Kanagawa prefecture has been having a moment. Many of the most buzzed-about young artists of the last few years have hailed from the area just south of Tokyo. Thank demographic shifts for that, but it’s given a lot of Japanese music a relaxed, coastal vibe reflecting a growing interest in…well, relaxed, semi-coastal living. Not every artist from Kanagawa plays into this, but that atmosphere has gone far.
Half Mile Beach Club (formerly Group) hail a little further south, from Zushi, a beach town that has seen visitors drop in recent years. It’s a backdrop that could easily lead to more fun-in-the-sun rock tunes, but the project aims for something more uneasy, something a bit stranger. “Olives,” the first taste of their forthcoming new EP, features coastal percussion and a spoken-word intro not far removed from the sort of things Suchmos get up to. Yet “Olives” feels dislocated, the synthesizer line running through it giving it a bleary-eyed feel while the vocals get run through a layer of Auto-tune. Other voices — often distorted — come in like lost radio signals. If Paellas create darker songs using familiar sounds for the urban set, Half Mile Beach Club capture the sound of Kanagawa, and warp it into something all their own. Listen above.