yumi zouma – “bruise”

– featured image courtesy of henry hargreaves –

after releasing last year’s glimmering EP III and fulfilling their contract with cascine, yumi zouma decided to try something they’d yet to do: release a standalone single.

that single, “bruise,” feels a bit more direct than much of the band’s catalogue, but still very much within their wheelhouse; its origins are in the departure of yumi alum sam perry in 2017 and timbaland’s mid-2000s production cues, a percussion-heavy cut that finds yumi zouma in the foreground on the dance floor.

read more about the band’s new trajectory over at i-d and listen to “bruises” below.

yumi zouma – ep iii

– featured image courtesy of ryan mccardle & aidan koch – 

what else is there to say about yumi zouma that hasn’t already been said?  the new zealand quartet has proven, time and again, that their ability to craft pristine pop gems is second to none, regardless of whether the songwriting takes place in the same room or spread out across all corners of the globe.  as its members navigate towards the end of one chapter in their collective existence and look towards the next, EP III emerges as a cathartic victory lap.

following two similarly-titled extended plays and a stirring pair of full-lengths, EP III closes out a trilogy of works that have spanned the quartet’s entire career, pulling together snippets of demos dating back to their nascent days that help inform their latest round of collaborative songwriting.

opening number “powder blue/cascine park” is vintage yumi zouma, juxtaposing skittering hi-hats with wistful, arpeggiated pre-choruses and gliding refrains, its extended bridge a sustained instance of clarity that launches the track off into the sunset.  elsewhere, “looking over shoulders” tacks in an appropriately hesitant, contemplative direction, its understated current flowing towards a swirling chorus replete with the cool adage of “i was never yours to give away.”

bolstered by the early singles “crush (it’s late, just stay)” and the triumphant finale “in camera,” EP III is yet another sterling example of yumi zouma’s pedigree.  a return to the band’s original form, the four-track extended play offers a masterclass in their democratic, collaborative process, its memorable melodies and spacious soundscapes the end result.  EP III is out today via cascine; listen to it in full, below.

yumi zouma – “half hour”

– featured image courtesy of aaron lee –

here at the dimestore, we’re just counting down the hours until yumi zouma releases willowbank, their second full-length album in as many years.  the new zealand quartet excels at creating an intimate brand of pop that can switch from microscopic to expansive at a moment’s notice; for a sample, look no further than “half hour.”

the band’s latest single is muted, reflecting the somber subject matter of death and its baggage, but “half hour” opens up into an enveloping entity towards its end, an ensuring, calming embrace.  coupled with the black and white self-directed video found below, “half hour” is a welcomed change of pace for the advanced offerings yumi zouma have put forth ahead of their new album.

willowbank is out october 6th via the inimitable cascine.  check out the video for “half hour” below.

 

yumi zouma – “persephone”

– featured image courtesy of aaron lee – 

six weeks out from the release of their sophomore album, willowbank, yumi zouma have let loose another effervescent masterclass in pop construction.  bleary bell tones and synth musings usher in the shimmering thrum of “persephone,” the second single to situate christie simpson’s lead vocal firmly in the foreground, independent of other textural elements.

ever breezy and wistful, “persephone” hits its stride as yumi zouma collectively crosses to the other side of the bridge; all but simpson’s vocal and a mellow synth pad disappear, providing a brief respite before the chorus surges for a final time.  with yet another pristine piece of pop added to their arsenal, the new zealand quartet seem poised to deliver a peerless new full-length.

willowbank arrives october 6th via cascine.  dive into “persephone” below.

yumi zouma – “depths (pt. i)”

– featured image courtesy of aaron lee –

yumi zouma are set to release their sophomore full-length, willowbank, on october 6th via cascine.  the surprisingly quick, but warmly welcomed, follow-up to last year’s yoncalla was recently announced in conjunction with a lead single, “december,” and today the quartet has shared another taste of things to come.

“depths (pt. i)” is awash in soft synth pads and clean, melodic guitar echos, a palette front-loaded with bliss designed to obscure its comparatively complex lyrical content, or to at least prompt listeners to spend a bit more time unpacking its nuances.  like the best yumi zouma tracks, “depths” is fleeting, a compact container of countermelodies that meanders back out to sea in just under three minutes.  but what a wondrous three minutes it is to behold.

take a listen below.

yumi zouma – “december”

– featured image courtesy of aaron lee –

yumi zouma barely needs an introduction on this site by now; the christchurch-based quartet has been honing their exquisite craft since 2014, at times separately, from all corners of the world, at others, in a collective space.  this meticulous, bountiful songwriting process had, up until today, yielded a pair of extended plays and last year’s full-length debut, yoncalla.  it’s a very pleasant surprise, then, that yumi zouma has announced willowbank, its sophomore album, due out october 6th via cascine.

willowbank marks the first time the band has had time to write and record a large group of songs together in their native new zealand, so perhaps it’s fitting that the album’s first single, “december,” seems like the perfect distillation of summer at the bottom of the planet.

as always, counter-melodic motifs are interwoven with ease, though christie simpson’s lead vocal sits more squarely in the mix than ever before, feeling less a part of the overall texture and more like a distinctly separate entity.  capped off by a stout, brassy coda, yumi zouma’s latest single retains a peaceful majesty that has easily become the outfit’s calling card.

