A Welcome Surprise from No Suprises

So as mentioned in the Weekender, after a long and butt week in idol in which very little of real interest happened, engines started to warm up a little bit yesterday, and we got something that those of us who are pro-POPiD could be excited about. Yes, it should come as … no surprise (haw) that the Idol Formerly Known as PiGU, called (ahem) No Surprises now and having none of the old PiGU membership but definitely having inherited their Twitter account, dropped their first single, “proof”, the other day (venue-only?), and along with that came this MV:

This post-PiGU project was, of course, going to be carrying over quite a bit of PiGU, and every little bit of what we’d seen from them so far suggested the same. Here, the best evidence yet, delivers in a way that … surprised (heh) me. There’s that little maturation in the sound — which, yes fine, it’s one song, but bear with me, until they turned dark, all of OG PiGU’s punk work was on the brighter end of that spectrum, and no I’m not buying this as “emotional blues rock” just yet — but moving with it is a complete makeover in the group’s look. It’s a good move, frankly, an aesthetic shift without needing to be revolutionary.

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I Love You. Now Go Get raymay’s Single

Well if this isn’t a post that happened quickly and with no real plan! But hell you guys, there hasn’t been a ton to write about this week, and I’d been meaning to make good on this one way or another ever since I knew about it, so here we go.

So raymay. You know, the little sister group of uijin’s that sounds like this and was either going to reveal the full extent of their awesomeness (or maybe just ambitions thereof) on this record, or would still leave us feeling pretty optimistic about their future because come on, “pulsar” is ridiculous. That raymay. The debut single is ready for digital download. And while I’d ordinarily just make that a Weekender thing, I’m not here because step one, do one of these things:

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Payrin’s Blessed Us with Double Video Love Today

Payrin’s! Talk about something that I just plain don’t get to post about enough. If you’d asked me a couple of years ago if that would be the case, I’d call you a silly billy and tweak your nose and laugh heartily, for of course this thing that I liked right from the get-go would be something that would be super active and all over the site. And brother, would I have been wrong!

It’s all good. I take my Paryin’s when I can get it, and today is one of those days. It’s not clear what the occasion is, but I’ll never turn down fresh video from a group that I keep on permanent blast just in case they do something cool and good, in this case a double live shot from December’s year-ending one-man:

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The Next Piece of Evidence Supporting My Hype for Shihatsumachi Underground’s Upcoming Album

You guys. Remember just around the historical corner when I completely lost consciousness over a minute-long clip of a song off of Shihatsumachi Underground’s month-plus-away album? Despite having passed out in awe, I remember it well! So well, in fact, that it’s all I can do to keep it together for another one:

Oh, that’s so good. I have a group of friends who are enormous fans of a certain French indie pop band that’s had some immodest hits this side of the pond who are going to love the crap out of this.

Despair Not for the Dissolution of our Dearest Dots

Before dashing off this article too briskly, I took in the last evening to ponder yesterday’s announcement that the dot-chans have scheduled what will be their final live, do a little research to understand what I could, and also to reflect on where we go in a world without the beloved shoegaze idols we’ve come to know.

I know that most all of you who follow the group are already aware of the impending closure, because I heard from a number of you about it, some in personal messages, and others from reading your reactions online. It speaks to the unique specialness of this group in the way many of you expressed your thoughts with a feeling of personal loss and perhaps a sense of disappointment. Oshi-loss, as Kerrie refers to it, is a very real emotional reaction when you’ve connected to an idol who’s graduating or a group that’s dissolving. And although these dot-chans have largely maintained a sort of aloof anonymity, they still touched a part of each of us fans. It’s also very notable to point out, as this article from Matt Bedford of Muso Japan demonstrates, that the group succeeded in gaining followers outside of idol circles.

I did reach out to Japanese fans, and I also read the group’s blog entry containing the chan’s statements. I can tell you that amongst the fans, the announcement was a surprise, and there is no obvious tangible reason for the dissolution that’s been given. I can also tell you that the dot girls of Tokyo are going to remain just as mysterious as they’ve been right up to the end. Everyone is very much remaining in character, and I not only appreciate that, but I love that that’s how they’re going out. The more I think about it, I’m less interested in finding out the “why”, and more interested in celebrating what we knew. In their blog statements, the members of the group seem to be upbeat and positive to travel into their futures. I get no sense of sadness.

