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Author Archives: Patrick St. Michel

New Anna: Again, Again

It has only been a few weeks since Anna shared something new, but she isn’t slowing down. “Again, Again” again (sorry) finds her crafting a lurching pop number that takes a pretty familiar formula and lets the shadows creep in. I’d go to bat for everything on Tonite over this, but as a continuation it sees her playing around with ideas a bit more. Check the little sample disruption in the middle, for one, or just how firm this one is as a bouncy bit of rock. Get it here, or listen below.

Frasco Teams Up With City Your City For “My Summer Your Summer”

This is the sort of collaboration I wouldn’t have imagined making much sense on paper — Frasco dabbles in whatever you want to call the current wave of city funk, while City Your City creates shadowy R&B with a slightly unnerving edge to it. “My Summer Your Summer” works, though, by not trying to find a middle ground between the two groups, but rather affording them each time to do their thing. Frasco — or more accurately, the Frasco sound, with City Your City giving a go at recreating the breezy city strut of that duo’s music — dominates the song, with the bulk of the song finding that project’s lead vocalist strolling over some early-evening beats and gloopy bass. But then right in the middle comes the part more clearly coming from City Your City — a slowly unfolding, skeletal middle part that flips a pleasant bit of midsummer pop into something more dramatic, even if just for a minute. Listen above.

New Happypills: Lazy Sun, Late Risers And Asleep

Two sets of bleary eyed indie-pop weren’t enough for Fukuoka’s Happypills. The shoegaze-glazed project shared two new mini albums this month, both existing in some kind of state of rest. Lazy Sun, Late Risers sets the tone right away with the aptly chilled “Lazy Sun,” which finds Happypills using enough distortion to make the feeling of mid-afternoon rising all the more palpable, everything moving at hangover speed. Things speed up from there, but never rising above a light jog, numbers such as “Port Town” and “Circles” bopping along but always leaving enough room for a fitting amount of melancholy (though that latter boasts a sticky chorus). Get it here, or listen below.

Asleep actually moves a bit more quickly and weaves in more synth sounds…just as curious, Happypills writes out a list of influences for each song (not found on the other one), from “Japanese rock and U.S. indie-pop” on “Starship” to “The Drums, Day Wave, etc.” on “Sunnyfloat” (which, that etc is carrying a lot of weight, because it isn’t very Drums-y). I lean towards Lazy Sun, but Asleep features some jaunty moments that are further reminders of Happypills’ indie-pop credentials. Get it here, or listen below.

New YUC’e: “Summer Night Hiking”

Is it too early for a victory lap? Maybe not, given the upward trajectory YUC’e finds herself on — 2018 has been a continued high for the all-over-the-place artist, releasing an OK (albeit exploring slightly well-worn territory) EP and playing shows across Japan and abroad. “Summer Night Hiking” comes off like a moment to catch her breath and really soak in all she has managed so far. It’s built on Disney movie piano and a chorus of YUC’e’s singing out la la las. It’s all feel-good stuff, slowly rumbling up courtesy of a welcome jitter of percussion before plunging into what really feels like the fireworks, that bass drop in the center. Here’s the sound of an artist known for winding all over the place catching her breath, but still coming up with a nice mutation on something that should be filler — like, we don’t normally go for ballads around these parts. Critically, here’s hoping she keeps moving up. Get it here or listen below.

New Miii: Mythology

Electronic artist Miii continues exploring just what someone can do with the bass-rattling properties of dance music on the short Mythology release. Following a bit of string-centric fanfare to open the album, Miii dives right into the experimentation with “Arachne,” built on bass freakouts and discombobulated voices. It’s a drop locked into eternity, with Miii pulling out a variety of melodies and hooks from the chaos. That’s the basic idea behind the next two cuts too, though “Minotaurous” adds in some really squishy slime sounds that builds on the horror element hinted at by the theme (and helps make it the most…epic of the numbers here). A welcome continuation from earlier this year. Get it here, or listen below.