Streaming video is marvelous, isn’t it? It’s a completely indispensable resource for us Western idol fans in particular, allowing us to keep up with events and shows that we’d otherwise miss out on, so thank goodness for that. Quite often, following an event I especially wish I had seen, I hit the internet in the days afterward to see if I can find some video, and lo and beyond, often I find what just what I wanted. One thing that’s nice about chika-level idols in particular is that many of these groups have relaxed rules for filming shows. Some groups even have just about nearly every gig uploaded for fans to see. I’ve had a few favorites lately, and I thought I’d share them in one handy place and perhaps help bring something your way that you’ll especially enjoy. It’ll be like a TV PARTY!
First up is Avandoned, the duo who have never failed to make me happy and excited to see what creative endeavors they’ve taken on next. These are the girls who I feel have really broken ground, having elevated to a new sub-sub genre, theArt Idol. Another thing I love about them, they’ve been escaping the usual dark basement club circuit and performing in quirky shops and galleries, attracting crowds out side the usual flock of wota devotees. Avandoned’s relationship with the Vivid Sound label is really striking gold, with a string of vinyl singles that suit the group’s vision perfectly. Avandoned have a new single coming out on October 10th, and they perform the a-side here in this video at the 28:33 mark. It’s another perfect fix of pop-goodness, and they sing like they’re having the time of their lives!
DIY rock bands figured out a long time ago that the “split-single”is a great way for fledgling artists to achieve the milestone of getting a record out there. Two bands chip in their money, and each gets one side of a 45 rpm vinyl record, ready to share with the masses. And for music lovers, it’s a pretty nifty deal as well, cause for a low price point,
you could take a chance on hearing two new bands you might happen to dig. It’s a great punk-rock tradition that plenty of bands still carry on today.
And now here come two darlings on the indie-idol set, tipToe.(That’s how you stylize the type.) and ·········(You know, Dots.) with a split/collaboration single entitled “Tokyo Sentimental”. The two groups have been friendly buds for a while now since they shared a bill in which the tipToe. girls surprised the audience by coming out on stage wearing the Dots’ patented visors and vintage dresses and paying a little tribute to the ethereal idols. It was a fun little moment that brought tipToe. to my attention for the first time, and thanks very much for that!
So how’s the single? “Tokyo Sentimental” is only four songs and it’s quick listen, and the two groups make the most of the brevity. Continue reading →
About the only predictable thing about Dots is that well, they’re not predictable. In the past few weeks, a furious flurry of activities has suddenly sprung from the enigmatic collective of non-corporeal idols, including the announcement that two of the chans are about to move to new planes of existence. Things are happening again in the Dots universe, and they’re happening rapidly.
Late last month, Maniac shared his thoughts on a new Dots song that was posted online. I also really love the song a lot, like a whole lot. It’s an absolutely wondrous burst of the kind of shoegaze purity that gives me life. That song belongs alongside Ride, Lush and of course MBV’s best songs, all archived within the Shoegaze Hall of Fame cause it’s just that good.
But hold on, now there’s a new Dots transmission that just dropped! This new song arrived quietly in the form of an “Image Video”. Fresh off the radiant energy of the previous preview tune, I was of course all aboard for another rush of swirly guitars and wispy vocals, but this is Dots, and you don’t get to make a call on what to expect so easily: Continue reading →
Wow, it was a busy weekends for the dot-chans! First they had their (possibly)breakthrough moment performing at the Tokyo Idol Festival, basking in a quick brush with the mainstream at what’s the biggest idol event in Japan, but that wasn’t even all!
Not only did they perform at the big “corporate” idol event, they kept a foot firmly planted by their roots by showing up at the “Underground Idol Festival” (UTIF) and performed under that banner too! These girls and their management clearly understand where they come from and aren’t about to burn bridges with the chika circuit, and good for them.
And then, in addition to that, dot-chans then made another appearance, this time at Maker Faire Tokyo, where they rubbed elbows with another breed of artists: The technology-minded DIY creatives who enjoy tinkering with their own devices and inventions scratch built from one’s own hands. It was the perfect match for them, as the Dots utilized the fair to present their own forward-thinking efforts to develop new and innovative ways to connect idols with their fans. You may recall an article published here last here last year that showcased such new marvels as the “Five Senses Cheki” and the usage of heart monitors to enhance the bond between wota and their oshis.
The Dot-chans are still hard at work to raise the idol experience to the next level. Looking around Twitter, I found a few comments from attendees unfamiliar with the group expressing their newfound interest in the girl’s endeavors. Another success at bringing new faces into their fold!
