The LunaBell Lives!

Oh man! You newbies might not be as … warmed? warmed by this one as much as folks who’ve been around for a few years, but: Suzu Hinata, ex of petit pas! and eventual winder-upper as solo idol on the same label as some other cult favorites, is in fact still alive and in fact still idoling and in fact kind of building on this whole The LunaBell thing. It’s only been (/checks watch) like almost a year since last we heard from her, but now we hear from her again!

In this case, it’s a couple of demo tracks on Soundcloud: Continue reading

No Shoes Were Gazed Upon During The Making Of This New Dots Song

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

Dang, That New EMPiRE Song Is Nice

How do we feel about EMPiRE now, with the “EMPiRE originals” MV out? I’m annoyed that I only just got to look and listen at this today, though it’s partly my fault because I kind of deliberately set it aside after yesterday’s release. So sue me! I got stuff to do, man. Idol don’t pay these bills!

But let me say, please, that my hedged skepticism is something that I’d like to take back:

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Q’ulle Continues to Prove Their Mastery of Their Domain

Idol rock is, when you get down to it, a perfect beast. Rock music, for all its historical swagger and bluster and preening, is ultimately about rhythms and hooks, which is why it’s always so easily be re-worked with pop sensibilities for people who might prefer to skip the distortion on a Monday morning. Add on top of that idol and its eminent flexibility, and your result is something that just plain oozes crowd-pleasing … when done right. Just like eggs or pizza, it is possible to get this wonderfully simple formula wrong, and then it is very bad, which deserves credit in itself for being so hard to accomplish.

Q’ulle, though, perhaps the modern doyennes of true idol rock, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen them miss. And this new single out in a couple of weeks has all the hallmarks of being right at the top of their body of work:


Taking some cues from Yuzuki, I see

Here’s what I’m taking to be the B-side, which … it’s a nice B-side: Continue reading

There There There’s a (Great) New There There Theres Song

There There Theres! I don’t get a ton of opportunity to write about the former Bellring Girls Heart anymore. The main reason is very simple: They don’t do a ton of video anymore, and I haven’t the time to be chasing after every cool live clip anymore. That’s what Jesus invented the Weekender for! Nonetheless, my support for the Aqbi flagship remains unwavering, always hoping for something new and cool and eminently shareable. And here, finally, from their KHIMAIRA one-man, a new song … with live video!


Snacky indeed!

There Theresring Heart never disappoints. Do they ever do bad songs? I’m yet to hear one, from any iteration of the project, and this one comes with the added bonus of harking back to the halcyon days of “Rainy Dance” (an Ultimate Homicidol Playlist favorite!). It’s also going to be their next single, coming out next month (Natalie.mu with the details). If it’s ultimately anything like last year’s epic, I may have to cancel the rest of the year’s Best Of.

This Elfloat Song Is Really Nice

Zounds, this week. It’s Friday, that’s good, I get to go home soon and take up a tally of all of the various things that need tallying and reach out to all of the people who need reaching out to. Of course, that’s exactly what I’m dreading at this point, that and the hangover that I managed to not wake up with but that is definitely just waiting for a chance to ruin the day.

You know what’s going to be a nice palliative? This Elfloat song, which is exactly what the title says it is. For once, I’d have some time to comment, but I just don’t have the gumption. So enjoy!

Yeah, this is usually where I admonish Western idol fans for not giving more love to the Blue Forest sister units.

The Never-Ending DOTS Evolution Prepares For Its Next Incarnation

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…

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

And Now Let’s See What monogatari Does With It

One of my favorite things about the idol scene is how hard people will stan for things that they personally love. Brian, for instance, is one of the world’s great champions of Avandoned; Papermaiden will fight anybody who would besmirch the good name of Tsurezure, especially Shidare. I can appreciate that level of dedication! I can also appreciate its ability to bring somebody back from the brink — in this case, Viz Major, who looked like he was leaving us to become a hopeless K-pop knob, came home to the dulcet tones of monogatari:

I also really like it when a thing that I got to say would happen then happens, and nobody graduates in between!

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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! 

TIF Idol Primer: Have a Nice Cup of Pure Coffee Latte

Yeah, shut up, I know that I’m late to the game on getting this little series started. So it goes.

Among the many notable idols that you should be flocking to TIF to see this weekend are idols that you probably never heard of, probably never even thought to check out. But if you’re there for fun rock sounds and those crucial acts that smudge the line between “idols the way that people usually think of that” and “blood-spitting thrashcore chika darlings,” you’ll be pleased to know that there are options!

Yes, I’m talking about rock-sounding, traditionally presented idols. And among the rock-soundingest among them is one of the most traditionally named units that you’ll come across. I give you Pure Coffee Latte:

Fun! Continue reading