Posts Tagged ‘Japanese Breakfast’

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Japanese Breakfast (Michelle Zauner) shared a cover of the Tears For Fears classic “Head Over Heels”(from 1985). It was recorded for W Records, which is an imprint of W Hotels, and all proceeds are going to the ACLU, and follows “Essentially” a brand new song Japanese Breakfast released via W Records back in April. Curt Smith, co-founder of Tears For Fears, had this to say about the cover in a press release: “Japanese Breakfast has recorded a beautiful, ethereal reimagining of ‘Head Over Heels.’

Like “Essentially” the cover was recorded at the W Sound Suite at the W Hotel in Bali.

Zauner had this to say about recording there in a previous press release: “I was originally going to record a different song but decided to write something on the fly once I arrived in Bali. I like the challenge of writing and arranging quickly and intuitively sometimes, and I had just bought a native instruments machine and wanted to explore a lot of the sample libraries it came with and work on the synths that were at the studio. It was a very idyllic place to work. I usually record in cold studios, so Bali was a pretty glamorous change. I felt so lucky the day I arrived just walking around the hotel.”

Anthony Ingham, Global Brand Leader, W Hotels Worldwide, had this to say: “Working with Japanese Breakfast on this track has been an incredible experience – collaborating with a passionate musician to support an important organization has really been rewarding. W Records has always been about inspiring musicians to get creative and it’s been amazing to see Japanese Breakfast’s journey and exploration with us at W. We are excited for the world to hear her rendition of ‘Head Over Heels’ and help support the work of the ACLU.”

We recorded a stripped down cover of my fave Tears for Fears track Head Over Heels.

Japanese Breakfast released her sophomore album, Soft Sounds From Another Planet, in July 2017 via Dead Oceans . In February she announced that she has signed a book deal with the publishing company Knopf and is writing a memoir entitled Crying in H Mart. A press release described the book as such: “Crying in H Mart is Zauner’s story about growing up Korean-American, losing her mother too young, searching for identity in a hybrid culture, and finding a passion for her ancestry and Korean cooking as a way to heal and return to her roots in the wake of loss.”

Zauner’s writing has also previously appeared in Glamour and The New Yorker. There’s no word on when Crying in H Martwill be published. She’s also an accomplished music video director.

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Let it be known that Michelle Zauner’s first original release as Japanese Breakfast since 2017 is “Essentially” an indie-pop bop. “Essentially” wouldn’t sound out of place on Soft Sounds from Another Planet, as it’s a spacey, yet danceable thumper that finds Zauner demanding the kind of love that makes everything—and everyone—else seem trivial by comparison, like looking down on a crowd from a great height. “How is it you fall asleep so easy / Who is it you’re dreaming of tonight?” she wonders, insisting, “Love me essentially.

Essentially by Japanese Breakfast for W Records.

Japanese Breakfast, 'Soft Sounds From Another Planet'

Sad streamers, dreary disco balls and slow-moving gyms are nothing new in the realm of musical visuals, but Japanese Breakfast’s Michelle Zauner, who directed the “Boyish” film herself, brings a new wink to the high-school-themed-video trope. After its release, Zauner said of the video on Instagram: “Boyish is a song that has gone through many transformations but ultimately it’s a song that’s simply about wanting to feel pretty & loved. It’s my favorite video yet.” And Zauner should be proud: The four-minute “Boyish” clip absolutely charms.

The subject is a shy student trying to make it through her school dance. She, like Zauner, just wants to feel loved and appreciated and noticed. By clip’s end, our heroine is living her dream of being on stage, but, unfortunately, we realize it is only a dream. The video has racked up more than two million views on YouTube (quite a lot for an indie video) and is a joy to watch from start to finish. This music video has it all: balloons arcs, a studly love interest and a cameo from Snail Mail’s Lindsey Jordan, who appears as a cheerleader. The utterly lovely and thoughtful “Boyish” will have you saying “Go team!”

Boyish from Soft Sounds From Another Planet. Out now on Dead Oceans:

Japanese Breakfast, 'Soft Sounds From Another Planet'

As Japanese Breakfast, Michelle Zauner writes sparkling, opulent dream pop about grief and love (and, occasionally, robots). After releasing its debut album, Psychopomp last year, the band returned with this year’s stunning Soft Sounds From Another Planet. Where Psychopomp, was written in the immediate aftermath of the death of Zauner’s mother, zeroed in on the experience of Zauner’s grief, Soft Sounds widens her aperture, featuring paeans to her coping mechanisms, ruminations on crooked relationship dynamics and said sci-fi robot fantasy. At its Tiny Desk concert, the band swapped out Soft Sound’s gauzy, astral synths for acoustic guitar and piano, and was joined by members of Washington, D.C. string quartet Rogue Collective.

