New music Monday: Japanese Breakfast captures the essence of soft sounds


Michelle Zauner from Japanese Breakfast.

Zoe Alvarez, New music Monday columnist

A new year means more opportunities to discover new music. Start off your 2019 with Japanese Breakfast, a solo musical project by Michelle Zauner started in 2013 in Philadelphia. The band consists of Michelle Zauner (vocals, songwriter) and her accompanying band.

I was first introduced to Japanese Breakfast my sophomore year during Austin City Limits season in October. I absolutely fell in love with “Road Head.” Later into my junior year, I began to listen to the full album “Psychopomp” and “Soft Sounds From Another Planet.” This chill music with an alternative feel was incredibly attractive to my taste in music.

Here is a list of my favorite songs:
1)    Road Head
2)    Diving Woman
3)    Machinist
4)    Rugged Country
5)    Everybody Wants to Love You
6)    The Woman That Loves You

My first thought of this artist was how incredible the vocals and mixes were. Every sound fulfills the sense of hearing. Japanese Breakfast can be described as indie rock, indie, alternative, indie pop, lo-fi-music and more. I find her music to fall along the lines of chill as well. It’s aesthetically pleasing in sound.

With so many different sounds it’s hard to pinpoint what your favorite thing is. I’ll start off with the guitar. Every band has its “thing.” The very thing that makes them distinct. Japanese Breakfast’s thing is their guitar. It’s soft and comforting.

The guitar intro in “Road Head” is inviting and comforting. It’s not too heavy or too soft, just perfect. That soft guitar riff stays throughout the entire song. In “Diving Woman,” the guitar gives soul and life to the song. It plays hand in hand with the vocals in which they complement each other beautifully. “Rugged Country” gives off a nice 90’s grunge vibe. “Everybody Wants to Love You” gives a soft alternative indie vibe, something you’d definitely hear at a music festival with happy people. “Jane Cum” offers a slower lighter sound with the strumming. It can be considered alternative’s version of somber.

Michelle Zauner truly captures the essence of Japanese Breakfast with her vocals. I personally fell in love with her vocals when I first heard her music. Songs like “Road Head” and “Everybody Wants to Love You” express her soft vocals. “Diving Woman,” “Boyish,” “12 Steps,” “In Heaven,” and “Rugged Country” bring out the indie in Michelle Zauner. “Machinist,” “Soft Sounds From Another Planet,” and “The Women That Loves You” brings out the outer space vibe from her.

Japanese Breakfast is the master of cultivating sounds. Their music almost demands to be heard only with good headphones. Songs like “Planetary Ambience” “Road Head,” “Diving Woman,” “Psychopomp,” are just a few that come to mind. Every track on Soft Sounds From Another Planet is chill-inducing.

Close your eyes and let the music fill your ears. You’ll hear a variety of sounds. From “Diving Woman” guitar, bass, and captivating vocals, to “Road Head” soft vocals, to “Machinist” synthesizers, you really do feel like you’re floating around in outer space. Japanese Breakfast really does portray the meaning of soft sounds from another planet.

Want to hear more of Japanese Breakfast? Click here.

Want to see them in concert or at a music festival? Click here.