|EP by Folks|
|Released||February 12, 2014|
|Genre||Indie rock, indie pop, shoegazing, electropop|
Writing and production
Newtown was recorded in Sapporo at Hit Studio and Geimori Studio in 2013. The album hass four of the five songs on Take Off, along with three new compositions. Fumito Iwai is the main songwriter and vocalist for the album, writing every track except "River", which was written and sung by Katsutoshi Iwai. "Good-bye, Friends" was composed by all members of Folks, with lyrics written by Fumito Iwai. Their self-produced 2012 extended play Take Off was produced and arranged by Fumito Iwai alone. After performing the album live for a year, it began to feel like their own album as well and not just Fumito Iwai's. On Newtown, all the members contributed to the arrangement and production. The arrangements of Take Off songs were changed after the band performed them in front of live audiences. Fumito Iwai had never considered how songs would sound live, so experimented by changed their percussion balance and tempo, and created live arrangements for them.
Work on Newtown started several months after their first live concert in April 2013, as the members created ideas and discussed what they wanted to do together as Folks. The style of French indie rock band Phoenix's album, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (2009), influenced thm greatly and they sought to use some of the techniques Phoenix used.
"Replica", a song about the end of summer in Hokkaido, was written in summer 2012 by Fumito Iwai. It was the first song he worked on after leaving Galileo Galilei, and expressed the sort of music he wanted to create. The first song recorded for the Newtown sessions was "Forever"."Everything Is Alone" was described as having an "updated funk sound" by Fumito Iwai, and was a mix of everything the band members wanted to express in a song. They had difficulty in arranging and tuning the drums, as they had not worked with live drums in a recording before.
"Gaga" from Take Off was re-titled "You're Right" for Newtown. Fumito Iwai felt the main association of the word was the American musician Lady Gaga, and changed it as he felt that too limiting."Two Young" had not been performed live by Folks before Newtown's release, but was written to be performed live. "Good-bye, Friends" was based on a demo Katsutoshi Iwai had made and Noguchi expanded on. However, the song was created by all of the members of the band, discussing and experimenting together.
After Newtown was recorded, Fumito Iwai and Yoshitomo Kobayash went to Tokyo to oversee its mixing. Tatsuki Masuko, a member of the Japanese instrumental band Rovo, helped to mix and master Newtown, unlike Take Off, which Fumito Iwai mixed alone.
The title Newtown refers to the planned community of Megumino in Eniwa, which is a motif of the release. The cover and artist promotional photos were taken in Eniwa by the photographer Yoshiharu Ota, as well as the music video for "Everything Is Alone". The video was shot at the members' homes in Megumino.
Promotion and release
"Everything Is Alone" was the first song promoting the album. It was released to radio stations; its music video was a power play video on the music video station Space Shower TV in January 2014. The song received minor requests to radio stations on a national level in January 2014, however was extremely popular in Hokkaido, being the number one requested song at radio stations for January 2014. The song peaked at number 81 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary Airplay Chart. The song was chosen as the February ending theme song for the Nagoya radio station Zip-FM's Spice Up weekend morning radio show.
The band performed their first live show outside of Hokkaido at the Tokyo Tsutaya O-West on January 20, 2014. The band held their first live show in Eniwa just after the EP's release, on February 15, 2014, at the Eniwa Musōkan, where Fumito Iwai's high school band Guild first performed.
To promote the album, Folks appeared on many Hokkaido-based radio stations such as FM North Wave, Air-G', STV Radio and HBC Radio. They were also interviewed for music magazine Musica.
Critical reception to Newtown was positive. Akihiro Okumura from What's In? was impressed with the "overseas resonance" of the band, likening Folks to indie rock musicians like Passion Pit and Mumford and Sons, as well as having the approach of James Blake. Okumura was very impressed by the "lyrical vocal lines" of Fumito Iwai and Kazutoshi Iwai, and likened them to the 1980s city pop movement in Japanese music. Saori Kishiba, a reviewer for Skream!, likened the band to Animal Collective and Arcade Fire, praising the "dreamy pop sound" and polished arrangements of songs on Newtown. CDJournal reviewers felt the EP made the listener feel the "transparent feeling and pathos" of Northern European rock, while having a post-rock base. The reviewers praised the "beauty of fusion" in the album's "pleasant songs", and wrote that their harmonies "reminded you of an aurora".
|1.||"Everything Is Alone"||Fumito Iwai||4:18|
|2.||"Two Young"||Fumito Iwai||4:15|
|4.||"Good-bye, Friends"||Fumito Iwai, Folks||5:23|
|6.||"You're Right"||Fumito Iwai||5:05|
|Japan Oricon weekly albums||81|
Sales and certifications
|Oricon physical sales||800|
Personnel details were sourced from Newtown's liner notes booklet.
