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Category Archives: Music

New Hearsays: “Talking Across The Room”

Fukuoka indie-pop quartet Hearsays are prepping to release a new 7″ via their hometown’s Dead Funny Records, and they’ve shared one of the two new tracks appearing on that disc. “Talking Across The Room” is a slightly melancholy jaunt, one that gallops ahead and builds to a release — a subtle one, but one that makes the jog all the more worth it. Listen above

Prepare For A Discombobulating Time Warp With Schau Essen 2, Featuring Coffee And TV And Boogie Idol Among Others

The City Pop revival chugs on in the Japanese music industry, and as has been pointed out by Ryotaro Aoki at The Japan Times, it’s basically just a joke. So bless outposts like B.O.O.S.T.R and compilations such as the just-released Schau Essen 2, for actually diving into the at-times grotesque sounds of Bubble Era Japan rather than just use them as a hip slogan. What makes this set endearing actually stems from an element not typically associated with City Pop, or ’80s funk, or anything one really associates with that era — the imperfections add a nice human-edge to all the neon. Coffee And TV’s opener “Drive With Me” is a shimmering bit of disco-pop, featuring the producer singing over it (“vocal is shit. It’s me” he writes), which adds a sincerity that makes it stand out. Or how one just-over four minute track here is actually a radio show skit (starring one person doing voices). Or how a shimmering number from Boogie Idol gets accentuated by what sound like alligator chomping sounds and some woozy noises in the back.

Yet for all these moments, Schau Essen 2 shines because of great, catchy songs. C-Side Sea Site delivers a highlight early on with the sun-soaked “Summer Reflection,” while the beat picks up a bit for the squiggly “Bubble Over” courtesy of Asuka Tanaka. Coupled with a handful of great instrumentals, it makes for a good collection with plenty of charm. Get it here or listen below.

New The Somedays: “Sunset Horizon”

Sometimes, a band goes away for a year and comes back sounding like they never left. Other times, they return with a just-over two minute instrumental aiming to capture the sensation of the world as it nears nightfall. So is the the case with “Sunset Horizon” by The Somedays, their first song since last year’s “Remember Me.” The group holds on to the dreamy longing that defined them last time they were on the feeds, but swap out words for a shimmering sound bordering on spa listening. Yet they eek enough drama out of it (with some string help) to make this brief piece more than background noise, though I’m more excited by the prospect of them being back. Listen above.

New DJWWWW And Nicole Brennan And Orokin: Gargoyle


I’ve been sitting on this one for, like, five days, because I Keep waffling on what to even say about it. This collection comes form a set of names revolving around Wasabi Tapes who have been making gleefully chaotic sounds for about a year now, and Gargoyle takes it up another notch. It’s a rush of…everything. Second song “Fatality” features samples grinding up against one another, from video game sounds to air horns to PC Music samples, all over a gentle piano line. “XBox One” goes a step further [OJ Da Juiceman!], throwing capitalistic mantras into the whirlwind. It seems a bit vague, but everything about Gargoyle seems very internet — sounds hailing from disparate worlds, the sort that would never meld in a pre-Web world, crash against one another, made all the more dramatic with a trick Wasabi Tapes artists have been doing well for some time — video-game worthy sounds (and I’m talking cutting-edge games, not like 8-bit bloopery) accentuate the rush. The last song is called “The Internet,” c’mon!

But Gargoyle feels like a step forward because of the moments of peace dotted over the course of the album. Among all of this nuttiness sits “Middle Dutch,” one of the sweetest little songs you’ll hear all year, the whole thing sounding like it is covered in powdery snow. After a run of especially head-snapping music comes “Heaven’s Gate,” a barely there meditation that is almost unsettling in how calm it is after what came before it (though, maybe that’s fitting). It’s one of the longest releases to come out from the Wasabi Tapes clan yet, but they pace it just right to really highlight the clattering sound they’ve been building since starting off. Get it here, or listen below.

New Shiggy Jr.: “Ghost Party”

Buried in the Make Believe Melodies post graveyard is a very very long-winded entry about Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s “Crazy Party Night.” The not-600-word version — I get what it is doing and I think it is a smart move commercially, but woo boy is it so clearly her worst single to date. Part of me wanted to nail the forced Halloween theme for that…but hearing Shiggy Jr.’s “Ghost Party” reminds that, actually, the problem with “Crazy Party Night” is that it is just a phoned-in song. This is every bit as ghouled-up as a seasonal single can get, yet it remains stupidly catchy come the hook. They even sing the word “zombie” and it isn’t an embarrassing bit of baiting, it actually sounds nice. Japan’s pop scene, ultimately, demands numbers like this, the sort of thing that can be tied to specific themes and sometimes dates. And there are plenty of masterpieces tied to solitary days to back this up — a great pop artist doesn’t mail it in even when they have to do something, they find a way to make it memorable and not be corny.

So yeah…if you need a big Halloween pop song for Oct. 31st, consider Shiggy Jr.’s “Ghost Party.” Listen above.