I went to the recently renovated Tower Records in Shibuya the other day – looks good, even with a goofy cafe occupying the entire second floor! – and saw a bunch of new CDs that looked interested. After giving them a few preview spins, I was ready to load up on fresh music…until I looked at the price tags. The cheapest…a four-song single…went for 1000 yen, while the proper albums got as high as 2500 yen. These are not reasonable prices, and probably one of the reasons music sales continue falling in Japan. It also doesn’t help that bands like Head On The Sofa can release EPs on sites like Bandcamp for free – EPs that happen to be very good and only a MediaFire-download away.
Head On The Sofa’s latest freebie, the Memai EP, features five guitar-centric songs with catchy melodies along for the ride. Opener “Stay With Me” teases shoegaze with its slightly buzzy guitars and drawn out vocals, but never gets caught in a swirl, instead the band always moving forward. Even more forceful is “Through Your Ways,” which hops ahead unstopped saved for some half-second hiccups that, while a bit distracting, never halt momentum. Head On The Sofa even shred a bit on the Dinosaur-Jr-like instrumental “Veranda.” It’s a solid collection of songs, and it isn’t their only available one. Listen (for free) here.