Technical, production and imagery
- Yuri Furukawa – A&R chief
- Noriyuki Kikuchi – A&R
- Kenichi Koga – recording engineer at Geimori Studio (#1, #3, #5-7)
- Tatsuki Masuko – mixing, mastering
- Yoshiharu Ota – art direction, photography
- Naonori Sakamoto – assistant recording engineer at Geimori Studio (#1, #3, #5-7)
- Hirano Tanaka – art direction, design
- Naoya Tsubakihara – support drum, drum technician
- Hirokazu Tsuruha – recording engineer at Hit Studio
|Region||Date||Format||Distributing Label||Catalogue codes|
|Japan||February 12, 2014||CD, digital download||Ki/oon Music||KSCL-2354|
|March 1, 2014||Rental CD|
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- Newtown (Media notes) (in Japanese). Folks. Tokyo, Japan: Ki/oon Music. 2014.
- Sachi Harada (February 11, 2014). "FOLKS 「感情を理論でコントロールした音楽って最強にかっこいい」2014.02.11 Tuesday" [Folks: Music with theory-controlled emotions is the coolest thing.] (in Japanese). Kram!. Archived from the original on February 18, 2014. Retrieved February 18, 2014.
- Dai Onojima (February 12, 2014). "[Power Push] FOLKS「NEWTOWN」インタビュー" (in Japanese). Natalie. Archived from the original on February 12, 2014. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
- Sachi Harada (February 12, 2014). "FOLKS 「速くなくても身体を揺らせるような、リズムに陶酔できる曲を作りたい」2014.02.12 Wednesday" [Folks: We want to make songs with intoxicating rhythms that can move your body even from a distance.] (in Japanese). Kram!. Archived from the original on February 18, 2014. Retrieved February 18, 2014.
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- "Adult Contemporary Airplay 2014/02/03". Billboard (in Japanese). January 30, 2014. Retrieved January 30, 2014.
- "名古屋のラジオZIP-FMさん!" [Nagoya Radio Zip-FM!] (in Japanese). Folks. February 9, 2014. Archived from the original on February 10, 2014. Retrieved February 10, 2014.
- "恵庭市のロックバンド「フォークス」が地元でライブ 原田市長にメジャーデビューを報告" [Eniwa rock band Folks local live, Mayor Harada reports on their major label debut.] (in Japanese). Tomakomai Mimpo. January 28, 2014. Archived from the original on February 9, 2014. Retrieved February 10, 2014.
- "メディア情報" [Media Information] (in Japanese). Ki/oon Music. February 18, 2014. Archived from the original on February 18, 2014. Retrieved February 18, 2014.
- Akihiro Okumura (2014). "すべてを持ち合わせたブライテスト・ホープ from 北海道" [The brightest hope from everything put together in Hokkaido] (in Japanese). What's In?. Archived from the original on February 12, 2014. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
- Saori Kishiba (2014). "Disc Review FOLKS『NEWTOWN』" (in Japanese). Skream!. Archived from the original on January 30, 2014. Retrieved January 30, 2014.
- "FOLKS / NEWTOWN" (in Japanese). CDJournal. 2014. Retrieved September 6, 2014.
- BABYMETALがCDショップ大賞！SU-METAL「すごくドキドキ」 (in Japanese). Natalie. Retrieved March 9, 2015.
- "「NEWTOWN」 FOLKS" (in Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved February 18, 2014.
- "オリコンランキング情報サービス「you大樹」" [Oricon Ranking Information Service "You Big Tree"]. Oricon. Retrieved February 18, 2014. (Subscription required (. ))
- "ＮＥＷＴＯＷＮ／ＦＯＬＫＳ" (in Japanese). Tsutaya. Retrieved February 10, 2014.