Playlist: September 2018

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Aye Nako: Silver Haze

FIYAH Magazine puts out a Spotify playlist for each new issue they release, and so they asked all contributing writers for Issue 8 to send three songs that conveyed some aspect of their stories. My story, “Saudade,” is something of an FLCL homage, so the band the Pillows came to mind…except I can’t play their music on Spotify, at least not in North America.

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I couldn’t suggest any Pillows songs to FIYAH, but fortunately I found Aye Nako and preferred their edgier sound and lyrics. Aye Nako is a Brooklyn-based band representing queercore and punk rock. Its members are a confluence of queer, trans and black experiences that come together to make a raw and cohesive album in Silver Haze. My favorite song’s probably “Sissy,” which hits hard and fast and repeats the refrain, “Tell me what I need to stay safe on the streets.” It’s powerful stuff in a rock genre I don’t typically indulge in. I also don’t see enough Black rock musicians, so Aye Nako is refreshing.

the pillows: FooL on CooL generation

The original Fooly Cooly (FLCL) series is easily in my top 3 anime list. A lot of my love for the show, however, is associated with the soundtrack by the Pillows, a Japanese alternative rock band. They recently toured the U.S. as the latest FLCL anime was debuting, and some of their old and new material made it to FooL on CooL generation. The album’s missing “Hybrid Rainbow,” my favorite Pillows song from the original series, but “LAST DINOSAUR” is a close second and that’s here. I also enjoy the even-rhythmed and impassioned  “白い夏と緑の自転車 赤い髪と黒いギター” which Google translates as “White summer and green bicycle, red hair and black guitar.”

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Kanye West and Kid Cudi: Kids See Ghosts

I’m a Kanye fan. I wasn’t too impressed with his last solo album, Ye, which was recorded near simultaneously with Kids See Ghosts and three other GOOD Music albums. Ghosts definitely feels like it had more of Kanye’s attention and that avant-garde production value he’s become known for. How much of the album’s success comes from Cudi I can’t be sure, as I never listened to his music much. In any case, Ghosts is brief but solid, with as much impact as can be crammed into 24 minutes. I can honestly say I like all the songs here, but the titular track is uniquely alluring with the hum of a dark bassline, eerie spaceships orbiting, and claves piercing the vibrations like droplets falling into still water. The song also features Kanye’s strongest lyrics; he flexes on his haters and reminds us that inside that tumultuous soul is a mastermind always churning away on his next project.

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Kids See Ghost artwork by Murakami