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Category Archives: Music

New Pa’s Lam System X Parkgolf: “Fireworks”

Pa’s Lam System recently released their first major-label release, Whatever, and it’s a varied set of body movers. That’s something the outfit remains near flawless at — their high-energy numbers are designed to get people jumping around (sometimes on to other people as I’ve seen / felt at their shows), and the tracks here should do just that. They are roughly divided between roughneck cuts featuring big bass freakouts (“Space Coaster,” “3D Rex”) and zippier numbers that are on the pop side (“Don’t Give Up On My Love” featuring singer Mukai Taichi) and established bangers (their masterpiece “I’m Coming“). Somewhere between the two is “Fireworks,” a blood-pumping number featuring an assist from Sapporo-born producer Parkgolf. Part of its charm lies in a tempo that doesn’t immediately start breakneck, but rather wading in fizzy R&B territory, complete with pitched-up voices. It’s one of the sweetest stretches either artist has either put down, and it makes the big frantic passage in the middle all the better, loaded up with shouts and cascading electronic voices. If the bulk of Whatever is pure energy, “Fireworks” shows all involved can also slow things down ever so slightly without losing too much. Listen above.

New Lulu And Mikeneko Homeless: “Asago”

The pairing of Lulu and Mikeneko Homeless has proven to be especially successful, and here they are with a new summer-ready tune just as the hottest stretch of the year approaches. Released via Maltine Records, “Asago” highlights how well both artists work together. Lulu’s singing wraps around the bouncy beat just right, the lyrics touching on some sort of relationship but shining thanks to a focus on small, summer-centered details, ranging from the way a plastic bag sparkles in the sun to simply sweating a lot. Yet even these mundane elements become rich via her singing. The music hops along appropriately, featuring percussive elements apt for the season, but which don’t tip over into stereotypical “tropical house” territory. Rather, it stands as its own creation, and is accented by intricate piano melodies that help the song shuffle ahead. Get it here, or watch the video below.

Seimei Teams Up With Kent Alexander For Back On The Blue

The latest from Midnight Cult finds label director Kent Alexander and Trekkie Trax founder Seimei splitting space to share a batch of new juke songs. Back On The Blue finds the two Japan-based producers showing off their jittery beat-production skills, and it isn’t unknown territory for either. Still, differences emerge between the two, and make this work quite well as a diverse set of dance numbers showing off both artists’ range. Every song here moves at a quick clip, but in general Seimei’s cuts are more straightforward and energetic, usually finding a specific sound and finding the joy in it (see the horn blurt on “I Felt The Love” or the stuttered repetition of “you ain’t gettin” on “Young Vet,” a song showing that Prefuse 73 works wonder in a juke setting). Alexander’s, meanwhile, feature more twists and details — the dolphins on “Marine Rouge” being a highlight — and also features more tempo shifts (see “Monkey,” a mind melting enough number before you realize [I think] that the song is sampling from the theme to Monkey Magic). Ultimately, everything works wonderfully together. Get it here, or listen below.

Say Yes, Say No: Second Apartment’s “Height”

Tokyo’s Call And Response Records will put out a new compilation album, titled Throw Away Your CDs And Go Out To A Show, on August 16. It shines a spotlight on the country’s best “modern Japanese postpunk, no wave and noise-rock,” anchored by relative notable names in music geek circles such as Melt-Bananana and (ok, maybe not hugely known) Yolz In The Sky. But it’s acts such as Tokyo-based duo Second Apartment that really epitomize the release. The pair’s “Height” is an unnerving number featuring subdued guitar playing interrupted by drum machine beats and malfunctioning electronic scrabble, punctuated by vocals delivered in a shout, jumping between a series of “hai hai hai’s” and “no no no’s.” And, most fittingly of all, the song breaks apart completely in the back end, giving way to a jittery electro jog. Listen above.

Warm Season: Twin Flamingo’s “Long Hair”

This has all the makings of a song that gets a lot of plays from us over the next few months. It’s a male-female duet from a new indie-pop outfit hailing from the Kansai region, the part of Japan that tends to do this skippy style better than the rest. But really, all those details end up secondary to just listening to the way “Long Hair” gallops ahead, the pair at the center of the song taking turns handing the verses and chorus, injecting both with an urgency that makes the pace al the more important. Listen above.