The child group of Hamidasystem and sister group to Popoloconnect will finally be delivering their brand new songs from their lips to your ears! Their debut digital EP: JUVENILE arrives on the 24th. Get excited!
Did I make that up? I made that up. The year that is 2020 is a lot of things, and one of them definitely is a month-to-month competition to see how much worse the world can get (current trend: holding!), but what I refer to here is simply a narrative device, not an actual contest, unless your take on idol this year as well can be viewed through the same kind of lens. The real bloodbath of graduations was last year, of course, though we’ve had our share. ANYWAY, the point is, title only, not actual thing.
With which I now segue to this weekend’s entry from BURST GIRL from their “story” record, which is … look, I took a few months off, came back, and nothing made sense anymore. I’m not sure of the chronology because at least some of it pre-dates my de-cocooning myself, but if I were only to have heard the “Against the drain” track, I’d be like, oh how neat and cool that BURST GIRL has graduated to melodic easycore or, I dare say, lifting verse material straight from NOFX. HOWEVER, whether it’s because BOSS idol-retired or because Waka’s back and has clothing to sell or even just because it’s 2020, the punk rockin’est of all punk rockin’ idol units has taken on a different character for this release. And Saturday morning has us all seeing this for the first time:
So as mentioned in the Weekender, this was a busy last few days for pretty much everybody on Team Homicidols. I espied this all the way back on Monday, in fact, when I was at Peak Busyness, and really just wanted to get it out the door, only for, well, everything else to intervene. Nonetheless! It must be done, as the subject of this post, our very own Yes She’s Still the Official Oshi She Won the Contest Saki from/who is 2& has a contest in honor of, well, just read the tweet:
Enter via our Gleam link below:https://t.co/IvGZOWPIh9
Full T&Cs available on the site.
— HYPER JAPAN (@HYPERJAPANevent) August 3, 2020
Do it. And because I have nothing else worthwhile to add, enjoy this photo of Saki’s forehead:
— 千歳さき (２＆) (@DOUBLE_AND) August 3, 2020
Good morning! Allow me to preface this Weekender by saying that it’s effectively the anti-Weekender; if I created this this 194 weeks ago as a way to give some recognition to more throwaway idol content, or to at least make mention of things we couldn’t get to, this week’s edition is a gross perversion of it. Look at how full it is! With big-name stuff! And I actually had to stop myself from adding some things that I still mean to get around to writing about.
If you ask Team, that’s the mantra of the week. We all reflected on this the other day: “Oh wow heck we been busy.” Whether it was work or personal, we all had big limits to our personal time, and man did it show. We somehow missed real-time reactions to, like, a bunch of stuff that we’d ordinarily blog the hell out of. Funny. A couple of years ago, I’d be panicking; now, honestly, it just feels like something to catch up to one way or another. No big deal!
So as we get back about our business, you should too, friends. It’s Saturday, after all, a good time to focus on the things you enjoy. Do it, and if that happens to be several hours’ worth of idol stuff from throughout the week, then by all means make the Weekender your entertainment center of choice!
Oh Wow, You Weren’t Kidding
Attention fellow Haru fans:
I have bad news. My first North American tour has been postponed again from next September (2020) until next March (2021) due to Coronavirus situations. This tour would have been done last March (2020) originally so I’ll have to let you wait for a year.
— 春 ねむり HARU NEMURI (@haru_nemuri) August 2, 2020
Since we launched The Calendar, the weekly livestream post got discontinued, but I thought there were a few events worth bringing folks attention to now that these notices are no longer hitting the front page. As always, all dates and times listed are Japan Standard Time (JST) unless noted (Convert to your time here).
Kick the weekend off with a free live on YouTube by funk-and-groove flavored Nagoya standouts, FAREWELL MY, L.u.v.
「Sutudio Live 2020.08.08 」
— FAREWELL, MY L.u.v (@farewellmyl_u_v) August 6, 2020
BURST GIRL Continue the “BURST BIG BANG” tour to promote their Story EP. This installment sees them teaming up with DAI DAI DAI, Story collaborators THE STARBEMS and others. Streaming tickets are ¥1,800 via ZAIKO.
