Rad Releases 21 – Japan Review
For the final week 2 weeks of the year, as the countdown to the end of 2021 approaches, we take a personal look back on familiar names, labels, promoters, and musicians’ most loved releases of the past 12 months. It’s a time we enjoy and look forward to, through the contributions we get to find new music discoveries, releases we may have missed throughout the year. When we handed the site over last year for the 2020 feature, our 10th year into our annual special, we loved the contributions and it became apparent that we all found ourselves reconnecting with music new and old. Following another challenging year, the one constant has been how artists and their labels have adapted and produced some of the best records of our time, it’s those releases that fans have depended on to get them through another year.
Now in its 11th year, we are delighted to hand the site over once more, as we let our favourites share more details about their year in music.
Our next feature comes from one of the most immersive acts to emerge this year. We’ve been slightly obsessing over their incredible autumnal debut album release and collaboration with Reckless Yes. We are delighted to chat to Glasgow-based noise-pop band Japan Review to find out more about their year in music, read the feature from Genna and Adam below…
- Top 5 releases of the year
In no particular order…
Mogwai ‘As The Love Continues’
It’s stunning, We’ve both always loved Mogwai and this is up there with their best. The synth on Dry Fantasy is spine tinglingly great. Nobody cares about getting to No. 1 anymore, but it’s still nice to see a proper band doing it.
Low ‘HEY WHAT’
More than just another great record, Low seem to be having a later career bloom in recent years. They are still pushing boundaries and are pretty much the blueprint for being a band.
The Notwist ‘Vertigo Days’
Another brilliant album and a band who totally inspires us. If you haven’t seen any of their live performances we urge you to, perfection.
Nick Cave & Warren Ellis ‘Carnage’
This is just the latest in a long line of great Nick Cave records. He’s been around forever, but I think he’s in the midst of his creative peak.
Floating Points, Pharoah Sanders and the LSO ‘Promises’
Jazz and Electronic Music have so much in common but collaborations as fruitful and awe-inspiring as this are rare.
- The best show you have played this year / gig attended
Partly due to COVID and partly due to recording, we’ve only played a couple this year. It’s been really special playing the songs from our record for the first time, and it was also our time playing as a two-piece. We’ve recently relocated to Scotland after a long spell in London, so both of our gigs have been in Glasgow. It’s an amazing city, full of wonderful, welcoming people. We already feel at home here, so thank you!
- Your own highlight of the year
We released our debut album ‘Kvetch Sounds’ in October. People seem to have really liked it and it gives us something solid to build on. We’d just started recording when COVID hit, and mixed with Brexit and vinyl production delays it sometimes felt like maybe it’d never come out. But it did, largely thanks to the tireless work of Pete and Sarah at our amazing label Reckless Yes, who were jumping through flaming hoops guarded by sharks with laser beams at times.
To see it come out on vinyl and the fact that people like it has been pretty overwhelming, in a good way.
- Has there been any record that’s got you through this year?
More than a single record, this year I started listening to music a bit differently. I’d got sick of listening to the same things so decided to start going through full discographies in order of bands that I already love or kinda like to see what I’d missed first time around. I’ve done loads now, but Guided By Voices, Bill Evans, Can, Low and Stereolab were all pretty fruitful.
- How have you adapted with releasing/recording/promoting this year?
It’s our first release cycle, so it’s been a bit like learning to drive in a burnt-out car. We don’t really know what normal looks like. It’s been a slog at times, but it feels like things are falling into place a bit more now. The price of being independent is that you really have to take the rough with the smooth – a lot of the back-office stuff of running a band is by far the most time consuming.
- Best discovery this year?
Unrelated to the learning to drive analogy above, I’ve learned to drive an actual car since moving North of the border. It means we can get to the countryside and to the coast. Makes all the difference.
- Artist/Band to watch for 2022
A fantastic band and pals of our Alex Chilltown. Their 2020 album Eulogies is fantastic, gorgeous sonic textures and dreamy pop sensibilities. Go listen.
- Plans for the New Year
We’re starting the New Year – or ending this year – playing at Broadcast in Glasgow on NYE. January we’ll hope to wrap up the production for the 2nd album and then we’re off on a wee jaunt in March, with a few gigs around the UK. We want to play as many gigs as we can next year, so see you there!
Thank you so much! We have everything crossed so you can tour your heart out, the debut album is incredible!