Make Believe Melodies Logo

New Boys Age: “Phantasm Gem”

Call this one an uncomfortable chill. It has been a while since we’ve heard from Boys Age, but “Phantasm Gem” reminds that the project is still delivering one of the more off-kilter takes on chilled-out indie-realm sounds going. Their latest sashays along on a guitar melody close to the music you’d hear on Spongebob Squarepants, but delivered in a staggered way that gives them a sense of lurking dread. This has always been Boys Age’s best ability, and when the singing stumbles in this numbers get even more unnerving despite having a relatively laid-back atmosphere. Listen above.

New ONJUICY: “Kono Mama 2 Jin / Relax & Chill”

Here’s how you make the most of everyone’s skill and create some balanced songs. ONJUICY’s latest release for Trekkie Trax finds him getting some assists from producers and one guest vocalist, all of whom help bring out the best in his songs while highlighting his strong points. The opening number bounces ahead courtesy of a beat created by K Bow, who takes it down a gear from his usual Jersey Club works in favor of something where the springiness is more like a trampoline than a bed, and features a late song appearance from Yungyu, whose higher pitch has a tendency to give songs a more dramatic lift (see: his recent solo number). Both also highlight ONJUICY’s more playful delivery, and helps turn his limber vocals into the spine of this number. “Relax & Chill” features an icier piece of music courtesy of Carpainter, which helps to bring out a more rough side of ONJUICY (the title doesn’t really reflect the delivery here!). Get it here, or listen below.

New The Oto Factory: “R _ U _ S _ H _ H _ O _ U _ R _”

This is like ASMR for me. The Oto Factory just coat their music in vocoder, turning funk and dance-pop songs into vibrating jams with a little bit of tension that a lot of similar “city pop” revival stuff avoids in favor of chill vibes. “R _ U _ S _ H _ H _ O _ U _ R _” really sees how much they can squeeze from the voice modulating technology, delivering electronic-charged verses over a strutting backdrop with a slight tropical breeze passing through it. Listen above.

New Chelmico: “Balloon”

Chelmico’s switch to a major label has, so far at least, found the pair focusing more on more outright up-tempo material. “Balloon” offers a breather, finding the duo reeling back the energy for at least one number in favor of laid-back rapping (and a little singing) over a sparse jazz-inspired beat moved forward by keyboard and a beat happy to let them do their thing while it shuffles forward. It’s a good change of pace, and hints at next month’s Fishing offering some welcome variety to the mix. Listen above.

New PellyColo: “Solar Powered”

PellyColo covers a staggering amount of ground over the course of Solar Powered. The creator’s ambition came through clearly on the sci-fi-inspired album Universal Catalog, a number that turned spacecraft flight into jaunty synth-pop jogs. Solar Powered keeps the same star-bound imagery while pulling ideas from Gradius and house music among other places. It’s a lot to take in — at 21 songs and more than an hour-long playtime, this one really comes off as PellyColo’s retro opus — but he pulls it off. That’s partially because of the variety of sounds PellyColo explores across this juggernaut. He zooms from cheery synth-powered bouncers (“Vic Viper”) to new wave balladry (“Close In Your Eyes”) to something approaching a zero-gravity waltz (“Metropoliania”).

Simply dipping into different sounds doesn’t make for an interesting listen if the artist can’t make anything worthwhile out of them. Yet PellyColo proves to be adept at almost everything he tries on Solar Powered, creating catchy numbers and more interesting experiments into genres formerly unknown to him. A lot of the charm comes from PellyColo’s use of older sounds not as a nostalgia crutch but rather a set of tools to build with. Despite the ’80s movie album art and vague Lucas-isms running throughout, this one never feels too mushy about the past, but rather more interested in building something all its own from it. The slinky disco groove of the title track gets a little extra energy from the synthesized string swoops, while “Feel The Fire” and “Feel So Fine” recreates guitar-solo-heavy funk without any of the goofiness often attributed to it (let’s also take a moment to appreciate how, when he decides to, PellyColo can make a mean indie-pop number, with “El” and “Make You True” being worthy of Elephant Collective). It’s a lot to take in, but PellyColo manages to keep it absorbing without dropping off in quality across the journey. Get it here, or listen below.