Mei Semones

Kabutomushi EP (Bayonet)

Contact Jacob Daneman about Mei Semones

Today, Mei Semones, the 23-year-old Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter and guitarist, announces her new EP and Bayonet Records debut, Kabutomushi, out April 5th, and shares a new single/video, “Inaka.” “Inaka” follows the previously released “Wakare No Kotoba,” a “lovely slice of indie pop with some serious guitar chops” (Brooklyn Vegan), which also will appear on her forthcoming EP. Kabutomushi sees Semones refine her sweetly evocative blend of jazz, bossa nova and math-y indie rock, chronicling infatuation, devotion, vulnerability, and saying goodbye to some of her closest relationships, complete with sweeping strings, virtuosic guitar-playing and heartfelt lyrics sung in both English and Japanese. Throughout the EP, Semones’ straightforward vocal delivery calls to mind that of the late bossa nova great Astrud Gilberto, while also having drawn comparisons to Japanese contemporaries Ichiko Aoba and Lamp.


One of the more indie rock-leaning songs Semones has written, “Inaka” still has glimpses of jazz harmony throughout, with cinematic strings adding a romantic flair alongside Semones’ guitar lead. “I wrote this song shortly after moving to Brooklyn in the fall of 2022, when I was feeling defeated and exhausted everyday,” Semones says. “I’ve grown to love the city, but at the time I was idealizing losing all ambition and moving to the countryside with my partner, hence the name of the song “Inaka” which means “countryside” in Japanese. Looking back at that time, I realize the city wasn’t the issue, I was just tired.” In the video, directed by Lucas O.M., Semones starts in New York City’s Lower East Side, before taking the train to her friend’s farm in Old Lyme, CT, visualizing the track’s theme of escaping the city and moving somewhere more pastoral.


Originally from Ann Arbor, Michigan, Semones began playing music at a young age, starting out on piano at age four before moving to electric guitar at age eleven. After playing jazz guitar in high school, she went on to study guitar performance with a jazz focus at Berklee College of Music. College is where she met her current bandmates, including string players Noah Leong and Claudius Agrippa, whose respective viola and violin add softness and multidimensionality to Mei’s intricate guitar work. After releasing a slew of singles and an EP in 2022, coinciding with her move to New York City, Mei and her band have since gone on to collaborate with post-bossa balladeer John Roseboro, and embarked on their first-ever tour with the melodic rock outfit Raavi.


All of the songs that comprise Kabutomushi are written and sung in both English and Japanese, with Mei wanting to stay connected to her first language through her music. The EP title translates to “rhinoceros beetle” in English, named after the horned insect that she would spot and catch in the park when visiting her grandmother in Japan growing up. Keeping things stripped-down with the help of electronic subtleties and plucked strings, Mei’s voice intertwined with her guitar come off as a poignant lullaby of treasured memories long-gone, but not forgotten, encapsulating Semones’ sonic trademarks: ornately catchy, genre-fusing compositions serving as the backdrop to tender lyrics touching on the universalities of human emotion.


    Jul 25, 2024
    Portsmouth, NH
    The Press Room

    Jul 26, 2024
    Boston, MA
    Brighton Music Hall

    Jul 27, 2024
    Brattleboro, VT
    The Stone Church

    Jul 28, 2024
    Troy, NY
    No Fun

    Jul 30, 2024
    Toronto, ON
    Velvet Underground

    Aug 02, 2024
    St. Louis, MO
    Off Broadway

    Aug 06, 2024
    Bloomington, IN
    The Bishop

    Aug 07, 2024
    Columbus, OH
    Ace of Cups

    Aug 08, 2024
    Cleveland, OH