SAKA-SAMA’s Space Sushi-disco Single Spectacular

We’re heading into a new season, so it’s only natural that SAKA-SAMA change their line-up and try a new musical style yet again! And before you can say “Hey, this doesn’t sound like a SAKA-SAMA song!!!”, you have to ask yourself: Has anything ever really sounded like a what you’d expect a SAKA-SAMA song to sound like to begin with? Sure they were “Low-fi Dream Pop” just back in February, but the new single is described (by TRASH-UP!! Records) as “Sushi and Space and Disco”, and don’t think for a moment that I’m going to possibly question that bold of a mission statement.

On a personal level, the timing of this new single couldn’t be better, it’s been a weird and hazy last couple of weeks, and the prospect of a hurricane reaching into my coast and wreaking havoc any day now isn’t doing much to relax me at all, so thank goodness the TRASH-UP!! house act is sharing some positive vibes to help allay the dread for a few minutes…

Actually, you know what this reminds me of? Morning Musume’s 2000 single “Happy Summer Wedding”, in which Momusu debuted four new members with an upbeat tune paired to a lively, multi-cultural MV that successfully altered the entire dynamic of the group. It was a departure not entirely devoid of risk, and it paid off big. All those new 4th Generation faces became as iconic as the previous members.

I mentioned this before: I always feel a bit of trepidation when a group I support adds new members because I find myself questioning if they’re needed, but inevitably and before long, I always end up not being able to imagine the group without them. And that’s how I feel about the current seven member SAKA-SAMA line-up. I just adore these girls and the essentially brand new group they’ve become. I still hope we get a dose of the lo-fi-dream-pop-psychedelic-country-arthouse aesthetic with this current roster, but no matter what, I can’t see them ever doing anything wrong.  It’s still a SAKA-SAMA world after all…

The Abstract World of Okinawa Electric Girl Saya

Okinawa Electric Girl Saya is one of those artists we’ve been intending to cover on Homicidols for quite a while (Like at least a year.) but criminally, we haven’t gotten to it until now. My apologies for the wait, but the truth is, that while I’ve been digging what she’s been up to, I  felt like I never knew enough about her to flesh out an article. But in recent days I decided that it was simply past-due to give this avant-garde idol a feature she undoubtably deserves. Saya is actually still a bit of an enigma to me, but that’s not a bad thing, and we should embrace the mystery. We’ve certainly done that with other idols who fall into the experimental realm before, after all! 

Saya traces her home base to the lovely island of Okinawa. This is fascinating already, because I don’t really picture experimental music coming from such a laid-back, easy-going region of Japan. On the other hand, Okinawa also has a reputation for fiercely independent people, so maybe it does make perfect sense. This island is where the idol group she originated from, Tincy, was created. Continue reading

The APOKALIPPPS Will Be Not Be Televised. (But You Can Watch This MV.)

I have to be honest, it’s nearly been a full year since APOKALIPPPS made their debut and I’m still not really sure what to make of this group. When their promo photo was first posted with those cool-looking steampunkish outfits, I thought we were getting an idol supergroup with a bit of (small to medium) financial pull behind them. At the time I anticipated a high-concept media push to go with the group’s name and the costumes. Shoot, I’ll admit I even secretly worried a little bit about Chiffon and Beni leaving two of my personal favorite groups in the event this new group should take of. (Talk about an apocalypse!) But instead the group actually seems to be a pretty casual gathering of idols moon-lighting to have some fun when not at their main gigs.

(Twitter Flashback…..)

Adding to the confounding nature of the group, recordings and videos of the group are scant, and in the case of their live show, I myself have yet to see anything at all. (Maybe I’m looking in the wrong place?) Their singles have little accessible distribution, so I don’t have those either, but I really do dig those Kiss solo-style album covers and covet eventually getting those for the artwork alone.

So as I mentioned, it’s been almost a year to the date of when the APOKALIPPPS was heralded, and lo and behold here’s a new MV for us to enjoy!

I love low-budget videos! They’re often way more interesting and fun than big-time over-done opuses. (You’ll Melt More! perfected this art.) It looks like they rented that room for most of the day, and had some time after practice to throw an MV together, and that’s totally okay! When you don’t have a pile of money, you rely on personality and creativity to sell your product, and there’s personality for miles in this thing. There’s Beni in all her royal twee-ness, Chiffon’s utterly spot-on wotagei impression, and one-half of the legendary (and greatly missed) Namahamu, Miss Nishi herself,  killing us with that wink at the end. Everybody is bursting with playful vibes here. It’s good wholesome, fun stuff that isn’t too heavy, but there’s never anything wrong with some delightfully earnest fluff.

