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  • Brian H.

Melodies from Japan and AAPI Artists Vol. 5

As a young widdle 1994 baby, I never really listened to music made before the year 2000. This means I missed out on all those groovy and funky sounds that were really prevalent in artists like Earth, Wind & Fire or James Brown. It wasn’t until I listened to Awesome City Club that I heard these groovy guitar riffs and slightly disco-sounding pop and it made me go back into the archives and catch up on what I missed.

This week’s theme will be bands that will get you up and busting a move.

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We are not sponsored by any of the bands mentioned in these posts, and all opinions expressed are of myself, Brian Hsieh!

Awesome City Club

Image from Awesome City Club’s Facebook page. From left to right, PORIN (vocals), Morishii / モリシー (guitar), atagi (vocals/guitar)

I had the pleasure of listening to Awesome City Club live in a small studio in 2018, and it’s really impossible to not bop and groove to their tunes. This is a feel-good pop band with a slight funkiness to them thanks to guitarist Morishii, and whenever I picture this band in my head, it’s always the sight of a vibrantly colored disco dance floor. Their latest album, Grower, does have a much more chill vibe—possibly because their drummer left the band before the album—but it’s still fantastic pop music.


  • you like bands with both a male and female singer.

  • you like happy pop which will get your head bobbing.

  • you’re having a late night drive and you’re feeling nostalgic about the good ol’ days.

  • you need a song to liven up PARTIES.

Check out Awesome City Club on their official YouTube channel or on Spotify. I would recommend listening to their Best Hits Album in particular, which I think is a great representation of who they are.


Image from Bradio’s official website. From left to right, Takaaki Shingyoji (lead vocal), Soichi Ohyama (guitar), and Ryosuke Sakai (bass)

I also was able to watch BRADIO live in 2019, and they know how to turn a concert into a party. Inspired heavily by funk and soul music, Takaaki Shingyoji, the lead vocalist, shuffled across the stage, spinning and grooving, his energy vibrating through the entire studio. My school volleyball team had just lost their tournament, so I was feeling really bummed out, but BRADIO’s positive energy and obvious love for life genuinely got me out of my sad funk and into a happy funk. BRADIO stands for "Break the Rule and Do Image On", which means that they'll do what they want without being bound by rules. Considering how I haven't heard many other Japanese bands do what they do, I think they're doing that pretty well.


  • you’re in a bad mood and need a GUARANTEED pick-me upper.

  • you like guys with suave fashion and suits. And dance moves.

  • you have an appreciation for artists who break the mold.

BRADIO is on YouTube and Spotify. Their most famous song, “Flyers,” was the opening for the anime Death Parade. For their grooviest music video, I’d recommend “Kirameki Dancin’.”

You can also read this interview (in English) done with their lead singer here, which I used as a reference for this post.

AAPI Highlight: KATIE

Image from KATIE’s official website.

I struggled to find an AAPI artist who is a performer of funk music similar to the Japanese artists, so I decided to go ahead and just showcase a singer I’m loving right now. Katie Kim, also known as KATIE, was born in Korea and moved to New Jersey at 10 years old. After moving back to Korea to pursue music, Katie has created two strong albums showcasing her talents in R&B and soul. Although she is signed with a Korean label, Katie’s songs are all in English.

I very rarely hear Asians singing this particular style, and so Katie quickly became one of my top played artists for her chill vibes and huskier voice that take me to another world when I close my eyes.


  • you like R&B, plain and simple!

  • you’re thinking about that one person you miss.

  • you want to put on some romantic tunes for your partner and you.

You can find Katie’s music videos on her official YouTube channel. You can also find her two albums on Spotify. Both of them are fantastic, although I would recommend you listen to one of her more unique songs, “Echo” first.

That’s it for August! Stay safe, don’t forget your masks, and I hope these tunes cheer you up a bit!

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