Just a few months ago, Homicidols published a profile of fans-turned-promoters bringing alternative idols to the Western World. Looking back now, the article is a bit embarrassingly anglo-centric. Unbeknownst to us at the time, a group of Italian-speaking fans were putting the finishing touches on their own considerable efforts to launch an alt-idol festival in Italy. When the final lineup for the event was revealed in mid-February, it was clear that there was a new and significant player in the business of importing underground Japanese idol to the West.
Seemingly overnight, the hardol diaspora had grown another tendril.
On May 11th in Bologna, Italy, Monster of Dolls will play host to alt-idol A-listers LADYBABY, the Western debut of JyuJyu, and an appearance by the legendary Sari of NECRONOMIDOL fame. The event’s biggest coup, however, is scoring the first ever overseas live for perhaps the hottest chika idol act in Tokyo: Melon Batake a go go.
The appearance of this top-tier alt-idol festival, seemingly out of nowhere, was the most pleasant of surprises. Our curiosity was piqued, not just about the cost of plane tickets to Italy, but also about the festival itself, the brains behind it, and about the Italian-speaking fandom whose presence we had been totally ignorant of until now. So we reached out to our new Italian allies in the quest to bring alt-idol to the West in the hopes that we could learn all we could.
We think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
Attention students!! Leaders just dropped the early front-runner for album of the year.
Atarashii Gakkou No Leaders has never been the most accessible of units from a Western perspective. Their MVs often sit behind region blocks and paywalls, while their music makes artsy references to social concerns that may require cultural translation. In short, exploring the group’s music requires a bit more proactive labor than just clicking “play” on YouTube and rockin’ your socks off. However, with the release of their stunning second album, Wakage Ga Itaru, now is the time to put in that extra effort.
With a strong closing week to their Campfire campaign, 2018 Corenament defending champion Minna no Kodomochan hit 100% of their all-or-nothing fundraising goal with just two-and-a-half days to go. This means that Everyone’s Children will now bless us all with a new song for each of the next five months and follow that up with a 15-date, Japan-wide tour.
They immediately celebrated their campaign’s success by releasing a dance MV for “Shoujo A”.
The Cyclone is a small black box theater in a Shibuya basement which, according to the posters it uses for wallpaper, has played host to gigs by just about everyone over the past 20 years, including Cthonic, Crossfaith, Abigail Williams and every chika idol unit you’ve ever cared about. This past Saturday, it also hosted Yukueshirezutsurezure’s Emergency One Man Live, the emergency being Futamaruya Shidare’s sudden exit from the group.
The Cyclone’s capacity is 300, which seems to have been determined not by some safety conscious fire marshal, but in response to a challenge to see how many people one could stuff into the space, shoulder-to-shoulder, wall-to-wall.
Building over from the weekend, the hottest concern in alt-idol these last few days has been the location, state and status of Kaqriyo Terror Architect’s Nonamera. In the lead up to KTA’s in-store appearances to promote their latest single, “The Forbidden Masturbating“, Codomomental let it be known over the weekend that they had not been able to contact Nona since noon last Tuesday.
After a few days of reasoned, rational and well-informed reactions to this news and no rampant speculation at all, it was announced last night that contact with Nonamera had been re-established and that she had decided to withdraw from the group.
Caleb has been so kind as to translate Shidare’s long message, as well as allowing us to post it on Homicidols. The original can be found here.
