Smile Politely

Push, Play, Repeat

Surprisingly, Fujiya and Miyagi’s latest album, Lightbulbs, was released rather quietly early last month. I say surprisingly because I find this album to be their best yet, and it took me two weeks after the release to find anything about Lightbulbs on the music blogs.

The album is easily recognizable as an addition to 2006’s Transparent Things – except that Lightbulbs has a little funkier and jazzier beats while maintaining a sly and sexy texture with lead singer David Best’s hushed vocals. Listen to the track “Kinickerbocker:”

Fujiya and Miyagi – Knickerbocker

Some people judge music by its uniqueness. While you can attribute different parts of Fujiya and Miyagi’s music to others (for instance taking the vocals of Best and comparing them to the lead singer of !!!), the pairing of Fujiya and Miyagi’s rhythm backed by synthesizer puts the group on a wave of new and seductive pop. Just listen to my favorite from the new album:

Fujiya and Miyagi – Uh

For comparison of the last album, check out the video for “Ankle Injuries” from Transparent Things.

The band will be playing at the Bottom Lounge in Chicago on October 25. If you go, don’t expect a duo. Their name comes from the Fujiya record brand and Mr. Miyagi in the movie, The Karate Kid. In actuality, they are a four-piece set from Britain.

The next band I have for you doesn’t have any shows around here – actually I’m not sure if they ever have ventured into Illinois – in the near future, but if you should find yourself in Michigan, you should check them out live. Breathe Owl Breathe is a local band from the East Jordon area in Michigan that plays mostly in Ann Arbor and Traverse City. They’re a pretty low-profile band I happened across on eMusic. Their latest album, Ghost Glacier, features the songs:

Breathe Owl Breate – Drop and Roll

Breathe Owl Breathe – Toboggan

In comparison to their last few albums, the three-piece band has turned from a country folk sound to a purer form of folk. I suppose you could say they haven’t changed their style much, but their quality hasn’t suffered either. Here’s a song from their 2004 release, The Fall Album:

Breathe Owl Breathe – Robin’s Egg Blue

There is something about their music that I find alluring but I can’t quite name it. I think it has to do with a sort of innocence in their lyrics and music. The purity of the high vocals of Andréa Moreño-Beals paired with the folk roots lying in Micah Middaug voice and guitar creates a sort of simple, but beautiful sound.

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