The compilation album is where indie-pop netlabel Ano(t)raks shines brightest, gathering artists from all over the country to share a song highlighting their take on one of the most overpopulated genres in the country. Yet, critically, the label knows how to spot diamonds, and Azur features a strong set of indie-pop, from straight-up guitar numbers to more woozy electronic numbers. The latter style ends up being highlighted by Kyoto’s Native Rapper, whose “Black Kangaroo” is a soulful Auto-tune bobber peppered by samples and a sweet synth line. It’s the latest from one of the nation’s most intriguing indie artists, and one that further shows him blazing his own path forward.
Of course, the beauty of Azur lies in the variety. I Saw You Yesterday deliver one of the livelier cuts with the surf-tinged opener “Stay In” while Poor Vacation get an assist from Half Mile Beach Club. Lots of wonders here — Madame_nhu’s choppy synth-strutter “Dirge”imagines what a funkier Moscow Club could be like, while Himitsu Note serves up a Soutaiseiriron-ish number gone cutesy. And, rounding it out, the very intriguing Group2 share the soft landing of “Echoes,” which merges melancholy indie-pop with neon-lit boogie sounds. Get it here or listen below.