The Dot-chans Just Gifted Us A Little Creative License…

In seems that even in a world where our dearly beloved shoegaze idols have been spirited off the mortal plane, we will (thankfully) never truly be left behind in a totally Dot-chan less world. Even now the ethereal beings slowly unravel little parting gifts that will allow us to continue reaping the rewards of their time on Earth.

The Dots dropped their final album “Points” last week, (along with a 7″ single!) gathering up their remaining unreleased tracks. There will be a review of that album here in the next day or so, so watch out for that a bit later! But let’s talk about this newest offering first…

While “PD” could certainly mean “Post Dots”, in this case, it stands for “Public Domain”, as in certain works in the Dot-chan universe have been placed into the care of all of us. Now before you start pressing your own Dots merch and bootlegs, keep in mind that there’s still ownership and restrictions that apply here!

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Eat, Drink and be Merry Merli

When we heard Merry Merli were coming back, there wasn’t a lot to go on, just a short clip saying they would restart on March 13.  So what happened with that, I hear no-one asking?  Their Twitter got reactivated, a website appeared, and the members of the rebooted Merry Merli were introduced.  But I missed all that, until a new MV dropped yesterday.

That’s “Drink me, Eat me” and isn’t it pretty?  I spent my first play through trying to work out why one of the girls looked so familiar and trying to work out what group I might have seen her in before.  Turns out I’m stupid and that group was…Merry Merli, as Maria Otonashi was in the group the first time around and is now the centre — and the producer!  Together with her new cohorts Yumeka and Elise they bring you a group with the theme “Alice in the bright and the dark side” and doesn’t that sound delightful?

Sorry metalheads, if this is all a bit soft and girly.  They can do dark and spooky too, let me find you an old example …

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The Cycle of Life in Aqbi Idols, Part Deux

It feels like we just did this

In keeping with today’s apparent theme, let’s take a few minutes to acknowledge the death of one of the true giants of our scene and the life that’s springing forth from that destruction.

The other day, THERE THERE THERES held their final performance, a joint show with their longtime besties in You’ll Melt More!(.) You can and should watch the literal whole thing:

Heck, here’s a bunch of photos, too: Continue reading

We Interview Idols: YONEKO

In this current early 2019 period of disbandments, graduations and letdowns, a favourite from all the way since the birth of Homicidols has instead gone down an opposite route. Herself being a victim of the “start of the year curse” just last year, Yoneko has been buckling down hard to make sure there’s at least one idol providing consistent positivity through the tides of bad news from other performers. In just three months, Yoneko has graced us with a digital single, three CD-Rs, a fantastic collaboration with FEATURES and three music videos.

Most recently, she has been making a passionate effort to reach out to her fans outside of Japan, turning her into a beloved figure amongst the western idol fandom almost overnight.

She’s even going through the trouble of setting up a Bandcamp for overseas fans, despite the burden being so tedious it led her to drop a curse word or two!

As she welcomed her overseas fandom with open arms, Yoneko expressed her interest in being interviewed by foreign blogs. And, well, as a foreign blog that has followed her career since 2016, how could we not take such an opportunity? And so, via a few email exchanges, Yoneko was more than happy to answer some of our questions. Continue reading

Despair Not for the Dissolution of our Dearest Dots

Before dashing off this article too briskly, I took in the last evening to ponder yesterday’s announcement that the dot-chans have scheduled what will be their final live, do a little research to understand what I could, and also to reflect on where we go in a world without the beloved shoegaze idols we’ve come to know.

I know that most all of you who follow the group are already aware of the impending closure, because I heard from a number of you about it, some in personal messages, and others from reading your reactions online. It speaks to the unique specialness of this group in the way many of you expressed your thoughts with a feeling of personal loss and perhaps a sense of disappointment. Oshi-loss, as Kerrie refers to it, is a very real emotional reaction when you’ve connected to an idol who’s graduating or a group that’s dissolving. And although these dot-chans have largely maintained a sort of aloof anonymity, they still touched a part of each of us fans. It’s also very notable to point out, as this article from Matt Bedford of Muso Japan demonstrates, that the group succeeded in gaining followers outside of idol circles.

