RAY Want To Spend “The End Of The World With You”…

This dropped a few days ago, but it was simply too good to let slip past the radar. Shoegaze idols RAY,  (Successors to the now-legendary group with no with no real name save for a row of dots) are still not a year old, but have already made a huge impression with a dose of effortless charisma and incredibly strong musical collaborations with top-tier talent.

Their first EP release “Blue” was a near-perfect collection of songs that revealed a sky’s-the-limit potential. We’ve been treated to MVs for “Butterfly Effect” and “Meteor”, and now there’s a more low-key video for the closing track, “The End Of The World With You”

https://twitter.com/_RAY_world/status/1230809425134227457?

As the tweet above explains, this MV offers us a retrospective of the group’s upward trajectory since their inception, including most notably their acclaimed show in Taiwan.   Let’s have a look!

It’s just what you’d expect, a fun and exciting behind the scenes look at RAY traveling, performing, eating, bonding, y’know, doing idol stuff! One thing that gives RAY something of a leg-up on the dearly departed Dot-chans is being free of the challenges that came with a group maintaining a mysterious air of anonymity. We get to know Yua, Norimaika, Sayaka, and Tsukihi in a much more personable way and that’s ultimately a better plan for the idol business model. These ladies are just terrific, and seeing them cavort and have fun as they explore the possibilities offered in this journey gives one a warm, joyful feeling. (Which is a fascinating juxtaposition to the heavier melancholia of the actual song.) 

And what a song!! Holy heck I love that opening riff and the way it sort of fakes you out before the song takes off. This tune sounds amazing at high-volume, so make sure you don’t just watch this on your phone, for goodness sake. 

And you know why the song is so darn good? Because it’s written by Hata Yusuke of cruyff in the bedroom, veterans of Japan’s highly-lauded shoegaze scene. These sonic technicians have always been on point, so of course this song roars as much as it soothes…

I’m really looking forward to another release by RAY, and I’m especially hoping we can get a full album from them this year possibly. If not, that’s okay too though, music this good is worth the wait. Just keep these RAYs shining on us, please. 

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RAY Drops a Visually Stunning Meteor of Emotions and Reverb…

It was just mere days ago we were talking about that wonderful footage of RAY performing live in Taiwan, and we took a moment to also mention that the group will also be releasing their first single/EP, entitled “Blue”. The release has lovely cover art and an extremely impressive roster of collaborators. Now we’ve been blessed with another highly anticipated track on the disk, “Meteor”, featuring an instrumental arrangement by Elliot Frazier of the highly regarded Austin band Ringo Deathstarr!

This is one of those times and RAY is one of those groups where I try to remain self-aware of my effusive praise and realize that if I get too over-the-top raving about how much I love this, I run the risk making some of you question if my judgment is clouded by my gushing enthusiasm. Yeah well, I’m raving cause Holy Moses I love this song to the moon and back.

Even if this wasn’t one of my favorite groups currently on the scene, I’d be still incredibly excited and wanting more. The wash of the guitars, the reverb, bubbling bass and the drums are just perfect examples of the musical influences of this group. And the lush, almost buried (Sung in English, no less.) vocals are beautiful indeed! There’s a bit of a half-joking argument in shoegaze circles that in this genre, the vocals need to be barely heard and nearly indecipherable to be truly gazing at shoes, and this certainly does that, adding a delicious air of mystery to the song. (The actual lyrics are in the YouTube description, by the way.) 

As for the MV, it’s just gorgeous, brimming with sensory overload and yet an underlying feeling of melancholia. It intimately captures how a megacity like Tokyo can be at equal turns exciting and bursting with bustling activity, but yet at the same time be the most oppressively lonely place on Earth.  Notice how the MV begins with high-tech consumer-driven dazzle, but by the end, mundane images of street cleaning and trash collection work their way in, as the superficial wonder of the city gives way to garbage bags and emotionally exhausted people hanging their heads low on the late-night streets.

There’s so many amazing shots here, from the wide pans over the busy intersections to the close-ups of pay phones and long treks down vacancies corridors, that tell us a dozen stories at once. And binding everything together is RAY member Marino Kai wandering through it all, trying to simply get through this night and maybe hopefully finding something better tomorrow as she pauses to silently sip a beer.

RAY is delivering on it’s every promise here. A beautiful merging of music, art, and the concepts of idol in complex, fascinating ways, with collaborations by top talent. I hope this upcoming release really puts them on the map, and that people everywhere take notice. I would love to see this group visit Austin and perform at SXSW, showing the real potential of this genre beyond the old idol tropes and stereotypes. Here’s wishing them the best! 

https://twitter.com/_RAY_world/status/1180784780381569024?s=20

 

 

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RAY Gazes Upon Taipei… (With Live Footage!)

