PIIIIIIIN Shows That Yes, High School Can Kick Ass

I feel like you need to be of a certain age, or at least a certain demographic profile within a potential intergenerational range of time, to appreciate a particular orientation toward high school. See, when I was in that phase of life, none of the old stereotypes taught to us by Saved by the Bell or John Hughes movies really held up — radically evolving metacultural forces and growing up in basically nowhere will do that, I guess — but that didn’t mean that people didn’t try to hew closer to certain notions, and especially those who had a foot on each side of the divide in eras. For instance, I had friends who definitely still looked at the world through a lens by which a “popular” person was, by definition, a rude snob with only a tiny handful of sycophantic bully friends; that this all flies in the face of any kind of logic was lost on them. These were the folks, though, for whom high school kicked the most ass, because they could place every instance or relationship into a predefined box and feel confident that the world had an explanation.

And what a world that lets you live in! A world where you and your friends could always start a band and go on to be at least Local Famous just by the power of hard work and spunkiness, where even the biggest jerk teachers secretly see the genius hidden inside you, where the late trend in lip sync videos was a regurgitation of a much cooler era when everybody wanted to be Ferris Bueller a full decade too late, or at least Parker Lewis. It’s a world of constant sunshine, pep rallies, falling in love with your first kiss and impromptu dance troupes with everybody being everybody else’s best friend.

What does that have to do with PIIIIIIIN? Everything, apparently! Continue reading

Good Gods, Honey Emperor Is Still a Thing and Getting Better

Let me paint a picture for you: You start a wildly successful idol website; you set the thing up to be an exploration of pretty much anything that starts with the premise of rock sounds being made by girls in matching outfits; you spend three years traversing a scene as populous and musically diverse as a top 100 list from Pitchfork; you find yourself struggling sometimes to remember all of it, including things that you really enjoyed, to say nothing of the things that you didn’t really enjoy. In fact, if you were to dig around a little bit in the godsforsaken blasted landscape that is the drafts queue in Homicidols WordPress, you’d find an unfinished funny post called “Idols That I Consistently Forget Exist, Ranked” that I may have even referenced once or twice in the past (meta!).

Not even in that draft post is where you’ll find Honey Emperor, or Emperor of Honey or however they prefer it to be styled, in the annals of Homicidols Dot Com. Note: That says way more about me than it does about them. However, as this one quite old look in on them will make abundantly clear, they certainly had their time of rising action within the scene, and I’m frankly not sure why it is or was that it stopped. The music was at worst perfectly fine. The look and concept, like, while not for me wasn’t exactly objectionable. It all just kind of faded out of the Western wota consciousness.

And then a new MV popped up yesterday!

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Catching up with Lilium Mu aka the Kunogi Band

I seriously don’t know how I can possibly follow up whatever the hell I just watched, but another MV in my area of interest (that is, NECRONOMIDOL members who were also ex-Gokitei; That’s two of my favourite groups!) was posted today, so here we go again.

Yup, it appears Necroma newb Kenbishi Kunogi has her own band, Lilium Mu, and her own MV! 

It’s good! Definitely a palate-cleanser after that other MV from yesterday; the only questionable thing to happen here is Kunogi’s preference for pineapple on pizza! I’m not entirely sure how long Lilium Mu has been going for, so a solo MV after she’s already debuted in Necroma was a bit of a surprise. But a good one! While I love seeing her in Necroma, I wouldn’t mind seeing more band material if it keeps up to the same standard. 

A Welcome Surprise from No Suprises

So as mentioned in the Weekender, after a long and butt week in idol in which very little of real interest happened, engines started to warm up a little bit yesterday, and we got something that those of us who are pro-POPiD could be excited about. Yes, it should come as … no surprise (haw) that the Idol Formerly Known as PiGU, called (ahem) No Surprises now and having none of the old PiGU membership but definitely having inherited their Twitter account, dropped their first single, “proof”, the other day (venue-only?), and along with that came this MV:

This post-PiGU project was, of course, going to be carrying over quite a bit of PiGU, and every little bit of what we’d seen from them so far suggested the same. Here, the best evidence yet, delivers in a way that … surprised (heh) me. There’s that little maturation in the sound — which, yes fine, it’s one song, but bear with me, until they turned dark, all of OG PiGU’s punk work was on the brighter end of that spectrum, and no I’m not buying this as “emotional blues rock” just yet — but moving with it is a complete makeover in the group’s look. It’s a good move, frankly, an aesthetic shift without needing to be revolutionary.