I did reach out to Japanese fans, and I also read the group’s blog entry containing the chan’s statements. I can tell you that amongst the fans, the announcement was a surprise, and there is no obvious tangible reason for the dissolution that’s been given. I can also tell you that the dot girls of Tokyo are going to remain just as mysterious as they’ve been right up to the end. Everyone is very much remaining in character, and I not only appreciate that, but I love that that’s how they’re going out. The more I think about it, I’m less interested in finding out the “why”, and more interested in celebrating what we knew. In their blog statements, the members of the group seem to be upbeat and positive to travel into their futures. I get no sense of sadness.

The group’s primary manager/producer/visionary also kept the mythology going, explaining that the ethereal manifestations that took the shape of girls will inhabit those forms for only a limited amount of remaining time, and then the end of that time on Earth is here. The dot-chans were always meant to be impermanent, and so they move on to new planes of existence.

If you really want my non-mythology theory, I believe the dots are disbanding for the very best of reasons: Because they’ve largely achieved what they set out to do. Now they can go explore new things in their lives which may or may not include obsessive fans and metaphysical concepts. (There’s also the matter of this being a nearly no-profit industry, but I think that’s a given with most art-driven projects.) Some time ago, it was hinted that there was a new project underway that I thought was going to be a sister-group to the Dot-chans. That project is still happening. So far, almost nothing has been revealed about it except that it’s continuing the innovative high art concepts that Dots have broken ground with. I believe a torch is being passed, and it’ll be exciting to see what’s coming as this new project takes a tangible shape.

I want to tell you dear people reading this: Do not anticipate this event with despair, but rather look forward to the new things to come. Don’t miss the Dots with sadness, but remember them fondly with affection. This is the way of things, and like a passing satellite in the sky, it’s something you should cherish for simply having seen it.

The dot-chans will have their final live on March 24. They will also have additional activities building up to the last show. And since they still have unreleased recorded material and more songs, including another great tune written by Azusa Suga of For Tracy Hyde, (The video posted above!) I also suspect that they’ll have some more musical output to be consumed as well. I know the fans will support the group to the fullest and send them off in celebratory style, because they deserve it.

Now let’s thank Dots for what they gave us and wish them the very best.

NaNoMoRaL Grace Us With an MV, a New Song, & Lots of Feeling…

The power duo NaNoMoRaL have been charming us with some really terrific music since last year, with their debut EP “Nisan ka Tanso” being one of my personal favorite releases of 2018. When you combine Amamiya Miku‘s raw, emotional vocals, and terrific stage presence with Kajiwara Paseli‘s tech wizardry and secondary vocals, you have a group that’s proven themselves to be a unit worth watching.

I feel like 2019 could be a highly eventful year for these two, so it’s welcome news to see their first true “MV” finally released, and it’s for a new song at that!

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Meet avandoned…

The idol world doesn’t slow down for a second, does it?  And especially so if you’re one of the busiest bees in this bustling business, that is Beni Usakura. In a relatively short span, (especially in idol years), she’s gone from an abandoned audition candidate to group member to group leader, organizer, producer, marketer, and all-around DIY master of a hearty never-say-die group that is a breathing manifestation of her creative energy.

During the entire taxing process of preparing for Kotao’s departure, she’s been holding auditions for new members to keep her beloved group’s legacy going. Beni decided to tease us a bit for a couple of days, but at last, we’ve been introduced to her first officially inducted member… Continue reading

There She Goes: Beni and The Childish Tones!

Hey, I know we’re dealing with the impending graduation of Kotao from Avandoned and of course, it’s a monumental upheaval for a very special group, but if there’s one thing I know, Beni is never ever going to slow down for a single minute. She’s gotta be hands-down one of the hardest working people on the scene, and her latest endeavor is one to really be excited over, a 45″ single collaboration with her friends and frequent stage partners, The Childish Tones!

I’ve been looking forward to this since it was announced, but waited to see if maybe we’d get an MV or something to go along with the details, and now here we are! The record consists of Usabeni and The Childish Tones on two tracks, one being a cover of the classic Nick Lowe power-pop number “Cruel to be Kind”, accompanied with a cover of The La’s “There She Goes” for the b-side!

Yesterday an MV was shared for the La’s cover, and it’s a delightful trip to twee-town once again with Beni: Continue reading

Do Maison book girls Dream Of Electric Sheep?

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

This Bird Has Flown: Avandoned Will Take New Form Again Next Year

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. 

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