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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.

New Tofubeats Featuring Tina Tamashiro: “Suteki Na Maison”

The promotional blitz for producer Tofubeat’s Positive continues with a new music video for “Suteki Na Mezon,” an easier-going number featuring model-turned-singer Tina Tamashiro. It’s pleasant enough when taken by itself, a nice ode to having a nice house, but it ultimately works better within the context of Positive, wherein it serves as a sweet comedown after a pretty great upbeat run of tracks that build on the genre-blurring hinted at in “Stakeholder” (which is part of this passage). There, a song about wanting to go home and chill works wonders after all the energy. But here it is alone anyway! Listen above.

Hyper Reality: Lolica Tonica’s “Make Me Feel”

Lolica Tonica contributed one of the highlights on the latest Fogpak compilation, and they aren’t slowing down. Lolica Tonica have a new EP prepped for Trekkie Trax in September, and that netlabel has gone ahead and shared the title track to it, “Make Me Feel.” This sort of giddy, vocals-sliced-like-onions sound has become pretty common in Japan over the last few years, and a lot of times one’s SoundCloud feed can start sounding a bit like one big swirl of monosyllables played over and over again. “Make Me Feel” avoids this by adding in a lot of energy into the mix — something Trekkie Trax’s best releases tend to have in buckets — making the main rush so damn giddy, the sort of thing you want to get swept up in. It shares a lot with the best Pa’s Lam System songs, a feeling of joyful release. Listen above.