It was at the behest of a good friend that I paid Fujiya & Miyagi the time it deserves. Sometime last year the band was headlining after School of Seven Bells, a trio that can be credited with getting me back into rock music, something that, up until 2008, I hadn't really paid any mind since high school (and those of you that recall the kind of rock you were listening to in high school know this hardly counts).
I vaguely new of the group from my time working as a buyer at Groove Distribution. The quartet occupied this odd space as a rock band—albeit one with heavy dance tendencies—on the cosmic and deep house label Tirk. Hearing them live for the first time, I was immediately a convert. Understated but potent, driving without being abrasive and musically tight as hell, these dudes have chops for days. And, it's been a minute since we've seen or heard them flexing. Thankfully, this morning that all changed.
The group has wrapped up a new album, Ventriloquizzing, which—at least in the U.K.—will be out early next year on Full Time Hobby, a label they now share with SVIIB overseas. The label has let go of the debut single, "Sixteen Shades of Black and Blue," a bit of a morose song, but one that you can't help but tap your foot to, especially once the horns and synths start harmonizing together.
When Tirk was releasing limited edition 10"s of F&M's mellow dance rock, it was definitely a step in a new direction. Now, there's no shortage of bands mixing and mingling freely in both worlds. Guitars are backed by drum machines with the same frequency that obscure samples are looped over live drums. "Sixteen Shades" even plays with the same tom drum swing prominently featured on Cut Copy's new single "Where I'm Going" and WhoMadeWho's "The Plot," both of which can be heard on our latest edition of Dialogue Incorporated Radio. Yet, while F&M may find the current musical landscape has a lot of similar sounding acts—imitators and innovators in their own right—we're not any less welcoming to their new material.
But enough chatting about it, let's let the music speak for itself.
— Joshua P. Ferguson