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New Suiyoubi No Campanella: “Nishi Tamao”

Suiyoubi No Campanella has a new album — her fifth, technically, though given a recent increase in her profile in the Japanese mainstream, one that feels like it has more stakes than her previous releases — out in November, and she’s shared one of the songs set to appear on it, “Nishi Tamao.” It touches on one of the elements that has made her music able to stand out so much in the last couple of years — the project strikes a balance between traditional Japanese cultural touchstones (most clearly laid out in the group’s videos, though they’ve worked it in musically too) and today, making for an at-times disorienting but ultimately deeply intriguing listen. Suiyoubi isn’t alone in doing this — Sakanaction has dabbled in this, while Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s “Ninjari Bang Bang” is especially a highlight, especially as it emerged at a time when it seemed like more groups were reverting to embracing traditional aesthetics — but it seems like they’ve done it consistently better than others.

So “Nishi Tamao” matches delicate passages with moments of pure chaos — the chorus features screams and these bursts of sound that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Wasabi Tapes release. It’s a song that would feel at home in the soundtrack for a historical drama interrupted by trap-py freakouts, adding a modern disruption to the tranquility. It’s Suiyoubi’s most fractured take on the past-present thing, but one that fits into their style very well. Listen above.

Cuushe Guests On New Song By Iglooghost: “Gold Coat”

Cuushe has been hopping around the world over the last few years, capped off recently by an appearance at the five-year anniversary party for the label Cascine. She made time to guest on the song “Gold Coat,” by the just-signed-to-Brainfeeder artist Iglooghost, and the song will appear on the producer’s forthcoming Chinese NĂ¼ Yr album. It is, pretty immediately, not regular terrain for Cuushe — “Gold Coat” is a skittery, all-over the place number, one with plenty of charms but a world away from the dreamier places Cuushe has existed in her solo music and with Neon Cloud. Yet she blends in well with the frantic surroundings, and somehow her vocal drift sounds…well, like her, even among moments that lean towards outright trap madness. Listen above.

Electronic Round-Up: House Of Tapes, Miii And Snail’s House

– Nagoya’s House Of Tapes recently released the Magnolia EP, but that isn’t slowing down the producer any. He has shared “Nice Dream” which is another pulverizing, suffo…wait, what, this is actually really soft and sweet?! After a small collection of chaotic songs, “Nice Dream” scales things back a bit and opts for a dreamier sound (albeit one that still breaks out into a gallop late, but within his world it’s like the other side of the pillow). Listen above.

– Miii mostly makes really aggressive, really bone-rattling electronic music leaning closer to the EDM spectrum, and a lot of it is very good, but also sometimes not the most interesting sound to write about. “Scuffed White,” however, is a swerve of sorts, the producer delivering a seven-minute-plus number full of sliced up syllables and a melancholy atmosphere. The intensity picks up as the song moves ahead, but never turns brutal. Listen below.

– This one is a little older, but I revisited this week and was reminded of how nice it is. Snail’s House gets jazzy on the simple and sweet “Thinkin’ Of U,” a nice change of pace from the often-manic sounds the young producer usually shares. Nice for staring out of windows to. Listen below.

New Hearsays: “Talking Across The Room”

Fukuoka indie-pop quartet Hearsays are prepping to release a new 7″ via their hometown’s Dead Funny Records, and they’ve shared one of the two new tracks appearing on that disc. “Talking Across The Room” is a slightly melancholy jaunt, one that gallops ahead and builds to a release — a subtle one, but one that makes the jog all the more worth it. Listen above

Prepare For A Discombobulating Time Warp With Schau Essen 2, Featuring Coffee And TV And Boogie Idol Among Others

The City Pop revival chugs on in the Japanese music industry, and as has been pointed out by Ryotaro Aoki at The Japan Times, it’s basically just a joke. So bless outposts like B.O.O.S.T.R and compilations such as the just-released Schau Essen 2, for actually diving into the at-times grotesque sounds of Bubble Era Japan rather than just use them as a hip slogan. What makes this set endearing actually stems from an element not typically associated with City Pop, or ’80s funk, or anything one really associates with that era — the imperfections add a nice human-edge to all the neon. Coffee And TV’s opener “Drive With Me” is a shimmering bit of disco-pop, featuring the producer singing over it (“vocal is shit. It’s me” he writes), which adds a sincerity that makes it stand out. Or how one just-over four minute track here is actually a radio show skit (starring one person doing voices). Or how a shimmering number from Boogie Idol gets accentuated by what sound like alligator chomping sounds and some woozy noises in the back.

Yet for all these moments, Schau Essen 2 shines because of great, catchy songs. C-Side Sea Site delivers a highlight early on with the sun-soaked “Summer Reflection,” while the beat picks up a bit for the squiggly “Bubble Over” courtesy of Asuka Tanaka. Coupled with a handful of great instrumentals, it makes for a good collection with plenty of charm. Get it here or listen below.