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Category Archives: Music

New Tempalay: “Doushiyou”

Gotta switch to a tab not playing the video for this one. Tempalay’s brand of Mac DeMarco-indebted goofballery is hit or miss, but in the past it at least matched up with the general vibe of the music (shambling, silly, one more drink away from waking up next to Hachiko). With “Doushiyou,” the accompanying video doesn’t really do justice to the song, which actually finds the band nailing something they’ve been trying — and generally just missing — for a while now. “Doushiyou” is off-balance and tripped-out, the guitars and vocals all feeling like they are just a second behind one another. It’s unease done well, and it sounds like the group hitting something they’ve always eyed. Listen above.

AR30 Shares Summer Compilation Featuring Rigly Chang, Notuv And More

Here’s as relaxed a way to close out summer as you are going to find in 2018. AR30’s Late Summer Compilation 2018 closes out the season with a set of late-afternoon dance tunes, optimal for one last party by the pool (even if leaves are starting to muck it up). This easily could have been a chance to indulge in some beach-resort-during-off-season vibes, with sadder dance tunes, but AR30 opts to just have some fun instead. Rigly Chang channels New Jack Swing on their two contributions, one of which kicks this comp off on a particularly elastic foot. Takeda Soshi comes closest to nailing the overall feel here with “Autumn Poolside,” which approaches melancholy for the end of warmer times but uses its sparse melody to revel in what’s left. Notuv gets similarly spacey on “Hidden Things,” before pivoting right into skittery sample-sliced beats on follow up “Ultra Manic.” The end stretch is particularly joyful, embracing house euphoria (and, on DJ Badboi’s closer, lo-fi house). One last hurrah for the summer. Get it here, or listen below.

New Maison Book Girl: “Okaeri Sayonara”

Idol music isn’t a field geared towards innovation. The challenge in approaching it is accepting that groups — especially in the 2010s — tend to occupy a very specific musical (if not visual) niche, and expecting change from them is kind of a hopeless pursuit. One I still fall for, but I digress! This is all a way of saying Maison Book Girl hit a sonic sweet spot for me, and a large part of that is just personal preference for click-clacking percussion and violin swoops instead of another group leaning on chugging guitars. “Okaeri Sayonara” serves as a preview of the group’s next album, and leans on a familiar palette of sounds, albeit one that also seems a touch more spacious than other recent releases. Yet it’s a sound they keep finding new angles on, all while maintaining an emotional core that elevates the group up for me. Listen above.

New Grizzly Temple (Formerly YYSHIDD): 1990 EP

Well before it became an aethstetic reference point, YYSHIDD was getting in on a city pop revival here in Japan focused entirely on the actual sound of that ’80s style. Songs such as “Naomi’s Love Affair” nailed the gold-flake-coated bounce of city pop without leaning too hard into nostalgia. YYSHIDD re-named themselves to Grizzly Temple, and has shifted from 24K struts to a different memory-baiting style that they pull off just right. 1990 uses 8-bit sounds as a base to create springy dance numbers. Like the best chiptune, however, Grizzly Temple avoids simply reminding listeners of games they maybe played as kids — but rather using those sounds as a way to construct head-bopping beats on the title track and the strobed-out stagger of highlight “Night In Taipei.” Get it here, or listen below.

New Emamouse: Pigeon’s Point

It’s always a treat to step into Emamouse’s world and see what ideas they’ve got cooking up. Pigeon’s Point revels in simple, charming melodies and surrealist (and silly!) imagery that feels like welcome escape into fantasy. “PP2” opens up with a nice skip accented by chirpy singing bordering on human Vocaloid that sets the album off to a jolly start, before Emamouse runs off some instrumental numbers exuding the same upbeat feel, playing around with sounds the same way Foodman might if commissioned to make background music for a children’s TV show. But part of Pigeon’s Point lies in the moments the drama gets ramped up — “Mischievous Donut In The Garden Of Poptart Again” features pained singing over a chorus of dizzying Emamouses, starting a stretch of music that adds more tension to the collection (“Midnight Seen Before,” “Romou’s Meadow”). And it all ends on a softer, guitar-assisted note with the come-down of “All What Happened To You Is Just Particles. You Know It.” A fittingly nice note to exit this place, at least for now. Get it here, or listen below.