RAY, the next generation shoegaze idols who arose from the ashes of the legendary dot-chans, have been hard at work crossing genres, boundaries and now borders. The group visited Taiwan and performed a show in Taipei. Excitedly, I scanned Twitter and YouTube hoping to find some footage of the concert. Viz and Rain were also thankfully on the case, and proved to be ethusiatic as always to help out…

And Rain went and found an upload of the entire set! He certainly wanted to make sure we didn’t sleep on it… Continue reading

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Ray Has Landed

Friends, idol has been in tumult this year. Emotional graduations, gut-wrenching disbandments, the usual shenanigans turned up to 11 … it’s been a year of as many negatives as positives, I think, and that’s really hard to do in an industry built on the idea of making people happy. For a lot of us, one of the hardest-to-take moments of the year’s first half was the disbandment of our beloved Dots, who for two-plus years had been the real standard bearer for awesome shoegaze-derived alt-rock songs and enigmatic personalities. It was a blessing, frankly, to be able to host one of the good digs into the concept. Everybody on Team, I think, loved them.

And then they were gone, but it wasn’t long before the suspected successor came along — Ray came into theoretical existence not terribly long thereafter, and while things have been quiet for them in the first couple of months, of course it stood to reason that interesting and creative things were afoot. That’s where we land today, with their effective debut:

Continue reading

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You Should Get RAY On Your Radar Right Now…

I’ve been kind of tingling with giddy anticipation all day today since this bit of news broke via a retweet from the Dots staff twitter. As you may know, the mysterious mind behind Dots has been quietly planning a successor to the seminal experimental and constantly evolving shoegaze idol project, and at last, it appears that the time is nigh for the next event to break out and dare I suggest, likely shatter expectations with an exciting new unit…

It’s RAY, and their plan as stated, is to bring about “Omnidirectional music development and performance”. The group is determined to achieve a fusion of idol with different fields of interest in ways that have never been done before. They’ve also stated that they fully intend to reach out and collaborate with creators on a global level, and they’ve already made good on that promise: Their first international connection will come in the form of music provided by the amazing Austin, Texas shoegaze band Ringo Deathstarr. (This is the part where I went from excited to really really excited.)

It turns out that Ringo Deathstarr toured Japan earlier this year and crossed paths with Dots while making the highly active shoegaze scene there, and well, good things came of it. This is a pretty high-profile beginning that could potentially introduce RAY with a pretty new audience, with a nice bit of indie-cred attached to it!

So who are these RAY girls? A couple of things: This group will be significantly different  because the members will not be anonyomous entities. And not only will they have names attached to their faces, but each girl will also pursue solo work, and work on individual projects using crowdfunding to help pursue their goals. It’s a very unique and yet still groundbreaking arrangement that’ll be interesting to see unfold. Here they are…

(I’m not sure if anyone looks familiar to you or not, but I’ll offer you this much… One of these girls is somebody whose eyes you’ve never seen before…)

RAY will be making their live debut on May 1st, and it’s a safe bet that they’ll be highly talked about shortly after. You can follow the group’s twitter account here, their official website here, and also click on the members above to follow them too!

Very cool and very wonderful things are unfolding here, and this is your opportunity to not miss the boat.  RAY is gonna show us the way!

 

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Here’s the Full Digest Version of PassCode’s ‘Ray’

It’s a slower day in idol, folks, and I neglected to work the Soundcloud clips into the Weekender, so let’s all gawk at PassCode’s splice of the tracks available on “Ray”:

I previously called the title track itself maybe my favorite piece of new music of theirs since the release of “MISS UNLIMITED”, and this frankly backs that up well. It’s even structured a lot like that (pretty legendary-like, honestly) release, with the catchy Radio PassCode lead, and the Heavy PassCode and Heavy Dance PassCode B-sides. “TRICKSTER”, just in short form, is menacingly shaking its fist at many of my past favorite Heavy PassCode tracks, and I can’t wait to hear it in full. Continue reading

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Hey, How’s That New PassCode Single?

So I was saying the other day that, despite being aware of things being out there online, I didn’t want to try to soak up “Ray” at all until there was an official release by official PassCode, which finally happened this morning whee!

Oh man! Those outfits remain pretty dang boss! And the song sounds pretty good in preview form! And it looks like they’re going for their own version of “Orchestra” on that set! Let’s do the whole thing! Continue reading

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