Emotion was in the air for all of XPNFest yesterday, but particularly during the pairing of night one headliners Hozier and Japanese Breakfast. Both are masters of songcraft that is intensely personal and often quite cathartic. But their music is also able to transcend their own experience and connect with listeners in a big way, thanks to innovative, engaging arrangements and a strong pop sensibility.
With hearts on sleeves from both ends of the BB&T show, last night’s set was also a study in contrasts — Hozier’s rough-hewn gospel / blues homages with Japanese Breakfast’s ethereal electronic pop, and Andrew John Hozier-Byrne’s direct and detailed lyrical confessions with Michelle Zauner’s nuanced, impressionistic songs of loss and connection. Continue reading →
The XPoNential Music Festival presented by Subaru returns to the Camden Waterfront in just a few short months, the weekend of July 26, 27, and 28.
Headlining the BB&T Pavilion on Friday, July 26 is Irish singer-songwriter Hozier, who debuted in 2013 with “Take Me To Church,” a ubiquitous song that led his 2014 self-titled album to double-platinum status. He returned earlier this month with his sophomore album, Wasteland, Baby! Watch him perform the opening track, “Nina Cried Power,” on World Cafe below. Continue reading →
Known for rocking the stage with cosmic sound and aching lyrics, Philadephia’s own Michelle Zauner of Japanese Breakfast is embarking on a new artistic adventure: writing a book. Zauner signed a deal with Knopf to publish her memoir, Crying in H Mart, which shares the story of her childhood as a Korean-American, losing her mother to cancer, and her hunt for identity.
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 →
Fishtown venue Johnny Brenda’s has a long-running track-record as best place for the music scene to ring in the new year, and that continued last night as Japanese Breakfast wrapped up a sold-out three-night run of hometown shows with a set that was pure magic. Continue reading →
Awhile back, Philly favorite Japanese Breakfast recorded two lo-fi singles for Polyvinyl Record’s 4-Track Singles Series. The recordings were previously only released on vinyl, but now the two songs, “2042” and “Posing in Bondage,” are available to stream on Spotify. Continue reading →
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 →
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 theNew 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 →
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 →