Just like WACK’s Audition Camps have a redemption challenge, so does the online version! Everyone that didn’t make the top 50 has a chance at victory once again, which means we’re in for another week of idol adjacent antics.
SAKA-SAMA is most-certainly an encapsulation of what we think of when we discuss the ups-and-downs and side-to-sides of this whole idol business. This group has run a full gamut of graduations and roster configurations, all while maintaining a musical vision that alters just as much as the member incarnations. There’s only one thing about the lo-fi dream pop idols that has stayed consistent, and that’s Suzuki Kokone, the leader and sole founding member of the group…
— タワーレコード錦糸町パルコ店 (@TOWER_Kinshicho) August 1, 2020
Kokone’s perennial presence in SAKA-SAMA has now paid-off for her (And for us, too.) with her first solo release! While Kokone has dabbled with some solo lives while playing her guitar, this marks the first actual catalogued TRASH-UP!! recording by her. (There may have been some solo CDRs sold at live shows perhaps, but I can’t quite recall.) “FEVER” is a six-track mini-album now available through TRASH-UP!!’s online store.
And right along with that welcome news, we’ve also been gifted this delightful MV of the title track! The video is very much in keeping with the sort of whimsy one would expect from a TRASH-UP!! solo artist. Tell ya what, why don’t give it a watch if you haven’t already…
Good morning! This weekend is a special one for ol’ Maniac, because it was this very weekend (but not the same dates or not even the same relationship of the weekend to the beginning of August) last year that my brain decided that I had quite enough to do, thank you very much, and wouldn’t let me finish and publish the Weekender. I was out of town for Day Job, the culminating event of months of preparation, and I’d been strained to the absolute brink. There’s more to it, but tl;dr on that Saturday morning, I was done. Some clinical assistance turned up that I was stressed almost to the absolute limit, and my brain responded to that by telling me to stop doing things. It may have saved my life, fwiw. I came back some weeks later, was able to keep up the idol madness to a decent extent, and then felt the same effects closing in. Hence the even longer recent hiatus!
So yeah, it’s kind of special to be back here, the same weekend when I have this MASSIVE thing going on, I’ve been busier than probably ever before, I’m tired, there’s a global pandemic, Popeye’s messed up my order last night … and I feel really good. Some stress, obviously, but I think I found the space where I can do some idol stuff without driving myself into an early grave. It’s good, and I look forward to keeping things moving for the foreseeable future.
With Team, of course. None of this exists anymore if not for these incredible people.
Value the things you care about, folks, but take care of yourselves, too. Live with love for the goodness in yourself and around you.
Uh … Snarky Riposte
This is a complete DAOKO endorsement:
A lot of people took a deep breath when this popped out the other day:
— ぜんぶ君のせいだ。 (@zenbukiminosei) July 24, 2020
I think we all anticipated the other shoe to drop in that timeframe, and last night did/not disappoint: Continue reading
Actually by @VizMajor
One of the best things about listening to a concept album is immersing yourself into the music and simultaneously living in that moment of the sounds being produced almost as if you had astral projected directly into the experience. With MIGMA SHELTER’s newly released full album “ALICE” we get transported right into the wacky, twisted, animated world of the classic story of Alice in Wonderland. Anyone familiar with the Disney animated film adaptation can take one glance at the song titles in the tracklisting and notice words or phrases that relate to the story and even see that it is also in chronological order. One thing I will recommend here: wear headphones because you will want to hear everything on this album.
The album opener “In Wonderland” immediately sounds like you are being taken on a journey, one can even imagine a moving aerial shot of the landscape of Wonderland. We are greeted by spacey percussion-like synths and a warm violin melody that seamlessly pans between the left & right channels in a ping pong effect. This first song is also where we are introduced to a recurring theme in the sound production of this entire album: soundbytes of nature & living things (weather, animals, insects, etc.) One in particular that I found quite unique in this song is in the 1st half before the tempo picks up there is a hi-hat that rolls & playfully skips around from left to right channel that sounds really cool.