“december” is another gorgeous achievement for a pop group that seemingly has no ceiling.  take a listen below.

 

yumi zouma – yoncalla

yumi zouma yoncalla cover
out may 27th via cascine

the praise and accolades yumi zouma have received so far from this site – and a good portion of the music sphere across the internet – are far too numerous to try and sift through.  the new zealand quartet caught the attention of lorde based on the strength of their four-track debut ep alone; their subsequent slot as her tour’s opening act in late 2014 opened a pandora’s box of speculation that such early exposure necessitated a foray into more stadium-ready pop, but correlation does not always equal causation.

yumi zouma’s subsequent sophomore ep was populated with richer, more confident songs, to be sure, but you can easily chalk that up to the gradual progression of getting comfortable as a long-distance songwriting collective.  tracks like “alena” and “song for zoe & gwen” registered a newfound depth and pulse, but the subtle change in aesthetic felt more indicative of ceiling-clearing confidence than of a purposeful shift in trajectory.

after surpassing all expectations and cementing themselves as critical darlings, yumi zouma hunkered down to try something new: writing music together in the same geographic location.  the result is yoncalla, a gorgeous ten-song debut album that plays through incredibly smart, cool, and confident, reflecting a level of experience well beyond the band’s tenure.

it’s hard to listen to yumi zouma and not at least subconsciously conjure up images of sun-kissed, carefree summer days.  each song on yoncalla would easily have a home on any self-curated beach day mixtape, from the bleary-eyed guitar strums on the conversational “haji awali” to the percolating synth arpeggios on “barricade (matter of fact)” to the triumphant, driving-off-into-the-sunset lilt of “short truth.”  through this lens, these are songs that almost mandate an ocean breeze and cool sand between one’s toes for a comprehensive sensory experience, but stopping short at this superficial – albeit gorgeous – aesthetic would be a disservice to the album.

the true beauty of yoncalla is the pervasive presence of camaraderie woven through its sunny exterior.  yumi zouma’s early success was defined by four incredibly talented songwriters creating intimate sketches piecemeal from around the globe, and that intimacy grew tenfold once the quartet all settled down in the same room.

it’s immediately evident on the effortless vocal repartee that pervades “text from sweden” and “haji awali,” but yumi zouma’s kinship runs even deeper elsewhere on yoncalla.  eloquent melodies are constructed for christie simpson to trace on “remember you at all” and “better by your side,” and provide support and solidarity as she navigates through the insecurities of a turbulent relationship.  this structure seems to reflect a newfound degree of trust between members that may well have been fostered by a shared writing space; a noticeable strength of intertwining melodies and reliance on robust counterpoint seems more indicative of in-the-moment creation than of construction via file-sharing.

yoncalla is impeccably cohesive.  each track bleeds seamlessly into the next, although the album isn’t linear so much as it is semidiurnal, its ebbs and flows placed at perfect intervals.  the final tide goes out with “drachma,” a lovely subdued coda that briefly hearkens back to the group’s early days before its palm-muted main motif disappears beyond the horizon.

yumi zouma’s brand of nostalgia has often felt akin to reconnecting with a long-lost friend; with yoncalla, they provide the perfect soundtrack for the two of you to crack open a cold drink and reminisce for awhile.

 

yumi zouma – “short truth”

yumi zouma
photo courtesy of the artist

yumi zouma will release their highly-anticipated debut full-length, yoncalla, on may 27th via cascine.  there aren’t many adjectives left in our arsenal that haven’t already been bestowed upon the inimitable new zealand quartet, so we’ll just leave you with “short truth,” a sprawling, synth-saturated dreamscape that further pleads the group’s case for having an album-of-the-year contender on their hands.  take a listen below.

yumi zouma – “barricade (matter of fact)”

yumi zouma
photo courtesy of the artist

yumi zouma excels at crafting an instantly-recognizable brand of muted, refined pop music; that much is clear, and has been for some time.  what’s particularly admirable is the quartet’s ability to harness that dimension of their sound and funnel it effortlessly through different channels.  on “barricade (matter of fact),” the latest single culled from their forthcoming debut album, yumi zouma pairs a breezy, subdued vocal with equally at-ease instrumentation, favoring an exquisite exercise of restraint over the pursuit of an anthemic hook.  yoncalla is due out may 27th via cascine; take a listen to “barricade (matter of fact)” below.

premiere – zen mantra

Zen Mantra_Press
photo courtesy of dylan briggs-jones

when he isn’t making music as one-fourth of yumi zouma, sam perry ventures through more psychedelic fields on his own as zen mantra.  his self-titled album is out next friday via flying nun records; after sharing the hook-laden lead single “second skin” at the beginning of march, perry is letting go of a subsequent, more contemplative track today.  “maybe i’ll see you in my dreams” is a rather woozy endeavor, with several detuned melodies working in tandem to jostle the track’s equilibrium.  still, it’s perry’s penchant for an unforgettable vocal hook that ultimately reigns supreme, from the titular chorus to the song’s strong, unexpected coda. “maybe i’ll see you in my dreams” premieres below; take a listen.