As Memories of Shibuya Artist Spotlights are arbitrarily limited to 4 highlighted songs, yet some months (this November among them) have 5 Saturdays, the question was “how to fill that final spot?” – but there’s no reason to wonder any longer, because the answer is here: Memories of Shibuya’s Indie Spotlight! When an artist’s monthly spotlight has run its course and the month still has a week to spare, we’ll be taking a look at an up-and-coming indie group from Japan. This month’s highlighted group has already been written about on this blog before, but the talented men and woman that make up pertorika are as fine a choice as any for our first Indie Spotlight.
Making their debut in 2011, pertorika defines their style as “all-in-one pop.” Although often favouring the kind of irresistibly cool post-punk sound that has become synonymous with contemporary Japanese alternative in certain circles (comparisons to acts such as Sakanaction and Leo Imai can easily be made), their creative vision is hardly limited to aping their peers as a lesser group might do. Even making excursions into areas like chiptune, their “all-in-one” approach is the Shibuya-kei aesthetic in so many words. pertorika pays tribute to their contemporaries as well as historical acts, and the result is a sound out of both space and time.
Although I usually pick the songs for Artist Spotlights myself, pertorika’s keyboardist Izumi personally suggested the above selection, “Samidare no Koro”, its jazzy instrumentation earning her endorsement as the group’s “most Shibuya-kei song.” Another term that pertorika likes to use to describe their sound is “city pop”, and it fits the music like a glove; pertorika’s dedications to the jet set of yesterday recall the most romantic visions of city life. The cities of pertorika’s pop are not the filthy, congested cities that so many of us know, but the romantic cities of classic cinema. In their music one hears echoes of La Dolce Vita, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Roman Holiday and other such beautiful portrayals of the city as ideal. Their city is the one that Pizzicato Five called Tokyo, mon amour rather than the garish nightmare city that produced acts like the bafflingly popular Momoiro Clover Z – and I’m happy to say that things only seem to be on the up and up for the group. Their website’s profile page lists an impressive number of achievements, mostly stemming from the wholehearted endorsement of Yokohama FM (the legendary station which once hosted Flipper’s Guitar’s radio show Martians Go Home) and equally Shibuya-kei-friendly Tower Records, and they have a new EP coming out December 3 by the name of You’re Not Alone. You can hear samples of all the songs on You’re Not Alone, as well as the other releases in their back catalogue, over at their official Soundcloud, and us here at Memories of Shibuya will be following pertorika’s career most intently. There is still a lot of life in the Japanese indie scene, and groups like pertorika prove it with style.