New Perfume: “Hold Your Hand”

I’m very, very on the fence about this song – on the one (wait for it) hand, it is way better than the preview suggested, the chorus in particular being a far more intriguing addition to this song than originally hinted at (the way it swoons! When Kyary Pamyu Pamyu described the music of Perfume as “the sound of an innocent girl falling in love,” this is what she meant). On the other…you know…it is still very straightforward and reeled-in, a lazy jog of a song during the verses. Still trying to make sense of it, to be honest…

…but the video is undeniably cute, and worth a watch.

Too Smooth: Lucky Tapes

If one were to plot the sonic trajectory of Kai Takahashi on a big chart, he would be forever moving towards turning into pure Weather Channel soundtrack. He hasn’t reached that point yet, though, but he’s been getting smoother and smoother with each release…even his remixes of Parisian pop bands were smooth as heck. After playing a pivotal role in the breezy (but oftentimes melancholy) Slow Beach project last year, he has now teamed up with Keito Taguchi and Tsubasa Hamada to form Lucky Tapes, his smoothest sounding project yet. That’s clearest on “Peace And Magic,” a slice of lounge-ready funk that finds Takahashi delivering his best Rhye impersonation. I’m not sure how many adjectives there are to say that this is relaxed as heck…but it is.

The easy-breezy vibe is fine, but when Lucky Tapes add in some dancefloor-moves to their sound, it gets a lot better. “Sunday Night’s” backbone is a sample, but from that the trio spin into a bouncy, horn-filled (!!!) number. It’s a slinky affair, one with a great amount of pop that hints at how good this team-up could be.

Graceful: LASTorder “Temporary Sympathy” Featuring Piana

LASTorder “Temporary Sympathy feat. Piana” Official MV from “Allure” PROGRESSIVE FOrM from rm on Vimeo.

It’s a pretty recurring thing around these corners – an artist exists on the corners of this blog’s (read: just my) attention, often getting pigeonholed, and very rarely getting attention all their own, more likely to be linked to someone else under the spotlight. For the most part, producer LASTorder has been on our radar as part of The Wedding Mistakes, a project with Miii making solid EDM-dipped dance music responsible for one of the year’s better 2014 albums. Yet LASTorder’s solo work…not nearly as much attention here.

So “Temporary Sympathy” is a hell of a gut check, because it’s extremely pretty. Like, polished in the best way possible. It features the hallmarks of a home-based producer – it clicks and burbles, bordering on glitch-hop at times, and features some nice neon twinkles – but also boasts a professional sheen. Check the strings glistening across it or, most clearly, listen to singer Piana step into LASTorder’s flurry and add a dramatic element to all of this that makes this far more compelling. It’s off of LASTorder’s just-released sophomore album, which I’ll hunt down right quick.

New Boyish: “Sketchbook”

Sunday afternoon seems like the optimal time to share a new song from Tokyo indie-pop outfit Boyish…”Sketchbook” is an unhurried number from a group usually operating at a far skipper pace. What it lacks in urgency it makes up for in nailing a certain type of fuzzy sound. “Sketchbook” could ultimately shave off a minute and be a little better off, but it’s not a bad check-in from Boyish. Listen above.

New Seimei & Taimei: “Orion”

The Trekkie Trax gang have been keeping busy, and thankfully they made sure “releasing new songs onto SoundCloud” remained one of the collective’s mission. Seimei & Taimei’s “Orion” is a fizzy dance track, one that swerves through several high-energy passages, but is always lithe. Listen below.