The Japanese War Effort – Surrender To Summer 10″ (Song, By Toad)
It would appear that the internet has had only a minimal effect on America’s isolationist attitude toward music. I know this for a fact because Edinburgh-based label Song, By Toad Records has not been featured on any American blogs I’m following. This is a shame – not only because I’ve enjoyed almost every release I’ve heard from the catalog (Meursault’s All Creatures Will Make Merry was my very favorite album of 2010) – but because SBT’s modus operandi is very much in tune with why I continue to do what I do with this website and record label. This undeserved lack of attention is why I decided to kick off a new BTID feature with one of the label’s most recent releases.
The Japanese War Effort is not a collective of any sort nor does it have anything to do with Nippon’s nationalistic battle cry to arms – it’s merely a side project for Martin Moog (or James Scott, to his mother), one half of Glasgow’s electronic duo Conquering Animal Sound. Surrender To Summer clocks in at less than 15 minutes but Moog accomplishes quite the lot of hazy, pop pyrotechnics within that short span. Remember chillwave? ‘Pool Attendant’ has the same lo-fi recording approach deployed by the thousands of PBR-soaked post-graduates with samplers/synths/gadgets in their parents basements. The crystalline squall of noise opening Beach Buddies gave me a warm, fuzzy Washed Out/Houses vibe. However, Moog’s end result, while it can be tagged ‘bedroom electronica’, is comprised moreso of quirky substance and hypnotic grooves rather than geek chic and Barbary pants-on-too-tight dance offs. Lead-off track and, undoubtedly, one of my favorite singles of the year, Summer Sun Skateboard glides along on a bossa nova beat, stringy guitar basslines and a tasteful collage of electro-adornments. Moog’s vocals might be acquired taste for some though his accent isn’t nearly as thick as some of his fellow Scottish contemporaries. I like his style (a lot) and although he loves hip-hop and claims to not be able to rhyme himself out of a paper bag, I could see supporters of Why?, Emperor X or Dosh spooning this up right quick.
You can pick up the 10″ on the Song, By Toad website for a fair price (considering the int’l shipping!). As you can see, the record was pressed on eye-popping funfetti vinyl. A visit to TJWE’s Bandcamp will yield more pleasantries for those looking to hear more.