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Category Archives: Music

New Yun*Chi: “Jelly”

For the most part, Yun*Chi’s singles and advance songs have been relatively upbeat affairs, produced by the likes of kz and Taku Takahashi and an assortment of netlabel types. They’ve been overall good showcases for her voice, and have done a good job of separating Yun*Chi from AsobiSystem’s ranks. “Jelly” adds some welcome pre-release intrigue advance of this month’s Pixie Dust, which sounds like a solid, electro-pop affair based on the teaser. It is a slower, sparser affair, but not the sort of momentum crushing ballad that seems required of all J-pop albums. It’s produced by Chara, a long-running artist all her own responsible for some big moments in the past and still trucking today, and who here gives Yun*Chi an appropriately watery backdrop to drift through. And she shows she’s capable of moving at half-speed in a way just as charming as when she’s in zippy pop mode. It’s a very welcome new dimension for Yun*Chi. Listen above.

New Takeaki Oda: Loop EP

One of the most charming qualities of chillwave back during the sun-dappled heyday of 2009 was the sense of familiarity the music coming out of this world conjured up. Takeaki Oda goes the next step on his new Loop EP, by incorporating a whole lot of familiar samples into the hazy music he makes (chillwave will never die in Japan). Listen to the glistening title track and wait for the sound of anime and the fairy from Legend Of Zelda to pop up in the swirl. Or how “Summer Rain” makes heavy use of Playstation main-screen transition sounds to add a disorienting vibe to an otherwise laid-back number. These touches add a level of intimacy to Oda’s recordings — well, as long as you played lots of video games in the ’90s — and help make Loop stand out a bit. The addition of a remix of the title track by Shortcake Collage Tape helps too. Listen below, or get it here.

Cloudy Day Listening: Ancient Youth Club’s “Milk”

Despite this blog resorting to “sunny” as an adjective for guitar-guided indie-pop over the last…how many years…the stuff is just as potent on overcast days where it feels like rain is about to come pouring down at any second. Ancient Youth Club’s “Milk” works especially well in this grey context, partially because of the fuzzy recording sound engulfing the final product, but also because of the group’s general downcastness on the song. For every skippy run, a sigh is waiting around the corner. Listen above.

New Picnic Women: Picnic Women Only Live Twice

So this popped up online last week and is…something. Picnic Women, who has spent the last few years slowly releasing some of the best juke-inspired songs in Japan, released Picnic Women Only Live Twice, which is like his arty indie film following a few blockbusters (uhhh, relatively speaking). It is one 15-minute-long song that constantly mutates, and features a lot of jazz horns running wild and distorted vocal samples and just plain eerie passages? It’s a doozy, get it here or listen below.

New Yoshino Yoshikawa Featuring Suzushiro: “Coldsleep”

The “Ultrapop” tag Yoshino Yoshikawa has embraced in recent years usually works really well — the music he’s released tends to be quite maximalist, with every available space covered by some sort of cute sound or synth. Yet on “Coldsleep,” his collaboration with Suzushiro, he’s leaving a lot of space available, the song as a whole very open and more of a showcase for the vocals. It’s different, but the same warm, twee feeling that graces the more crowded music he works on is present here, just with more room to sprawl out. Listen above.