Streaming in Japan is a weird topic to tackle. It still hasn’t taken off at the level I imagine global giants such as Spotify and Apple would have hoped by now, but it does offer a new angle on the music scene here, and alongside YouTube has made it easier than ever to block out certain corners of J-pop (it’s crazy to think how, five years ago, Johnny’s music was actually inescapable. Now…you really have to wade in to hear it). It also helps to spotlight different acts than usually get exposure through traditional means, though I’m not sure how it translates for the performers. Still, an intriguing development.
This is kind of a long way of saying…Fukuoka’s Shigge was Apple Music Japan’s “new artist of the week” upon the release of the rambunctious Burn Out, and I don’t know how that happened, but god bless ’em for it. The album comes after a strong run from the Yesterday Once More label, and really highlights everything that imprint was doing well over the last few years. Cuts such as “Chav Girl Sweat” and “Judies” plunge forward, running familiar dance music sounds through a woozy filter and letting them slowly mutate, such as how the latter goes from vocal chop-up exercise to blissed-out meditation in its final stretch. Even more straight-forward moments such as “Sketch Your Curve” hide great little details, and more importantly stay rubbery. Whether it benefits from the streaming spotlight or not, here’s one of Japan’s best dance releases of 2017. Get it here, or listen below.