Japanese Breakfast

"The title Soft Sounds From Another Planet alludes to the promise of something that may or may not be there. Like a hope in something more. The songs are about human resilience and the strength it takes to claw out of the darkest of spaces."

Michelle Zauner wrote the debut Japanese Breakfast album in the weeks after her mother died of cancer, thinking she would quit music entirely once it was done. That wasn't the case. When Psychopomp was released to acclaim in 2016, she was forced to confront her grief. Zauner would find find herself reliving traumatic memories multiple times a day during interviews, trying to remain composed while discussing the most painful experience of her life. Her sophomore album, Soft Sounds From Another Planet, is a transmutation of mourning, a reflection that turns back on the cosmos in search of healing.

"I want to be a woman of regimen," Zauner sings over a burbling synth on the album's opening track "Diving Woman." This serves as Zauner's mission statement: stick to the routine lest you get derailed, don't cling to the past, don't descend. In fact, ascend to the stars; Zauner found artistic solace removed from Earth, in outer space and science fiction. "I used the theme as a means to disassociate from trauma," she explains. "Space used as a place of fantasy."

And yet, Soft Sounds From Another Planet isn't a concept album. Over the course of 12 tracks, Zauner explores an expansive thematic universe, a cohesive outpouring of unlike parts structured to create a galaxy of her own design. In the instrumental "Planetary Ambience," synths communicate the way extraterrestrials might, and on the shapeshifting single "Machinist," which Zauner has been performing live for over a year now, she details the sci-fi narrative of a woman falling in love with a machine. "It's pure fiction," she explains, "But it can map onto real relationships in a relevant way." The track, which begins with spoken-word ambience, moves into autotune ‘80s pop bliss and ends with a sultry saxophone solo, perfectly marries the experience: there's a perceptible humanity in mechanical, bodily events.

Within its astral production, much of Soft Sounds From Another Planet stays grounded. "Road Head" is the last chest compression in attempt to resuscitate a doomed relationship, while the penultimate track "This House" is an acoustic dirge that honors Zauner's chosen family. The baroque pop "Boyish" has a haunting, crystalline clarity that recalls the pathos of a Roy Orbison ballad, while "Body is a Blade" embraces the dark intimacy of Zauner's Pacific Northwest heroes Elliott Smith and Mount Eerie.

With help from co-producer Craig Hendrix (who also co-produced Little Big League's debut) and Jorge Elbrecht, (Ariel Pink, Tamaryn) who mixed the album, Zauner recontextualizes her bedroom pop beginnings, expanding and maturing her sound. The sheer massiveness of the big room production on Soft Sounds From Another Planet introduces listeners to a new Japanese Breakfast. Zauner's familiar, capacious voice will serve as their guide.

"Your body is a blade that moves while your brain is writhing," she sings. "Knuckled under pain you mourn but your blood is flowing." There's discernible pain in the phrasing, Zauner recognizing limitation, a lack of control, but then subverting the feeling, creating her own musical language for confronting trauma. Where Psychopomp introduced the world to Japanese Breakfast, Soft Sounds dives deeper. It builds space where there is none, and suggests that in the face of tragedy, we find ways to keep on living.

ANNOUNCE // Japanese Breakfast Signs To Dead Oceans | Shares “Jane Cum” Video from Debut Album ‘Psychopomp’ | On Tour Now With Mitski

JB
“One of the Best Records of the Year” – FACT
“Cosmically huge and acutely personal” – Pitchfork

We’re over the moon to announce that Japanese Breakfast has signed to Dead Oceans. On August 19th, we will be releasing the critically acclaimed Psychopomp outside of North America. Today Japanese Breakfast has shared a video for “Jane Cum” off Psychopomp. Rookie, who premiered the House of Nod produced “Jane Cum” video, are saying it’s “sometimes light as a feather, other times dark as night.”


Watch the video for “Jane Cum” here:
VEVO: http://vevo.ly/HuKdw6
YT: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zqa-v9A3Ecw

Since Psychopomp was released in America in March by Yellow K, it’s become one of the year’s most beloved indie-pop records, receiving plaudits from the likes of Pitchfork, NPR and FACT.

