New Yoshino Yoshikawa: “Les Chats”

“Ultrapop” producer Yoshino Yoshikawa has always been a sucker for cute things, but “Les Chats” might be the closest he’s come to overdoing it. The lyrics — written by Cpnnn (@kittiesgalore, natch) and sung by Rionos — focus on cats, which is fine, I mostly just play Neko Atsume nowadays so no foul on the topic. It can just get a little too goofy at times, mostly when it gets to parts about rainbows. Yet that’s ultimately not much of an issue because of Yoshikawa’s production, a big high-stepping rush of synths that actually sounds rainbow-ish, adding energy to an otherwise cuddly song. Listen above.

New Pelican Fanclub: “Dali”

New Pelican Fanclub: “Dali”

Programming Note: I’ll be at the Fuji Rock Festival for the next few days, so posts might be a bit rare (though a little is lined up). Follow along with me at one of Japan’s biggest festivals at Twitter and Facebook. Now for a quick one before I pack.

Pelican Fanclub have a new song/video called “Dali,” which you can hear/watch above. It’s an uncomplicated bit of indie-pop, spiced up a bit by the vocals, which find the singer pushing his voice to sell the emotion of “Dali.” Especially come the chorus, when it jumps up a register and almost just cracks, but doesn’t tip over completely.

Indeed: Yu-chi’s Escapism

Niigata’s Yu-chi writes that he’s an “ordinary farmer” on his SoundCloud, and also adds that all of the music he shares (stretching back to 2012) is made simply as his hobby. His latest, Escapism is…well, just that, a collection featuring muted songs, moments of disorienting detail and like uhhhh MIDI-assisted jazz (“Black Cat Swing”). The unpredictable nature of Escapism is charming, even when the songs aren’t hitting (sorry, not feeling the jazzy interlude). Yu-chi’s music is at its best when it leans toward dreamier sounds, or even just more narcotized vibes (“Waltz For The Moon” is a bit of playroom pop that charms thanks to its simplicity and early-evening feel). When it gets lush, like closer “Redemption Day” or “Drizzle,” or even just disjointed (“I Hate You”), it gets good. Get it here, or listen below.

New LLLL: “Futo Subete Yume To Shiita” Featuring Ano From You’ll Melt More

New LLLL: “Futo Subete Yume To Shiita” Featuring Ano From You’ll Melt More

Maltine Records, set to celebrate a decade of existence in the very near future, aren’t stopping regular activities. They are set to release their next collection (and first from a Japanese artist this year) from Tokyo’s LLLL very soon, but today all parties involved the first song from it, “Futo Subete Yume To Shiita.” The guest vocalist is a bit of surprise (well, not really if you consider Maltine’s history with idols), as Ano from the vaguely new-wave idol group You’ll Melt More, a pretty forgettable group whose most interesting moment is the song where the guy from Polysics sadly reminds us it has been 12 years since that group last exciting music. Here, Ano fits in wonderfully amongst LLLL’s slower sounds, the chirpiness of You’ll Melt More replaced with a convincing melancholy. The song itself doesn’t build up as much as it expands and retracts rapidly, drum ‘n’ bass percussion zooming in, which seems to push everything else into hyper-speed with it (see Ano’s voice, tripping over itself). That the ending isn’t a resolution…just warp speed…makes it all the better, a welcome bending of expectations. Listen above.

New Kiwi: “Kiwi No Uta”

New Kiwi: “Kiwi No Uta”

I don’t remember Kiwi being this wonderfully goofy when they released the Promise EP via Zoom Lens this past March. That one — a two-song set that really introduced the pairing of producer AZUpubschool and Osaka singer Coris — certainly had some upbeat instances (“GreedGreed”) but ultimately was a pretty dramatic and shifty affair. “Kiwi No Uta,” though, is fun, closer to music appropriate for The Grim Adventures Of Billy And Mandy or, like, that Eddie Murphy Haunted Mansion project. This number, full of horns and howls and goofy sonic touches, tells the story of a ghost kiwi and general after-hours haunting, all played in a way that’s not too serious but also far perkier than pure joke material either. It’s…cute, the duo running with an idea and having fun with it. Watch (the very charming…kiwi ghost!) video above.