Beni and CHILDISH TONES remember life as an “Ex Fan Des Sixties”…

avandoned may be approaching an end to it’s illustrious career run, but by no means does this mean that Beni Usakura will be ceasing to work on terrific musical projects that are both sublime and meaningful. Once again the multi-media chanteuse has teamed-up with the amazing toy instrument garage band CHILDISH TONES to offer another great take on a classic pop tune!

This time the delightfully quirky combo is treating us to a haunting cover of a song written by the LEGENDARY master of subversive pop, the great Serge Gainsbourg himself, which was recorded by his long-running romantic and artistic muse, the fabulous and stunning Jane Birkin

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avandoned: Ending Is Beginning.

When you’ve become fully ingrained into idol fandom, there’s certain inveitable events that you learn to anticipate and mentally prepare for, such as when a twitter account belonging to a group you love posts an image containing a stark few blocks of text. Yeah, you know the type of post I mean…

This is idol, and this is the world we’ve put ourselves into, but it’s a little different when it’s a group that’s particularly dear to you. It’s more personal, more emotional, it’s something you feel inside your stomach. It’s understandable and okay.  Continue reading

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Yoneko Enters Her Post-Idol Career With Her New Single “SET FIRE TO NOW”…

Aside from the massive paychecks we receive as members of Team Homicidols, we occasionally have some other nifty perks that come our way! In particular is this instance where we were honored with a bonafide press-release (Very kindly provided by a certain western dealer of chika goods whose name rhymes with Erik. Thanks!) that allowed the Team to have a look at the MV for Yoneko‘s new single, a fiery tune called “SET FIRE TO NOW”!  *

Please understand that this MV isn’t going to be unveiled until the 22nd, so sorry, I don’t get show it to you or anything, but I can sure as heck tell you about the song, and believe me, I’m very, very eager to talk about it!!

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Let’s All Appreciate the Week That Maison book girl Just Had

This is the other big item from earlier in the week that I wanted to make sure to highlight, like really highlight, and I’m doing it wantonly because it’s a lot and they deserve it. Yeah, I’m talking about Maison book girl, who I still can’t believe I write about as favorably as I do nowadays after quite a long time of both pretending that they didn’t belong and being too xylophone-reliant to take all that seriously. Here we are!

The point of the post, though, is to acknowledge that Maison book girl released an album earlier this week, and it is excellent, the kind of high art that I think just enough of idol has embraced. They also, in conjunction with that release, dropped a couple of MVs that you may or may not agree are the best songs on the album, but I read the selection as “these songs sum up the album go buy it.”

The first, from the day of the release itself: Continue reading

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SAKA-SAMA Is Still Lo-Fi and Dreamy…

SAKA-SAMA summed up the state of idol for 2019 in a nutshell: They kicked off in January as a six-member unit, then experienced a major overall, leaving them as Kokone’s solo act for a bit, and is now ending the year with multiple-group veteran Mizuho stepping up as a support recruit, rebranding SAKA-SAMA as a duo. (I think they’ve been a duo at least once before… it’s hard to remember every incarnation!) How long will this arrangement last? It’s a SAKA-SAMA world, so we’ll just have to simply wait and see!  But this moment in the group’s evolving history will be documented in the form of a recorded single that’s title translates to “Goodnight Judy”. So with this new single, how does the dynamic change? Here’s an MV to give us the insight…

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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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Go Mod With Beni and CHILDISH TONES!

avandoned‘s leader-self-producer-and all-around mastermind Beni Usakura enjoyed a  surprise hit earlier this year when she collaborated with the toy-instrument garage-punk band CHILDISH TONES! Aside from an acclaimed single, the 45 record sold-out it’s pre-sales, then sold out it’s extended press-run, and eventually got a second pressing to meet it’s demand! Of course it makes sense that the hippest idol in the biz would once again team up with rockin’ist toy band on the planet, and here’s their latest delicious pop nugget for our listening satisfaction!

https://twitter.com/usakura_beni/status/1178517922701955072?s=20

The A-side is called “Make Her Mine”, and there’s an appropriately lo-fi homemade MV to go along with it…

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It’s Time For Our First #IdolDoodles Fan-Art Round-Up!

Time goes by quick! It was at the very end of August when we hosted a Friday Fun dedicated to the joys of fan art, and it came together quite nicely, and YOU deserve all the credit for that! Literally every single post with the #idoldoodles tag was wonderful, I mean that! That kind of positive, creative energy really makes my day, and is truly one of my very favorite things about being a part of this fandom.

One thing you may recall is that we’re intending to maintain a regular feature here on the blog where we share a few of our favorite pieces with the masses. We’ll be revisiting the aforementioned hashtag, but also keeping our eyes peeled for any other terrific idol-themed artwork we happen upon. I’m not sure how often we’ll do a round-up yet: semi-weekly, monthly, probably most likely when we feel like it, but I really want everybody who cares about the wonderful artwork in this community to participate in any way they want. If you make art, (any kind of art) let us know! If you see some else’s art you especially like, also let us know!

We’ll link the twitter or Instagram posts here, and if you see something you appreciate, by all means, please visit their account and let them know you like it! You’ll be surprised how much a simple click of the heart, or a nice comment, or a retweet can mean to a person brave enough to put their work out there. If you do that, they’ll feel compelled to make more art, maybe even score a commission, or just plain feel more confident in what they do. Everybody wins!

With that said, here’s some stuff from the last month that we really liked…

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Beautiful Chaos From Okinawa Electric Girl Saya…

Wow! Okinawa Electric Saya is so full-steam-ahead at this point that I really can’t keep up with her, but I’m trying my best! I joked before that I suspect that she doesn’t actually sleep, and that theory seems to only continue to hold up to the evidence at hand…

So our favorite black-clad-experimental-neo-art-idol from Okinawa dropped another MV today, her third video set piece promoting her recent album “Black Angel”. As per usual, it’s worth checking out and delving into a world significantly different than what anybody else in the game is exploring…

Now this is the kind of stuff I really dig from her! Continue reading

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