Yeah well, hear me out here… while maybe not really an idol in the narrow sense, Akko Gorilla did perform on the “Smile Garden” stage at the Tokyo Idol Festival this year, plus she’s tight with lots of cool people we like on this blog, and most importantly, makes fantastic next-level music with a skies-the-limit crossover potential. It’s crossed my mind several times that I thought she deserved some “Friends of Homicidols” coverage, because what’s she’s doing is amazing and really deserves to be heard and appreciated. Earlier this month, Akko made her major-label album debut with “GRRRLISM”, which I’ve been listening to a lot over the last week and decided this is the window to finally induct her into this website. If you like nontraditional rappers like Charisma.com and KOM-I of Wednesday Campanella, then you should definitely dig into this. So c’mon ya’ll, let’s talk about Akko Gorilla…
The first time I heard Akko Gorilla was in 2016 when she released her debut, “Tokyo Banana”.(She had been building up a name for herself with MC battles at the same time.) Her first album’s got this lo-fi and organic vibe that is perfect for Akko’s hyper-speed flow of words: Lot’s of live drums and natural bass with a cool vibe that one doesn’t usually get from a lot of over-produced, glossy hip-hop. If you haven’t listened to Akko Gorilla, I might suggest you go ahead and start there so you can trace her growth over the last few years.
It’s just like me to offer to write a quick-take on a topic that really has a lot more going on than just a simplified quick-take!
The MV for Maison book girl‘s recent album’s closing track “Yumea” (Dream) entered public consciousness over the weekend, and it’s a beautiful piece of visual art. If you watched it on a pure surface level with no backstory about it’s intent, it’s still a gorgeous experience in the arena of sound and vision. I’m thinking it’s reasonably safe that the highly loyal Bukuga fans out there have already seen it, but I recommend a rewatch anyway, and if you haven’t, please take a moment. There won’t be a quiz or anything, but it’s important to understand what we’re discussing, and also, it’s a great song and you just really should…
The opening scenes are a questionnaire session leading into a sleep test in a medical facility. It’s then followed with a series of dreamy visuals of girls in headphones looking all introspective. Okay fine, so girls in headphones looking introspective on bus rides isn’t terribly groundbreaking, I’ll cede you that point, but those surreal images that pulsate in time with the odd flickering sound in the song, what’s that about? Well, the end of the video is kind enough to help explain that, and that’s where one realizes the true beauty of this MV. Continue reading →
SAKA-SAMA have been something of a favorite with Team Homicidols since they first formed in 2016, but at the same time, they’ve remained a perplexing enigma of an idol unit. Constantly shifting membership rosters are always part of this territory, but this group seems especially prone to changing it’s line-up with each passing season, with only Kokone and Dr. Mahiru providing consistency as it’s founding members. And the music of SAKA-SAMA, primarily billed as “Low-Fi Dream Pop”, is in truth equally unpredictable, with a wide variety of unique genres and styles that run the gamut of shoegazey indie-pop to oddball quirky country songs and spoken word pieces, making it a rather difficult task to describe what exactly the group does. Mind you, this isn’t a complaint by any means, I’m just trying to clarify why writing about TRASH-UP!!’s in-house idol group is well… quite a challenge.
So after a couple of years of compilation tracks, EPs, singles, and one live recording, SAKA-SAMA have finally released an actual, honest-to-goodness full length album, titled, appropriately enough, “It’s a SAKA-SAMA World’! I’ve been excitedly anticipating this release since the moment it was announced, and I eagerly snatched it from OTOTOY right away. I came to realize quickly that this is an album that, just like anything related to SAKA-SAMA, has certain unique traits that can’t be summed up after a breezy listening session. This is what we call a “grower”, or a “slow-burn”, wherein one must dig in deeply to truly reap the rewards of the listening experience, and develop an opinion based on multiple takes instead of relying on easy gratification.
