disco type stuff.

LOL at me having enough disgrace to post a Hatsune Miku song into an Ultimate Guitar forum ! I'm sure there's a guitar in there somewhere !

Shojoskip - This is another instantly like-able album for me. Reminds me, vaguely of early 90s all girl rock bands from the US. I'm trying to place a name to compare it to, but it escapes me at this time, sadly. About half way through. So happy at what you people have posted up for me to delve into, so far. Really, really, really love the droning guitar on the later tracks. Big open crashing chord that goes on and on, whilst subtle bits and pieces play over the top. Thanks yet again!


Number Girl - Not too sure about this one. It's ok, but on the first listen ( pretty wrong to judge after one go, i know! ) i found them to be kinda similar to Midori, but without the sheer earthquake power that the front-lady Mariko Gotō ( ? ) gives. Oh well, still ok to my ears, but perhaps something to come back to another day. Maybe my brain and ears aren't up to it today, who knows?

Hiraku Nagasawa - Cool grooves man. Has a vague similarity to Leftfield's A Final Hit, but maybe i'm hearing it wrong. Drones and atmosphere building find me well. Again, could listen to this sort of stuff for hours. Good working music or just music to get lost in, headphones on, drifting off to sleep.

So Nice - 光速道路 ( Speed of Light ? - Apologies for Google translation ) - As i posted videos above, i'm more than happy to indulge in 70s funk/disco/easy listening tunes and this is no different. Nice stuff. Nice stuff indeed. Good melody.

Pizzicato Five - It could have done without the slightly amusing english interjections, but the main melody feels good. When the guy raps in his own language, it works a lot better. I recall some Morning Musume singles had some terrible english interjections that never worked, but rarely took away from the songs themselves, so no biggie. Lots of feel good music in your lists, Lettucefase. I'm in a good place recently and these are only helping. Kinda like a less rocky feeling Brimful Of Asha by Cornershop. The video, for some reason, reminded me of a forgotten song in my memorybanks, by Yuuko Ogura ( ?sp ) called Onna No Ko Otoko No Ko which i'll post it up because...well...there's nothing wrong with more yuukorin in people's lives ...


I think i may have read someplace that it's from an anime ? Not too up on anime series, to be honest, so i wouldn't really know one way or the other...
Last edited by akunohana20151 at Mar 31, 2016,
Apologies up front UG, for double posting, but i ran out of characters, seeing as my last post was turning into a novella...


Chakra - You Need Me - I fricken LOVE this. Another artist who i'm going to seek out more of now. I really love the Phrygian-based (?maybe) scales that are not played on traditional instruments, but on synths. Rounds off all the edges and makes an already pretty sound even more enjoyable.

Plane - シャトルバス Shuttle Bus ( ? ) - Perfectly fine, but coming right after the Chakra track, it's a really nice song that i could take or leave. Context, i guess.

Trippple Nippples - I really fucking love the vocals on this one. Weird. I didn't like the english on the Pizzicato Five song, but love the english on this !? I think these flow a lot better with the beat, even combining with the beat in some places, so they're more experimental ideas and a little more complex. They help move the song forward, rather than words just rapped over the top of a beat. That's how i'm attempting to dig myself out of thathole, anyway haha ! Going by that accompanying image, they look like trouble. Edit: Listened to some other stuff by them. I enjoyed this track, but i'm not sure they're the kind of band i'll go back to often.

Ganbare Goemon Theme - It's something that has struck me with a lot of Japanese pop themed music, over the years. So much of it - vocals removed - could be mistaken for cheesy game-show tunes. . . But that's one of the reasons i love it so. I've always appreciated the skill involved in producing a theme that has incredible and memorable melodies, even if they can be pretty cheesy sometimes. I loved that late 90s/early 2000s era of Hello Project style J-Pop, with Morning Musume or Aya Matsuura for example - before it all got too serious and all the old guard left. A lot of those songs could be accused of having cheesy game show styled background music, but the vocal melodies ( even if not sung so brilliantly at times ) were super catchy. Songs used to focus on melody a lot, but i feel that pop is becoming more and more about the beat now and it's far less fun to my ears.

THANK YOU lettucefase what an incredible list you posted !

Now onto Banjocal's stuff. . .

Quote by Banjocal
Seconding Midori and Daisuke. Here are some favourites of mine...

the last two are from Tuva and Tibet, respectively. The rest are from Japan.

About Tess - My brain seems to be drawn to this kind of music, where everything seems disjointed and full of mathematical blips and blops. I guess it's why i'm such a Cardiacs fan no doubt. That was frankly superb, especially when that beat kicks in over the heavy bass at around the 2.10/2.15 minute mark. So sweet! Another band I will be checking out a lot more of!

