Japanese Breakfast

Japanese Breakfast

Modern Lives, Emily Reo

Sat · March 24, 2018

Doors: 8:30 pm / Show: 9:00 pm

$20 advance - $25 day of show

Tickets at the Door

A solo moniker for Philadelphia musician Michelle Zauner, Japanese Breakfast began as a writing challenge during a break from her indie rock band Little Big League. With a varied palette including synth-boosted sounds that bridged lo-fi and indie pop, Japanese Breakfast's Psychopomp was released in the spring of 2016. Soft Sounds from Another Planet, which went for a much bigger sound, was released in 2017.

Modern Lives in an indie rock band from Western Massachusetts.

Emily Reo is a pop musician, producer and engineer living in Brooklyn. Since she began making music in 2008, she's spent much of the time touring the US, Canada, and Europe. Her release, "Spell" was released as a limited edition 10" through Orchid Tapes in October 2016. She's worked with artists such as The Go! Team, Owen Pallett, Foxes in Fiction, Yohuna, Cuddle Formation and Sad13.

Japanese Breakfast
Japanese Breakfast
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. She continued to write solo and with her band, with Japanese Breakfast's Where Is My Great Big Feeling? and 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 Psychopomp was released in the spring of 2016. Soft Sounds from Another Planet, which went for a much bigger sound, was released in 2017. ~ Marcy Donelson

“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.
Modern Lives
Modern Lives
Modern Lives in an indie rock band from Western Massachusetts.
Emily Reo
Emily Reo
Emily Reo is a pop musician, producer and engineer living in Brooklyn. Since she began making music in 2008, she's spent much of the time playing self-booked tours throughout the U.S, Canada and Europe and releasing albums and EPs through community minded labels run by friends. Her most recent release, "Spell" was released as a limited edition 10" through Orchid Tapes in October 2016. As an avid collaborator, she's worked with artists such as The Go! Team, Owen Pallett, Foxes in Fiction, Yohuna, Cuddle Formation and Sad13. She has been inspired by the many places she’s called home: Orlando, Boston, Los Angeles, Montreal and New York. She is currently finishing a new record due out later this year.
Venue Information:
Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center
289 Main St
Greenfield, MA, 01301
https://www.hawksandreed.com/