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Author Archives: Patrick St. Michel

New Boyish: “Asagao No Hana”

It wasn’t long ago that Boyish were making only feedback-glazed indie-pop, the sort of brittle numbers that proudly wore their bedroom-feel on their sleeves. “Asagao No Hana” sees the project trying out something a touch more refined. This crept into a song released last month too, but it’s on this newest number where they really give it a go. “Asagao” features violins playing throughout the song, adding a melancholy to the verses and helping really push the emotions through come the chorus. What makes it avoid being the sound of a band trying to be mature is the electric guitar squalls and horn blurts that pop up around the edges, offering a little unease to an otherwise shiny song. Listen above.

New Yuuki Yamaguchi (Yackle): Metropolis EP

Metropolis is an exercise in rippling. Yuuki Yamaguchi — who has recorded as Yackle in the past — loops and skitters sounds over the course of the three songs here, the at-times suffocating feel of all these noises repeating replicating life in a big city. Singers appear across Metropolis, but Yamaguchi only concerns himself with syllables — even when words come through on opener “Ecosys” courtesy of Moemi, they sound like they’ve been sliced once and re-assembled, like they are held together by tape. It’s disorienting and giddy. Yamaguchi adds in more textural touches on the title track (which features…Yackle), such as water drops, iPhone sounds and assorted chimes, which add an extra layer to a song that often finds a female voice saying “die” (maybe “itai?”) over and over again over pulsing synthesizer and dense beats. Get it here, or listen below.

New The Pats Pats: Sing And Pretty

Few feelings excite in the digital age like seeing a previously net-shy label dumping their discography onto a site. So was the case this week with Passion Records, which took to Bandcamp to share a handful of releases from artists who have put out music through them. Among the albums uploaded was The Pats Pats’ Sing And Pretty, a charming and fun rock album originally out this past March — that is now easier to get for most people out there. The duo’s latest finds them trying out a lot of styles — the title track kicks off the album with a sweet acoustic-guitar-guided number, but on the next number “AnoLuck” a keyboard joins the drums and guitar to up the energy up. From there, The Pats Pats try out ’60s girl group pacing (“Sugar Summer”), accordion-powered ska-lite (“3 Code”) and lots of chugging indie-pop (such as on “Handspinner,” which is, yep, about fidget spinners). Get it here, or listen below.

Tech Crunch: FQTQ’s Goodbye Computer

Technology is an overwhelming force in the modern age…so hey, might as well make something fun using it, yeah? Japanese producer FQTQ delivers a pretty straightforward set of electro-pop bouncers on the Goodbye Computer album, and while the cover art indulges in what I imagine is many of our secret desires to boot our computers out a window (just me?), the songs here are mostly concerned with simple movement. The title track fizzles and cracks along, making space for a few cartoon sound effects and a particularly gooey synth line, while “Night People” rejiggers an after-midnight club number into something a bit sillier around the edges, with digital touches sounding like they are about to fall off. FQTQ does best, though, when working with others, whether that’s constructing a twinkly rave up for Mizuki Momoe to sing over on “Full Moon Tonight,” or making space for some sweet sweet sax courtesy of Kusuke on highlight “In Motion.” Get it here, or listen below.

Electronic Round-Up: Erik Luebs, Takeda Soshi And Hideo Nakasako

— Erik Luebs shared the latest installment of his Cycle series, the next two tracks representing for the month of May. Previous entries have coaxed words like “woozy” out of me in the past few months, but opener “Concrete Shimmer” takes that haze and adds a real sense of sweltering joy to it. It builds up, each new addition adding to the dizzying feeling, but also never feeling shadowy or unnerving like previous tracks from Luebs. And if you want something a little more uneasy, “Geiger Counter” has you covered in all its skittery wonder. Get it here.

— House producer Takeda Soshi often embraces the lo-fi end of that style, but latest track “Shine” makes sure to let a little dazzle in for good measure. The keyboard shimmers snaking through all of this number’s near-seven-minute run give it a liveliness some people obsessed with analog sound can forget, while also making such a long playing track keep the energy up for the whole time. Listen below.

— Now, from the lo-fi to the crackling, producer Hideo Nakasako returned with a new number recently called “Mind Film.” It opens with plenty of space, before crackling electronics and discombobulated samples zoom in, giving this one an unsteady pace. The texture, though, is so detailed that it’s easy to just get lost in how crunchy and blunted this all sounds. Listen below.