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!
The A-side is called “Make Her Mine”, and there’s an appropriately lo-fi homemade MV to go along with it…
Like a lot of you, I originally got wrapped into this whole idol business though the all-consuming, all-powerful multi-media conglomerate we call Hello! Project. Once I saw the MV for Morning Musume‘s “Joshi Kashimashi Monogatari”, I was essentially on a path of no return and life has never been quite the same, and I’m okay with that!
But in time, chika idols entered my world, and by then, the pre-fabricated environment of H!P just wasn’t hooking me like it used to. Sure, I’d check in every so often and see what was new, but for the most part, it’s been a cherished but yet distant part of my fandom past. But very recently, an all-new new H!P unit has appeared that’s really gotten my interest. They’ve got that classic charm and sense of fun that made me a Hello! idol fan in the first place. I’m sure you know that I must be talking about the newest H!P sensation, BEYOOOOONDS! (That’s five “O”s, I had to count them.)
Okay, so BEYOOOOONDS are a blast, but as with a few other of my personal idol interests, they’re largely on another continent from the Homicidols mission, so I was never really planning on doing anything with them aside from maybe suggesting them for the weekender. And then, just as if by a divine scheme, these upstart H!P wonders have unleashed their first multi-A-side single, including this absolute bop of an uplifting pumped-up pop-tune: You’ve probably heard it by now…
Y’know, we talk about about Yufu Terashima quite often amongst ourselves on the twitters, but I did a quick check and to the best of my knowledge, we’ve never posted anything specifically about her on this blog. I mean yeah, she was a member of that iconic group that pretty much gave birth to the movement, but perhaps Yufu herself goes a little bit more into the sort of pure idol territory that this blog appreciates but doesn’t usually cover.
But when you film an MV for a song that is not gives a fun visual medium to a delightful pop gem, but eludes to the elusive answers of one of the biggest questions that the human race has been asking since it first formed an inquisitive thought, you pay attention!
Okay, so I started to ask the proprietor of this website “Hey Maniac, you think just this once, based on their recent activity, you could humor me into declaring Boris the ultimate endgame in this experimental synthesis of idols with rock music that’s been happening over the last few years and post this new MV on the blog even though it’s a complete stretch of our already shifting mission statement?”
And he’d either say “Hey, why the heck not?” or “C’mon man, don’t mess up my life’s work. You post that Boris MV and you’re fired.”
But anyway, he’s been away on business, so I didn’t ask him and posted this recklessly, so if my bags are packed in the next day or so, you know why!
Mother-F’n Boris man. Even your non-weeb friends love them. They’re absolute freakin’ titans of drone-noise-experimental-soundscapes who’ve recorded a massive discography on a dozen different labels. So when TRASH-UP!! Records, a label that I first came to love through their magazine, low-budget films, and releases by the quirkiest of the quirky world of chika idols announced that they were celebrating their 10th (!) anniversary with an EP by the band, I was pretty excited. Giddy might even be the better word! I even joked that I couldn’t wait for the eventual collaboration between the power-trio of sludge and the label’s flagship unit SAKA-SAMA.
Well, that collaboration hasn’t happened yet, but they did play a gig with the TRASH-UP!! groups along with the wonderful Aqbi roster of artists for the label’s big anniversary showcase, and it was worth noting that the band, especially Wata, seemed quite comfortable and welcoming of their surroundings. All my kidding aside, it really does open up thoughts of potential possibilities and reminds us of an important thing, the walls dividing genres have been knocked down and utterly destroyed as they always were meant to be for the good of music enjoyed by the truly open-minded masses. I think this is our new future, and it pleases me highly.
