Imagine being WACK right now. Just a few short years ago, your entire company consisted of an upstart tribute project of a legacy brand that had inadvertently spawned a whole subculture within a subculture, and while it was probably clear to everybody involved that this project would have success at the very least on paper, not even Watanabe’s own fairy godmother would have put money on him sitting at the top of a giant-ass pile of money here in the Year of Pour Lui 2020, with project after project hitting all the right notes and doing things that chika idols* aren’t supposed to do.
And at the base and peak of it all sits BiSH, whose LETTERS EP continues a string of technically quite good releases from the group who once dressed in rags and got kicked out of TIF but are now proper headliners with all the slick support of any of the industry giants they were once created in part to overcome. I personally haven’t been as big a fan of their music since THE GUERILLA BiSH felt like a step down from the heady success of GiANT KiLLERS, but I nonetheless support the group and its members with the same doe-eyed fan energy as ever. Hence it’s been somewhat bittersweet to see WACK group after WACK group lap them creatively over the past few years. See, for instance, the newest album from BiS!
But because this is apparently the summer of WACK, BiSH couldn’t just let LETTERS stand on a single MV release, and yesterday they gave us one of the very best things they’ve ever done: Continue reading
If you’ve been keeping up with the news, both regular and idol, you’ll probably know that Abe Shinzo issued a countrywide order temporarily banning all large scale public entertainment events because of Novel Coronavirus fears. ZOC cancelled their entire FINAL INNOCENT ZOC tour, Aya Eightprince cancelled a smaller public appearance and Pour Lui cancelled the shooting for her upcoming idol group’s music video to name a few. Things have been cancelled harder than a celebrity who’s angered a kpop fanbase.
Currently, WACK are meant to be embarking on their nationwide WACK FUCKiN’ PARTY tour but alas even Watanabe Junnosuke who has objectively more clout than the prime minister can’t get around a ban on public events.
Just kidding, yes he FUCKiN can!
This Saturday at 6pm JST, the show will go on! NO AUDiENCE LiVE is exactly what it sounds like – nobody is going to be there. You can’t cancel a public event that isn’t a public event. The entire thing is going to be broadcast on Niconico so everyone will be able to be there in spirit. A premium subscription is only around $5USD too, so hey, if you’re spending your time indoors as a health precaution why not spend it with the idol fanbase’s favourite women’s prison colony?
It’s been a rough week for a lot of people on Earth because of the you-know-what, but in a dire time things like entertainment are what make it manageable! So, cast aside your worry, wash your damn hands regularly and enjoy your time at home.
And if you’re in need of a little something extra, BiSH and EMPiRE made a few previously limited broadcasts available on their YouTube channels as a sorry for cancelled shows too.
Remember, while this is a lot of fun content for us overseas, fundamentally it’s a sorry to people living in a country that’s tightening it’s grip attempting to deal with a pandemic, so remember to be respectful! Or if you’re living in a country that’s going through the same thing do what you want, we’re not the reaction police over here.
Yesterday BiSH announced that AiNA THE END will release a digital single for which she composed both the music and lyrics. The arrangement for the tune is by chill guitarist Shingo Sekiguchi, so we can only imagine that the final product will be a far cry from typical BiSH Kentacore.
For a taste, BiSH posted an acapella teaser on their (relatively) new YouTube channel.
Honestly, I’m not sure Aina’s voice needs much more of a backing track than muted traffic noise.
The song, entitled “Only On the Night I Want to Die” (死にたい夜にかぎって), is the theme song for a dorama of the same name. Both will be released on February 25th. Continue reading
You know, it’s funny in a way that yesterday boasted significant news from arguably the two most important things in idol to me, and the one that I was most likely to have pre-written off completely won my heart back over while the other — the one that I cling to like the last hope in a disaster — got completely washed out in the excitement. I’m talking about BiSH, obviously, and Babymetal, but in reverse order: If not for catching the download tweets out of the corner of my eye, I’d have had no idea that anything was going on, and if D hadn’t brought up this MV, I’d have completely missed it. And why? Because I was too busy playing the (second half of the) new Babymetal album on repeat and getting those good feelings all over again.
