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Japanese Experimental Rock: Bands

This guide is intended to facilitate the exploration of Japanese experimental rock from the 1960's to its experimental sounds in the underground music scene in present-day Japan.

Subgenres

The Spiders

The Spiders

One of the most prominent bands of the Group Sounds movement, The Spiders mimicked the sounds of American and British rock bands and sang songs in both English and Japanese. Incorporating familiar elements from Western bands and adding their own unique composition, they slowly transitioned into more experimental sounds. 

Listen here

 

 

 


The Mops

The Mops Album

Active in the late 60's and early 70's, the Mops was considered a psychedelic/garage rock group despite its Group Sounds origins. Influenced by experimental rock bands of the West, they covered songs by Jefferson Airplane and the Doors. 

Listen here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Jacks

Vacant World - Jacks

 Starting in the late 1960's, Jacks was the most experimental out of the bands that came out of the Group Sounds movement. Unfortunately, the band was short lived and they only produced one album, "Vacant World." This album was part of Rolling Stones Japan's list of "Greatest Japanese Rock Albums of All Time." Their song, "Vacant World", was banned on Japanese radio stations for its bleak, depressing lyrics. 

Listen here

Yellow Magic Orchestra 

  Yellow Magic OrchestraA Japanese electronic pop band that formed in 1978, they were highly influential in the electronic music scene. Using synthesizers, computers, and sequencers, the band brought on the electronic music boom in the 1980's as well as challenging the boundaries within the genre. Incorporating mod and disco music, Yellow Magic Orchestra was an experimental group that garnered attention internationally. 

Yellow Magic Orchestra's homepage 

Apple Music

 

 

 

 

 

 


Hikashu

Ikirukoto (Album) - Hikashu

Active since 1978, Hikashu is an experimental rock group that fuses different genres including jazz, electronic, and new wave with Kabuki-style vocals. 

Hikashu's homepage

Apple Music

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Miu Mau

Miu Mau

Hailing from Tokyo, this art pop trio incorporates synthesizers to their rock melodies. This all-female group currently plays in various local venues throughout Tokyo. 

Miu Mau's homepage

Listen on bandcamp 

 

 

Acid Mother's Temple

Acid Mothers Temple

This Japanese psychedelic rock band has gained international attention as one of the most prominent bands in the psychedelic rock scene. The band formed in 1995 and continues to make experimental music. Since their two-decade existence in the music scene, they have produce80 studio albums and continues to tour internationally. 

Acid Mother's Temple homepage

Apple Music

Live at Boiler Room

 

 

 


Kikagaku Moyo "Geometric Patterns" 

Kikagaku Moyo

Kikagaku Moyo, meaning "geometric patterns" in Japanese, is a psychedelic rock band from Tokyo, Japan. The band began as a free music collective, playing in different venues and spaces throughout Tokyo. They play on their own record label, Guruguru Brain. Incorporating the sitar, a classical Indian guitar, the band meshes the electrified sitar with drums, guitars, and full pedalboards to create a cosmic experience.

Listen on bandcamp

Live on KEXP

 

 

 


Minami Deutsch 

Minami Deutsch

Minami Deutsch is a psychedelic, krautrock band from Tokyo, Japan. They are part of the same record label (Guruguru Brain) as Kikagaku Moyo. 

Listen on bandcamp 

Melt-Banana

Melt-Banana

A Japanese noise rock band from Tokyo, Japan. Active since 1992, the band has produced 10 albums and toured internationally. Their music encompasses grindcore, noise rock, and hardcore punk. 

Melt-Banana homepage

Listen here

 

 

 


Nakigao Twintail 

Nakigao Twintail

Tokyo-based indie band under the independent label, Call and Response Records, is comprised of four members. They originally met in high school on Japan's western island of Kyushu. Check out their catchy new wave pop and garage rock styles! 

Listen on soundcloud

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


P-iple

P-iple

P-iple is an all-female noise rock band that is also under Call and Response Records. They regularly play in local venues throughout Tokyo, bringing fresh energy into the noise rock scene. 

Listen on soundcloud

 

RUINS 

Ruins

Ruins is an internationally acclaimed experimental and progressive rock duo. Formed in 1985, the band consists of drummer/vocalist Tatsuya Yoshida and bassist Ryuichi Masuda. Their sounds incorporate zheul, psychedelia, noise rock, and progressive rock. 

Listen on bandcamp

 

 

 

 

 


SHOKO 

SHOKOSHOKO is an acid folk singer-songwriter and visual artist based in Tokyo, Japan. Her music is transcendental and ethereal. 

Listen on bandcamp

Live at SUBstore Tokyo 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Trippple Nippples 

Trippple Nippples

Trippple Nippples is an experimental art pop group from Tokyo, Japan. The artists go by their stage names: Qrea Nippple, Yuka Nippple, and Nabe Nippple. Their live performances are chaotic and visually creative. Check out their performance/interview on Karmaloop TV

Listen on soundcloud

A note on featured bands

This research guide will introduce a handful of experimental rock bands. 

Bands are divided by subgenres but they are not exclusive to each one. Most bands incorporate multiple different styles and compositions in their music. The following organization is intended to denote slight differences. 

Enjoy!