Watch Japanese Breakfast’s “magnum opus,” a high school dance drama set to “Boyish”

Japanese Breakfast | still from video
Japanese Breakfast | still from video

Japanese Breakfast has always excelled in the music video game: the playful karaoke party of “In Heaven” and the El Bar dance off of “Everybody Wants To Love You“,  the spectral sci-fi romance of “Machinist,” the Lynchian macabre of “Road Head,” and the nostalgia-infused “Body Is A Blade.”

For their latest — and, production-wise, most ambitious — music video, the band brings the sweeping orchestral pop of “Boyish” to an introspective melodrama set at a high school dance. A lead character seems in love and out of sorts and, abandoned by her squad of friends, finds inspiration and transcendence watching Michelle Zauner and her Japanese Breakfast bandmates performing on the gymnasium stage. In a Facebook post, Zaunder says the video is her favorite yet.

After nearly a year, our magnum opus is finally here. Boyish has gone through many transformations but ultimately it’s simply about wanting to feel pretty & loved.

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Listen to Japanese Breakfast’s stripped down, synth-y cover of “California Dreamin'” by The Mamas and The Papas

Japanese Breakfast | photo by Ben Wong for WXPN |

She and her band are playing California’s biggest gig, so Michelle Zauner went and recorded a cover in honor of it.

In the midst of last night’s Coachella lineup announcement, discerning viewers probably noticed one of our fave bands of recent years — Japanese Breakfast — in the entirely-too-small-font-size section on the Sunday lineups (April 15 and 22nd). Regardless of the megafestival’s questionable choice to not bill one of the most critically acclaimed artists of 2017 a tad bit higher, it’s doubtless exciting news, and in sync with the announcement, Zauner released a cover version of “California Dreamin'” by The Mamas and The Papas via Sirius XM. Continue reading →


Just Announced: Japanese Breakfast continues their Philly takeover with a headlining gig at Union Transfer

Japanese Breakfast | photo by Galea McGregor for WXPN

It’s been quite a year for indie darling Japanese Breakfast. But, I mean, when you release a record as amazing as Soft Sounds from Another Planet, it only makes sense that everyone everywhere’s going to want a chance to see a live performance of said record.

So although Michelle Zauner’s earnest, electro-ambient pop tunes have been sounding off at all corners of the earth for a while now (she and the crew are currently sharing her songs with the Eastern side of the planet with an Asia / Australia tour) Japanese Breakfast has just announced another ring of shows back in the States after just a tiny — but much deserved — winter break.

Starting February in Zauner’s early hometown of Seattle, the tour will conclude with a massive (current) hometown celebration at Union Transfer on June 3rd. Continue reading →


The Key Studio Sessions: Japanese Breakfast

Japanese Breakfast | photo by Galea McGregor for WXPN

A lot’s been said already this year about Japanese Breakfast — not to mention its driving force: singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Michelle Zauner.

Candid and vulnerable lyricist. Charismatic and inspiring frontperson. Tight and transcendant live band. Sonic visionaries. Near-universal acclaim for JBrekkie’s Soft Sounds From Another Planet has come in from all corners — The Guardian to The New York Times and NPR — and it is, quite frankly, incredible to see, as we’ve been fans of Zauner and her bandmates in their various forms over the years. She and bassist Deven Patrick Craige go back to beloved punk four-piece Little Big League, she goes further back to Post Post and her production partner (and drummer) Craig Hendrix has worked with anyone from Birdie Busch to Jesse Hale Moore, The Dove and the Wolf and his solo project Auctioneer.

The band is rounded out by guitarist and keyboardist Peter Bradley, and it’s safe to say that Japanese Breakfast has become the highest profile pursuit that any of these Philly-rooted musicians has taken on…and rightfully so. Beyond the emotional hook of Zauner’s songs — which, on Soft Sounds, dissect human connection and communication, positing that our only barriers to intimacy and trust are one another — the band has a tremendous ability to translate that emotion sonically, to make listeners at home and folks in the crowd feel what they are feeling.
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Japanese Breakfast brings Soft Sounds and a string ensemble to NPR’s Tiny Desk

Japanese Breakfast | still from video | via

Somewhere in between the release of the stunning LP Soft Sounds From Another Planet, a U.S. tour, a celebratory Philly homecoming show and a European tour, Japanese Breakfast found time to stop by NPR Music to film a Tiny Desk Concert. The intimate setting of the famed Tiny Desk provides the perfect opportunity for experimentation and often leads artists to strip down their songs into quieter, acoustic versions — and for Japanese Breakfast this happened to include the addition of some unexpected but beautifully executed string arrangements performed by members of D.C. string quartet Rogue Collective. Continue reading →


