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Akai Sky Releases New EP Chasing Lights Out Today

Akai Sky

What puts the “J” in J-Rock? Akai Sky lead guitarist Hayashi recently proposed an answer on 91.8 The Fan. “The target audience is the key,” he said, “because in Japan they don’t refer to their own Rock or Pop music as ‘J-Rock’ and ‘J-Pop’.”

Fair enough, but what then is American J-Rock? Yeah, that’s a thing and it’s been alive and well for more than 10 years thanks to the efforts of bands like Akai Sky.

“It’s simply rock music created by Americans, for an American audience, sung in Japanese,” Hayashi said.

Don’t get wigged out by the idea of yet another genre to add to the pile. The interesting bit is mere the existence of people making music in the U.S. inspired by rock ‘n’ roll from a country on the other side of the planet. The only rule? The lyrics (not necessarily all of them) are in Japanese.

Those looking to get an earful of American J-Rock would do well to give Akai Sky’s new EP, Chasing Lights, a listen. The band’s done a little maturing since 2013’s Heart, Attack!, (take a listen to Nihongaku Radio Episode 36 to see what I mean) and the result is a four track EP with songs too unique to be at risk of blending together. Stand out tracks include “Marionette” with its spooky undercurrent and Visual Kei—inspired strings and harpsichord intro. Bass lines supplied by Umi and a percussive battle cry of of Japanese on “Fight On” propel the song from a standard Pop-Punk track to a song worthy of cranking the volume knob for.

With the new EP comes Akai Sky’s first music video. Check out “Marionette” below or on the band’s YouTube channel.

Interested in hearing “Chasing Lights” for yourself? As of today, the EP is available on Akai Sky’s Bandcamp page. The deluxe version includes a second disc with the “Marionette” music video and behind-the-scenes studio footage. There’s also a a poster, a booklet with lyrics in Japanese and English, and photo prints of the band members—swoon!

Want to see Akai Sky live? Catch them at AnimeFest in Dallas, TX on Labor Day weekend.

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