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Author Archives: Patrick St. Michel

New I Saw You Yesterday: “City Girl”

“City Girl” first came out in April as part of I Saw You Yesterday’s “Topia” single. But it is such a nice rush of indie-pop — and now complete with video of a recent stop in Thailand — that it’s worth posting on this gloomy rainy day. The band’s strongest quality remains their ability to lay down a catchy number while moving at a jog, and “City Girl” keeps everything simple in order to let the melody charm. Simple, but effective. Listen above.

New Boys Age: “Blue Water”

Boys Age’s music, whether laid back or melancholy or even peppy, sounds agoraphobic. It’s mostly because of Kaznary Mutow’s voice, a little garbled and always reserved, even on chipper numbers. Yet there’s also something warm about it all, and it comes through on new song “Blue Water.” It’s a song about loneliness and wondering, but even as Mutow wrestles with thoughts, the music blankets his voice and the whole thing comes off as comforting. Even in moments of confusion, there’s the chance for something peaceful. Listen above.

Zigs And Zags: Ayutthaya’s “Mottainai”

It’s way too easy to draw comparisons between Ayutthaya and tricot, to the point where it should feel kinda like a trap. And…it is! At least for the most part. The trio put out their first EP last year, Good Morning, a set moving from chugging rock recalling American Football and similar ’90s groups (“Grapefruits”) to zippier numbers (“Kufuku”). “Mottainai” finds them stretching their sound out a bit more, plotting out guitar lines a bit more clearly and utilizing repetition more to musical affect. Most notably, the vocals come the chorus loop the titular word over and over again, adding a dreamy touch to a band whose music was pretty tactile up to this point. So yeah…on paper sounds a lot like tricot, but “Mottainai” excels thanks more to space than displays of skill, with the whole song a little more understated, and for the better. That is until the final stretch, when Ayutthaya let the song burst open and lead singer Mio Ohta cuts loose and lets the emotion pour out. Which, is pretty tricot-like…but done in a way that suits them, with the same impact. Listen above.

Electronic Round-Up: Room-T, Takeda Soshi And Toccoyaki

— Cosmopolyphonic associate Tidal started a new project called Room-T, for all things funk and soul. It’s a deliberate throwback, and “Fools Garden” loads up on tight bass notes and drum machine hits to really make that 80s / 90s feel soak through. Yet despite the very specific time range Tidal eyes with this track, the lack of vocals make it still feel a little less aged than it should, its elastic nature sounding just as welcome in 2018 as 1988. Listen above.

— On a similar nostalgia kick, Takeda Soshi returns with a new house number that has a little bit of a memory haze around it. “Costa Rica Adults Only Romance,” however, avoids the faded feel of lo-fi house in favor of tropical splashes bringing to mind Dorian or PellyColo. Besides having a light waft of melancholy to it, it’s also just a bouncy fun track. Listen below.

— Finally, something with no past trappings to it! Toccoyaki teams up with Sanso Nakamura for a bubbly pop number that manages a fizzy feeling without overloading the track. Rather, the pair use space to accentuate the rollicking electronic beat and Nakamura’s singing. Listen below.

New Woopheadclrms: Vs o​.​t​.​O​.​g​.​I

The Japanese experimental community built around high-impact samples and disjointed electronic melodies that should rupture but always meld continues strong in 2018, and Aichi’s Woopheadclrms only adds to the growing catalog. They waste no time getting attention — second song “Empire of Shopping Mall” opens with spacious electronic waves, but a hi-def scream rips through the calm before an onslaught of, like, octaned-up radio bumpers (a cornerstone sonic influence on Woopheadclrms and others in this community) crash around. From there, delicate piano notes collide with distorted electronic noise and jazz beats (“Meaning”), sampled talking morphing into electric guitar squall (“Indie”), and all sorts of things fracture (like, every song on the album). Helping out Woopheadclrms’ latest are interludes that usually just fiddle around with vocal samples, offering a breather before the next experiment in breaking sounds down and making them inexplicably fit together. Get it here, or listen below.