Well, this is another series I’m starting (before it gets chucked into my landfill of abandoned blogging series ideas). It’s going to be similar to the monthly music roundups I did back in 2019 but I won’t do it monthly, I’ll also try to use this series to talk about non-2021 music I listen to this year, and of course, this a roundup of all the GOOD music I’ve listened to. There’s no particular order to the list. I think that’s the general idea.

ALBUMS

Fax Gang – Aethernet

SPOTIFY, BANDCAMP
Genre tags: HexD, bitpop, rap
Favorite tracks: Anything to Gain/Nothing to Lose, Itsumo, Extant, Shotgun, Implosion

Even with the presence of vocals being muffled by the layers of distorted bit crush synths, I still found myself coming back to this album quite a bit over the last month. The progression and hooks of some tracks here are catchy. The production feels nocturnal and has speed driving it. I had to look up the lyrics for this one because the rap delivery is nearly unintelligible, but the writing is actually pretty emotive.

shame – Drunk Tank Pink

SPOTIFY, BANDCAMP
Genre tags: post-punk
Favorite tracks: Nigel Hitter, March Day, Water in the Well, Snow Day, Great Day, 6/1, Harsh Degrees, Station Wagon

The riffs are ear-grabbingly catchy and colorful – the production and mixing of the tracks feed into that catchiness and color. I wish the vocal-lines sound as great as the instrumentation here, but that’s not to say they are not good –  they are adequate and have the energy that post-punk usually demands. The flow of the album kind of suffers during a couple of the slower tracks where their sound doesn’t feel as dynamic. Still, I’m enjoying this quite a bit – I love the run between Great Dog and Station Wagon.

Miho Hatori – Between Isekai and Slice of Life

SPOTIFY
Genre tags: downtempo EDM
Favorite tracks: Tokyo Story, Formula X, Bonaire, Don’t Be Cheap, Desire

This one’s filled with some rich, psychedelic downtempo cuts that really do feel other-worldly – like I’m being transported to an isekai and this the soundtrack that plays while I’m going through the wormhole between the two. I dig the progression of most of the tracks but contrasting that, there’s a  strong sense of space in the production. The album’s short and there’s a lot of variety in synth textures and rhythms – what more reasons should I give to get you to check this out?

Fievel Is Glauque – God’s Trashmen Sent to Right the Mess

SPOTIFY, BANDCAMP
Genre tags: jazz pop, yé-yé, progressive pop
Favorite tracks: the Perfect Idiot, Bring Me to Silence, Decoy, Simple Affairs, Sweet Tooth, Stormy Weather, Unfinding, Go Down Softly, Goodbye, Mr. Nice, No Title

I love the lo-fi, live-feel of the recording on this album – it radiates warmth. No track overstays its length, and I feel like the band communicates all the ideas they wanted to in those bite-sized cuts. Although there isn’t as much of an instrumental variety as I expected going into a 20-track album, I don’t think it’s so much a bad thing because, for one, there are no bad songs and I never got the urge to skip any of them. I don’t know, I can’t help but love this relatively short and sweet album.

The Body – I’ve Seen All I Need To See

SPOTIFY, BANDCAMP
Genre tags: power electronics, drone metal, industrial
Favorite tracks: A Lament, Tied Up and Locked In, Eschatological Imperative, The City is Shelled, They are Coming

A Lament is a monster of an opener, the spoken-word lyrics are harrowing and the noise manipulation is crushing. Even with the weight of noise overloading the mix for most of the album, there is still progression, there is movement in the tracks. Although the vocal presence in the album is lacking, I can’t get over how amazingly produced the noise textures are on this album – listening to this feels like the atmosphere around me is disintegrating and my ears are slowly dissolving into it. It’s worth a listen-through if you’re remotely into industrial/noise music.

Pom Poko – Cheater

SPOTIFY, BANDCAMP
Genre tags: dance punk. art punk
Favorite tracks: Cheater, My Candidacy, Danger Baby, Andy Go To School, Baroque Denial, Body Level

The album cover is ass but the playful instrumentation here is pure, sweet joy. Even the noise-elements sound like they have rainbow arcs around them. I checked out their Birthday album a couple of years ago but I found the songwriting here a lot more stickier. I love how the flow of the album gives me the impression of looking into a dynamic, always-revolving kaleidoscope of quirky-happy-punk aesthetics, despite it wearing me out here and there. If you like bands like CHAI, Deerhoof or Hinds, you will probably dig this.

EP

Beach Bunny – Blame Game

SPOTIFY, BANDCAMP
Genre tags: indie rock, power pop
Favorite tracks: Good Girls, Love Sick, Blame Game

Beach Bunny’s previous album had my attention for a while but I think their kind of music is best enjoyed in an EP format. This batch of songs feel like they are more punchy in its instrumentation than their previous stuff, Lili’s vocals are packaged better and so the lyrics feel more emotive. Very neat.

SINGLES

Haru Nemuri – bang

The ad-libs during the chorus are great, the synths sound very Haru Nemuri-like but for some reason, this sounds marginally quieter than her previous singles. I’m still enjoying, though.

Xiu Xiu – A Bottle of Rum

Xiu Xiu IS BACK! I love the dreamy, reverb-washed instrumental and Liz Harris kills it on vocals and what further praise can I give to Jamie’s haunting vocals? It’s sort of conventional sounding for Xiu Xiu but this is such a great teaser for their upcoming duet album.

Cosha – Lapdance from Asia (ft. Shygirl)

This sort of popped up through a Spotify recommendation. Cosha’s R&B-trained vocals go really well with the sensual production here and Shygirl hopping on the chorus just elevates the track.

CHAI – Action

The band hops on a techno/house beat and they still make it sound as sweet as imaginable. The music video is cute, too.

YOASOBI – Tabun

Although I don’t generally care for YOASOBI’s brand of sterilized production that reminds me of an uprising of the vocaloid robots (I’m half-joking), I think this has some great guitar arpeggio-section after the second chorus, the chorus is sweet – the only song I listened to more than twice from their new EP.

Weezer – Grapes of Wrath

I haven’t listened through OK Human enough times to determine whether I think it’s GOOD or not but I instantly liked this song. The strings sound rich, the chorus is infectious – Weezer is back anew and sounding better.

bill wurtz – here comes the sun

Listening to Bill Wurtz makes my day better, I doesn’t matter that all his songs kinda sound the same, I can’t have enough of his quirky songwriting and his beep-boops in the production. Check out his music video, the animation’s in 3D and better than ever.

Some non-2021 stuff…

iri – 24-25

I’m super late to the iri party but… better late than never. Iri’s got a very attention-grabbing androgynous voice and when you slap those vocals on some groovy synthfunk-hip-hop-blend-type beat: you get a blissful earworm.

STAYC – Like This

I dig the sugary, bubbly production, vocal samples are playfully utilized and even the hip-hop intermissions sound cohesive and have genuine character (something that’s not really common in Kpop) – there’s just so many good things going on in this track. The performance video and choreo is sweet. I’ll have an eye out for this group’s future releases.

That’s it for this volume of GOOD Music, I’ll come back to this series when I get another batch of albums/EPs/singles to talk about.