I love a lot of things about You’ll Melt More!, and one of those things is their sheer prolificness. While other groups take months to release a single with two songs on it, YLMM! release singles and EPs like a 24-hour factory of goodness, hardly even slowing down to catch a breath. But what’s important to mention here, is that this continuing flow of output is consistently high-quality and always a sure-fire crowd pleaser.
And then there’s the music videos! The group has gone through the effort to make MVs for practically every song on their recent EP releases. I like the way they’ll produce a couple of videos that show off a somewhat considerable (but still fairly modest) budget, and then knock out some quick ones with hardly any money spent at all, relying strictly on lo-fi charm and hooks to get the point across. The videos often present themselves as labors of love by a group of girls who are clearly enjoying what they do, and that’s far more valuable than a lavish budget shot at some fancy location.
So right now we’re basking in the hangover left behind after the rollicking fun of “Never Give Up Drunk Monkeys”with a follow-up video for their song “Dahlia”. The song itself is a nice, upbeat number giving off a positive glow, accompanied by a kinda dark, but also kinda hopeful MV with idol-zombies, existential late-night wandering, gardening, and Younapi behind the wheel of an early model Ford T-Bird: Continue reading →
Though Fall is my favorite season, there’s always a hint of trepidation it’s arrival. The sky gets a little gray, the days get colder and shorter, and naturally, we all know the Winter is approaching by the year’s end. And additionally for us idol fans, we find ourselves anticipating the upcoming new year, because we know good-and-well that some of our oshimen and favorite groups won’t be around by this time in the future, cause that’s what we’ve signed up for the when we got into this subculture.
Last Friday, a little precursor to the change of the seasons and the new year in waiting arrived: Kotori Kotao, the other half of the duo-era of Avandoned, announced that she will be graduating in April of 2019. In a statement, she explained that quite simply it’s too difficult to balance the intensity of idol work with her personal focus on art. This is something I find terribly relatable, so I can’t possibly take issue with it. Kotao joined the group in 2016, at which point Avandoned was closing its previous era with the departures of Nayuta and Konomi and rebranding the group as a trio. At that point I knew very little about her, but she certainly won me over very quickly, to the point where it became difficult to imagine Avandoned without her. As I got to know more about her, I found her endlessly fascinating and talented.
The latest adventure in the USA with NECRONOMIDOL(This time accompanied by Oyasumi Hologram.) has come to a close! It’s always fun to take in the experience through the eyes of other fellow fans as these shows make their way across the tour, and get a new perspective of these events as other people see them. As circumstances would have it, Team Homicidols was unable to represent at this tour, mainly because real life is stupid and piles on it’s own commitments. Perhaps one day, idols will overthrow the wicked forces that run this world, oppressively placing demands upon us that distract from what’s really important, which is going to idol mass and paying proper respects to our deities.
Until that day happens, we thankfully have wonderful friends of Homicidols like Killer Cashew. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting the Cashew and Asto, his partner in crime, and they’re terrific people who deserve great experiences like this tour. I’m glad that they were able to enjoy the show, and I’m indebted to Mr. Cashew for taking time to contribute an account of the evening in his own words. Let’s read about the fine art and dark visions he witnessed!
Hi, Killer Cashew here. Normally I’m a quiet follower of the Homicidol community, but due to circumstances, none of the usual contributors were able to attend the Oyasumi Hologam/NECRONOMIDOL leg of the crowdfunded world tour. I was asked if I wanted to share some details of my experience and so here we are…
Life’s best pleasures are simple things: Walks in the woods, black coffee, dogs n’ cats, and 45rpm singles. And speaking of singles, Avandoned, the delightful queens of quirk, gave us their second release this year, following up the completely fabulous old-school jam “After School” with their latest offering, “Lemon Peels”.
