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The Essential Love Songs of Philadelphia: “Everybody Wants to Love You” by Japanese Breakfast

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

Every day leading up to Valentine’s Day this year, The Key is recapping 14 songs that scream “love” just as strongly as they scream “Philly.” The Essential Love Songs of Philadelphia continues with “Everybody Wants to Love You” from Japanese Breakfast’s 2016 album Psychopomp.

Chances are, “Everybody Wants to Love You” was one of the first songs you heard from Japanese Breakfast, the project of Philly’s Michelle Zauner. It was released in early 2016 as a single off Psychopomp, her debut album with the project, but it’s origins are a bit deeper — an early version of the song was written with one of Zauner’s old bands, Birthday Girlz, before she decided to repurpose it for Japanese Breakfast. That turned out to be an excellent idea. “Everybody Wants to Love You” the kind of bright, open song that is the catchiest of catchy; you can sing and dance along to it as much as you want, but it also draws you in so intensely that you’ll immediately want to listen to everything else this artist has ever written.

And if you have taken a dive into Japanese Breakfast’s two albums, 2016’s Psychopomp and 2017’s Soft Sounds From Another Planet, you’re familiar with the kinds of themes Zauner gravitates toward. She’s often open about the real-life subjects of her songs, which include her husband-slash-bandmate, and even more frequently her late mother. She doesn’t shy away from baring pain and heartache, and even songs that betray grief, sadness, anger and frustration are also full of great love. Continue reading →

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Japanese Breakfast is playing a free show at Dogfish Head Brewery

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

Delaware craft beer trailblazers Dogfish Head will throw their 8th annual Analog-A-Go-Go festival at their Milton brewery. The two-day festival features beer, local food trucks, an onsite record store, and a free performance by indie pop star Japanese Breakfast on Friday, November 16th.  Continue reading →

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Japanese Breakfast’s Michelle Zauner publishes New Yorker essay “Crying in H Mart”

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

If you’re familiar with Michelle Zauner’s work as Japanese Breakfast, you may know how deeply the death of her mother has affected and inspired her songwriting. She wrote the songs on Psychopomp, her first album as Japanese Breakfast, in the wake of her mother’s passing a few years ago; her mom is featured on the album artwork as well.

But in addition to songwriting, the Philadelphia-based musician has written about her relationship with her mother in prose, too — in this 2016 piece for Glamour magazine, but most recently in her first essay for the New Yorker, which is equal parts tribute to her mother and tribute to H Mart, an Asian supermarket chain. As she explains, the two are more interwoven than one might think — a trip to H Mart isn’t like a trip your typical grocery store, but a fully immersive cultural experience that sounds about as close as you can get to the real thing without leaving the US. Continue reading →

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Japanese Breakfast covers The Cranberries’ “Dreams”

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

Following the sudden passing of The Cranberries‘ frontwoman Dolores O’Riordan earlier this year, many musicians have been moved to incorporate covers of the iconic band’s hit songs into their live sets. But Japanese Breakfast had already been doing just that, for quite some time. If you’ve seen Michelle Zauner and band play, you may have caught their cover of “Dreams,” the breakout single from The Cranberries’ 1993 LP Everybody Else Is Doing It So Why Can’t We. Now, Japanese Breakfast’s rendition of “Dreams” has been properly recorded — the band just released the cover as part of the Spotify Singles series. The release also includes a live recording of “Road Head,” off JBrekkie’s 2017 album Soft Sounds From Another Planet. Continue reading →

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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 | brotherlylost.com

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 →

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: 2017’s ten best Philly artist portraits

Cayetana | photos by Mary Ferrigno | courtesy of the artist

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2017 incredible. Today, Sarah Hojsak takes a look at some of the best artist portraits of 2017.

During last year’s end-of-the-year rush, The Key took a brief step away from music itself and instead started digging through the images surrounding it. The result was 2016’s ten best Philly artist portraits — a collection of some of the most visually stunning, ridiculously outlandish or otherwise eye-catching promotional photos from our beloved local musicians.

As you well know, we have no shortage of great music happening here in Philly, and lucky for us so, so many of our favorite artists released new music this year. With those new tunes came a whole new batch of images to take in — they range from the standard artsy but professional press photo to the quirky personality pic and everything in between, and they come from some of music’s best photographers. The best ones, regardless of the forms they take or the themes they use, caught our attention and didn’t let go. Here’s a far from thorough but nonetheless delightful selection of some of 2017’s standouts. Continue reading →

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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 →