MAZE: Self-titled: 12”

It always amazes me how Japanese artists have the uncanny ability to take a genre most take for granted and present it back with a breath of new life. Maze from Japan (not to be confused with the ’80s Japanese new wave band of the same name) harness the beautifully flawed musicianship of bands like the Television Personalities and the Raincoats and turn it into something vibrant and refreshing in 2019. From the playful energy of the opener “I’m Gray” to the melancholic Joy Division-esque closer “The Cobwebs” every song paints a different picture of the sort of moods and feelings often associated with post-punk. I shared a couple of songs on social media and I got the most satisfying responses from friends who don’t particularly listen to punk/DIY music. This record is so good that I almost started to feel guilty for spending so much time with it. –Juan Espinosa (Lumpy, lumpyrecords.com, m-a-z-e.bandcamp.com)