Miss iD, the annual “not a beauty pageant or freak show”, recently announced their semifinal field of 158 girls-at-heart (age ranges from teens to 30s). Familiar faces currently competing for the Miss iD2020 Grand Prix title include chika idols:
- YONEKO (current soloist, former Bellring Girls Heart and MIGMA SHELTER)
- Komachi Fujinomiya (current GuGu-LuLu, former MIGMA SHELTER)
- Yulian (XTEEN and Heisei Haka-Arashi)
YONEKO, who has made several overtures to Western fans in the past few months, has personally appealed for our assistance:
To vote for a semifinalist you will need to download the Cheerz Fan Community app. The app is fairly intuitive to use and the search function works with Romaji so you can find who you are looking for pretty easily. Continue reading
SOLEIL continues working in the classic yé-yé tradition of prolifically releasing fresh material at a near non-stop pace. Over the course of last year, she recorded two albums along with a series of singles, and now in 2019, she’s got a new single just out that will be followed by her third album in July!
The new single is “Mellotron Girl”, released as a 7″ record on the Vivid Sound label, in association with Victor Records. Before it was even released, there was a bit of a mad rush to secure a copy, with unscrupulous resellers already trying to finagle outrageous prices for a record that didn’t even exist yet, but thankfully it looks like the label and distributors stepped up to the demand and it became realistic to still pre-order one without breaking the bank.
SOLEIL’s label uploaded a “short version MV” of the new song, and it fulfills what must be a requirement in the idol business, that all artists must eventually film an undead-themed music video! (Those poor “mummies” look kinda worn-out in the running shots!)
It’s a terrific tune rooted in that timeless French 60’s pop sound! The b-side is also another cool retro throwback, but for this song we get a cover: “High School Lullaby”, an 80’s synth-pop hit originally recorded by Imo-Kin Trio, and written by the legendary Haruomi Hosono! This version exchanges the city-pop vibes with some groovy surf-guitar set to a ska beat and totally pulls it off…
And as the for the upcoming album, “Lollipop Sixteen” will be out of July 17th, so be sure to look out for that! (I really love the reference to Elvis Costello’s “This Year’s Model” in the design theme.) It’s already listed for pre-order in a few places, and it stands to reason that streaming options will be available as well.
If you’ve listened to SOLEIL’s previous albums, (Which I’ve discussed here..) you’ll probably have a pretty strong notion of what to expect. And while I don’t think it’ll be much of departure sound-wise, I have no doubt the new album will be packed with short and sweet sugary goodness that’ll make for perfect summer listening!
Attention students!! Leaders just dropped the early front-runner for album of the year.
Atarashii Gakkou No Leaders has never been the most accessible of units from a Western perspective. Their MVs often sit behind region blocks and paywalls, while their music makes artsy references to social concerns that may require cultural translation. In short, exploring the group’s music requires a bit more proactive labor than just clicking “play” on YouTube and rockin’ your socks off. However, with the release of their stunning second album, Wakage Ga Itaru, now is the time to put in that extra effort.
（Short Ver.）MV’s are a Crime. REPORTED!!
“Akko Gorilla? C’mon man, that ain’t idol.”
Yeah well, hear me out here… while maybe not really an idol in the narrow sense, Akko Gorilla did perform on the “Smile Garden” stage at the Tokyo Idol Festival this year, plus she’s tight with lots of cool people we like on this blog, and most importantly, makes fantastic next-level music with a skies-the-limit crossover potential. It’s crossed my mind several times that I thought she deserved some “Friends of Homicidols” coverage, because what’s she’s doing is amazing and really deserves to be heard and appreciated. Earlier this month, Akko made her major-label album debut with “GRRRLISM”, which I’ve been listening to a lot over the last week and decided this is the window to finally induct her into this website. If you like nontraditional rappers like Charisma.com and KOM-I of Wednesday Campanella, then you should definitely dig into this. So c’mon ya’ll, let’s talk about Akko Gorilla…
The first time I heard Akko Gorilla was in 2016 when she released her debut, “Tokyo Banana”. (She had been building up a name for herself with MC battles at the same time.) Her first album’s got this lo-fi and organic vibe that is perfect for Akko’s hyper-speed flow of words: Lot’s of live drums and natural bass with a cool vibe that one doesn’t usually get from a lot of over-produced, glossy hip-hop. If you haven’t listened to Akko Gorilla, I might suggest you go ahead and start there so you can trace her growth over the last few years.