The Newest AQBI Entity Is Bizarrely Familiar

A year ago, we were all still getting used to the post-Bellheart reality of There There Theres taking over the raven wings, MIGMA SHELTER just getting started with Kanra (re-christened YONEKO) in the lead, and Ayano setting off solo as CLOCK & BOTAN. It was pretty weird — Bellring Girls Heart had been one of those seminal chika scene entities, long-lived and possessing a singular, definitive set of look+sound. Of course even more tumult was to follow, but did anybody expect that the stable would continuously re-coalesce? I didn’t.

And yet, that’s what happened! Since Ayano’s new group project was announced, folks have waited for an idea of what was in store. We don’t know much yet, but now we do know (most of) the members. Thank you, Am I Bored?, for the note!

Say, those girls look very familiar …

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I don’t know about anybody else, because I have this fancy-pants idol website, I often find myself looking up fairly random things from the past to see what else is happening with them. Like, Koisuru Beat, I used to look them up all the time.* In this case, though, it’s not that random, as Daichi may be the second-favorite manager of the wider Western chika idol community, un-retired as he may be. And CHICKEN BLOW THE IDOL, in addition to having an incredible name, could wind up being the recipient of his creative largesse.

Fortunately, this particular check-in bore fruit!

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I’m Refraining from a Barry Bonds Joke: Meet Asterisk

All right, all right, I feel like it’s necessary to play some catch-up after flubbing the entire weekend and Monday (except Oshi Worship), so bear with me on … wait, there are still a ton of new idols to get out there? Let’s do it!

I thought it was funny that, on the same day that I hit publish on that whole PassCode thing, this suddenly kind-of-active unit came across the airwaves:

That’s Asterisk (Twitter), and that’s some weird congruence. Continue reading

I Will Not Be Pushed Around, Not Even for NEO JAPONISM

You know what? Nobody (except Kerrie sometimes) tells me what to do. I am a grown-ass man with a grown-ass website and a grown-ass editorial approach that is nothing but grown-ass professional. I–

The joke’s on you, Martin! I’ve had a placeholder in place since the middle of January — it’s laziness alone that has prevented me from doing the thing that you said I should do, which means that, in most ways, you are not the one who is making me do it, but fate. Continue reading

Even More New Rock Idols Are upon Us: 143, I Love You

I’ve been sitting on this draft for a long time. How long? Long-ass, that’s how long. Ever since tracks (see below!) started to pop up on Soundcloud a couple of months back. They weren’t going to officially debut until February, and went on one of those slow-member-reveal journeys that drive you nuts.

Well, all members are now accounted for:

That’s 143 (Twitter), which kanas as ワンフォースリー ONE FOR THREE, which of course actually renders out as “I Love You” because nihongo wordplay. Ol’ Viz shared them out when they first started to happen, but now they’re really happening. Thanks to Jul, I now know that membership includes Juri and Rinka from CANDY||STRIPE NEO, and Hana from ACATOCRO. Continue reading

Brace Yourself for Shiori’s Solo Debut

I’ve been excited for this ever since ex-FRUITPOCHETTE pocket idol fury engine Azuma Shiori announced it, and this tweet sent my hype meter way past 13:

Before we take another step, remember: This is crowdfunded! Continue reading

Melon Batake a Go Go is the Garage-Rock Idol Group We Needed

Before I started attuning my ears towards the world of Japanese idol pop, my true musical loves from Japan came in the form of the legendary punk and garage-rock scenes that took root in Tokyo and Osaka. To this day, if you really want to experience what a full-on blast of real rock n’ roll can be, you owe it to yourself to explore the wild, wild world of underground Japanese music played with no concern for money or fame, but only for that moment of pure chaotic joy that breaks the everyday routine of real life, making you feel alive and ready to shoot for the moon on a jet-powered-flame-spewing Kawasaki set to the rhythm of an out-of-tune-six-string opus clocking in at under two minutes…

Now with that spirit in mind, let’s check out Melon Batake a Go Go, a group of “Outer Space Idols” with cool superhero sidekick inspired outfits that are here to unite the legions of underground rockers under the same roof with worshipful wotas. They first formed in 2015, and like a lot of idol units, they’ve already experienced a lot of membership changes. Here’s their first MV, a great song with some cool spy-guitar surf guitar and a big dose of catchy hooks…

Oh dang, that was good! Fast-forward to the present day, and Melon Batake a Go Go has some new faces, but they remain a fantastic garage-rock infused group who really bring the fun live. I mean holy crap, they do a freaking’ CRAMPS (via Hasil Adkins) cover?!? And one of their other signature songs is a flat out rockin’ variation on The Trashmen classic “Surfin’ Bird”, occasionally joined on stage by a guy in a gorilla suit and a cat with a Godzilla mask on his head. It’s just everything that’s perfect…

At present the group is fluctuating between three and four members, while currently auditioning for a new addition. One thing that’s interesting is that their website puts their age-range at 18-30, so they’ve got a wider acceptance of “idol material” than most. I’m looking forward to seeing when the group has it’s line-up nailed down and seeing where they go from there. One of their members, Nakamura, also has an absolutely delightful solo career under the stage name SOZELICA, and she’s going to be a force to be reckoned with in the near future. (I’m following up this article with one about her, so stay tuned for that.)

There’s always something new (to somebody) in the idol world, but Melon Batake a Go Go is a special kind of thing to get excited over. I just wish Lux Interior was here to see them…

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Wyenra Is Like Some Kind of New Stage for Indie Idols

So. It’s Sunday. There are no hard-and-fast rules around what does and does not constitute “easy” when it comes to Sundays, though that designation has in the past extended to such things as HAMIDASYSTEM and random H!P things and I think AH* that one time. The point is, I usually like to use Sunday as a time to celebrate cool, interesting, homi-ish idol things that maybe don’t have the pedal all the way down to the metal.

Today, arguably my new favorite thing this week, wyenra:

News of this unit’s creation and inauguration has been randomly, one might even say ordained-ly, been kicking around Twitter and my dang inbox for a couple of weeks, but here they are, for real, in the digital flesh. Completely self-produced, self-managed, etc. They’re still putting together their first lives, but they’re also putting together really nice music with a really well-done MV. Also, two of the members are sisters, I think. Continue reading

Stop Every Damn Thing You’re Doing and Get into JOANJOAN

It started innocently enough:

Well that’s a hell of a name. I wonder– Continue reading

Better Three Months Late Than Never: Spooky Treat!

Man, does anybody else remember HATEGLEAM? For one extremely hot minute, I thought they represented a next step in loud idol evolution, a genuine metalcore kind of project fronted by a pair of maybe-idols. Their second main foray out into the world wasn’t quite up to the same (really good) standard, and the band never really seemed to catch on, and … then they were done. Exactly what the members were going to do with themselves at that point was a mystery, and frankly all of my thoughts were to other places.

And then a guy types the word “spooky” into a tweet and some odd recommendation, something that I’m allegedly following, comes up. Sure, let’s give this a try:

Oh neat, it’s (basically) HATEGLEAM! Except now going a rather Suzu Hinata-esque goth-rock-metal-like thing. Continue reading