I, Futamaruya Shidare have decided to withdraw from Yukueshirezu Tsurezure. First of all, I’d like to say thank you and apologise to those of you I have upset with such a sudden announcement, to those who were looking forward to next meeting me, and those who supported the direction we were going in. The 28th November 2018 was 3 years since I had been announced as an initial member of Yukueshirezu Tsurezure. It was 3 years of thinking, worrying, trying, hesitating, fighting and pushing myself as to how we could make Tsurezure a good group, how we could make our concerts good. However, in some respects I’ve realised I found myself thinking I can no longer stand here, or keep walking on. Even so I pushed through and came to where we are now, but now that Kotetsu and Takara have been so kind as to join us, I came to the conclusion that perhaps Yukueshirezu Tsurezure has a better chance going forward without me, and decided to withdraw. It was my dream as a member to show you Yukueshirezu Tsurezure’s songs and worldview. I still believe Tsurezure’s songs have the power to save people. Our weak yet strong songs embrace a lot of people’s isolation and darkness. However, I feel it regrettable and vexing that I overwhelmingly lack the actual strength to convey our worldview, and if I think about it I might have always been stuck in the same place. And before I knew it I had trapped Tsurezure in my negative loop. I, who wanted to be part of a group, had personally confined Tsurezure. And going on, I thought of the possibility of me changing. However the more I thought about it, I decided to stop clinging on as now I have lost the confidence to dedicate everything as a member of the group; as Yukueshirezu Tsurezure. I originally also thought “what if I could change through our tour that begins this February”. Throw away every part of me, kill it, as if it were life or death and if even then I couldn’t change then I’d think again about quitting. However, as the other members are going into this tour frantically trying to climb higher, I found myself in a completely different direction. I felt that this was a betrayal to my other members and the gunjou who so kindly support us. There are many ways of grasping betrayal. To everyone who was looking forward to the tour, I’m truly sorry. Those of you who said you’d celebrate my birthday in February, those who anticipated Yukueshirezu Tsurezure as a 5 member group, and you who said you’d always support me, I’m sorry. I’ve gone so far as to do this for over 3 years, so I have no regrets. Also, I’ll be looking up from here so Yukueshirezu Tsurezure can continue to shine. I pray I can see Tsurezure and the gunjou smiling from here. Thank you for allowing Futamaruya Shidare into your lives, for letting me live. Yukueshirezu Tsurezure, thank you. Do your best, don’t be defeated, take care.
Meet the people bringing Japan’s most compelling music acts to the West
For those Westerners who have fallen down the JPop rabbit hole, there are a few common stages that just about everyone goes through. Somewhere after devouring any English-language sites Google can find and consuming all unblocked videos on YouTube, comes the burning desire to see our newfound musical idols live. North America and Europe have been fortunate the last few years to see almost annual tours by BABYMETAL, Perfume, One OK Rock and Hatsune Miku, but for those whose tastes are a bit less mainstream, the chance to see independent and alternative artists usually involves pricing plane tickets to Japan.
Fortunately for us, a small group of fans-turned-promoters have taken it upon themselves to bring live underground idol and alternative JRock to the West. A few of these intrepid souls were gracious enough to answer our questions about why they decided to jump into the business of international music booking and promotion, the biggest challenges they encounter, and what plans they have for the future.
Like having two different sets of relatives to visit on Christmas, many of us who have been drawn to the harder side of idol now find ourselves with established relationships to two very different worlds. While we have current obligations to chika idol, we still have strong affections for our original punk and metal families and are compelled to visit on a regular basis.
Our friends at ORIONlive, who in 2018 brought us NECRONOMIDOL, 2& and the Screaming60s in the Black Winds Over Albion Tour, must have been feeling a similar obligation when they decided to blow the roof off of 2019 early.
While we await the announcement of whether or not our living rooms will be blessed by the presence of Honoka, Cinnamon and their hyper math-punk and doom metal drops, the objectives of their second crowdfunding campaign have now been announced.
This time, if they meet their goal, Everyone’s Children will release one new song per month for five months starting in April 2018. Then, after the release of the fifth song in August, they will embark on a nation-wide tour (“Japan” being the nation; since Oyasumi Hologram crowdfunded their U.S. tour, I guess we need to be specific).Continue reading →
It has been a roller coaster of a morning in the alt-idol breaking news department, but nothing is so welcome after the official departure of the original alt-Oshi than an international guerrilla release by Yanakoto Sotto Mute.
(Update: I have been informed that today’s release was first announced on YSM’s Twitter earlier this week and that I am not a true fan of the group.)
It’s already available on iTunes so why are you still here?
Once again proving their designation as the Perfect Modern Idols , Yanamute’s unexpected album drop comes with the promise of an EP per month in the run up to Christmas. “Stain”, the first track on this morning’s surprise offering, is a stunner, so these are not b-side offerings but chill-inducing, A-Grade material.
So if this morning’s big news had you crying into your coffee, thanks to Yanamute we can now face the weekend with smiles on our faces. Happy freaking Friday!!