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Author Archives: Patrick St. Michel

New Chocoholic Featuring Lulu X: “Touch”

The hook for this post was just right there for the taking — Chocoholic gives the world a gift on Valentine’s Day! You can’t get an alley-oop like that everyday. Naturally, her new song came out at the exact moment I’m swamped in work / my brain might literally leak out of my head because of what came behind that slash. Good times! Anyway, the Tokyo producer’s latest finds her teaming up with Lulu X, the name that talent Imalu has given to her new electronic musical endeavor. Her vocal focuses on the thrill of being touched by those you care about, and it features a pleasant follow-the-bouncing-ball flow. But the real hook is Chocoholic’s music, which when it hits the hook imitates a nervous reaction to a touch, the music doing quick start-stops like a heart thumping. That action sells it better than words. Listen above.

Fast, Bright Trip: Oresama’s “Hi-Fi Train”

Oresama have been kicking around for a few years now, finding success online thanks to close ties to various anime and manga communities. It helps that they make bright, bubbly dance-pop songs, such as 2014’s “Ookami Heart.” Well, they did do that, but late last year they ventured into a smoother, more in vogue territory with a far less interesting bit of cartoon disco that probably should have been left for Shiggy Jr. But now they’ve gone head-on back into their electronic sound, and “Hi-Fi Train” finds the pair raising the bar for themselves just by going faster. “Hi-Fi Train” just zips ahead, leaving plenty of space for singing and other details but always feeling off of its feet. And it all comes together for a sweet chorus. Listen above.

New ZZZX1992 Vs. N. Brennan: Scary Moments IV

You don’t need me to tell you the state of media today often feel overwhelming. The Scary Moments series of albums from Wasabi Tapes feel like a nice sonic reflection of this phenomenon, and IV is a welcome addition to it. Like previous entries, it’s a collage set loaded up with video game splatter sounds, anime vocal snippets, nature sounds and more, meant to be at times disorienting, at times downright creepy and unsettling (and, during at least one part, to make you maybe think your computer is breaking). It’s an interesting listen, and one that basically gives you the feeling of…well, using the internet at this point…but what elevates it beyond simple experiment are the moments actual grooves, accidental or otherwise, creep in amongst the chaos. Get it here, or listen below.

New Yunomi: “Miracle Sugar Land” Featuring Momobako

Plenty of people have come around to producer Yunomi’s maximalist mix of gumball-bright synthesizers and traditional touches, and 2018 has already proven pretty busy. The most notable project he’s undertaken was more or less architecting the debut album from future-bass idols Cy8er, seeing him add in a few more dramatic touches (alongside big dumb drops). Now comes a new song featuring artist Momobako that is a bit more of a traditional Yunomi number. “Miracle Sugar Land” was written for a forthcoming art book, and features one of the more understated verses Yunomi has done, putting the focus on Momobako’s higher-pitched voice (sorry SoundCloud, she doesn’t say Gucci Gang). The hook, though, is a bit more physical, though still avoids going full mosh pit in favor of something a bit sweeter. Get it here, or listen below.

New Tokyo Girls’ Style: “Last Romance”

“Last Romance” marks a bit of a throwback for idol unit Tokyo Girls’ Style…even if the marketing materials accompanying it try to tap into current trends. The description coming alongside the above clip busts out everyone’s favorite two words — city pop — in talking about “Last Romance,” trying to continue the group’s slow-burning evolution from stereotypical idol fare to something more “adult” (and capable of being absorbed by more mainstream audiences). But the trick is, Tokyo Girls’ Style did that. They were one of the first idols to embrace ’80s-born funk and pop sounds — beating Especia to the punch — in an effort to stand out. They’ve tried a lot of things since debuting — remember that sick future bass song? — and now they are coming back to where they started, but presenting it as a new direction because city pop is now trendy.

OK, presentation issues aside — “Last Romance” is a pretty good J-pop take on the sound. It features plenty of space for the members of the group to sing (no knock-out vocals, but they match well enough) and a nice synthesized take on throwback funk. It comes courtesy of the band Lucky Kilimanjaro, a group closer to synth-pop than anything else, but showing off a great pop sensibility that jumps off a little more than their own album from last year (the next Give Me Wallets, perhaps?). Again, not a radical move for the Avex outfit, but a solid one with some interesting twists. Listen above.