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Category Archives: Music

New Tomodati: EP 2016

Preconceptions can be a drag. Producer Tomodati has spent most of the year making frantic, at times unhinged electro-pop, so you’d figure something titled EP 2016 would follow suit. But nope — the three song set jumps from sweetly sung robo ballads about love (the charming “We Are Not Cinderella,” which flashes a few instances of unpredictably via skittery beats, but is ultimately a sweetly sung bit of melancholy with a few chaotic beeps thrown in) to busy but ultimately warm dance numbers (the sample-rich “Virtual Super Reality”). Tomodati has long been an adept song maker, but this EP showcases his depth. Listen above.

New Picnic Women: All That’s Juke


Not to be too “ughhhh my week!” but…ughhhh my week. Ultimately, it’s good for me to be hyper busy, but boy do I feel tired (and behind). And that extends to writing about music and checking in on what’s happening. Thank goodness for reliable releases, like the latest from Picnic Women All That’s Juke. As the title playfully hints at, “All That’s Juke” messes around with jazz, though Picnic Women’s typically wonky approach to juke music results in vocal grunts that sound more Home Improvement than Thelonious Monk…though the horn sample ends up the highlight. The rest of the EP ventures off in other directions…”You’re A Ringer” fucks around with house, while “Fake and the real” is a nice experiment with vocals and delayed gratification. Get it here, or listen below.

Those Late Vibes: Suibots’ Selfish Youth EP

Maybe indie-pop just hits better on late afternoons, especially on busy days where you kind of rather would just be sprawled out on a couch, but Suibots’ recently released Selfish Youth EP sounds particularly nice today. It is a brief four-song set, a synth-accented collection borrowing from the melancholy and, at least on “April Youth,” the swaggering confidence of U.K. indie pop from back in the day. Which is par for the course, but Suibots does it well here, especially when really ramping up the earnest reflection on numbers such as “Give Me Blue” and closer “Sushi Wave.” Get it here, or listen below.

New Shugo Tokumaru: “Lift”

Intricate pop tinkerer Shugo Tokumaru’s latest album, Toss, officially arrives in stores today, and since we weren’t anticipating it enough already, he’s shared the song “Lift” to coincide with its arrival. What has been fun to watch — especially as Tokumaru has gone from domestic obscurity to Tower-Records-front-room staple — has been how he builds on the whirlwind formula he’s run with for a while now. “Lift” sees him pushing it to new extremes — the interlocking backing vocals and guitar remain, but the song also has horn and string passages that just zip by, and chipmunked-vocals during a psych-tinged breakdown. Most startling — in, like, the best way — is that there is no neat ending, but rather something approaching a freakout, complete with rising static and Tokumaru suddenly hitting the brakes. He’s always been organized, and now he’s getting controlled chaos under his belt. Listen above.

Whisper Voice: Baby (With Haso And Snowdrop)

Whisper-style rapping has been a bit of a trend among women MCs in Japan, highlighted by Bonjour Suzuki and Izumi Makura. Maybe it is a work-around of something MCpero told me last year, when she pointed out it is tough to be forceful like male rappers in Japan. Whatever the reason, it has resulted in some very intriguing music, and now it is trickling down even further. Rapper Baby has, at least based on what I can see, made two songs, most recently the eyes-to-the-ground melancholy of “Sono Soto” (featuring an assist from someone named Haso…they didn’t make the beat though, as that comes courtesy production duo KXT Beatz). What it lacks in energy it makes up for in warmth, Baby’s voice flowing nicely along with the chilled-out beat, her delivery conveying a real sadness at something lost.

For something a bit more upbeat — though still delivered in the same near-whisper that adds a layer of mystery to the way her voice sounds — check out “Day To Day,” which finds her rapping over a more beefed-out track (with flute!) via Osaka hip-hop producer Snowdrop. Listen below.