This is their third single on the terrific Vivid Sound label (the first was the nearly perfect “Donut Friends”), which has produced some bountiful musical fruit for Beni and Kotao. The vinyl-oriented label’s been around since 1973, and with that sort of history and experience, they’ve really shown an understanding for what makes this duo unique and tapped into that by helping them align with label-mates like Magic, Drums, & Love, Monari Wakita, and SOLEIL (although SOLEIL jumped into the majors with Victor Records). With these resources, along with their friendships with great retro-rock bands like LEARNERS and The Childish Tones, Avandoned have really come into their own over the past couple of years, and I think they’ve finally arrived at what is truly their own sound, and not simply the vision of outside producers. Continue reading →
Streaming video is marvelous, isn’t it? It’s a completely indispensable resource for us Western idol fans in particular, allowing us to keep up with events and shows that we’d otherwise miss out on, so thank goodness for that. Quite often, following an event I especially wish I had seen, I hit the internet in the days afterward to see if I can find some video, and lo and beyond, often I find what just what I wanted. One thing that’s nice about chika-level idols in particular is that many of these groups have relaxed rules for filming shows. Some groups even have just about nearly every gig uploaded for fans to see. I’ve had a few favorites lately, and I thought I’d share them in one handy place and perhaps help bring something your way that you’ll especially enjoy. It’ll be like a TV PARTY!
First up is Avandoned, the duo who have never failed to make me happy and excited to see what creative endeavors they’ve taken on next. These are the girls who I feel have really broken ground, having elevated to a new sub-sub genre, theArt Idol. Another thing I love about them, they’ve been escaping the usual dark basement club circuit and performing in quirky shops and galleries, attracting crowds out side the usual flock of wota devotees. Avandoned’s relationship with the Vivid Sound label is really striking gold, with a string of vinyl singles that suit the group’s vision perfectly. Avandoned have a new single coming out on October 10th, and they perform the a-side here in this video at the 28:33 mark. It’s another perfect fix of pop-goodness, and they sing like they’re having the time of their lives!
One of the most refreshing musical highlights of 2018 was the debut album of the band SOLEIL, featuring vocals by the delightful neo-Ye´-Ye´singer who performs under the same stage name. Released this past Spring, “My Name is SOLEIL”is still one of my top releases of the year. It was an album that encapsulated my love for the perfect idol-pop of the 1960’s that swept across Europe and went on to take Asia by storm, quite literally setting up the basic formula for the modern jpop idols that we adore today.
When you consider how long it takes artists to record, produce, and set free a new album, it was certainly a pleasant surprise that just a few months later within the Fall of the same year, SOLEIL doubles down with an entirely new album. (It was written, recorded, produced, and released within 6 months!) Who even does that anymore? Most current artists dwell on a new recording endlessly by committee with a dozen cooks in the kitchen all eager to stamp their egos on the project, while the record label stands over it all, checking off the marketing buzzwords on their list to ensure a product that meets it’s bottom line. It often takes years to make an album these days. Releasing two albums in a year is just downright audacious…Continue reading →
I feel like a bit of a wrong has been committed in that NaNoMoRaL hasn’t gotten a proper write-up on this blog, but it’s most certainly not Maniac’s fault. They’ve been on the Homicidols radar nearly from the unit’s beginning, but I kinda-sorta called some claim on this group, and then sat on it far longer than they deserve. But the honest-to-goodness truth is that the reason for that is because I feel strongly that the group is so good, and it’s debut EP is so excellent, that I really wanted to think about this and get everything right instead of just blabbering like a giddy little fanboy.
NaNoMoRaL is a duo made up of Amamiya Miku andPaseli-chan. Amamiya is remembered by a lot of us by her stage name “Natsuki” from her time in Avandoned. Natsu left that group in late 2016 and reappeared shortly after in the far-more traditional idol unit Emoquru Scoop (currently renamed EMOP), and then later still, announced she was leaving to become a solo act. But in actuality, she was working with EMOP’s producer, who happens to be Paseli-chan, and so, NaNoMoRaL was created! (Hope you’re taking notes on this.)Continue reading →