Importing the Kawaii Underground

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.

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This Broken By The Scream Live Video? Perfect for Christmas

And let us bring this extravaganza of loosely coordinated narratives about how I suddenly seem to have a completely different day to enjoy peace and quiet after the day when I wanted to have peace and quiet only for it to be heavily (and unexpectedly!) idoled up to a close. In exchange for my forbearance, for my sheer moral courage to stand in the face of so much new and interesting stuff and say “shut up you guys, there’s gingerbread,” I offer you what the literal packaging says is “perfect for Christmas.”

I speak, of course, of Broken By The Scream blasting the faces off of a few hundred very enthusiastic devotees of having their faces blown off by Broken By The Scream:

You know what they say: Every time Kagura shrieks incomprehensibly in the dulcet tones of the blackest of hells, an angel gets its wings ripped off. Won’t it be exciting when BBTS hits American shores next year?

Now It’s Broken By The Scream’s Turn to Come Stateside

Prepare your ears, your families, your adult diapers, your pets and your very ability to exist on this plane of existence, friends. Yes, let’s not bury the lede — idol scream queens Broken By The Scream are coming to the USA, they’re not coming alone, and it’s gonna be awesome.

The venue? Saboten Con, who hosted Candye Syrup and Senanan last year, and this year will be bringing BBTS and visual kei band THE SOUND BEE HD to Phoenix, Aug. 30-Sept. 2, 2019, at the Grand Sheraton. Doing the honors will be Chaotic Harmony, friendly importers extraordinaire.

Are you hype? You should be hype. I want to have the flesh blasted from my bones by Io, then mocked relentlessly by Kagura’s demon routine, and then have a little dance-off with Ayame and Yae, which sounds impossible as I would be dead should the above come to pass, but come on, if you don’t get hyperbole I can’t help you. Continue reading

2D Idols Come to Challenge Necroma on Their Home Base: “Zombieland Saga”

So, it has come to this. As the now-reddish maple leaves are accumulating on the ground, this maiden needs some pick-me ups. And I’ve just found one of the offerings for this fall is most interesting.

As the seasons turn, so does the TV schedule. One of my main para-Homicidols interests being manga (and anime, by extension), I dived into one of the new titles and found myself dumbfounded, as we have the closest thing to an Alt-idol anime there ever was. SO YOU GET A REVIEW.

The title is Zombieland Saga, an original anime series announced this summer as a collaboration between Avex Pictures and Cygames, which just debuted this week. Detailed (spoilerific) synopsis on the first episode under the cut: Continue reading

If New Broken By The Scream Can’t Wake You Up, Nothing Can

Over 30 months of being a fancy idol blogger, I’ve learned how to keep things rolling at an even keel. The enthusiasm that you start with ultimately has to compete with half a hundred other things in life, to say nothing of the crushing disappointments that idol sends your way on a roughly quarterly basis, so you find yourself employing little survival strategies to balance it all out. Me, I’ve learned not just how to better manage my time, but that I don’t need to strain against constraints on that time. If it happens, it happens; if it doesn’t, there’s the Weekender.

I say all this to set up the fact that I’ve had some really tight time constraints lately, but you bet your sweet ass that I had my alarm set to go off for when Broken By The Scream announced that this MV going to drop:


“Sayonara Birthday”!

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I Think I’m Ready for Broken By The Scream

I think, especially because I’m listening to this on a cell phone in an elevator in an old hotel, so forgive me for missing the nuance and thereby not pretending to discuss it. Just … the upcoming Broken By The Scream album has its trailer out, and go ahead and tell me who’s doing better metal+idol right now:

Like, AN ALIEN’S PORTRAIT doesn’t need to be an earth-shaking multi-continental accomplishment; it just needs to be metal as fuck, by idols, and so far, so good. I’d say that the mission’s accomplished. Though Krv did tell me a funny thing about their TIF set that I’ll add in the comments if you’re interested.

Can This Be Broken By The Scream’s Moment?

Let’s kick this off by acknowledging that probably nobody in idol is as regularly loud as Broken By The Scream. Only a few units ever have had such a go-for-broke musical style, and I can’t think of any that employed dual high-low harsh vocalists. This makes BBTS unique, and they’ve parlayed being loud, good, and atypical into a certain modicum of popularity. Nobody disputes this.

The big question is, with their first full-length album now on the way, are they ready to take the next step and become something bigger, something more than the niche they currently fill?

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Broken By The Scream Has a Message for You

It’s a song! Called “Message”! Delivered via live video!

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Broken By The Scream Rips

They got smoked in the Corenament, but if I could give them an honorary award, I would. Broken By The Scream has very silently* climbed into a very unique position within metal-doing idols, in that they have both the best harsh vocals in the business** and are putting out music that isn’t just loud, but pretty dang good.

Also incredibly weirdly named! Here’s the latest, handily live-videoed for your ongoing enjoyment:


Hey, Ayame and Yae are here, too, you know!

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News Brief: American Music Festival Makes Incredible Mistake

[Baltimore, Md., USA]
Following the announcement that GODFLESH will be replacing My Dying Bride as headliner of the annual extreme metal smorgasbord that is Maryland Deathfest, festival co-founder Ryan Taylor released a follow-up statement.

“Evan [Harting, fellow co-founder] messaged me a few hours after tickets went on sale to let me know that we’d somehow missed out on two up-and-coming Japanese acts. NECRONOMIDOL and Broken By The Scream have been making such huge waves all around the world, and they’re perfect for MDF, and I completely dropped the ball.

“Such an oversight. I mean, we’ve included Melt Banana; what the hell was I thinking.”

When reached for additional comment, the incredibly intelligent MDF coordinator, who is almost as tasteful as he is attractive, said, “The thing is, if I’d known about the sick dual vocals in ‘Love is a maiden’s cry’ or the chilly black bleakness of ‘ITHAQUA’ before, I’d have reached out months and months ago.

“The concept of MDF is simple: to bring to the United States the best and most extreme bands the underground has to offer. MDF is a showcase of what extreme music, both new and old, is capable of. With an emphasis on diversity, the festival brings together the very best death metal, grindcore, doom, thrash, hardcore, black metal, and experimental bands from all around the world. The diversity of the lineup is only surpassed by the diversity of MDF’s rabid fan base.

“Unfortunately, this year’s lineup is set, so NECRONOMIDOL and Broken By The Scream will just have to wait until 2019. And what’s this about a Hanako-san?”

Harting, who could previously be heard bellowing his drunken sorrow in the background, jumped onto the line. “HOMICIDOLS WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”, apparently referencing Homicidols.com, the additionally apparent source of his learning of NECRONOMIDOL and Broken By The Scream.

Representatives of NECRONOMIDOL and Broken By The Scream could not be reached for comment by press time.