A year ago, I greeted the coming of the APOKALIPPPS with a mix of curious enthusiasm and mild trepidation, but today this MV has sealed the deal for me. I’m going on record as now being fully on board for the APOKALIPPPS, and now is as good a time as any. 

PS: As I was writing this, I played the video multiple times, and I realized this song is totally Yurumerumo! material. I know nothing about the behind the scenes of this group, but I’m thinking that a YMM! producer/songwriter is helping out musically? (Which would make sense with Chiffon, plus the name and the costumes.) By all means, if you have further information, feel free to share in the comments. I’d appreciate it! 

We Review Things: Melon Batake a go go Make Sick Music For Sick People

Psychobilly idols Melon Batake a go go don’t generally strike me as rule followers, but in the case of their new EP, they abide by an age-old rock n’ roll rule: Keep it short and sweet and make them beg for more. It’s a formula that’s brought us legends from Hasil Adkins to the Ramones to Guitar Wolf to a hundred other rock stars who put a pep in our step and tickled our hormones. You simply can’t beat a great garage stomper, and now, Melon Batake a go go have come to put the idol spin on the barn dance. Continue reading

Beni and Kai Party Down With Engawa!

Why yes, finally, we have an honest to goodness post about ENGAWA on this site! Engawa is, as you may know from reading this blog, what is often referred to as “That weird Beni-Kai thing with that old guy.” That guy by the way, is Koji Ishikawa, who was for many years the percussionist for a well-known and respected comedic folk group called Tama. (Who were really very good!)

Somewhere along the way, Koji formed this project with our beloved Beni and Kai, and together they play these high-spirited, light-hearted and lo-fi shows on occasion. Koji plays a minimalist home-made drum set while Beni and Kai sing and dance about in a silly, child-like way. You’ll either think it’s a swell time or a grating assault on your sanity, I’ll leave that up to you…


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It’s a SAKA-SAMA World

I was recently re-listening to Yume no Hate Made Mo, SAKA-SAMA‘s EP from February on TRASH-UP!! Records, (I still listen to it frequently actually) and as of this halfway point in the year, I’m still holding firm that it’s the very best release of 2018. I just don’t think anything as comes as close to accomplishing a feat of aesthetics mixed with music as this mini-album. The only question I have is, When do we get more?

The first indication of that is a newly unveiled live recording from the group entitled “LIVE from SAKA-SAMA WORLD”, an audio document of their very first and highly successful one-man show. SAKA-SAMA have quite a sizable catalog of songs now, despite their one EP, a compilation track and a 7″ single being the only tangible products of their work. I’ve been pining for more some time now, so here’s a chance to check of their material just beyond my grasp. The only issue now is that this live-release is only available at their shows, so woe to those currently unable to attend and get their hands on one.

In the interest of expanding awareness of the live recording and spreading the joy of their live shows, TRASH-UP!! uploaded the most professional footage of the group that’s ever been available, and these videos are terrific!

Now here’s a ton of live SAKA-SAMA video up on the YouTubes, but the editing and the pro sound-mix really makes these especially amazing to watch. You’ve always been able to tell with their other footage that these girls give 200 percent and have a lot a lot of fun when they preform, but these really capture a fire and spirit that hasn’t been seen so clearly before! They’re completely singing their hearts out, screaming, jumping, thanking the crowd for their support, and loving every moment of it.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen them so artfully full of DIY spirit and projecting it so intently in the crowd, who send the love right back at ’em. To me, this is a whole new fresh perspective on a group I was already fully on board supporting, so these videos have made my day.

Now hopefully they’ll take some of these unreleased songs and capture some of this fantastic energy into a studio, mix it up, add some of that trademark A-level TRASH-UP!! graphic design sense, and release another new audio gem fondly enjoy like a fine collected piece of art. It’s a SAKA-SAMA world, and thank goodness we live in it!