Zauner had wanted to do something special for the performance, and was tipped off by Landlady’s Adam Schatz that the Rogue Collective make pretty great Tiny Desk partners. The Collective practiced with Japanese Breakfast the day before the Tiny Desk, and was a featured guest later that night at the band’s D.C. show. The adaptation highlighted Zauner’s strength as a songwriter, providing an even more direct line into the raw emotion at the heart of her songs. The string swells during “Boyish” lent gravity to the song’s bittersweet desperation. During “Till Death,” her ode to marriage, Zauner sang — as she often does — in a way that strains her voice to the crackling, taut edge of heartbreak. It’s arresting on any stage, but particularly powerful in the stark midday light of NPR Music’s office. For its final song at the Tiny Desk, Japanese Breakfast performed “This House.” Gone was the Rogue Collective, and indeed much of the band — just Zauner and pianist Craig Hendrix remained. The song describes moments in love that are more fearful labor than bliss, the hazy space where commitment, confusion and longing intersect. Like much of Japanese Breakfast’s music, the performance shows Zauner looking unblinkingly at fear and pain, daring us to do the same.

Set List “Boyish” “Till Death” “This House”

Musicians Michelle Zauner; Deven Craige, Craig Hendrix; Peter Bradley; Alexa Cantalupo; Kaitlin Moreno; Natalie Spehar

A solo moniker for Philadelphia musician Michelle Zauner, Japanese Breakfast began as a month-long, song-a-day writing challenge during a break from her indie rock band Little Big League. The result was 2013’s June, an intimate set of melodic, electric guitar-accompanied lo-fi tunes issued on cassette by Ranch Records. She continued to write solo and with her band, with Japanese Breakfast’s self-released Where Is My Great Big Feeling? and the Seagreen Records cassette American Sound both following in the summer of 2014 before Little Big League’s Tropical Jinx arrived that October. With a varied palette including markedly bigger, synth-boosted sounds that bridged lo-fi and indie pop, Japanese Breakfast’s Yellow K Records debut, Psychopomp, was released in the spring of 2016.

The album dealt with the emotional fallout of her mother’s death, and was, in Zauner’s mind, the one and only Japanese Breakfast record. She soon changed her mind, signed with Dead Oceans (which re-released Psychopomp to a wider audience), and began work on another album with the help of producer Craig Hendrix, who had also helmed Little Big League’s debut album. The pair played the bulk of the instruments on the album and went for a much bigger sound, taking the project out of the bedroom and into a much bigger space. An expansive mix from indie pop alchemist Jorge Elbrecht made it sound even larger as Zauner delved into themes like grief, dead pop stars, outer space, and moving on. Soft Sounds from Another Planet was released by Dead Oceans in July of 2017

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Michelle Zauner, sole creator of the indie pop project Japanese Breakfast, made 2016’s Psychopomp amid the death of her mother from cancer, a catastrophic event that can easily send anyone down an unfamiliar path. For Zauner, it meant an ongoing search for solace in loss. Soft Sounds From Another Planet continues that journey. It’s a somber, starry lullaby that results in periods of fitful sleep marked by struggles with fading love and death’s vague mystery. But there’s something comforting about the record too, with its interlocking muted chords, muffled drums, and sudden shocks of electric guitar that add sharp slices of lightning. Soft Sounds is full of pretty interludes of ambient noise mixed with shoegaze and electropop touches.

The Body Is A Blade from the new album, “Soft Sounds From Another Planet” out now Dead Oceans Records.

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Michelle Zauner introduced the arrival of “Soft Sounds From Another Planet”  the new album from Japanese Breakfast, with short video, that hinted at an intergalactic theme. Fittingly, she had initially set out to write a sci-fi concept album about a woman who, after falling in love with a robot and experiencing heartbreak, enlists in the Mars One project.

