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 →
Over 30 months of being a fancy idol blogger, I’ve learned how to keep things rolling at an even keel. The enthusiasm that you start with ultimately has to compete with half a hundred other things in life, to say nothing of the crushing disappointments that idol sends your way on a roughly quarterly basis, so you find yourself employing little survival strategies to balance it all out. Me, I’ve learned not just how to better manage my time, but that I don’t need to strain against constraints on that time. If it happens, it happens; if it doesn’t, there’s the Weekender.
I say all this to set up the fact that I’ve had some really tight time constraints lately, but you bet your sweet ass that I had my alarm set to go off for when Broken By The Scream announced that this MV going to drop:
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:
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:
I had been meaning to catch up on the latest track from the just-re-debuted mistress, aka now the mistress because what are you gonna do, but let’s take care of that second and instead have a nice long look at the full version of their MV (and song, really) for “Would you kill yourself now?”:
What follows below is the MV and initial draft reaction to Oyasumi Hologram’s release of their “ghost rider” MV the other day, which I was very enthusiastically going on about and, well, you’ll see the punchline at the end. I called the post “Everything That Oyasumi Hologram Does Is Perfect, Isn’t It?” Nonetheless:
Everyone who lives in the USA! Our crowdfunding project to go to USA started today.We will tour in the USA in November. Please look forward to!! Note: This project can only be supported from Japan.https://t.co/FNlvvUXT1p
How long have I been kvetching about not hearing anything from the 969 album that’s due out, like, imminently? About just plain not having it? Long enough, at least a month, which is an eternity in idol because, as we know, entire groups’ rosters can turn over in that much time.
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 →
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:
After just over 10 years of delightful Shibuya-kei inspired pop mixed with electro excursions, Vanilla Beans officially announced that their disbandment will take place this October, ending with one final concert.
While I’d admit it’s not a terribly shocking turn of events, (They’ve mentioned the possibility previously.) it’s still a sad loss to those of us who always adored their harmonies and retro-cool aesthetic. They were, in a sea of idols, a very special group marching to their own drum.
I was first charmed by Vanibe way back in 2008, after seeing the MV for their second single “Nicola”.(Lisa was actually not part of the very early duo, but a girl named Rika.) I was instantly obsessed with the song, and it remains to this day among my very favorite pop tunes of all time. And MV was also sublime with it’s brilliant design and subtle humor. In short, it gently delivered what I consider to be a perfect capsule of pop. Vanilla Beans let me in on something exciting: “Idols” weren’t contained to the carefully constructed tropes I had pegged to the genre.