The danger in nostalgia is getting stuck. It’s easy to ground yourself in the best thing you heard when you were 20 and never budge…or go even further back, a move making everything happening in front of you in the now seem like junk compared to the good old days. But seeing the now…and how the now develops…can be thrilling. Alien Pop II is among Snail’s House best releases to date, marking the next step for a producer who has spent the last two years developing from warm-and-fuzzy beatmaker to one of Japan’s best creators going. Like its predecessor, Alien Pop II serves as an embrace of electro-pop, channeling the bubbling sounds of Yasutaka Nakata at his peak while still finding room for Snail’s House to put their own mark on it. “Cosmo Funk” delivers throbbing synth melodies and interlocking syllable stutters that morph into something approaching proper singing as the number swings forward. After spending 2018 showcasing a more refined side to Snail’s House, this reminds of the pure joy capable in all these electronics coming together (with some subtle piano notes creeping in, too). Better still is “Planet Girl,” opening with a big party-starting digi-drum fill before erupting into a steady bounce and flurry of shiny synthesizer stardust, making the Vocaloid-smeared vocals bouncing alongside it all even stickier. No need to retreat into old Capsule albums and fading memories, because a new generation of artists are really showing a new path forward. Here’s a standout. Get it here, or listen below.