Controlled Karaoke: Chillwave Has Landed In Japan

Two separate articles about 2009’s favorite stoner genre chillwave appeared in the Japanese media this past weekend, all but guaranteeing a new crop of Japan-based artists staying inside and sampling Italian disco records. English publication The Japan Times ran a primer about the genre, featuring interviews with Ducktails and Memory Tapes. It’s a solid enough introduction, but the real “must read” comes in the form of the paper’s profile of Japan’s only known chillwave group at the moment Hotel Mexico. It’s a nice read that gives some much-deserved attention to a very promising young group.

Elsewhere, glossy magazine Snoozer featured an article about “chillwave/glo-fi” in their latest issue (it has Klaxons on the cover). I can’t read the article…all Japanese…but I really wish I could because some of the bands they consider “chillwave” seem sorta baffling. Besides the usual suspects of Best Coast and Toro Y Moi, they also mention…Nite Jewel? Lemonade? BEACH HOUSE????? The first two might fall into the chill-fold despite existing long before the term was coined, but Beach House being included seems just bizarre. Just because they are called Beach House doesn’t mean they just write songs about smoking weed on the beach. I’m sure it’s a good enough intro article (which also mentions Hotel Mexico), but it falls for the same trap that made “chillwave” such an annoying prospect back in 2009…nobody knows what “chillwave” actually sounds like. Delorean doesn’t sound like Ducktails who doesn’t sound like Neon Indian who doesn’t sound like Saint Etienne (beating chillwave by two decades man). Let’s just clear this up now…”chillwave” sounds like the song you hear at the start of this clip but more introverted.

Seriously though, listen to Hotel Mexico, they sound great.

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