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New Yoshino Yoshikawa: “Opt-Out”

The march towards Yoshino Yoshikawa’s new album continues with the second single from Event Horizon “Opt-Out.” It highlights some of the themes running throughout the album, primarily one of trepidation about sweeping technological changes (“I don’t want to be part of the big data” being a highlight). As much as the words wrestle with one another, the music itself is a chipper collection of synthesizer and bell twinkles. Listen above.

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Prayer Answered: Kamisama Club’s “Onegai Temple”

Always open to more squiggly electro-pop units entering the Japanese indie music fray, and thankfully the Tokyo duo Kamisama Club bring their best with the bouncy “Onegai Temple.” The pair craft a fidgety backdrop — one that opens quite serenely, with chimes and a few electronic warbles, but soon bursts into a synth-charged skip featuring a few samples of kids cheering and vocal raspberries — that is just right for their style of singing, somewhere between celebratory and optimistic. Great example of indie-level electro-pop from a group to keep an eye on. Listen above.

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Flushin’: Toiret Status’ Omaru

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It has been a good year for Japanese artists creating catchy music out of chaos. DJWWWW (we will decide on the proper stylization one day, I swear) found beauty in the overwhelming world of pachinko, while Foodman taped together all sorts of sounds to create a wonky and absorbing wonder with Ez Minzoku. Isamu Yorichika’s Toiret Status project mines similar territory on new album Omaru, cramming all sorts of styles and textures — few albums sound as intense on headphones as this one — together but finding a hook among it. Electric guitar solos, pitch-shifted sputters, what sounds like the noise Yoshi makes when his tongue shoots out of his mouth…none of it should result in anything catchy in theory, yet Toiret Status pieces everything together to create bouncy tracks that are sometimes packed to the gills and other times really really spacious. Get it here, or listen below.

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Hiroki Yamamura And DJ NHK Guy Release Split: Mask / Close Ur Eyes

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Yesterday Once More returns with a new split release from Hiroki Yamamura and DJ NHK Guy, each contributing an original cut and then remixing the other. For their own numbers, each create retro-tinted juke, Yamamura moving in a slightly more fragmented direction (and feeling very out of time in the process) on “Mask,” while DJ NHK Guy embraces something warmer with “Close Ur Eyes,” a slice-and-dice number that milks a particularly inviting vocal sample for all its worth. The reworks follow a similar trajectory, with “Mask” being turned into something a bit more rambunctious — a voice going “work that ass” adds to the party-starting atmosphere — while Yamamura flips “Eyes” into…wait, what, he takes it into lightspeed, and plays up the horns for one of the fastest sounding victory laps you’ll hear. Get it here, or listen below.

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New Predawn: “Universal Mind”

We’ve long been fans of the folk-leaning whispers of Predawn, and her stock has slowly but surely risen in recent years. Her latest album came out this September, and “Universal Mind” was the first taste of it. A bit has changed — the simplistic, bare-bones structure of her earlier works have been beefed up a bit, “Universal Mind” featuring an electric guitar solo among other big-venue touches. Those distract a bit from the directness which has made Predawn shine in the past, but they have been helped out by subtler vocal details, her voice going from clear to a bit murkier across the song, adding an out-of-place quality to the song. Nothing too out there, but enough going on to pull you in. Listen above.

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