Boris - Farewell = Oh fucking WOW Euphoria from start to finish! When the rhythm guitar punches in at around the 1.18 minute mark, it's like a clap of thunder. Incredible! Would have sat well within that ambient archives mix, I posted back up the page. Long drone and singing into an echo chamber gives off such an end of the world feeling. A bit morbid i guess. But like chanting monks as death approaches ( i assume anyway lol ). Cuts off Beatles I Want You ( She's So Heavy ) - Style too which is jarring yet awesome in a funny way. Utter silence immediately after a huge cacophony of noise is startling and ....just cool. What a song !

znohjmo Yep, i even totally dig this. THIS is the kind of music that will have my freinds set upon me until i turn it off Great to expose them to this once in a while. I'm no jazz aficionado whatsoever and the first time i was turned onto this sound was from David Lynch's Lost Highway. The latter part of the piece was similar to the song that you posted up and i just knew it was the kinda thing for me. Apparently, according to IMDB, Bill Pullman is really playing this. Pretty cool dude.

Can only find a video of the latter end, but the first half is pretty bluesy straight forward stuff, compared.


Hiroki Sasajima - My kind of nightmare fuel I have so much of this kind of thing, playing when i am trying to draw or when i am working. Similar to Northaunt's - Night Alone or many others like them. I love it all. I been places. I don't ever wanna go back.


Shu-De - just wonderful. Even though it's a completely different style of music, it brings on the same kinds of feelings that Russian Orthodox Choir chanting give to me. Haunting, i guess i am going for here... Case in point below. Much like one would ask, how is that noise coming out of one man's mouth, with regards to throat singing - how is THIS voice coming out of someone seemingly so young ? It sounds like the voice of a 50 year old veteran, but this guy looks about 23 at best ! Basso Profondo is incredible and as strange and unique as throat singing is - i just love new and interesting sounds, no matter what.


Dip Tse Chop Ling Monastery - It's other-worldy ! I've not exposed myself to much of this kind of chanting monkery, so thank you for posting this! Creates a foreboding, that could easily be mis-represented in a Hollywood horror film, sadly. When the instruments come in, a certain rumbling of power comes with them. Awesome! Could you imagine hearing this, live, in an auditorium or high up in a temple ? Crikey !

Wow...I am totally serious when I say that you have both opened me up to a whole megatonne of music that I'm not sure I'd have happened across otherwise !

Absolutely awesome. Thanks people !!!
Last edited by akunohana20151 at Mar 31, 2016,
ASA-CHANG & junray
The timbres reminded me of St. Vincent. I don't think I've ever heard a composition like that though. Very cool. I heard a couple of other songs, and I'm definitely interested by their beautiful brand of weird.

Despite the similarities to Akira Yamaoka's compositions and to Mai Yamane's voice, I was initially underwhelmed. So I listened to some other tacks. After gaining some perspective I was able to appreciate 'Black Pearl' a little more. But I was really interested in 'My Love', 'Fig Leaf' & 'Succubus'. Especially 'Succubus'.

This almost completely aligns with my sensibilities, until the chorus. I don't know what it is but somethings off. I heard another song she did that had the same problem. Honestly though the other aspects are so dope, I know I'll get used to it after a couple of listens.

Moon Kana
I don't like it.

Golden Bomber
Dude, that song goes hard as fuck! And the dancing! So good! Sadly, I found their other tracks didn't match this one's greatness. But I'm still gonna look some more later. Damn this song...

NHK stuff
It's cool, but I would only really enjoy listening to this specifically on Sunday mornings, when I have the whole day ahead of me & and nothing pressing to do.

Puff Noide
I hear some overlap with some of the bands I posted. Which kinda simultaneously works for them and against them in my musical mind courtroom. I don't think I'm keen on the vocals. I don't know if I'll continue with them.

That Yuuko Ogura song is cool. It'd be right at home in the middle of that Katamari Damacy OST. I didn't get to listen to the Ambient Archives thing yet. Or any of the other guy's stuff. I'll be back later.
Quote by lettucefase
I didn't get to listen to the Ambient Archives thing yet. Or any of the other guy's stuff. I'll be back later.

Cool Thanks again for the reply. I know a lot of stuff I post up will probably fall flat for many people but that's no problem at all We all like what we like and i wouldn't be so crazy as to try and change someone's mind on something. If you hate it or love it, it's all cool to me. I'm just really interested in hearing about what you think, good or bad. Criticism even helps me see stuff in a different way too, getting someone else's take on it.

Still listening to Midori. MAN, they're so great !


Just happened across this band. I love it also !
What a name, too !


Last edited by akunohana20151 at Apr 7, 2016,