Yeah, I know we haven’t really dedicated as much ink to The Grateful a MogAAAz on this blog as they deserve. It’s not that we have any bias against them, we like them actually, but for me at least, they’ve never quite broken the intangible barrier that would truly win me over. I can’t even give you a good reason why except maybe to say that Melon Batake a go go’s shadow loom over them a bit too much. But I think the real truth is that it’s really my fault for not giving them enough attention and I simply need to do better.
— The Grateful a MogAAAz 5/25（月）渋谷club QUATTRO (@mogaaaz) March 16, 2020
But there might be a change in the wind’s direction with this new tune from Melonbat’s sister group. They dropped a new MV and I casually decided to give it a click, thinking that I’d probably suggest it for the Weekender later on. And then I watched this video, and then I watched three more times…
Is this the longest downtime between albums in idol history? Seriously, we’ve been waiting for 10 years!
Today the sequel to Pour Lui’s original solo album “Minna no Pour Lui” aptly titled “Minna no Pour Lui II” drops and oh boy was it worth the decade long wait.
As you can see we have a full double album here! Eight brand new songs and a second disc of re-recordings from the original Minna no Pour Lui.
The initial sound is what you’d expect from a WACK and SCRAMBLES production – it’s solid alt-rock that makes you want to slam your head back and forth, with opening track “I’m in love” featuring some guitarwork that wouldn’t go out of place on an Iron Maiden album. Pour Lui would kill Run to the Hills but could Bruce Dickinson do THIS? No, because he can’t speak Japanese.
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…
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!!
This is the opening line of 2019 NHK dorama Dakara Watashi wa Oshimashita (English Title: “My Favorite Member”), in which a 30-year-old office worker stumbles across a performance by underground idols and is slowly and inexorably pulled down the rabbit hole to chika idol wotadom. This entirely relatable synopsis was enough to garner the show a high priority on My Dramalist as soon as Papermaiden made me aware of its existence. And as much as I wanted to binge all eight 30-minute episodes as soon the fansubs were complete, I disciplined myself and slowly devoured the show over the course of a few days.
It was a rewarding effort. The dorama shines as an incredibly instructive, rewarding and, in the end, empathetic spotlight on the world of underground idol. In delivering this detailed insight, the show adopts a mostly naturalistic tone and doesn’t sugarcoat or romanticize the struggles of the idols or wota. Although the story unfolds through a melodramatic plot device, both the idols and their fans are portrayed as real, imperfect people trying to build a better versions of themselves.
If nothing else, the show answers the question I saw posed on Twitter the other day: “Is the ‘w’ in ‘wota’ silent?” Continue reading →
Idol supergroup APOKALIPPPS have been active for a while now, but unfortunately a bit out of reach for us Western fans. The group is still very much an indie thing and their previous singles haven’t been terribly assessable due to their limited distribution, so supporting the group has mostly consisted of cheering the group on from afar…
Well, cheer up peeps, because the APOKALIPPPS is finally reaching worldwide!
The wonder group has self-released an EP, “APOKALIPPPS ONGEN”, and it’s also seeing a digital release via the major streaming networks, so you have no excuse to sleep on it! I eagerly decided to give a listen…
Sitting down to a first listen of the fifth BiSH album, CARROTS and STiCKS, the big question is: Which BiSH will predominate? The brazen punks who got kicked out of Tokyo Idol Festival? The potential game changers who released a two-minute thrash punk single as their major label debut? Or the commercial idols who promote cell phones and sing anime theme songs?
We know the punk is still in BiSH as demonstrated every time they let Ling Ling center and she does the emotional equivalent of kicking your teeth down your throat. At the same time, it’s hard to give punk cred to a group that’s signing exclusive deals with Apple to restrict the digital distribution of their own music. I certainly won’t begrudge a person for making a living off their art, especially in the crap ass world of Japanese entertainment where the vast majority of power and profits are concentrated in the hands a few management moguls who are far less benevolent than BiSH’s boss-who-we-love-to-hate, Junnoske Watanabe. And it’s not like those of us who have climbed aboard the BiSH train can cry about genre, aesthetic or ideological purity anyway. Watanabe has never hidden the fact that he is punk in the same way that Malcolm McLaren was punk: thumbing the nose of a conservative society is good fun and all, but only if you can make a buck (pound or yen) doing it.
Ever since it was announced that Aqbi superstar Kai was joining the TRASH-UP!! roster, I’ve been looking forward to hearing what she’d be doing as a solo artist. Kai of course, is no stranger to TRASH-UP!!, having been part of the oddball folk song trio Engawa, (Most often referred to in these parts as “The weird Beni/Kai thing”) and considering the close ties between my favorite idol label and Aqbi, (Including Yoneko and Mizuho connections!) it made perfect sense as career transition…
Anyway, there’s been a bit of an anxious delay on my part because I tried to order “Moonlight Tokyo” from Amazon Japan and it was momentarily listed with a possibly two month shipping delay. (!)I don’t know if I’m correct in my theory, but I’d like to believe that’s because it was a surprisingly bigger seller than anticipated, so that’s what I’m running with. It pleases me to share that the digital version is finally online!! streaming with Spotify and Apple Music, and the latter platform is selling it via iTunes as well. For lossless purists, I keep checking on OTOTOY but no luck just yet, but don’t assume it won’t happen eventually.
This album cover is what they call a “conversation starter”.
Being the first studio offering by the new line-up of Kunogi, Michelle, Rei-chan, Okaki, Himari and her omniscient hair makes this EP one of the most eagerly awaited releases of the year. Team Homicidols were lucky enough to be blessed with a preview copy (all it cost was my soul but I wasn’t using it much anyway). It’s a diverse set of tracks by fan-favorite songwriters exploring themes of trauma, entropy and conquest alongside the omnipresent influence of Lovecraftian terror. Here’s a sneak peak:
It was about time BABYMETAL paid homage to David Bowie. I mean, while Bowie crushed just about every pop genre on the planet except Heavy Metal, he was largely responsible for the early creation of Glam Rock.
Without Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust, we have no KISS.
Without KISS to influence a young Yoshiki, we have no X Japan.
With no X Japan, we have no BABYMETAL.
So when BABYMETAL’s new single, “Elevator Girl”, opens by directly channeling the piano riff from Bowie’s early 80s classic, “Modern Love”, the circle of life seems, in some ways, complete. In truth, the direct influence on this single is probably less Bowie’s soul and groove-flavored New Wave, and more the J-Pop fusion of acid jazz, funk and techno that coalesced around the same time period into the broad City Pop genre. City Pop has seen a lot of attention lately with interest from Vaporwave aesthetes, YouTube channels streaming curated City Pop feeds 24-7, and it’s own brief “I didn’t know [insert name here] put out a City Pop album” meme.
City Pop is also heavily influencing a number of current groups in the alternative idol world including early album-of-the-year contendersAtarashii Gakkou No Leaders, GuGu-LuLu and the fledgling OWA Yoru.
(This is a lot of words so far just to talk about a three-minute song. What we are seeing here is an unfortunate side effect when a group as musically fascinating as BABYMETAL only releases three pieces of new material in a twelve-month span. In the absence of an “Elevator Girl” MV to talk about, let’s continue the over-analysis:) Continue reading →