Our story starts on the morning of the concert. I had been doing a spot of sightseeing in Bologna…
So if you’re keeping track, so far Melon Batake a go go have been:
- Sick Idols
- Idol Cats
- The Idol From Outer Space
- Idol of the Wilderness*
- Idol From Another Planet
…and as we see in this MV, they’re also the “Idol From Plan 9”!
We already know the psychobilly-flavored song (which is terrific!) because it’s a track included on their album “Ikasuze Idol 1.2.3!!’ released early in the year, so for the purposes of this article, let’s discuss the video. This has got the same inherent DIY quality that’s charmed us with their previous MVs. It’s low-budget, spontaneous, and you can very plainly see the members of the group are having a lot of fun. That’s really all you need, y’know? Continue reading
Just a few months ago, Homicidols published a profile of fans-turned-promoters bringing alternative idols to the Western World. Looking back now, the article is a bit embarrassingly anglo-centric. Unbeknownst to us at the time, a group of Italian-speaking fans were putting the finishing touches on their own considerable efforts to launch an alt-idol festival in Italy. When the final lineup for the event was revealed in mid-February, it was clear that there was a new and significant player in the business of importing underground Japanese idol to the West.
Seemingly overnight, the hardol diaspora had grown another tendril.
On May 11th in Bologna, Italy, Monster of Dolls will play host to alt-idol A-listers LADYBABY, the Western debut of JyuJyu, and an appearance by the legendary Sari of NECRONOMIDOL fame. The event’s biggest coup, however, is scoring the first ever overseas live for perhaps the hottest chika idol act in Tokyo: Melon Batake a go go.
The appearance of this top-tier alt-idol festival, seemingly out of nowhere, was the most pleasant of surprises. Our curiosity was piqued, not just about the cost of plane tickets to Italy, but also about the festival itself, the brains behind it, and about the Italian-speaking fandom whose presence we had been totally ignorant of until now. So we reached out to our new Italian allies in the quest to bring alt-idol to the West in the hopes that we could learn all we could.
We think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
Well, “on the way” is relative I guess, because it already arrived on Soundcloud yesterday, and “new” is true in the absolute sense but not for long because *trumpeting herald* Melon Batake a go go’s first major-label album, IKASUZE IDOL 1.2.3!! is literally right around the corner. However, the point of the post is that Melon gave us yet another track from it as a preview, and yes, it is indeed rip roarin’:
I love how Melon’s average track length is shorter than the time it takes me to write a typical Maniac sentence
If you like this, or you consider yourself a Melon fan, you need to go get this album when it’s available. It’s a major — we can help a beloved chika darling rise and break out if we support them on their big-time label! And wouldn’t it be neat if a group of idols dressed like superheroes roleplaying as interplanetary, uh, heroes performing horrorcore takes on surf rock and the like were the breakouts to prove the rule!
DEAR IDOLS, STOP RELEASING COOL THINGS WHEN I’M TRYING TO NOT DO IDOL STUFF FOR A MINUTE. LOVE, MANIAC.
Jeez louise, you guys, can somebody please send a memo to Japan that this isn’t the time to be releasing or teasing or even suggesting the possibility of existence of new stuff? Give it a week! But no, I jest — foolish indeed is the idol fan who bemoans receiving the goods at any time, and Melon’s been on a roll as they prep for their first major (I know!) album release, Ikasuze Idol 1,2,3!!, next month.
The last couple of entries were right in the usual Melon Batake a go go theme of “throwback rock and -abilly even and stuff that goes right into our anachronistic theme of space alien superhero girls and monster movies and stuff,” but this one, you must hear to believe, throws that concept right at a wall of latter-era rock sound and forces you to hold on, and it’s great! Continue reading
Everyone’s favorite psychobilly melon idols from outer space have returned with another MV! This time it’s “SICK IDOLS” which is the lead-off track to their album IKASUZE IDOL, which technically is already floating around in a live-show only CD form, but next month will see major-label distribution (with more tracks and and a “1.2.3!!” added onto the title.) via Columbia Japan Records. Go get yer popcorn and dig in…
It’s a terrific song! But y’know what’s great about this video? It’s a perfect example of what you can do without spending a ton of money and relying on a lot of heart to make fun things. Just like the b-movies that the Melon girls wink at, there’s a spirit here that big bucks and CGI just can’t match. Continue reading
Game gotta respect game, and who else in idol, period, maybe ever, brings quite the same level of total creative vision as Soze and Melon Batake a go go? The answer is pretty much nobody! It is right and good to worry about the state of that vision anytime anybody from the depths of chikadom gets picked up by a major label, because of course said label is going to want to direct the show to an extent, but if anybody can brute-force their way through some meddling producer’s insistence on being right, it’s these girls.
And think of the benefits! Like, it’s possible that Melon will, after demonstrating a strong business case and projecting a viable ROI through omnichannel (zzzzzzzzzzzzz) DOING A REALLY GOOD JOB AND MAKING MONEY, get some extra lucre to do neat things with. I am, of course, in this case electing to be an optimist.
But hey! There’s been new Melon stuff lately, in preparation for that move out of the indies, and there’s more of it now! Continue reading
Well okay fine, sure it feels like this was posted a couple of hours after the last thing of theirs that I posted about them posting, but it’s Melon Batake a go go, is anybody really going to complain about fun-ass monster movie beach party Frankie & Annette vs. the Wolfman tunes? No? That’s what I thought.
You’re welcome to find me an idol act that’s more consistently fun and creative than Melon. You are! You’re also welcome to be a big dumb failure, which is what you’ll be for looking!
To give heft to this post, here’s rare visual proof that even idols from outer space need to rehearse their choreography:
— めろん畑a go go【11/19新宿LOFTワンマン】 (@MELONBATAKEAGO2) November 19, 2018
This beauty popped up on Soundcloud like it was preordained. If you aren’t ready to smash Friday and go into your weekend like a BAMF, possibly while stroking the six-shooter in your hip holster while striding down a dusty Main Street in search of outlaws to bring to justice, I very literally cannot help you:
Never bring an idol to a gunfight, they said, but who the hell are they, and why wouldn’t I? You clearly need them and their music to set the scene!
Melon’s got a big line of shows next week. Gotta promote that final indie release!
3.YAM YAM POO POO
— めろん畑a go go【11/19新宿LOFTワンマン】 (@MELONBATAKEAGO2) November 15, 2018
It’s going to be so weird to have this in-every-sense-of-the-word-outstanding unit publishing on a major label. As long as it doesn’t mess with what Soze’s able to do with that incredible brain of hers, I’ll take it with cautious optimism.
You know that feeling when you just really, really want to do something, but can’t? And the constraints aren’t like “I’m chained to a wall in Evil Wizard G’gothorol’s volcanic conjuration tower because I’ll be sacrificed as part of the ritual to raise fire demons to destroy humanity,” but more “I’m stuck at work and then have a thing and there are deadlines galore,” because not only was G’gothorol defeated at the end of last season (and his soul trapped in a crystal mirror that was subsequently — and very deliberately — shattered), but that’s a completely implausible scenario and relatable to, like, three or four people reading this, tops. That was me yesterday. “Oh look, new Melon Batake a go go — hey Team Homicidols, what’s good!” and everybody was like “oh, I, urm” and I stared at Twitter for a couple of minutes, wondering whether I should give the new MV a turn, whether I should then take meaningful time away from the that-needs-to-publish-by-butt-o’clock project, whether my loyalties to self or idol run deeper … and I punted.
Fortunately, time passes, and Melon doesn’t stop being great as all heck in 16 hours’ time, so here you go!