A lot has changed for Tokyo’s CUZ ME PAIN label since they released their first compilation a few years back. AAPS called it a day, Jesse Ruins grabbed some blog love and got picked up by Captured Tracks, Lovers In The Wind remain a complete mystery and Melancholic Masculinity just goes by Masculin now. In early March, the label plans to drop compilation number two, featuring a lot of familiar faces from the still-fascinating shadowy Tokyo scene and a few new ones as well. The major projects that laid down the foundation for CUZ ME PAIN – Jesse Ruins, Nites, Faron Square, :visited, Atlas Young, The Beauty and Masculin – each show up on this new release. Sapphire Slows drops by for one song, while label friends Hotel Mexico and Magical Gang contribute remixes of a Nites song and a :visited jam respectively. Yet it wouldn’t be CUZ ME PAIN without a little mystery (or lack of information, at least), and that’s where two new acts enter the picture. Naliza Moo and Scum Boys both bring a track to this comp, but I couldn’t tell you much about them. Listen to a preview of each song on this release above.
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Tagged :visited., atlas young, compilation, cuz me pain, faron square, hotel mexico, jesse ruins, magical gang, masculin, naliza moo, nites, sapphire slows, scum boys, THE BEAUTY
This year started off on a great note for Japanese music, as so many artists released great material in January. Heck, there is so much stuff not on this month’s Make Believe Mix that deserves more love that it is pretty staggering. Yet what did make it on this 27-minute mix were some of our favorite tunes of the past 31 days. Sugar’s Campaign and Magical Mistakes rep for Osaka-based party INNIT, while :visited’s “Parade Dream” works as this month’s CUZ ME PAIN addition. Elen Never Sleeps provides a wistful break before we dive back into electronic-leaning jams courtesy Occult You. And closing it all out, the gorgeous, lonely “Up To You (If You Love Me)” by Cloudy Busey.
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.
Sugar’s Campaign “Netokano” – New single. Watch the video here.
Magical Mistakes “Running Water” – From the Special Friends EP. Buy here.
:visited “Parade Dream” – From the forthcoming cassette True Chances out in early February. Site here.
Elen Never Sleeps “My Aquamarine” – From his newest digital single. Download it here.
Occult You “Psychic Feelings” – New online release. Download here.
Cloudy Busey “Up To You (If You Love Me)” – Online release. Listen here.
Here’s a new track from CUZ ME PAIN artist :visited, last seen dishing out “Sweetest Things,” but now enjoying a marching life. “Parade Dream” lives up to its title quite well, a Rose-Parade worthy beat pushing forward while the usual array of CUZ ME PAIN synth flurries and scalpeled vocal samples act like sonic fog around it. I don’t know whether this will appear on :visited’s upcoming release, so enjoy it right now just in case. Listen below.
Dummy magazine ran an interview with Sapphire Slows today, and it’s a really good read. One of the best parts comes when she decides to talk about the blossoming music scene in Tokyo – she mentions the likes of Friends, Neon Cloud and New House, and also fits in the CUZ ME PAIN roster. It’s a small paragraph in an interview that isn’t going to make a big dent in an online world where each hour feels like decades for content – but, and maybe I’m just crazy, I think this sort of thing helps for what could be a big 2012 for Japanese (and Asian) artists in general. More and more Western outlets are mentioning Korean pop, and a quote at The Singles Jukebox today really struck me – “I’m getting more and more into pop in languages other than English.” I think a lot of people are…and I think it’s only going to grow in 2012. I think…and again, this is speculation…that next year might be a pivotal year for those in the Tokyo scene to get the international attention they want.
What I’m trying to say is…smart thing :visited is releasing an EP in the near future. “Sweetest Things” is the first glimpse at this release, and it finds the CUZ ME PAIN project doing what he does best – make a warm, sun-soaked beat and bass line combo the driving force of the track, and then letting dueling vocal samples, both practically tripping over themselves, add the seemingly label-mandated unease. And hey, a bit of narrative-damaging truth…as easy as it is to give into the CUZ ME PAIN idea that all the artists on this label sound like bedroom-grounded dudes who really like shadows, :visited has established himself as the most sun-obsessed of the bunch. “Sweetest Things” follows up his last two releases as being really really bright – like, I can feel the sun getting in my eyes and making me regret not buying sunglasses. The CUZ ME PAIN roster…and, heck, the Tokyo scene as a whole…might share a few similarities, but this past year has seen each act establish what exactly makes them their own artist. Listen below.
Dear Japanese bands,
I love you guys a lot, but why you gotta go and post new tracks at 1:00 A.M.? I realize that by being up I should actually consider myself fortunate but I literally was setting my alarm for tomorrow when I saw this new track from CUZ ME PAIN bro :visited. The pillow can wait a few more minutes, I GUESS.
First world problems aside, this is a catchy little end-of-summer number. Like all the CUZ ME PAIN crew, :visited lets his producer’s instinct win out and “Greatest Bored” is blessed with equal parts headphone bliss and dancefloor worthiness. He’s also established himself as the label’s most beach-friendly member, as his recent releases have all been drenched in life-affirming sweat. Listen below.
Easy thing to forget when talking about CUZ ME PAIN – they sorta sprung out of DJ culture, and even the darkest stuff they put out has a thump. This new song courtesy of :visited works as a great reminder of the label’s origins without being as boring as a history lesson – “Touch Your Heat” throbs along with its inviting beat and those Reagan-era synth flashes that make this seem pretty lucid. Some vocal samples strut in later, and everything sorta blends together into one big party-boat of joy, a little woozy and druggy but overall a great party. Add to your weekend playlists now. Listen below.
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Hmmmmm, without consulting Wikipedia, let me try to remember what happened in 1996. Bob Dole ran for president and Al Gore did the macarena, Space Jam blessed the world with its existence and the Olympics were held in (lol) Atlanta that year, complete with totally terrible mascot. I vividly recall the last memory, because my family was on vacation and we got in a fight with the neighboring hotel patrons during the opening ceremonies. Good times! CUZ ME PAIN’s :visited either unearthed a really old track from 1996 or has very fond memories of those days, having released a new track called “Amazing Reality (1996).” Latching onto a particularly sweet guitar sample and the label’s trademark dreamy synths, :visited crafts an under-two-minutes-long flash of light that’s warm and also capable of getting you moving. It’s brief, but while it lasts it is a pleasant memory. Though I’m not sure why 1996. Listen below.