|CALAMITY! Sput tragedies :] :]|
Made this on impulse - list is all UNREVIEWED albums, some of which are huge personal faves, many of which are pretty damn cool, a few of which desperately need reviews, and all of which are worth your consumption. Have put exclamation marks to indicate my highlights, but pick and choose as suits. Enjoy !
This band is a huge personal fave, one of the absolute bests for bittersweet whimsy. All their work deserves a review, but this album (and Station) in particular is magic.
Cas rec'd me this a while ago, not usually my scene but this a solid power metal album with relatively unindulgent instrumentation and killer female vox.
Enjoyable Japanese trip-hop, lotta Massive Attack (Protection) vibes here.
Only heard this recently, but it's growing on me a lot. This guy is the man when it comes to glitch, a lot of these tracks are slowburners but the attention to detail and continuity of atmosphere is excellent. Track I linked gave me Turquoise Hexagon Sun vibes, so take note.
|5||Aoki Takamasa + Tujiko Noriko|
I mid-key ADORE this record. Really smart collaboration between two well-suited artists, this is the best Björk album you never heard (am seriously considering whether I prefer it to Homogenic at this point).
I've rec'd this EP to a lot of people, but the deal is that this three piece is the flat-out nastiest girl group you will ever hear. The opener is one of my fave hardcore tracks of all time and the rest is an unrelenting blast. Good shit.
La Mia Vita Violenta
Feels a little weird including this one, as I feel it's somewhat overrated. However, this band have done no wrong (their snoozefest of a last album excepted) and all their work deserves a review imo. This one has a couple of great highlights, and anyone unfamiliar should at least check Fake Can Be Just As Good and 23.
A cast-iron classic of '90s guitar rock. This is a huge album and extremely essential. Japan's Dinosaur Jr., but considerably more emotionally compelling in my view.
|9||The Book of Knots|
Very worthwhile for anyone into that niche of experimental weird-out, esp since it has membership crossover with Sleepytime Gorilla Museum. This stands out from other albums of its ilk by virtue of its rather eclectically explored concept of how much of a shitheap the US rust belt can be.
Smack Bunny Baby
Personally minorly dislike this one, but am somewhat surprised it doesn't have a review. Snarly '90s kids, get onto this.
|11||The Brilliant Green|
Not much to say for this, it's a classic early '00s J-rock album that's extremely of its time and extremely feel-good. Lotta lovely nostalgia to be had here.
Chatmonchy are probably the most stereotypical Japanese girl band ever to have existed. They're a little hit or miss, but a decent chunk of this one is outrageously catchy.
|13||Coaltar of the Deepers|
Weird band, weird album. Not their best, but well worth checking for any shoegaze fans (and if you haven't heard it, for the love of God check Yukari Telepath!)
DREAM POP/SYNTH POP
Floaty candyfloss music that Abe and other users also will probably enjoy. Included it mainly for the opener, which is gorgeous and well worth hearing.
Radio Onsen Eutopia
Etsuko Yakushimaru is a zany pop recluse queen, and her most notable solo work has a few important theme tracks on it + more than a few zany pop meanderings...
Excellently produced k-pop that holds up from end to end and slaps hard. RIP Sulli :[
Uchuu Nippon Setagaya
VERY ESSENTIAL DREAM POP
A lot of these albums are here because favouritism or curio value, but this is the first "WTF is wrong with you Sputnik" moment on the list. This album needs a review. You need to hear it. Very important and utterly dreamy album. Do your homework.
The nearest thing to an aggressive Four Tet album I've heard. Some cool ideas, worth a listen and a few words.
|19||Hair and Skin Trading Company|
Thanks to Sandbitch for this one. Apparently this is quite obscure, but it works wonders for delirious atmospheric noisetimes.
NOISE ROCK / EXPERIMENTAL
I like this album a lot. It kinda covers all bases, quite succinctly and quite thoroughly. The noise tracks slam and the slower jams play with tension very well. Check it!