Some photos from Maker Faire Tokyo…
Maker Faire Tokyo 2018@東京ビッグサイト。沢山の物作りの楽しさを感じるユニークな展示の中で繰り広げられた、明らかに異質なドッツのライブ。音量も抑えられ、テクノロジー面での表現も失敗。でも、そのせいかメンバーが絞り出す歌の力はより一層強く感じられガツンと響いた。泣いてしまった。 pic.twitter.com/BWngDRCxxK
And with all that flurry of activity, there was another equally important announcement that was revealed this week, perhaps one a bit more melancholy for some of their fans. Two of the chans are removing their visors and moving onto a new plane of existence, because Dot-chans do not graduate, but rather assume new forms in their own personal evolution. Continue reading →
It’s pretty rare that I make a decision about a thing and then walk it back as hard as I’m walking back this one. That it’s for something so (relatively) inconsequential is kind of funny; I prefer accountability. But maybe you can walk a thing back while still owning the mistake? Sure.
Anyway! This is how inconsequential it is: Like no doubt a lot of people who got super Dot-cited over 2016 and 17, I’ve been wondering what the heck was going on with my favorite anonymous idol singularities. They’re so quiet compared to what used to be some of the most regular (and stellar) output in the business, with some of the best and most ambitious releases you’ll ever get your hands on. So when I spied a clip of a new song, I got just as irrationally excited as I usually do*, and … well, it turned out to not only just be a thing for the Weekender, but also a reminder about another thing and hence, the first Idol in Focus. Even after I saw what I’m about to re-share, I was in such a lousy Dots-related mood that I chucked in a comment rather than think.**
What a mistake! I lamented the abandonment of Core Dots Shoegaze, one of the most delightful things that idol ever gave me, and it was right there in my face: Continue reading →
Late-night Dots surprise! Hot on the heels of the release of their first real-deal album, the enigmatic collective of singularities who may or may not be actual humans dropped the MV that I was hoping for weeks ago, but I am not going to complain because Dots!
I don’t do a lot of vocaloid, but this reminds me of a particularly well-known Hatsune Miku number. There are a lot of little moves in the song that you could drop into a lot of modern and post-rock tunes, but those vocals … it’s not something that the average Westerner is just going to pick up and appreciate, because the phrasing in the sounds is kind of alien, but your student of, say, Baroque-era church music might find it a little bit familiar. It’s just so dang smart!
This is the kind of thing that happens when you bring in the kind of rather effusive and revealing songwriting talent that has been providing tracks for the least understood project in idol; it’s also what happens in idol, because if a manager takes the music itself seriously, they can go well outsides the constraints of the group itself for contributions to the sound, and more and more talented musicians are willing to write and record for and with idols.
By the way, the album? It’s really good. I started a review, had to pull away from it, some stuff happened and then it wasn’t timely anymore, so it’s gone. But: The only knock that I had on it was that it’s missing some variety — at once point, I realized that I was several tracks away from where I’d started, and I’ll be darned if I could say what happened on the way there. With full attention, the situation was rectified (and enjoyed!), but yeah, that’s my note.
So I saw this new Dots video linked on Twitter and of course I eagerly clicked it. Within a few moments, the ethereal powers of the・chans took over and swept me away as I watched this clip of them performing “Soda Float Mood”, another song written by For Tracy Hyde‘s guitarist Azusa Suga, who also penned their fantastic crossover tune “Slide”. (We interviewed Azusa previously…)
And then a minute in, I’m thinking “Uhh, hey, these aren’t the・chans I know.” Equally perplexed and fascinated, I dug into the #dotstokyo twitterverse to find out what was happening here. I had previously joked about the Dots entering a state of osmosis and multiplying into two groups, could it be that this thought was prophetic?
Well, nothing quite so heavy and world-changing. Quite simply, Dots had played a show with another delightful indie-idol group called tipToe, and they decided to pull a little stage-costume switcheroo…
Well I’ll be a monkey’s uncle. Idol is gearing up for a hell of a 2018 with a bunch of teasers in the waning moments of 2017 that should do no less than to whet your appetite for an incredible year in music. In this case? Just one of Maniac’s very favorite things, Tokyo’s Dots, who have their first full-length album coming out in January — but you can get a full preview of the whole dang thing beginning right now if you know what’s good for you:
The eminently crackable enigma that is Dots has been one of the best stories in idol from the very second that they debuted last year, and every new event and release seems like an even more ambitious project of art and performance than the last. Oh, and their music is exquisite, too.
My only regret about this upcoming album(!) is that it’s not out until January:
One of the things about・・・・・・・・・ that’s so much fun is that they make you work for your fandom. Just like a David Lynch film, very little is spoon fed or easily explained, but rather you have to dig deep and figure it out for yourself. This makes each little bit of new information feel like an exciting discovery as you explore the mysterious waters of the・chans.
Previously, we’ve covered some insights into the group based upon studious research and also received some very kind help from wonderful people, both musicians and fans alike. And now, just the other day, the dotstokyo twitter posted an interesting set of links that brought about some new treasured tidbits of conceptual information and highlighted some of the group’s ambitions. Continue reading →