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Payrin’s Blessed Us with Double Video Love Today

Payrin’s! Talk about something that I just plain don’t get to post about enough. If you’d asked me a couple of years ago if that would be the case, I’d call you a silly billy and tweak your nose and laugh heartily, for of course this thing that I liked right from the get-go would be something that would be super active and all over the site. And brother, would I have been wrong!

It’s all good. I take my Paryin’s when I can get it, and today is one of those days. It’s not clear what the occasion is, but I’ll never turn down fresh video from a group that I keep on permanent blast just in case they do something cool and good, in this case a double live shot from December’s year-ending one-man:

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Yoneko’s Living Her Best Solo Life

Her old home of AqbiRec might be falling apart before our very eyes, but at least we’re safe in knowing that Yoneko is still thriving without them.

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These Tears of Joy Are for the Desu.Rabbits

Man, looking back, Wednesday was absolutely jam-packed, wasn’t it? And I usually consider it to be the second weakest day of the week, after Sunday, hence I wasn’t anticipating that there’d be this big newsworthy churning glut of MV releases in the span of a few hours, and hence was caught flat-footed and had to scramble to try to cover everything. Alas, “everything” is a metaphysical impossibility, so “something” was going to get left out until considerations could open up later, and in this case that something turned out to be the thing that I might have, on the aggregate, been the most excited about. Luck of the draw!

What was that thing? The title gives it away, but please let me contextualize for the new amount us: See, back when ol’ Homicidols Dot Com got started, I had particular negative tendencies that my stuffed-shirt editorial attitudes for the most part could ignore when called upon to do so, but always failed in the case of OG Ladybaby and the Idol Formerly Known as Deathrabbits. Looking back on it, there’s more of a logical through-line to it, especially seeing as how they’re the only two groups that I ever saw use the “death pop” attribution for themselves and both employed the girls+adult man lineup in extremely similar ways. Without getting too much into it, my general disinterest in both groups showed, and people were happy to call me out for it.

This didn’t really start to change until I was forwarded this Deathrabbits album by their international fan club president, and forcing myself to look at it objectively pointed out that, hey, there are some neat things going on here. It’s not all for me, but it’s also definitely not a bad thing. And so began a gradual thaw toward the group, through their re-brand as Desu.Rabbits and various releases and even that Road to Budokan that– Are they still doing that? I hope so. Don’t give up!

Anyway, to put a bow on this intro, I’d been hoping for a while that the day would come when Desu.Rabbits would show a really mature side of themselves. And when they dropped this MV the other day, there it was: Continue reading

An Enthusiast’s Amateur Exegesis of His New Absolute Favorite Zenbu Kimi no Sei Da Thing

I was late for the train this morning. It was my fault — I stayed some of the usual morning prep to follow up on some personal things that needed attention — but I wasn’t any happier for taking the responsibility. I was late, period, and being late for something as scheduled as a municipal rail line means missing the train, which means waiting for the next, which means tacking extra time onto being late. It’s dumb. I was dumb. I was mad.

By the time I got to the office, I had a day’s worth of email buzzing at me from the smart phone that I now rue like none other, a string of messages re: said personal things that needed attention and now needed more attention, and a good cluster of idol-related tweets that I knew I was going to have to cut through if I were to have any hope of not having my phone crash.

Somewhere around 95 percent of all idol-related tweets in my daily queue are pointless dreck. Oh good, you’re tweeting your entire schedule of single release appearances at HMV and Tower, fantastic, idgaf. Today was no different. Joy, though, often lives in that remaining 5 percent, and so it was when the bottom of the huge-ass pile of Zenbu Kimi no Sei Da messages lay the one that truly mattered. It was MV time!