Weird album. Fun album. Probably an '80s cult classic. Jun Togawa vibes with the ero-guru swapped out for zany cuteness. Cool.
|22||Judy and Mary|
THE POWER SOURCE
ROCK / POWER POP
This is kinda the basic bitch pick for a favourite Judy and Mary album, but I don't care. This thing is wall-to-wall ultra-nostalgic '90s rock classics. It's so bittersweet I wanna hug my cheapo 100yen copy just thinking about it. So many wonderful moments and GREAT performances all round.
J-pop's version of Never For Ever but not overrated (sorry Kate Bush clan). Eclectic pop wholesomeness, very well sequenced and consistently enjoyable.
Nier Automata Original Soundtrack
Everyone who's played Nier/Nier Automata knows what I'm talking about. Astounding score, so many memorable motifs and incredible arrangements I can't even
Kishi Bashi is a good boi and his first album is sweet and very much deserving of your attention and a review. Some lovely stuff here, surprised it hasn't already been covered.
Psycho Tropical Berlin
INDIE POP (I guess?)
Groovy and exciting hip tracks from a hip band.
Sounds of the Satellites
Very cool atmospheric trip-hop album, slow-ish grower but smartly arranged. Lots of weird time signatures and a fairly varied tracklist.
ALT ROCK / SYNTH POP
This album as a whole is a little hit or miss, but the band's lineup is phenomenal and the highlights melt my heart. Some lovely synthy alt rock material here, a worthy epilogue project for the great Supercar.
|29||Limited Express (has gone?)|
Really fun peppy noisetimes, a pretty engaging mix of firecrackers and tension/release jams to be found here.
|30||Ling Tosite Sigure|
Feeling Your UFO
Yes, this band has received its fair share of attention and is deservingly acknowledged as Good Shit, but, uh, this EP though? Some of their absolute best work here! That opening combo...
Bringing Home the Bait
Mid-'80s early days noise, good for your history books and your battery acid fixes alike.
More fun k-pop, not so much my jam but worth a mention all the same.
|33||Maison Book Girl|
EXPERIMENTAL POP / MATH / AMBIENT
I reviewed these girls' latest, but this one is bolder and more experimental. Steve Reich-esque pop arrangements meet idol meets nutty time signatures meet field recordings and ambience. It's a sprawl, but it kinda works.
A great cinematic mood piece with a dark edge. Mostly on the haunting/slightly minimal edge of things, but with a few fleeting glimpses of brighter moments. Solid female vox too.
She Hangs Brightly
DREAM POP / PSYCHEDELIC / FOLK
Okay, so while I've always been in the "like not love" camp re. Mazzy Star, this is another that desperately needs a review. It's a better album than She Hangs Brightly (fight me) and contains some of their best work. Smdh Sputnik...
TECHNO / AMBIENT
Heard this one for the first time last night, but definitely solid enough to deserve a place here. I'm not much of a techno guy, but a some of these beats and soundscapes are v engaging.
WEIRDASS EARLY POST ROCK
A really fun, scuzzy album with plenty of creative scope, infectious grooves, freaky tones, and a distinctly British touch. A strong rhythm section too - get this on your post-rock checklist!
IDM / AMBIENT/ DRUM N BASS
Yo give my boi AnimalsAsSummit some love, he did good on this one. Lots of fun ideas and expansive atmospheres here (and all free!!!)
Cover Me Shakespeare
ALT ROCK / POWER POP
So this is shameless Nirvana/Pixies/whatever worship from ~another~ Japanese girl trio, but this one is particularly infectious. Just the right level of energy, with perfect pop hooks and huge rock chorus to back it up. Very simple stuff, but they play it damn well here.
School Girl Distortional Addict
A post-hardcore + J-rock classic from an iconic and hugely influential band, 3rd smh moment and counting. This is probably my most jammed Number Girl album, purely for how well it blends their catchy rock hooks with their abrasive side; a good starting point for their work
MATH ROCK / NOISE ROCK
Love for Dewi's band please, this shit bangs. Excellent ADHD melt-bananacore.
Nice glitch/ambient pop, fairly self-explanatory and unsurprising playthrough but q satisfying all the same.
