Japanese Breakfast is playing at the Bishop this Thursday for their tour with their sophomore album, Soft Sounds from Another Planet. Fronted by Michelle Zauner, the name of the indie band from Brooklyn came from Zauner looking at pictures of japanese breakfast one day. Zauner, who is Korean American, explains that the name relates to the familiarity and mundanity of something like American breakfast in juxtaposition with the exoticism and otherization of Asianness.
Zauner metamorphoses her pain over her mother’s death into Soft Sounds from Another Planet, a raw and poetic look into the artist’s grief and longing. The album also draws inspiration from Zauner’s Korean American heritage, with the starting track referencing hanyeo, a community of women living in Jeju Island, South Korea, famous for making their livelihoods out of fishing deep underwater without any breathing equipment. The energy of the “Diving Woman” is present throughout the whole album. Much in the same way as hanyeo quite literally plunge into the deep ocean, Zauner plunges into the fear of living fully, especially without the one you loved so much. There is fear in living fully, but there is also beauty in learning to live on your own. Soft Sounds from Another Planet is one of the best albums of the year because of Zauner’s vocal and musical versatility. Songs like “Diving Woman” and “Road Head” bring to mind David Bowie, while “Boyish” sounds like it could belong to a 1960s girl group.
Until Thursday night, you can play the RPG in correspondence with their album, titled Japanese Breakquest, and cry alongside with me to “Till Death”. (I dare you to not cry to this!)