Yotsu is pretty much everything now

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Bully BULLY IDOL Bully

The title of this post in the spirit of the “Buffalo buffalo Buffalo” linguistic exercise. All lo; points to any who can identify the moral contradiction therein!

The fine* people at WACK bring you their staggering retort to BILLIE IDLE’s playful spin of a variety show appearance via MV:

I really wanted this to be shade, and not just because I wanted to do another “Shade or Not Shade?” post. The idea of there being beef — real, loud, public beef — between WACK and a bunch of ex-WACK idols operating in close proximity but ultimately asymptotically to is simply delicious. Alas, it appears that whatever likely complicated feelings held by one Pour Lui toward one Watanabe Junnosuke, and any of the same held by First Summer Uika or Hirano Nozomi by history or either of the Momoses by association, those feelings are likely mere complications when the chance to leverage existing relationships for potential financial gain are involved.

Bully.

*Here defining “fine” very liberally

Despair Not for the Dissolution of our Dearest Dots

Before dashing off this article too briskly, I took in the last evening to ponder yesterday’s announcement that the dot-chans have scheduled what will be their final live, do a little research to understand what I could, and also to reflect on where we go in a world without the beloved shoegaze idols we’ve come to know.

I know that most all of you who follow the group are already aware of the impending closure, because I heard from a number of you about it, some in personal messages, and others from reading your reactions online. It speaks to the unique specialness of this group in the way many of you expressed your thoughts with a feeling of personal loss and perhaps a sense of disappointment. Oshi-loss, as Kerrie refers to it, is a very real emotional reaction when you’ve connected to an idol who’s graduating or a group that’s dissolving. And although these dot-chans have largely maintained a sort of aloof anonymity, they still touched a part of each of us fans. It’s also very notable to point out, as this article from Matt Bedford of Muso Japan demonstrates, that the group succeeded in gaining followers outside of idol circles.

I did reach out to Japanese fans, and I also read the group’s blog entry containing the chan’s statements. I can tell you that amongst the fans, the announcement was a surprise, and there is no obvious tangible reason for the dissolution that’s been given. I can also tell you that the dot girls of Tokyo are going to remain just as mysterious as they’ve been right up to the end. Everyone is very much remaining in character, and I not only appreciate that, but I love that that’s how they’re going out. The more I think about it, I’m less interested in finding out the “why”, and more interested in celebrating what we knew. In their blog statements, the members of the group seem to be upbeat and positive to travel into their futures. I get no sense of sadness.

The group’s primary manager/producer/visionary also kept the mythology going, explaining that the ethereal manifestations that took the shape of girls will inhabit those forms for only a limited amount of remaining time, and then the end of that time on Earth is here. The dot-chans were always meant to be impermanent, and so they move on to new planes of existence.

If you really want my non-mythology theory, I believe the dots are disbanding for the very best of reasons: Because they’ve largely achieved what they set out to do. Now they can go explore new things in their lives which may or may not include obsessive fans and metaphysical concepts. (There’s also the matter of this being a nearly no-profit industry, but I think that’s a given with most art-driven projects.) Some time ago, it was hinted that there was a new project underway that I thought was going to be a sister-group to the Dot-chans. That project is still happening. So far, almost nothing has been revealed about it except that it’s continuing the innovative high art concepts that Dots have broken ground with. I believe a torch is being passed, and it’ll be exciting to see what’s coming as this new project takes a tangible shape.

I want to tell you dear people reading this: Do not anticipate this event with despair, but rather look forward to the new things to come. Don’t miss the Dots with sadness, but remember them fondly with affection. This is the way of things, and like a passing satellite in the sky, it’s something you should cherish for simply having seen it.

The dot-chans will have their final live on March 24. They will also have additional activities building up to the last show. And since they still have unreleased recorded material and more songs, including another great tune written by Azusa Suga of For Tracy Hyde, (The video posted above!) I also suspect that they’ll have some more musical output to be consumed as well. I know the fans will support the group to the fullest and send them off in celebratory style, because they deserve it.

Now let’s thank Dots for what they gave us and wish them the very best.