Reasonably iconic and reasonably awesome, this another confusing omission. For all this album is sort-of all over the places (as per usual for Polvo), these guys tightened up their songwriting considerably within individual tracks. There are a few slammers but a surprising number of noise pop bops. Also that closer...holy hell.
|44||Say Sue Me|
Where We Were Together
Lovely Korean dream pop with a dash of surf rock. I technically discovered these guys when they opened for Otoboke Beaver, but their set was so mismatched that I barely remembered it. This album is fairly easy to glaze over, but well worth a few repeat listens.
|45||Seiko Oomori |
INDIE FOLK / FOLK PUNK
Inevitable mention. Every Seiko Oomori release needs a review, and this is next on the list. This has one of the all-time best openers of any EP/album/minialbum/whatever, and the rest follows on perfectly. One of her best.
AMBIENT / TECHNO / POST ROCK
While not so much my cup of tea, this is a fairly historically significant and cohesively realised album that could use a little more recognition as such.
I adore this album, certain tracks in particular. It's maybe a little saccharine for some, but this is upbeat indie pop done absolutely right. A lot of the arrangements are deceptively ambitious, Etsuko Yakushimaru + co. true to form, keeping up the innovation without losing any of their hooks.
Fun skronky noisetimes, lots of off-kilter kicks and general madness to drop into here. Bonus points for second hand Ghandhi rec.
|49||Spangle Call Lilli Line|
INDIE ROCK / POST ROCK / INDIE POP
Gloriously uplifting record with a few sad patches. I half-drafted a review for this multiple times (will finish sometime!!) but basically this epitomises the sweet spot at the centre of the early '00s venn diagram of indie, post-rock and *some* indietronica for me. Gorgeous vocals and very unextravagent arrangements, this hits the spot every time.
Fairly essential album by a very essential band. Supercar are one of my favourite bands at the moment, lazily (but not entirely inaccurately) described as the Japanese Radiohead. Thing is, they had none of Radiohead's stuck up aspects and were a far better rock band. This album has a few duds, but shows their rock qualities off nicely, with a few nods towards the shoegaze they'd explore more on later albums.
ELECTRONIC / AMBIENT
Another recent find (cheers Observer), this record is mesmerising, evocative and often beautiful. I *highly* recommend the linked track at the very least. Need to reflect a little more on my opinion of it as a whole, but it's a good find.
IDM / POST ROCK
C'mon guys, no love for the first Sweet Trip album? Those bookends are to die for....
A strong follow-up to the much celebrated Sunshower and with some all-time classic album art, this is another solid end-to-end exhibition of pop smoothness and sophistication from Taeko Onuki.
Animals, Suns and Atoms
If you ever need to out-hipster a hipster, this should be your go-to. Laconic glory all round.
Hard Ni Sasete (Make Me Hard)
See my description for 5, add a ~little bit of starch, and focus in on the singular talents of Tujiko Noriko. Her work in general is consistently satisfying, but this one has her highest concentration of big highlights. Experimental pop with glitches galore done just right.
Intense as hell Russian noise rock, this one's a great once in a while blast.
So this one formerly had a review, but in an anime betrayal that would have been utterly shocking had it come from a stronger protagonist, Sputnik's own Xenophanes decided he was too cool for Utada and deleted that shit. Shame on him. This one is maybe a little overrated but has its share of giant highlights, as finely balanced between sweet and savoury as any of her best work.
Hikari no Kakera
This album is huge and loud and exciting and very gazey and I stole it from AAS but recommend you check it asap, very good stuff.
Tomorrow Never Comes
SHOEGAZE / NOISE
This one's a little bleak and quite an acquired taste, but that's no reason to slack off. Get a good fix of misanthropy here; this is great music for staring at walls without being able to imagine what's on the other side :]
|60||Yellow Magic Orchestra|
Solid State Survivor
Another CLASSIC ALBUM that is not a personal fave but deserves more attention than this miserable site has given it! A mandatory listen!
○△□ (Circle Triangle Square)
POST HARDCORE / FUNK (no, not the shitty Swancore kind)
Weirdass exciting rock times with great chops and fun riffs. Solid hidden gem album.