Tag Archives: Japanese Breakfast

2017: The Year in Photos

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A look back at our favorite photos of the year.

Bandcamp is home to amazing musicians all over the world, so it’s only natural that we’d want Bandcamp Daily to feature independent photographers who also have unique and exciting perspectives. The process behind a photoshoot with an artist often requires multiple coordinated efforts, and can take place under stressful conditions, with tight time limits. It’s a credit to our photographers that none of these pressures are evident in their final resonate images. It’s always our goal with our original photography to elevate the message of the musicians we profile, and to allow for a meaningful collaboration between talented musicians and photographers. We reached out to some of the photographers we worked with over the course of the past year and asked them to share their behind-the-scenes thoughts and secrets. These are our favorite photoshoots of the year.

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The Best Albums of 2017: #80 – 61

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We’ll be revealing the full list, 20 albums at a time, this whole week.

Last year, the Bandcamp Daily staff put together our first “Best Albums of the Year List,” 100 albums we felt defined 2016 for us. At the time I remember thinking, “This is tough, but it will probably get easier as the years go on.” Now, one year later, I’m realizing that I was wrong. The truth is, the world of Bandcamp is enormous, and it contains artists from all over the world, in every conceivable genre (including a few who exist in genres of their own invention), and at every stage of their career. The fact of the matter is, any list like this is going to fall short because, on Bandcamp, there is always more to discover. Right now, there’s probably someone in their bedroom in Buenos Aires, making a record on their computer that is going to end up on next year’s list. So as comprehensive as we’ve tried to make this list, we realize that, even at 100 albums, we’re only scratching the surface of what’s available. The albums that made this list, though, were the ones that stayed with us long after they were released—the ones we returned to again and again and found their pleasures undimmed, and their songs still rewarding.

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Japanese Breakfast Finds Human Intimacy on “Another Planet”

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Photos by Collin Hughes

Michelle Zauner first introduced the arrival of Japanese Breakfast’s sophomore LP, Soft Sounds From Another Planet, with a short, mysterious video that hinted at an intergalactic theme. Fittingly, she had initially set out to write a sci-fi concept album about a woman who, after falling in love with a robot and experiencing heartbreak, enlists in the Mars One project.

The plan only carried through to the lead single, “Machinist,” but the theme of exploring the great beyond prevails throughout the album. The concept allowed Zauner to play with new elements that vastly differ from her punk roots in Little Big League; throughout the record, autotune and synthesizers create an otherworldly ambience. Even the re-worked version of a Little Big League song, “Boyish,” sounds like something entirely new.

What started as a fantastic theme gradually became a metaphor for the fear of death. Zauner explores that idea in full on “Till Death,” a hauntingly beautiful song that details the aftermath of losing someone dear: “Haunted dreams / Stages of grief / Repressed memories / Anger and bargaining.” On her debut as Japanese Breakfast, Psychopomp, Zauner grappled with losing her mother to cancer. Now, on Soft Sounds, she reflects on the person she’s become, after surviving through the pain.

We spoke to Zauner about her new album, the initial concept behind it, her songwriting, and the influence of Mount Eerie on her music.

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Black Girls Talking: Bandcamp Picks – August 2016

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Illustrations by Paul Grelet
Black Girls Talking: Bandcamp Picks is a monthly feature in which three hosts of the pop-culture podcast Black Girls Talking, Alesia, Fatima, and Ramou each pick a favorite artist from Bandcamp for a brief round-table discussion.

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Behind the Scenes with Japanese Breakfast

Michelle Zauner’s work, whether writing or music, is deeply personal and memorial. Zauner has a deft hand; she easily manages to tease out the elegant threads of joy and love in grief. Her work is mournful, but it is also celebratory. Her first solo album as Japanese Breakfast, Psychopomp, which she’s currently touring in support of, finds Zauner spinning lo-fi bedroom demos into sturdy, soaring dream-pop with glassine synths and Velcro hooks.

Photographer Chona Kasinger spent some time with Zauner before and at her recent show at The Crocodile in Seattle with Jay Som and Mitski. Our exclusive photo gallery is below.

—Jes Skolnik