Aprils

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Tokyo-based indie pop band the Aprils formed in 1999 based around the core membership of Imai Kentaro on guitars and vocals, female vocalist/synth player Iguchi Miho, and drummer Shotokuji Yuuki, with…
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Tokyo-based indie pop band the Aprils formed in 1999 based around the core membership of Imai Kentaro on guitars and vocals, female vocalist/synth player Iguchi Miho, and drummer Shotokuji Yuuki, with VJ Nakama Norihisa joining later as a support member for the group's live performances. Their sound was, from the start, heavily influenced by the 1990s Shibuya kei movement, particularly the band Flipper's Guitar, whose mixture of dreamy, Beach Boys-influenced pop and quirky electronic embellishments is closely echoed in the Aprils' own music.

The group's sound and influences suited the music scene in Tokyo in the early 2000s, with the group quickly becoming regarded as prime purveyors of the neo Shibuya kei and "chiptune" musical style, along with YMCK, Hazel Nuts Chocolate, and Plus-Tech Squeeze Box, one of whom, Wakiya Takeshi, joined the Aprils as a support guitarist.

Initially the Aprils joined forces with techno-pop label Usagi-Chang Records to release Astro, a synth-heavy debut mini-album mixing dance beats, 8-bit computer sounds, and breezy, melodic songwriting. The following year the Aprils paid tribute to their idols by contributing a cover version of the song "Blue Shinin' Quick Star" to Flipper's guitar cover album The Sound of Softly!, Vol. 2: A Tribute to Flipper's Guitar on Softly! Records. 2004 also saw the group make the move to Softly! permanent with the release of their full-length debut album Pan Da, which expanded the Aprils' musical palette, as they played with elements of hip-hop, house, and rock music. In 2005 the group released a split EP with labelmates Orangenoise Shortcut, followed by an album of new material, Space Dream Bathroom, which was a more subdued effort, paring back the 8-bit video game sounds and focusing more on honing the songwriting and production side of the group's sound.

Apart from the occasional live performance, including Taiwan's Formoz Festival, the next few years were quiet, although the Aprils reemerged in 2008 on the soundtrack to the independent animated film Kaede New Town.