Picks of the Week #16

  • TAMTAM – コーヒーピープル ‘Coffee People’

Rooted in dub, jazz and RnB traditions yet ethereal and unorthodox in equal measure, コーヒーピープル ‘Coffee People’ by Tokyo-based alt-pop band TAMTAM puts the listener’s senses in a state of sonic and emotional flux. The track amuses itself in a repetitive yet infectious musical flow with teetering guitar chords and looping vocal melodies, which slowly wades towards a feedback-induced climax that would hypnotise the listener with a spiralling wall of sound.

  • サニーデイサービス Sunny Day Service – ‘I’m a Boy’

Indie-pop trio サニーデイサービス Sunny Day Service plays the melancholy card from the musical deck in their track ‘I’m a Boy’ from their latest album DANCE TO YOU. Strolling through gorgeous guitar vibes that reminds one of the early 70s folk-rock sounds of Happy End, the band rides further away from their bygone punk days and indulges in a rich sound world filled with evocative vocals, jangling guitars and a poignant undercurrent.

  • Healthy Dynamite Club – ブギーナイツ ‘Boogie Nights’

Something to liven up one’s tired eyes and ears after a stressful day of work – ブギーナイツ ‘Boogie Nights’ by disco-pop newcomers Healthy Dynamite Club. The track is as catchy and irresistible as Daft Punk injected with an extra dose of glitter – with glitz-laden guitars, a groovy rhythmic pulse and a euphoric chorus to put the cherry on top, hire the nu-disco septet any day to spice up any time of the day.

© Isaku Takahashi

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DEAD FUNNY RECORDS (Part 2) – FANCY BOOKS

The next installment to this series focusing on DEAD FUNNY RECORDS features the duo FANCY BOOKS, a man and woman duo (Mitsuomi and Fumiko) from Saitama prefecture.

Their sonic palette is a renewal of retro synth pop sounds that take us back to the likes of Yellow Magic Orchestra, and glimpses of Kraftwerk or the Pet Shop Boys. ‘Sister Carry Stars’, from their EP Wisteria glorifies in vintage analogue-flavoured synth oscillations and drunken melodies, and a drum machine beat reminiscent of 70s/80s disco grooves. FANCY BOOKS subverts the overly mechanised nature of electronic dance music with ripples of heavy and eerie reverberating vocals that transports us to a futuristic chillwave/nu-disco landscape.

The comparison DEAD FUNNY RECORDS makes between FANCY BOOKS and artists like Au Revoir Simone and Memory Tapes is understandable when you hear tunes like ‘Sponge Boy’, brushed with dazzling synth colours and a head-bopping drum line. To permanently mark their artistic signature (throughout their EP), the duo goes about in adding pockets of tipsy, wobbly electronics that traverse through the stereo sphere, as a way to disorientate the listener’s navigation through this cosmic musical alleyway that is experimental in nature, but equally crammed with boldly kitsch details.

The duo takes a divergent path towards a new age flowing vibe with ‘Nephogram’, which features on the record label’s first compilation album. Celestial synths and samples that glisten through the stereo field accompany the lugubrious but spine-chilling vocal expressions that drift off into the audible universe, and spellbind the listener into reverie.

It’s dreamy and seductive music that could accompany an imagination of roaming around Tokyo at its nightlife glory full of glittering neon lights. The magical atmosphere that exudes from the musical universe of FANCY BOOKS that has the capacity to cocoon any listener’s sensual vision is a testament to their ability to craft out an array of absorbing sonic colours and environments.

Other Listening:

© Isaku Takahashi