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New Paellas: “Night Drive”

We are not even one week into 2016, but Osaka band Paellas (formerly, uh, The Paellas) have already dropped the first really good release of the year in their mini-album Remember, which arrived in stores on New Year’s Day. The group first caught our attention with their nocturnal take on indie-pop, early songs such as “Lights” and “Following” sounding like a group taking up residence at a worn-down lounge, playing 3 a.m. shows to a crowd of castoffs forever. Remember cements Paellas shift towards late-night disco rock, teased on “Cat Out” (included on the album) and now confirmed. They’ve moved off the stage and now wander the streets, creating shuffling music perfect for lonely evenings.

“Night Drive” captures the vibe of Remember well, a tight waist-mover covered in fog and longing lyrics. One of Paellas greatest strengths, whether as a more conventional band or in the sad disco stage of today, is how they get the most out of just a few words, the band repeating lines over and over again to drive home the melancholy held inside. Listen above.

Hear Two New Songs From The Paellas

They are technically in the “demo” phase of existence, but few bands can pique this blog’s interest even with sketches like Osaka’s The Paellas. At their best, the band capture a special kind of nocturnal longing, taking the often-static sounds of indie-pop and turning it into heartfelt music seemingly coming out of an alley or a really depressing lounge. Their first demo, “Hodon,” thumps while the vocals trip over themselves, trying to reach somebody who sounds far gone. It’s a slow burner stuffed with drama. Listen above.

The other one is a bit more compact, clocking in at half the time of the above track. It’s a shifty little number, more direct musically but a bit more shadowy when it comes to the vocals (this would be the “alley” song of the pair). Listen to that one below.

New The Paellas: “Cat Out”

For the longest time, my mind’s image of where Osaka’s The Paellas would perform would be at a slowly decaying night lounge, preferably taking the dinky stage at like 2 AM to play their fuzzed-out songs to a crowd of lost souls. This was almost reality the one time I saw the band perform live at tiny Shibuya venue Home, at 4 AM, though the crowd was more young than the image in my head of tired-looking salarymen staring downwards into their gin and tonics, regret clouding there heads.

New demo “Cat Out,” though, finds the group transitioning to the dancefloor. It’s clearer than most of their previous material, and features a beat that just struts forward, pushed on by some warm keyboard. The vocals are clearer, and the whole track is more about getting hips moving than anything that’s come before – this is a dance-pop song. Also, weirdly enough, it reminds me of a slightly cleaner version of the dearly missed Hotel Mexico, in that it moves the legs but also still hides some melamcholy and mystery (the lyrics, for one, aren’t upbeat). Listen below.

New The Paellas: “Golden Eye”

Osaka’s The Paellas have sounded like a lot of things in the past – a dreary-eyed lot playing sad lounges, aggressive indie-poppers, shadow dwellers. Yet on new song “Golden Eye” they sound incredibly…smooth. This easy-going cut still contains the slight muffled vibe that has always given them a mysterious, late-night edge…the vocals still sound like they are coming from a decades-old stereo…but now the band just sound incredibly laid back (listen to his voice). Listen below.

Programming Note: Make Believe Melodies is going to America next week! Posts might be a bit more infrequent, though if anything big/great catches our attention, I shall try my best to share it with you!

New The Paellas: “Sugar”

At their best, The Paellas…especially the lead singer…sound like they are in the same room as you as their music unfolds. The bulk of their material up to this point has sounded like the work of a doomed lounge band, the group’s words muffled by fuzzy recording. Everything is a little more clear on new song “Sugar” – one half of a forthcoming “DIY single” – but The Paellas still manage to nail the intimacy AND the dread. It is a sparse number, the group allowing plenty of space alongside the guitar, drums and bass for the group’s lead vocals to do their whispery thing. Like repeat the phrase “are you going to give me some drugs?/are you going to give me some more tonight?” It really takes off when his voice turns into a whimper, selling the desperation at the heart of this and turning it gut wrenching. Listen below.