If you know me, and you know BiSH, and you’ve paid any attention to anything I’ve written about them in the past, oh, couple of years, you may be predicting where this is going, but I’ll go ahead and give the lede a little swerve here and say: I like this, I really do, and though the single isn’t out-out until November, it’s going to be a good release.
We’ll get to the BiS MV in a bit…but first:
Yep, I basically assumed (and perhaps secretly hoped) that when the inevitable next installment came out, it would be “WACK is C-Word”.
But what a twist!
Sitting down to a first listen of the fifth BiSH album, CARROTS and STiCKS, the big question is: Which BiSH will predominate? The brazen punks who got kicked out of Tokyo Idol Festival? The potential game changers who released a two-minute thrash punk single as their major label debut? Or the commercial idols who promote cell phones and sing anime theme songs?
We know the punk is still in BiSH as demonstrated every time they let Ling Ling center and she does the emotional equivalent of kicking your teeth down your throat. At the same time, it’s hard to give punk cred to a group that’s signing exclusive deals with Apple to restrict the digital distribution of their own music. I certainly won’t begrudge a person for making a living off their art, especially in the crap ass world of Japanese entertainment where the vast majority of power and profits are concentrated in the hands a few management moguls who are far less benevolent than BiSH’s boss-who-we-love-to-hate, Junnoske Watanabe. And it’s not like those of us who have climbed aboard the BiSH train can cry about genre, aesthetic or ideological purity anyway. Watanabe has never hidden the fact that he is punk in the same way that Malcolm McLaren was punk: thumbing the nose of a conservative society is good fun and all, but only if you can make a buck (pound or yen) doing it.
I have entirely too much to say about the new BiSH song-and-video move while at the same time saying very little about it at all, so bear with me a minute. It’s like I saved all the words that I didn’t write over the past couple of weeks just for this one post!
Necessary intro: New BiSH MV. New album coming in under a month. Me? A mix of eager anticipation and total trepidation. Like most everything BiSH has done going back to 2017, one gets the feeling from the available evidence (or: they skipped ahead and bought the EPs) that Their latest is going to have the same uniformly good collection of music as always with one’s own levels of satisfaction thereof determined largely by whether they preferred the first or second promo single release.
Yesterday was time for the full, amalgamated album to get its turn in the marketing chute, and thus to use was born “DiSTANCE”:
Ah, a powerful ballad that doesn’t sound entirely like the other ones! Continue reading
I was so tired, you guys. Like you know when you reach a point where not even sleep seems like it’s going to get the job done, and what you really need is to remove any and all obligations from your schedule for a few days while you blissfully do absolutely nothing of import? That’s where I was yesterday! And I thought to myself, you know what, you still need to finish the week, but let’s keep the sideshows to a minimum and just chill when possible. No projects, no working out, no bringing the job home, no idol.
So of course on that last point I knew better immediately and thought out loud, “Right, and now watch BiSH or somebody drop another MV and then all your not-plans will be for naught.”
Silly, silly Maniac. If I’d been mindful in even the tiniest way, I’d have known that, yes, another BiSH release was looming, and with it likely something to talk about. They were pretty clear about the build for CARROTS and STiCKS — one EP each in April and May, and then the full album in June — and had already provided one MV as promo to prove it. Why was I sleeping on this?
Here we are, then. And can I admit that I had the most conflicted smash of the Play button of my entire life? The song title and general visual aesthetic put my mind right down the path of expecting yet another Kentacore ballad that would probably sound very cool and nice and possibly even powerful, like that style is at its best, but very much the same, and yeah, that blunts a lot of enthusiasm. On the other hand, their last lead song and MV were absolutely delicious and reinvigorated my old passion for the group, so I had to see where this landed one way or another, right?
Yeah. Continue reading
Things have been quiet on the BiSH front lately, haven’t they? Sure, sure, they announced a big-ass new tour with an awesome theme, and they have all of the usual tie-ins and promoted merchandise and all that jazz, but … yeah, the thing that put BiSH on the map in the first place (their music) was kind of bereft of attention, and by all parties it seemed. It seemed.
Because what better day to near-guerrilla-drop a new album in a split concept over a 30-day span than April Fools’ Day?