Her Name is SOLEIL

I’d like to strongly urge you readers to do yourselves a favor, and open up Spotify or Apple music and look up the just recently released album “My Name is SOLEIL”

SOLEIL, you see, is a band, but it’s also the name of the band’s lead singer, and together they’ve released an uplifting and exciting album that recalls Shibuya-kei and the 60’s rock genre known in Asia as “Group Sounds”. And if you also love the classic girl-group era and the heyday of French ye-ye pop, well, herein awaits a tasty treat as well. To call this recording pure joy is a trifle bit of an understatement. This is a captivating concoction of nostalgic vibes bursting at the seams with fresh modern energy, it’s just really that good.  Continue reading

Let’s Talk About “Art-Idols”

One of the more enjoyable and exciting things in the bold new world of non-traditional idols is the continuing openness of personal self-expression nurtured into the performers. While there’s always been a creative streak within the scene even in it’s more “commercial” days, I really started to take notice of this new emergence of experimentation with the debut of Maison book girl in 2014…

Those first press photos of Koshouji Megumi’s post-BiS group, with their modernist fashion style and aesthetic, seized my attention immediately, and I’ve never gotten that impression out of my mind since. With MBG and other bold new groups taking the stage, the “alt” prefix started being applied to this emerging trend, but to me, I saw their efforts as being more about personal expression and a desire to take idol from a product market into high art. To this day, I refer to Maison book girl as an art project, and their genre as being “Art-Idol.”  Continue reading

A Day of World Dotmination Is Upon Us

One of the most pleasant surprises of the year is seeing those strange and mysterious DotsTokyo girls completely surpass their initial status as a quirky underground oddity into a full-blown pop-culture buzz sensation. It doesn’t appear that anyone, including us early-adopter fans, saw this coming. Since the day the Dots announced their rather ambitious first label-distributed release, they’ve became the artistic toast of the town, crossing over to the shoegaze crowd and finding quite a warm welcome awaiting them. It’s pretty amazing and exciting to see this happening, and it really couldn’t happen to a cooler group.

A conversation about this remarkable feat came up on Twitter, and skildert quipped in an offhand reply that Dots were quietly achieving “World Dotmination”. This sounded like a pretty great hashtag. With this clever tag in our pocket, and with the wave of Dotgaze mania surging upon us, it’s time to perform another one of our “artist awareness events”, where we take to the Internet and for one special day, heap a ton of love and adoration to our subject of admiration. As we’ve seen in the past, it seems to go over quite well!

This time it falls on a day that’s simply too perfect to pass up: August 21, 2017. Not only will there be a show of love and Dotmination within the world wide web, but it will also be the day that (Primarily in North America) the Earth will experience a full solar eclipse. In other words, the two biggest “dots” in our sky are also going to participate in this event.

Images via Wikimedia Commons. Non-Commercial Use Granted

So here’s how we’ll do it. In the spirit of a group that has a minimalist and highly artistic image, we will utilize our creative minds to honor Dots with an aesthetic in that tradition. In the days to follow, look around your everyday life, and take a moment to open your eyes and see one of the most common shapes you encounter…

Get the drift? Dots, man, they’re everywhere. Take your phone and go dot collecting. You can go out searching for dots, or just find them in your day-to-day existence. Don’t limit yourself, have fun and be as creative with this as you want. There’s no wrong way to do this. Make some dot-art if you wish, find a book cover with some dots on it, take a photo of your spotted pets, it all works. Heck, if you’ve got the equipment for it, take a photo of the eclipse that day!

“My God. . . . . . . . It’s full of Dots.”

And then come August 21, post your dot image finds all day long on Twitter with the hashtag #WorldDotmination . Don’t forget to tag or reply to the group as well. This is all about having some artsy fun, and showing the Dots from Tokyo our personal appreciation for sparking a little creative thought in our minds.

We’re looking forward to this one, gang! We really want to see what you see, and celebrate one the best gifts that the idol has given us, while at the same time standing in awe of the cosmic forces of the universe.

August 21st (Solar Eclipse Day)    #WorldDotmination

How Much Would You Like To Know About Dots?

So last week I received a message from a Japanese friend of mine, known on Twitter as “☜ЯЯ۩RR☞”. He’s a very cool and friendly guy I met at an Avandoned/Hijokadian show a little more than a year ago. Aside from idols, we’ve got a mutual love of shoegaze, post-rock and experimental musicЯЯ naturally happens to be a big fan of the mysterious enigma that is “. . . . . . . . .” as well, and he enthusiastically offered to help me put together more pieces to the Dots puzzle. Over the course of an afternoon, he filled me in on a motherlode of intensive and valuable information, and now I’m going to pay his kindness forward and pass this mind-bending knowledge on to you. And be warned, it gets pretty esoteric.

So let’s talk Dots…

First things first, there are currently six Dots. In the beginning they were nine, but four withdrew. Recently, a new, sixth ” . “ has joined them. Continue reading