This might be the most Kansai-centric edition of the Make Believe Mix, a nice sampler of sounds from all around Japan just in time for the summer. It starts with Tokyo’s LLLL before shifting to Osaka’s Post Modern Team. From there, we stick around in the city to listen to the recently formed Foodie and Les Glass Glace. Our stay in the region ends with Stuck In Summer’s “You,” and then it is a short train ride to Nagoya to check in on House Of Tapes. Last, we jet all the way to the western edge of the country, to check out Fukuoka’s Breezesquad and his remix of a Little Boots song.
Below is a list of artists and songs appearing in this month’s mix, in chronological order. Click the links to read more about them and find out how to buy/get their music. All artists featured gave me permission to include their music in this mix.
LLLL “Spider Web” – From the “Spider Web/Drafting Still” digital single. Get it here.
Post Modern Team “Heartbreak” – Online release. Get it here.
Foodie “Red Flash” – Online release. Listen here.
Les Glass Glace “Sumorsaete Daydream” – Online release. Listen here.
Stuck In Summer “You” – From the Stuck In Summer EP. Get it here.
House Of Tapes “Another Space” – Online release. Listen here.
Breezesquad “Shake” (Remix of a Little Boots’ track) – Online release. Get here.
There are bound to be even more songs about the summer in the coming months – heck, Japanese indie-pop bands have released enough popsicle-smeared tunes to fill up an album, and we haven’t even hit the rainy season yet – so the novelty should go away pretty quickly, right? Welp, not so with Les Glass Glacé’s “Sumorsaete Daydream,” the latest sun-speckled bit of pop to emerge from the Kansai region. What helps this track out a lot is the space it allows – whereas other twee-worshippers fill every second of their songs with feedback-rich guitars. Les Glass Glacé aren’t nearly as aggressive, as “Sumorsaete Daydream” gets by mostly on a sparse beat and keyboard that sounds like it was lifted from a pleasant busy signal (with a few other additions, none of which overpower anything). It’s refreshing having room. It also helps that, without having to be drowned in noise, the vocals get to be heard clearly. “No ticket, it doesn’t matter/just close your eyes, there you are” goes the chorus, and it’s a simple but lovely line brimming with optimism.
Les Glass Glacé also posted the song “A Piece Of Summer,” which similarly doesn’t go overboard on noise, although it lacks the immediate sweetness of “Sumorsaete Daydream.” Listen to both below, and prepare for the nice months now.
Early in this blog’s history, I was obsessed with indie-pop. Whether it was a holdover of my time in college where I bragged about liking The Field Mice (not the coolest kid in the dorm, as you could imagine) or because I still sometimes read Nitsuh Abebe’s “Twee As Fuck” article in awe, Make Believe Melodies used to live up to its twee-tastic name by featuring countless jangly groups dotting Japan like Lawson’s convenience stores. Many of those outfits warranted their spots here, while a few probably lucked into a post by just sounding like what I wanted to hear rather than making really good music. Today, though, indie-pop isn’t quite as dominating – electronic artists, from the shadowy CUZ ME PAIN types to the trip-tastic INNIT crew, have vaulted over anything taking cues from Sarah Records.
Yet I haven’t lost the taste for melancholy pop songs, and Osaka’s Les Glass Glacé fills the void just right. The project recently released three new songs of sparse twee. Living up to the style’s DIY spirit, the brief “Half Of Us Ever” features not much more than singing, soft hand claps and some electronic doodling. “Winter Marine Day” – bit misleading of a title, as it sounds more like the warmest part of Spring – gets filled out a little more, but is still pretty skeletal. Yet who needs flesh when the melody sounds as nice as the one here, or on “Fun Marine Day #3 Bittersweet Love Authority” (which is early favorite for “twee-est song title of the year)? Les Glass Glacé makes simple, sweet music – the type of stuff that still excites me. Listen below.