The plan only carried through to the lead single, “Machinist,” but the theme of exploring the great beyond prevails throughout the album. The concept allowed Zauner to play with new elements that vastly differ from her punk roots in Little Big League throughout the record, autotune and synthesizers create an otherworldly ambience. Even the re-worked version of a Little Big League song, “Boyish,” sounds like something entirely new.

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What started as a fantastic theme gradually became a metaphor for the fear of death. Zauner explores that idea in full on “Till Death,” a hauntingly beautiful song that details the aftermath of losing someone dear: “Haunted dreams / Stages of grief / Repressed memories / Anger and bargaining.” On her debut as Japanese Breakfast, “Psychopomp” Zauner had grappled with losing her mother to cancer. Now, on Soft Sounds, she reflects on the person she’s become, after surviving through the pain.

Japanese Breakfast’s ‘Soft Sounds From Another Planet’ is less of a concept album about space exploration so much as it is a mood board come to life. Over the course of 12 tracks, Michelle Zauner explores a sonic landscape of her own design, one that’s big enough to contain her influences. There are songs on this album that recall the pathos of Roy Orbison’s ballads, while others could soundtrack a cinematic drive down one of Blade Runner’s endless skyways. Zauner’s voice is capacious; one moment she’s serenading the past, the next she’s robotically narrating a love story over sleek monochrome, her lyrics more pointed and personal than ever before. While ‘Psychopomp’ was a genre-spanning introduction to Japanese Breakfast, this visionary sophomore album launches the project to new heights.

Photo by Phobymo.

Japanese Breakfast is Michelle Zauner’s first solo project since fronting the Philadelphian bands Little Big League and Post Post . The songs on Psychopomp were written over the past six years, some after the passing of her mom.

Her song, “Jane Cum,” is a dark meditation on love lost. The video, directed by Adam Kolodny, captures that longing—bright headlights cut through black woods, a chip of quartz sparkles in the sun, and a coven of witches carry out a clandestine ritual. Premiering today, “Jane Cum” offers a peek at the delicate balance of Japanese Breakfast’s last album: sometimes light as a feather, other times dark as night.

Sometimes the only way to deal with devastating tragedy is to turn it into something beautiful, and Japanese Breakfast’s Michelle Zauner does exactly that on the gorgeously dream-hazed Psychopomp. With soft-focus drum loops and gauzy synths, the former indie rocker pays tribute to a mom who was claimed by cancer, while, in the larger picture, reminding us that the pain one day fades but the good memories don’t.

Japanese-Breakfast-by-Craig-Scheihing-1496256598

Japanese Breakfast, aka Michelle Zauner, has released a new single, “Boyish,” from her forthcoming album, Soft Sounds from Another Planet, which is set to release on July 14th via Dead Oceans. The song is a slow-paced plea for love with a melodic, chorus-filled guitar solo and despondent lyrics.

“Craig Hendrix and I wanted to produce this sort of grandiose Roy Orbison-esque ballad,” said Zauner. “We wanted the chorus to have big arrangements, lots of harmonies and synth strings, to create a really sweeping, melancholic effect that mirrored the nature of the lyrics. The song is about jealousy and sexual incompetence. It’s about feeling ugly.”

Grief hangs over Psychopomp like a dark cloud, but as the year goes on, what stands out on Michelle Zauner’s debut full-length as Japanese Breakfast are the intense moments of euphoric happiness that play out on the sidelines: the joyous high of “Everybody Wants To Love You,” “Heft”‘s glorious fuck-you to the encroaching darkness, the resolute power in the album’s closing lines, “But in the night, I am someone else.” More than a depiction of loss, Psychopomp stands as a testament to finding your strongest self in situations of monumental sadness, taking comfort in the unpredictable and unknown

Soaring vocals and dreamy instrumentals, this album has so much heart. This band knows how to translate sugary pop, rock, and folksy music into a glowing, lofi dreamscape. There is a fun blend of hooky-ness and surreal, often amusing lyricism that keeps the whole album vibrant and exciting.

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Released April 1st, 2016

“at once cosmically huge and acutely personal, Zauner captures grief for the perversely intimate yet overwhelming pain it is. Long may she keep at this music thing.” -Pitchfork ,
“a stunning debut” -Rolling Stone
“overwhelmingly colorful and joyous; while her words betray grief and frustration, she turns the pain into power.” -NPR
Psychopomp is exemplary, finding joy in sadness and despair in the brightest of lights…It’s an immaculately crafted debut, and you should listen” -Stereogum