Author Archives: Patrick St. Michel

Western Breeze: Num Contena

Do you think Fukuoka is always like this? A sort of eternal summer…well, maybe an eternal mid-September…where everything is generally laid back, and most likely equal amounts chill? I’ve never been and don’t know when I ever will, so for now I’m just living through new indie-pop group Num Contena, hailing from the Western side of Japan. There music brings to mind Real Estate (this is also how the band describe themselves, but I think it’s on point…and them knowing it is probably a weakness, that comparison shouldn’t come so easily), in particular “Slow Wind,” a lazy stroll of a song guided by just-deceptively-tough-enough guitar playing and stoop-prophet vocals in no rush to get anywhere. It’s a relaxed, reflective number, as is “Nuts,” although that one’s suburban vibe is betrayed slightly by vocals that try pretty darn hard to sound good (they are). Get it here or listen below.

New Kindan No Tasuketsu: “Chyuuto Han Pa Hayamete” Featuring Izumi Makura

Kindan No Tasuketsu just released a new collection of songs, Entertainment, and here’s a woozy taste of it. Kindan handles the dreamy chorus, while guest rapper Izumi Makura adds some flair to the verses. It’s a focused number, and features a very nice outro. Check it out above.

Nice Nice: SAWA’s “RingaRinga”

New single from one of the many electro-pop artists who got a stab at the mainstream in the wake of Perfume’s landscape-shifting album GAME…and one of the many to recede from the spotlight and end up on some tiny imprint once the market decided they only really wanted one future-pop group bumrushing the charts. Which is a shame, because SAWA is pretty good overall, and “RingaRinga” is a nice synth-pop workout. Part cheerful electro-pop, part dance-floor-aiming release (that beat).

SAWA is also responsible for writing and co-arranging Especia’s “Midnight Confusion,” if you needed an extra nudge to click ‘play.’

New The Moments: “Vertigo”

Geez, did everyone just go and decide to release new music this weekend???

Nagoya’s The Moments were one of the first bands to excite us about the possibilities of the burgeoning Japanese indie-pop scene…which is always there, but seemed extra exciting around this time about two years ago…and one that has been mostly quiet since releasing an EP earlier this year. We sorta lost track of the indie-pop world (and got into Internet dance songs) but The Moments popping up with a new song has our attention. “Vertigo” features a darker mood for the band, albeit one still supported by skippy drum playing and a generally uptempo speed. Yet it’s a downer lyrically, and even as the song progresses it turns more buzzy and forlorn. Listen below.

New Her Ghost Friend: “Knock Knock”

Geez, this week is off to a great start. Colorful J-pop duo Her Ghost Friend are back with “Knock Knock,” an extremely playful number that finds producer DJ Obake treating sounds like gooey taffy. From the start, “Knock Knock” drips in samples of birds, scattered sounds and the titular phrase before segueing into a slightly more traditional structure. Still, Obake messes with pitch, bass sounds and Shinobu Ono’s voice twisted into various directions (at times sounding like it is drifting off into space). Yet there is also a bouncy pop number here, just one off-set by stuff that would seem out of place on an Oricon-charting single. Listen below, or download it here.