The record is acutely tactile and raw. It’s this skill that Michelle Zauner learned while playing in a number of bands but has honed for Japanese Breakfast. Perhaps it’s to do with the inherent connectivity that links all pop music together, or perhaps it’s the fact that the album is incredibly personal (it deals with her mother’s death, who is the woman in the album art work) and explores life’s inherent juxtapositions – life, death; love, pain; the present, the afterlife – while realizing that those things aren’t binary at all.

The Jungian term “psychopomp” would become so fundamental to exploring tangled ways of the world and beyond, that it became the title of the album.

Psychopomp: ‘the mediator between the conscious and the unconscious’, ‘a mythological guide to the afterlife who forgoes judgment on the life of its charge.’ The album is such a spiritual exploration that it becomes deeper and perhaps less fatalistic than what we’ve been taught about life and what it means to live.

“It’s been really overwhelming the amount of support, the people that have come up to me saying they’ve lost a parent, or how many mixed race girls that come up to me and feel so connected to what I do. Honestly that makes me feel like my work is worthwhile.”

Japanese Breakfast is currently on tour in the US with Mitski and Jay Som. On August 19th, Dead Oceans will release Psychopomp outside of Northern America which will coincide with Japanese Breakfast’s debut UK performances. Full dates & pre-order links listed below.


Japanese Breakfast Tour Dates:
6/22 – Boston, MA @ Brighton Music Hall *
6/23 – Philadelphia, PA @ Boot & Saddle *
6/24 – Philadelphia, PA @ PhilaMoca *
6/25 – Washington, DC @ Rock & Roll Hotel *
6/26 – Durham, NC @ The Pinhook *
6/28 – Atlanta, GA @ Masquerade (Purgatory) *
6/29 – Birmingham, AL @ The Syndicate Lounge *
7/1 – Houston, TX @ Walter’s Downtown *
7/2 – Austin, TX @ The Sidewinder *
7/3 – Dallas, TX @ Three Links *
7/5 – Phoenix, AZ @ The Rebel Lounge *
7/6 – Santa Ana, CA @ The Constellation Room *
7/7 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Echo *
7/8 – Oakland, CA @ Starline Social Club *
7/9 – San Francisco, CA @ Bottom of the Hill *
7/11 – Portland, OR @ Analog Theater *
7/12 – Vancouver, BC @ The Cobalt *
7/13 – Seattle, WA @ The Crocodile *
7/15 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court *
7/16 – Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge *
7/19 – Minneapolis, MN @ 7th St Entry *
7/20 – Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall *
7/22 – Toronto, ON @ Horseshoe Tavern *
7/23 – Montreal, QC @ Bar Le Ritz *
7/24 – Burlington, VT @ Monkey House
7/25 – Portland, ME @ SPACE Gallery *
7/26 – Providence, RI @ AS220
7/27 – Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg *
8/04 – London, UK @ Rough Trade (In-store)
8/06 – London, UK @ Visions Festival
8/07 – Brighton, UK @ The Green Door Store
8/08 – Kingston, UK @ Banquet Records In-store
* w/ Mitski and Jay Som

 


Pre-order:
ITunes – smarturl.it/japanesebreak_it
Amazon – smarturl.it/japanesebreak_amz
Indies – smarturl.it/japanesebreak_ind
Pledge Music – http://smarturl.it/jbrekkie

JB art

tour dates

06/24/17

Salt Lake City, UT - Kilby Court  w/ (Sandy) Alex G and Cende

06/25/17

Denver, CO - Larimer Lounge  w/ (Sandy) Alex G and Cende

06/27/17

Minneapolis, MN - 7th Street Entry  w/ (Sandy) Alex G and Cende

06/28/17

Chicago, IL - Bottom Lounge  w/ (Sandy) Alex G and Cende

06/29/17

Columbus, OH - Double Happiness  w/ (Sandy) Alex G and Cende

06/30/17

Lakewood, OH - Mahall's  w/ (Sandy) Alex G and Cende

07/01/17

Detroit, MI - El Club  w/ (Sandy) Alex G and Cende
See all upcoming shows »

video

Machinist
by Japanese Breakfast
Everybody Wants To Love You
by Japanese Breakfast
Jane Cum
by Japanese Breakfast