Category Archives: Music

New Extruders: “Zombie” And “Fushigina Shishin”

Tokyo band Extruders, behind one of last year’s best albums to come out of the country, have a new summer project that just kicked off. Until August 31, the group will share a new song…or a music video…every Sunday. Two weeks have gone by, which means two tracks are already out there in the wild. The latest, “Zombie,” is a driving number, broken up by trippy moments of spoken-word guitar freakout. Get it here, or listen below.

“Zombie” is a solid rock driver, but the highlight thus far was week-one release “Fushigina Shishin,” which is more up Extruders’ alley of wispy minimalism. There’s more space, which makes the guitars and straightforward beat sound all the more lonely. And the vocals…when they aren’t switching into spoken monologue, they are practically whispered, making this already twisty song all the more intriguing. Get it here, or listen below.

New “Chyururi Chyururira”

A large part of manic pop outfit’s message up to now has been a desire to go worldwide – see the still definitive “W.W.D.” – but on their latest single, they turn a bit inward. “We are Japanese” goes one part at the end of the chorus, though the traditional-leaning instruments popping up all over should be more than clue enough. Not a bad move, considering they are gaining momentum domestically…might as well drive it home completely with one celebrating all sorts of corners of Japan.

Thing is, the group’s defining sonic feature – the pinballing approach to pop – is still in place (and check those 8-bit bloops lurking in the verses). Plus, those dramatic interludes!

How’d I Miss This: New Picnic Women 50 Shades Of Fool EP

Geez, I’m losing my edge…a lot of new music passes by everyday, but whiffing on a new Picnic Women release that came out at the start of July? Shameful. Especially because of how good the 50 Shades Of Fool EP is, one of the best in the (very high quality) discography that is Picnic Women. The main stunner here is “S.A.X.,” which would have been a highlight if it had just stuck to the idea in its title – take a sample of a saxophone, and turn it into a juke beat. Which, that does happen…and it’s slick…but it goes way beyond that, and veers off into several, sax-present directions that make for a stirring listen. The title track is a mostly laid-back number, until a moan hastens the pace considerably, while closer “Paradise” is a nice groover, albeit the least exciting thing here (more of a chaser after “S.A.X.”). Hopefully you beat me to this though. Listen below, or get it here.

New Jemapur: EXEP

The producer behind the wonderful Young Juvenile Youth project has a new, easy going EP out called EXEP. The three-song set is a very mellow collection, kicking off with the skittery “Lucky Me,” which is built around some lovely vocal drones and drippy-droppy electronics, the whole thing having a bit of a pop (the beat) but never getting too rough. “Substance” is a bit more mischievous – the way it’s constructed makes it sound like large chunks of it are unwinding backwards, giving it that is-there-a-message-of-the-occult-hidden-here vibe so many backmasked songs do – but still pretty chill, while finale “Early Morning Movability” is centered on the beat, but it’s the most reserved thing here (also, weirdly, the fastest). Get it here, or listen below.

New Shortcake Collage Tape: “Del Mar”

This isn’t the first time non-sampled vocals have appeared on a Shortcake Collage Tape – but this is the first time the words have really drilled in. “Del Mar” finds Azusa Suga (also of For Tracy Hyde) sampling at least part of a song from last year’s Town Age album by Sotaisei Riron, submerging it in hiss and speeding it up ever so slightly. Yet that’s not the real exclamation point here – the singing is urgent, and adds a drama to this song that has never really been clear in this project (last year’s majestic Spirited Summer, for example, got way more mileage out of soaking itself in nostalgia than trying to be ever-present…and it certainly worked). “I’d rather see him drown then make you his wife,” goes the most pointed lyric, and the whole thing is so clear and present it’s sorta eye-opening coming from a project dabbling primarily in chillwave/vaporwave sounds. Listen below.