Japanese Breakfast leader Michelle Zauner and Crying guitarist/songwriter Ryan Galloway have a new collaborative project called BUMPER, and they're releasing their debut EP pop songs 2020 this Friday (9/4), but the whole thing is streaming with an accompanying visualizer now. The duo's bio reads:

Michelle Zauner and Ryan Galloway live three blocks apart but haven’t seen each other since the beginning of quarantine. Zauner, who performs under the moniker Japanese Breakfast, and Galloway, best known for his project Crying, started trading tracks in early June, adding layers back and forth over email. Betwixt synth and sample, track and tune, concocting songs that mix the playful quirks of Cibo Matto with the bombastic power of late 80s Janet Jackson, BUMPER emerges from the confines of two NY apartments and offers pop songs 2020.

"I’ve always really liked Crying and I think Ryan as a talent is so underrated," Michelle told Rolling Stone. "I knew that he was such a guitar wizard and his influences are super bizarre, in my world anyway. And I really appreciate that. For this new [Japanese Breakfast] record, I just wanted to work with people that really inspired me creatively. We worked together and made something that was totally out of the realm of what I would usually make. I realized that Ryan had this wealth of material that he was just sitting on."

"Basically, her songs were made and were not obnoxious, and then I just added that element to it," Ryan adds. "I also think personality-wise, both of us are very loud. When Michelle came over and we figured out what I can add to the Japanese Breakfast song, both of us were at full volume the whole time. It also carries over throughout this project. There’s a specific part in a song where I added a timpani part, and Michelle was like, ‘Sounds like a dumpster falling over. It’s awful.’ I think it’s fun to accept that way of criticism, and bounce back and forth and be allowed to say, ‘Hey, that sucks.’ Because typically, I think that’s how more hardcore musicians tend to communicate. But for indie rock, it’s not usually like that."

Ryan also shed some light on Crying not releasing a new album since 2016's great Beyond the Fleeting Gales. "I actually couldn’t decide on what it would sound like," he told Rolling Stone. "I really like using albums as a book of chapters rather than a bunch of short stories. I really like the album to have an idea. And I was going back and forth between all of these ideas, like, ‘What if our next album was a cartoon prog-metal opera? What if it was super pop-y?’ Working on BUMPER allowed me to explore some of those options that I was paralyzed by, like slowly chipping away at all of the curiosities I’ve had."

Michelle also says that her plans after this EP include making a new Japanese Breakfast album.

If you've read this far, you probably have a pretty good idea of what to expect from the BUMPER EP, and it makes good on the promise of Michelle and Ryan's descriptions. It pretty much finds the middle ground between Michelle's indie/dream pop and Ryan's AOR bombast, and it's pretty great stuff. Listen to the whole thing below.

Japanese Breakfast also plays the virtual Philly Music Fest on September 24 with Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Langhorne Slim, and more. More info here.


- You Can Get It!
- Black Light
- Red Brick
- Ballad 0

More From Brooklyn Vegan