Once again, it’s heading to the end of the year, end of the decade actually, so you know what that means; another Top Ten Picks set of lists! I am continuing last year’s tradition into the new year. No set order, just the nifty music I’ve come across for the year.However, this year I’m doing things a bit differently. I dropped doing a Kpop section since I’m more inclined to Japanese music these days anyway. I figured with my rather slim output in Girl’s Rock group profiles, that adding a Girl’s Rock Top Ten Picks would be the perfect replacement! I’m excited to share my discoveries with you guys!
I caution again that this is not a ‘best’ list, just songs that were released this year that I wanted to share. For one reason or another, these artists and songs ended up with more staying power then the rest. Thus landing them on this list. Here’s hoping you find some new music for your own end of the year party!
Without further ado, here’s my top ten picks for Girl’s Rock 2019, the first edition!
Homecomings – Cakes
Homecomings is a band that I discovered earlier this year. I’ve been listening to their discography on and off and hope to do a profile on them soon! Their sound is really appealing for the soft rock fans, between vocals and instrumentation. Another really inviting aspect is how their songs tend to give a rather nostalgic feel to their songs.
The best example of such an aspect is of course, my song pick “Cakes”. “Cakes” is an inviting track, with a rather simple message. Coming home to meet someone, memories, and chance encounters. It’s a sweet song that reminds me of a warm summer’s day. A perfect start to an end of the year list really.
the peggies – スタンドバイミー (Stand by Me)
the peggies is another group I’ve recently discovered this year, although they are rather much a staple in the girls rock scene. With Yuuho’s distinct vocal timbre, and the simplified trio set up they’re incredibly talented.
What caught my attention about “Stand by Me” was partly the title, which is such an innocent request by many. The lyrics, even int the short version of this song, encourage people to stand with one another through thick and thin. A simple but powerful message we need more then ever. Additionally, it was the embarrassing fact that I mistook this song for a very long time as being a B-side track for the alt-idol unit BiSH.That I will play off as being a good thing, since both the peggies and BiSH are incredibly talented. Who knows, maybe this means future collab opportunities!
Shonen Knife – Sweet Candy Power
I mean… it’s Shonen Knife, do I need to say more? Maybe a little for new people. Shonen Knife is a trio that has been kicking ass in the punk scene for nearly three decades. This band has been around taking names since before I was born!
What’s great about “Sweet Candy Power” is how fun of a track it is. It’s so clearly rooted in punk, from composition to imagery and even execution of music videos. Yet, it’s so distinctly… fun. You could say that Shonen Knife specializes in their own unique flavor of sweet punk. This song may or may not also help me justify how much candy I eat after work… in the name of ‘candy power’ of course.
ガールズロックバンド革命 (Girls Rock Band Kakumei ) – VOLTAGE
Another new discovery, lucky me! Girls Rock Band Kakumei, yes that is their full and real name, have been rocking the scene since 2013. Another trio to add to my rather impressive list, and of course, another group I want to get around to doing a profile for.
“Voltage” is an electrifying piece, that made me double take on first listening. That riff and drumming I was for sure thinking I was listening to a VKei band! That’s not a bad thing in my opinion! What knocked it out of the park for me is how insane their drummer Junna is. Seriously, the percussion on this track is absolutely insane and really takes this track above and beyond. Asaka and Serina aren’t slacking off either, as Asaka gets a well deserved bass solo as well. It’s a must listen for this year.
DIENING – 泥泥 (Doro Doro, I.E. Mud)
DIENING just started up in January, so I didn’t completely miss the boat with this group. They also were originally known as Doro Doro. I had no idea what to expect when I was listening, but I was not expecting something this jarringly enjoyable.
I normally don’t dig the truly hard stuff, and don’t think this isn’t hard because it’s two girls! They have the heavy and sludge-like guitar and bass coming in strong from the get go. Vocalist, haku, adds to the creep factor with an almost taunting tone of vocal, adding to the off-putting atmosphere. Not quite whispering in tone, but a strong discord between instrumentation and vocals that only increases as the song goes. Yet… here I was coming back for more, and eagerly awaiting more. DIENING is already coming in strong for 2020, and I personally can’t wait.
Lucie, Too x日光市(Nikko City) – HOMETOWN, NIKKO City’s Official theme song
I’ve talked about Lucie, Too before here actually. Finally, a band I’ve covered previously so I can get to the good stuff!
Honestly, I’m incredibly proud that Lucie, Too was able to collaborate with the city of NIKKO for this track! It’s amazing to see how far the group has come in such a short amount of time! Not to mention, if you click the close captions this song even has English subs. It’s a really sweet track just talking about the simple life of Nikko and really entices the listener to either return or come for a visit. It’s got all the wonderful elements of Lucie, Too wrapped up just right in a fantastic step forward for the band.
花冷え。(Hanabie.) – L.C.G
This song ended up creeping in, just because that opening literally hit me with major Visual Kei vibes. Honestly, minus the label they certainly have their own distinct visuals, especially within this video.
Being honest, I was not expecting another trio, let along a group that hits just as hard as my visual kei bands this year. I’m not quite sure that they aren’t Visual Kei for that matter, they have the riffs and imagery to fit the kira-kira label. That same initial image was deceiving in the best sort of way for me. I’m not sure how 花冷え。ended up on my radar, but I’m hoping they stick around into 2020!
BRIDEAR – Ghoul
The latest edition to my list, is power-metal group BRIDEAR. The five member unit reappeared on my radar thanks to the Youtube algorithm. So thanks Youtube for actually getting something right!
Being honest, I don’t have all too much to say about the track itself. Once I started listening to it I couldn’t stop. It’s a well put together song that hits all the right notes for metal. This year has been excellant for metal groups in Japan, and BRIDEAR’s “Ghoul” just happens to be my favorite example of it.
つしまみれ (TsuShiMaMiRe) – The Payday
Hello again to a group that I’ve talked about before on this list! TsuShiMaMiRe continues to tred their own path and it’s fantastic.
“The Payday”, while I am not a typical salary women; the whole concept of the song perfectly embodies payday in Japan. I remember listening to it in my teacher’s lounge and started chuckling as it played. Since this has become part of my own routine, it really hits home. It also makes payday a little easier to bear with a bit of comedy to it.
tricot – BUTTER
Ah, of course, what else where you expecting from me? For all the new comer tracks and bands on my blog, I did have to include a few I’ve talked about before. Ending with Tricot only seemed appropriate.
I’m going to be honest; Tricot really can’t do much wrong in my eyes. “Butter” once again, slinks in, in it’s buttery smooth vocal delivery and lazy-appearing delivery. Of course, math-rock can never be truly lazy. Ikkyu absolutely kills it vocally, and this song is easily my favorite track to throw on while cooking dinner on a quiet Sunday night.
Additionally, it is on my oddly specific list of “great songs to listen to while lying on the floor in your feels”. That’s another post for another time though. Just go listen to it okay?
With that, the first edition of Top Ten Picks – Girl’s Rock Edition has come to a close! Don’t be a stranger and be sure to drop me a comment below with some of your favorites I might have missed.