Formed in New York in the mid-2000s, Anamanaguchi is a four-piece band made up of Peter Berkman, Ary Warnaar, James DeVito, and Luke Silas. They program and perform loud, fast, intensely emotional digital music. Summer Singles 2010/2020 is a 2xLP set that unites two fan-favorite collections of singles in a first-ever physical edition and confirms Anamanaguchi’s reputation among those in-the-know as one of the most casually trailblazing and unexpectedly refined bands around.
Each eight-song set was originally recorded and released in the wake of a beloved Anamanaguchi album. In 2010, they created the cult-classic soundtrack for Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World: The Game, which was just reissued this January, and cemented their role as pioneers in the homemade, video game world of chiptune music. The 2020 singles followed the critically acclaimed [USA] LP, an album at once more introspective and expansive, which hit No. 3 on Billboard Heatseekers chart and won this praise from NPR: “The sound just fills you up in this incredibly joyous and wonderful way.”
Explains the band’s Ary Warnaar: “The summer singles series was sort of a fun, low-pressure way to ease us out of that hyperfocus album tunnel and burn off that extra energy. It’s like spending a year training for a marathon, and then you finally run the marathon, but you're still in really good shape the next day, so you might as well go on a run the next day too, just for yourself, however many miles you wanna do.”
But they’re certainly no strangers to doing things their own way. In 2013, Anamanaguchi self-released the Endless Fantasy album backed by an out-of-control Kickstarter campaign that brought in $275,000 (enough to send a piece of pizza into space) and won praise from Pitchfork as “a riotous genre masterpiece.” In 2016, they parodied corporate gaming culture with Capsule Silence XXIV, a free game that contained its own original full-length soundtrack. Famously, they collaborated on a single with the computer-generated Japanese pop star Hatsune Miku, and were the first independent artists to perform alongside her hologram on tour.
In this wide context of their career, Summer Singles 2010/2020 makes for a delightful capsule. Highlights from the wild summer of Four Loko including the over-the-top chiptune of “My Skateboard Will Go On” and a ridiculous Das Racist remix. The newer tracks are just as optimistic and show a wider range of forward-thinking styles, with collaborators Planet1999, Jaime Brooks, and the J-pop singer POCHI. Also of note: “Stay Home,” their cover of Polyvinyl labelmates American Football, debuted last spring at a non-profit fundraising festival the bands created together called Nether Meant, held within the Minecraft video game.
According to Luke Silas, Anamanaguchi’s drummer, as much as the collection underscores the band’s evolution, it also reinforces their dedication to their core values: “The songs might not be as carefree as they used to be (neither is the world and neither are we), but it feels affirming to still be in a position to make art that we love in the way that feels most natural to us. We’re still writing songs we care deeply about, still in love with music made by our friends and heroes, and still eager to share in a way that’s accessible to the world.”