Various artists “Young Folks in Metropolis” (Self-released)

Japan’s mainstream music media has been obsessed with acts from the 1990s in the past few months, from the soon-to-be-disbanded SMAP to Hikaru Utada. If you’re getting a bit bored with the nostalgia, however, “Young Folks in Metropolis” offers a great contemporary snapshot of the domestic indie scene. The 15-song compilation, presented by the Tokyo-based Poor Vacation, highlights artists who play a variety of genres, from folk pop to house.

The bulk of “Young Folks in Metropolis” leans electronic, from the Vocoder-slathered funk of The Oto Factory’s “0G Love” to the fidgety dance sounds of Soleil Soleil’s “Happy Pill.” Many acts on the compilation serve up bite-sized pop, with songs such as “Sakana no Koi” by Tokyo outfit Super VHS and singer Mei Ehara exemplifying the synth-driven formula.

The most memorable instances on the album, however, come from the slower tracks. Zushi’s Half Mile Beach Group delivers wind-swept drama on “Monica,” while Osaka’s Pictured Resort, a band normally operating in straightforward indie-pop, goes tropical house on the lively “Days In Maui.” Regardless of style or playtime, “Young Folks in Metropolis” showcases a new generation working away from the spotlight.

“Young Folks in Metropolis” is available for download at poor-vacation.bandcamp.com/releases.

In line with COVID-19 guidelines, the government is strongly requesting that residents and visitors exercise caution if they choose to visit bars, restaurants, music venues and other public spaces.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.