The second song “Rabiddo” features fast escalating buildups paired with falsetto vocals and an interlude of strings that would fit well in an old movie score to a sunny day in the Classical era. It’s a very dramatic song with captivating melodies & alluring vocal harmonies. The next song “Drops” begins with a sinister bassline that can remind one of the bass in the Pink Panther theme and when paired with an old sounding piano enables one to visualize a dimly lit, smokey lounge. The song picks up the pace into something reminiscent of a Burlesque theater chorus line leading into a nasal zipper synth which is then washed away by bubbling water, water drops, & faded vocals followed by a return of the theater music to finish.
Now we get to the middle portion of the album starting with “Egg Head”, a maniacal composition consisting of 7 or 8 transitions and featuring instrumentation in the forms of timpani, midi synth, string melodies, marching snares, and even a rooster’s crow that is sampled & chopped up to fit with the rhythm of the beat. I found this song to be one of the more complex & fun productions on this album. The 5th track “Y” either samples or contains an interpolation of “Pink Elephants on Parade” from the Dumbo soundtrack which serves as a fantastic tuba & trumpet accompaniment. This song follows along in the story when Alice meets the hookah smoking Caterpillar who’s deep voice can be heard speaking his famous line “who are you?” during the percussion break at the halfway point. Fantastic brass instrumentation and full, powerful kicks in this song.
Song #6 “It doesn’t matter” is where we get a change of pace by slowing down the madness and bringing in a feeling of tranquility which not only shows a different side of MIGMA SHELTER but results in one of the highlights of the album. Starting off we are treated right away to warmly tuned acoustic guitar strings & outdoor ambience of birds whistling giving the feeling of being around a campfire singing indie folk music. To top it off, the girls’ singing on this song may be the best we heard from them yet. There’s a strong bass pad that sounds great as it envelopes the atmosphere and leads into the sound of rustling leaves as a bird flies out from a tree which transitions perfectly. The thunder & rain is also a very nice addition to the sonics and really works in setting the mood. Very dark & mysterious soundscape that matches well with the Cheshire Cat character who also said to Alice the phrase “it doesn’t matter” in the story.
Following this song is “Unbirthday”, the song that is most fitting to the psychedelic trance soundscape. The music here has intervals of an Arabian theme melody and the familiar tone of sci-fi synth trance patterns. The chorus in this is probably the catchiest & most memorable on this album with the girls singing the lyrics “a very merry unbirthday to you”, which is what the March Hare & the Mad Hatter were singing at their tea party. The placement of sound effects in this song was also mapped out very well. The next song “Road” I will say is one of the best produced records I have heard this year. This composition is structured in about nine different sections. The pop beat & rhythm in the beginning flows into a gritty smug rap-like vocal cadence which then mellows out for a short break before returning to an electronic dance breakdown. What follows is the most interesting section of the song: a flourish of fanfare that swells & builds up into an incredible drop of background static & electric guitars and finally finishes with a guitar solo.
The second to last song “QUEEN” I can only describe best as serving as battle music for a last boss in a JRPG. There are brooding & pulsating bass synths and backing choir vocals. This song also features on production Chapa Didgeridoo who plays the didgeridoo and provides that low frequency rich bass & strong vibrations. The second half of the song kicks up the tempo to make everything feel more intense. I actually think this one may be the fastest BPM that MIGMA SHELTER has ever done before. The final track “My Wonderland” is a 9 minute epic that encapsulates all the elements we experienced throughout the album and is formatted into a song that perfectly expresses the feeling of accepting this wild & weird Wonderland until the last two minutes where we seem to slowly drift away from the dream into a beat that could play during the ending credit roll of a movie. The chirping of birds and even what sounds like a faint voice saying “Alice!” eventually wakes us up for the album to come to a close.
The factors that really make this album great are the always superb production & mixing of AqbiRec recordings and the high attention to detail in the sonics & compositions. Every song was carefully planned and song structures & melodies meticulously pieced together. It feels like an art performance piece or avant garde painting projected through music. It’s difficult to say this album can be completely labeled as Trance since there are so many different genres & orchestrations found here: Pop, Goa, Classical, Experimental, Rock, R&B, etc. The members of MIGMA SHELTER each have great voices and vocals are arranged in a fashion where harmony is melodic & contributory to the instrumental. In 10 songs there are so many ideas & layers that can fill two albums. Transitions are executed flawlessly, vocals are performed well, and the songs have a good replay value. This is definitely one of the best albums of the year.
Official Homicidols Rating