French label Specific split their efforts between indie rock from their hexagonal homeland, and a discerning selection of titles licensed from Japan. The Japanese aversion to digital music sales, and their minimal efforts at marketing abroad, makes labels like Specific a vital source for Western fans of J-pop and Japanese indie rock.
To cheer the rest of us up, or perhaps just to keep themselves occupied in lockdown, the folks at Specific have assembled this anthology showcasing their Japanese signings. Dig in, you’re bound to find at least one act that merits a degree of loyalty on par with that of the famously faithful Hachiko, whose Shibuya Station statue graces the cover art here.
The material ranges from the archetypal, over-eager candy-rock of Passepied’s “Tokyo City Underground” and the prim rap of Wednesday Campanella, probably the biggest star of this bunch back home, to the thrash-kawaii of Necronomidol (Babymetal’s big sisters, basically), and the noisy assault of “Suki Suki Daisuke” from subversive anti-idols Bis Kaidan.
The strongest moments are the stirring “Riot” from Haru Nemuri and the commanding “George” from the super-cool Charisma.com – two acts whose albums on Specific are specifically worth investigating.