Japanese Breakfast brings home Soft Sounds to a sold-out First Unitarian Church

Japanese Breakfast at the First Unitarian Church | photo by Scott Troyan | courtesy of the artist

It was a triumphant night for Japanese Breakfast at the First Unitarian Church. Not only was it the band’s homecoming show after an extensive US tour and the long-awaited hometown celebration of the release of Soft Sounds From Another Planet, but JBrekkie sold the dang place out. Bandleader Michelle Zauner expressed disbelief at the size and enthusiasm of the crowd, reminiscing on her days as an R5 Productions intern when she was the one mopping the church basement floor after shows. No mopping was in store for Zauner last night, though — after opening sets by fellow locals The Spirit of the Beehive and Mannequin Pussy, Japanese Breakfast took over the church’s iconic stage for a energy-filled hour-long set of favorites off of 2016’s Psychopomp and 2017’s Soft Sounds. Continue reading →


Japanese Breakfast’s video for “The Body Is A Blade” meditates on memory and surviving tragedy

Japanese Breakfast
Japanese Breakfast | photo by Ebru Yildiz | courtesy of the artist

Japanese Breakfast‘s Michelle Zauner has proven herself as not only one of Philly’s best and most prolific artists of the last few years — with 2016’s Psychopomp and 2017’s Soft Sounds From Another Planet —  but as an accomplished music video creator, too. After directing the last few Japanese Breakfast videos, as well as Jay Som’s video for “The Bus Song,” Zauner is back today with another self-directed video — this time for Soft Sounds track “The Body is A Blade.” Continue reading →


Jay Som releases playful new video for “The Bus Song” directed by Japanese Breakfast’s Michelle Zauner

jay som
Jay Som | photo by Cara Robbins | courtesy of the artist

Melina Duerte is a talented young songwriter hailing from Oakland who, with her band Jay Som, released one of The Key’s favorite records of the year, Everybody Works. It’s a perfect soundtrack for early mornings, waking up to sunlight coming through the shades and making your way out into the world.

Duerte enlilsted Michelle Zauner of Japanese Breakfast — with whom she toured last year — to collaborate on a music video for “The Bus Song,” the lead single from Everybody Works. The video follows morning motif with Duerte playing her acoustic guitar at home ends up progressing through a full day: meeting musician friends, playing in lots of zany spots, and eventually singing the end of the track to a small dog in the window. Continue reading →


Listen to Japanese Breakfast collaborate with Giraffage on “Maybes”

Japanese Breakfast | Photo by: Ellen Miller |
Japanese Breakfast | Photo by Ellen Miller |

Japanese Breakfast released two of the best albums of the last two years: 2016’s Psychopomp and 2017’s Soft Sounds from Another Planet were both met with widespread acclaim. But the project of Philadelphia’s Michelle Zauner isn’t showing any signs of slowing down — amid an extensive tour, Japanese Breakfast recently found time to make a guest appearance on a song with EDM artist Giraffage. The Bay Area artist Charlie Yin is the mastermind behind Giraffage, and the project is set to release it’s bedroom-recorded debut LP Too Real on Oct. 20 via Counter Records. Continue reading →


Kill, Jay-Z: HOVA reigns supreme at Made In America day two with Meek Mill, Japanese Breakfast, Kelela and more

Jay-Z and Meek Mill | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Two-plus decades into the game, hip-hop icon Jay-Z is still full of surprises. First there was the lowkey release earlier this summer of 4:44, a terrific back-to-basics collection that easily sits along his canonical records Reasonable DoubtThe Blueprint and The Black Album. Then there was yesterday’s closing set at the Made in America Festival.

After a wide ranging, 90-minute performance touching on everything from “Heart of the City” to “H.O.V.A. (Izzo)” to “Hard Knock Life,” Jay swiftly exited the Rocky Stage after dedicating “Numb / Encore” to the late Chester Bennington of Linkin Park. The lights around Logan Circle came up, the crowd looked around and, perplexed, shrugged to one another, figuring the show had just come to an abrupt conclusion. As the exodus began, stage lights flickered on over at the festival’s Liberty Stage a little ways down the Parkway. Continue reading →