Posted March 26, 2021 by Jeff in Tunes

New Kishi Bashi Single Celebrates Joys of Spring

Kishi Bashi photo by Rachael Renee Levasseur
Kishi Bashi photo by Rachael Renee Levasseur

Indie rock act Kishi Bashi will release his new EP Emigrant, a companion release to his critically acclaimed 2019 album Omoiyari, on April 2 via Joyful Noise Recordings. The EP’s first single “Wait For Springtime” is out now. 

This is a song about the anticipation and hope of the equinox that is to come after the pandemic,” explains Kaoru Ishibashi, who records as Kishi Bashi, about the tune. “Even though the longing to hug and cry in each other’s arms may be a faint memory right now, in our core we know that we will bounce back in a lush way in our proverbial springtime.” 

The timely, new six-song collection contains four original compositions and covers of Regina Spektor’s “Laughing With” and Dolly Parton’s “Early Morning Breeze,” both of which were released earlier this year. Arranged and recorded over the last year, the Emigrant EP serves as a time capsule of 2020 as Kisha Bashi “meditates on the anxieties of the COVID-19 pandemic, the comforts of nature, the pains of resource-fueled conflicts, and the resiliency that emerges from struggle.” The EP is now available for pre-order.

Over the last several years, the multi-instrumentalist Ishibashi has traveled frequently to Montana and Wyoming to work on Omoiyari, an upcoming “song film” about Japanese internment during WWII that shares the name and conceptual focus of his previous record.

“It has been an emotional and creatively potent experience for Ishibashi to spend time in the American West — a place known for its at times brutal history and harsh climate — speaking with internment camp incarcerees and descendants,” reads the single’s press release. “Considering his own bicultural identity as the child of Japanese immigrants has come to influence Kishi Bashi’s approach to songwriting.” 

With touring cancelled, Kishi Bashi found himself with an abundance of free time, and mapped out a route for himself and his daughter that would take them from their home Georgia all the way to the west coast. In Montana, they stayed in a cabin in the EP’s namesake town, Emigrant. Kishi Bashi recorded the tunes in Athens, Georgia, live to two-track tape and recorded with friends such as banjoist Mike Savino (aka Tall Tall Trees) and cellist Emily Hope Price as well as upright bassist Andrea DeMarcus and guitarist Dave Kirslis (of the Athens duo Cicada Rhythm).

Traveling the western states, Kishi Bashi absorbed the histories of colonial oppression and frontier struggle.

“I want to understand the history, but also dive in and really try to humanize it,” he says. I’m trying to show how we’re all the same type of human being. We have the same desires and needs, to protect our loved ones and also to celebrate the everyday.” 

Credit: Rachael Renee Levasseur


Jeff started writing about rock ’n’ roll some 20 years ago when he stood in the pouring rain to hitch hike his way to see R.E.M. on their Life’s Rich Pageant tour. Since that time, he's written for various daily newspapers, alt-weeklies, magazines and websites. Feel free to comment on his posts or suggest music, film and art to him at [email protected].