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Category Archives: Music

New Sayohimebou: “Shenzhen Diva”

With the end of the decade approaching fast, reflecting back has been taking up a lot of time in my noggin over the last month. Part of that has been trying to sort where netlabels such as Maltine Records fall in the “narrative” of “the decade,” but then said online imprint comes through with a release as giddy as anything put out in 2019 that reminds they remain as vital as ever and that I’m a dummy for even trying to imagine this as some sort of story with a point A and point B. Sayohimebou’s “Shenzhen Diva” is breathless elevation, with the producer using vocal samples as the main ingredient in this non-stop giddy romp. The key is Sayohimebou never reels it back, but rather lets it just keep getting more and more ecstatic until the end. No need to put a bow on things when they keep on delivering. Listen above.

Happy Sea Day!: Rosskeyy’s “Sai Summer Koh” Featuring nsn

Let’s hear it for Japan’s nature-themed holidays. Sea Day has arrived, and while going to the beach probably is out of the question — Tokyo has had something like 5 hours of sunshine total this whole month, I’m doing great I swear! — there is still a chance to enjoy some city-pop-inspired music to conjure up resort vibes. Rosskeyy has been dipping into this pool for a few years now, with a few offerings being especially vibrant (especially in our half-decade of more chilled-out interpretations). “Sai Summer Koh” is the latest blast of funk-tinted pop from Rosskeyy, featuring a nice vocal contribution from nsn. The whole thing is a solid blast of pep — anyone already missing Shiggy Jr. can find some refuge here — but the highlight comes with the chorus, where nsn just goes hard on the “saikoh” to drive home just how delirious this season can be. Listen above.

New Teen Runnings: “Baby G”

A lot has changed over the past decade, but sometimes you just have to dig a little deeper to find the constants. Teen Runnings have a new album out later this month, the project’s first in five years, and plenty has changed for Shota Kaneko’s project. Each full-length has found the group getting less fuzzy, and if “Baby G” (and previously released cut “Hair Wax 95“) isn’t some outlier, Teen Runnings has welcomed in laid-back electronics into their arsenal. “Baby G” lets a guitar riff push everything forward, but it isn’t coating everything in a layer of noise as much as it lends a nudge towards a melody also making plenty of room for beach-ready keyboard lines. Everything is a bit clearer here, but just focus on Kaneko’s words to be reminded of that ol’ melancholy always lurking in his music. “Now that I’m trying hard enough / But who’s gonna care about me / Who’s gonna care about me.” Now that’s the Teen Runnings we know (and hey, you always have Make Believe Melodies). Listen above.

New Kazumichi (Kazumichi Komatsu): “Deep Metal OST”

It’s slightly funny to think back to the early days of Madegg and remember that the Kyoto producer (real name Kazumichi Komatsu) used to release new tracks on a near daily basis, all straight to SoundCloud. Now, he is sharing a collection of songs corralled under the title Deep Metal OST partially because an unnamed label hasn’t released some of the songs featured here for reasons unclear. Whatever the reason for this set’s existence, it is a welcome arrival, showcasing Kazumichi’s approach to sonic texture. “Deep Metal”overwhelms with bass and electronic beats, creating one of the more claustrophobic numbers from this artist but with a few dashes of melodic escape buried within. “Wind Breaker” and “Houseplant” border on the ambient, the prior using sampled voices to create a lush backdrop while the latter weaves in sampled bird chirps for a sense of place. Even at its most haywire — closer “F*** *” — Kazumichi constructs flickering synthesizer lines that practically leap out at you. Get it here, or listen below.

Release Feast: DRUGONDRAGON’s “○ Tsuki X Hi”

Sometimes you really need a little extra time to make the emotional explosion count. DRUGONDRAGON’s latest song “○ Tsuki X Hi” offers up a great example of how much better catharsis — even seemingly nonsense catharsis — feels when the build up to it takes its sweet time. DRUGONDRAGON is a relatively new project releasing via Virgin Babylon Records, having put out a full-length last year. That set found a balance between noise and more melodic rock, while also offering up a song titled “MR. CHILDREN” that sounded like a coffee-shop acoustic ballad recorded in a supernova. Still, nothing on that one comes close to matching the build of this eight-minute-plus cut. Harsher riffs sneak in during the early moments, but only flare up for a bit before sinking back down and letting the muffled vocals grind up against feedback. DRUGONDRAGON takes their time getting to the release, adding in drum machine beats and piano melodies, plus a section where they just recite the names of various meals in Japanese. Then everything finally rips — nothing crazy, but noticeable enough — and that noise tips over, closing this one with just the right amount of a burst. Get it here, or listen below.