Safekeeping: Summer 2017

This summer’s leftovers from Ame to Kanmuri, Daphni and more

Great singles from 2017 stacked up quick during this summer. A lot of them have been archived in my main playlist, though there are still a lot left on my on-the-go queue that have not yet found a home. Some artists here are new to my library while others are trying to slip yet another song in. All are worth a listen, and so they at least get a space here.

Below are 9 songs from this summer I couldn’t leave unmentioned.

Ame to Kanmuri: “I Know”

single (Tapestok)

Molm’o’mol of the now-defunct Koutei Camera Girl has been keeping up an impressive singles streak this year, releasing late-night hip-house tracks under her solo project, Ame to Kanmuri. While her first,“Lie Night,” out of the so-far three singles prove to be the best gateway, the second track “I Know” and its equally introspective raps hold up as well.

BiSH: “Nothing”

Giant Killers (Avex Trax)

There was not a better time to get into BiSH than July 2017. That month saw the group sell out the Makuhari Messe arena, the biggest venue they’ve played so far since their debut in 2015. Along with emotional speeches and amazing photos from the show, the month saw the release of the video for “Nothing,” the tear-jerker anthem of the latest Giant Killers mini album, to commemorate the accomplishment.

CLC: “Where Are You?”

FREE’SM (Cube)

The 4Minute re-hash “Hobgoblin” was personally neither here or there; frankly, it’s mostly a bore of concept. But I’m also susceptible to the equally popular direction behind “Where Are You,” so take that opinion as you will. They look doe-eyed as the nostalgic soft-pop playing in the distance. And it’s fluffy, certainly, but I sense enough melancholy from their questions to make it work.

Cornelius: “In a Dream”

Mellow Waves (Warner Music Japan)

True to its title, the latest album from Cornelius since 2006’s Sensuous follows Keigo Oyamada with his head in the clouds. His dreaming state of mind expresses to me an admirable sense of peace especially after listening to his classic Fantasma for the first time and seeing how his restlessness has changed two decades later.

Daphni: “Tin”

Fabriclive93 (Fabric)

Much (deserved) praise of Daphni’s Fabriclive mix has covered how Dan Snaith warps the sound of his more dance-floor-focused project. The build of “Tin,” meanwhile, is a rather simple rendering of the producer’s tastes at the core of his own Jiaolong label: The single’s infectious hiccup of a loop, driven by a classic 4/4 thump, reminds me of records by Chaz Bundick’s Les Sins project.

Fairies: “Koi no Roadshow”

single (Sonic Groove)

The flashy, pumping chorus takes me back to Avex’s early days when the label dished out Eurobeat covers via the Super Monkeys, later re-branded as MAX after Namie Amuro’s solo stint. (Here’s “Seventies” by MAX.) But whereas I come here for the high-energy dance thump, I stay for the string of movie-themed cliches Fairies use to write their mission to get the one they want.

Kami-sama, I Have Noticed: “Don’t Touch My Hand”

Kami-sama, I Have Noticed (Warner Music Japan)

The masked rockers don’t have much revealed about them just yet. All that’s certain is that their frantic guitars, as well as the lead singer’s nasal-toned vocals, sink their teeth into a particular emo-rock nostalgia for me. I have no idea if that’s exactly what they’re going for, but damn, I’m tempted to queue up Circa Survive’s “In the Morning and Amazing” right afterwards.

Satoko Shibata: “Miss You”

Do You Need a Rest from Love? (Ideal Music)

A classic twee pop dilemma: the singer-songwriter wants to shout out her true feelings for the other to get exactly how she feels, but all she can do is admire from a distance. And shout, she does, making the what if’s and her bitter regrets heart-skipping as if she actually acted upon those impulses.

*Listen to the song on Spotify.

Twice: “TT” (Japanese Version)

#TWICE (Warner Music Japan)

Last year’s “TT” and its crying pose went viral in Japan, eventually scoring Twice a debut in the country. The promo run was fun to keep up with during the early parts of summer. (Here’s the group posing with a lit-up Tokyo Tower behind them displaying TT on the marquee.) But more importantly, I now had Twice songs I can actually sing along with throughout the season.

More? Why not?

  • 21 Savage: “Bank Account”
  • APink: “Motto Go! Go!”
  • BoA: “Camo”
  • Charli XCX: “Boys”
  • DIA: “LO OK”
  • Dreamcatcher: “Fly High”
  • Hitomi Toi: “Serpent Coaster”
  • JinSoul: “Singing in the Rain”
  • Laboum: “Only U”
  • Lulu & Mikeneko Homeless: “Asagao”
  • K.A.R.D.: “Oh NaNa”
  • Red Velvet: “Red Flavor”
  • Stella Jang: “Alright”
  • Tyler the Creator: “911 / Mr. Lonely”
  • YeoJin: “Kiss Later”
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