The group’s primary manager/producer/visionary also kept the mythology going, explaining that the ethereal manifestations that took the shape of girls will inhabit those forms for only a limited amount of remaining time, and then the end of that time on Earth is here. The dot-chans were always meant to be impermanent, and so they move on to new planes of existence.

If you really want my non-mythology theory, I believe the dots are disbanding for the very best of reasons: Because they’ve largely achieved what they set out to do. Now they can go explore new things in their lives which may or may not include obsessive fans and metaphysical concepts. (There’s also the matter of this being a nearly no-profit industry, but I think that’s a given with most art-driven projects.) Some time ago, it was hinted that there was a new project underway that I thought was going to be a sister-group to the Dot-chans. That project is still happening. So far, almost nothing has been revealed about it except that it’s continuing the innovative high art concepts that Dots have broken ground with. I believe a torch is being passed, and it’ll be exciting to see what’s coming as this new project takes a tangible shape.

I want to tell you dear people reading this: Do not anticipate this event with despair, but rather look forward to the new things to come. Don’t miss the Dots with sadness, but remember them fondly with affection. This is the way of things, and like a passing satellite in the sky, it’s something you should cherish for simply having seen it.

The dot-chans will have their final live on March 24. They will also have additional activities building up to the last show. And since they still have unreleased recorded material and more songs, including another great tune written by Azusa Suga of For Tracy Hyde, (The video posted above!) I also suspect that they’ll have some more musical output to be consumed as well. I know the fans will support the group to the fullest and send them off in celebratory style, because they deserve it.

Now let’s thank Dots for what they gave us and wish them the very best.

The Renewed PIIIIIIIN Has a New Single Cooking

One of the nicest surprises that you can get when idol-diving is something that you didn’t notice at first but tripped over while looking for something else. Like, I completely missed that PIIIIIIIN had dropped a new track the other day until I happened over to Soundcloud to find another track, and there it was, like the very best kind of slap in the face.

“Jumping” comes to us from their new single, due in a month. If this is what we’re getting from the ostensible A-side, I can’t wait to see what they do with its partner!

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Oh Yes, It’s Time for Another New Party Rockets GT Song

I was almost unbelievably excited when Party Rockets GT, who at this point must be nearing some kind of idol record for general continuity and/or still has Haruka around because manager-san has her heart in an egg like in that old fairy tale, announced their series of monthly releases and then made good on the first delivery by cranking out one of their nastier tunes in a while. Oh man did that feel good. And it was only like a week ago!

Well, it’s time for the second installment, and hold on to your butts. This is the PRGT that makes the world go ’round:

Sorry, after listening to this, a solitary tear fell down my cheek. It’s so beautiful! was my body’s proclamation; my soul rejoiced. Please, gods dark and terrible, please keep this streak going. Please give me Party Rockets like this forever, like they’re meant to be. May they go full supernova and purge weak-ass loudol from this earth.

Anytime There’s New the mishmash, I’m Here for It

The mishmash! I was practically giddy when this showed up in the ol’ video queue. Despite not getting nearly as much love from other quarters as I wish they had, the mishmash (formerly just “mishmash”) were among my personal favorite debutantes from last year, with a kind of maturity and understated comfort zone that just doesn’t exist much in a field dominated by try-hard teenagers.

In not even three quarters of a year since their debut in the springtime, the mishmash has had a pretty good rise, and it’s culminating in their first album, due on the 13th. And with albums come what? Videos! Here you go:

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This I.D.And Fly LooM Song Is So Simple and Awesome

You guys will have to forgive me, there’s a lot going on in Maniac Land this week, and I don’t have the energy to put hype in appropriate places for appropriate things. Good thing for us that the former Diamondollfy dropped this one the other day, and the results speak for themselves!

Now if only I could figure out what the heck the group’s new name is supposed to mean other than “nag a ram.” That’s a grammar joke, kids.

Rock Your Socks off with Under Beasty

Wednesdays sucks and existence is pain. Ergo, you should take my word for it that the arrival of the MV for Under Beasty’s new (and first major) single is what you need to emerge from a funk borne of seasonal blahs and bad news. It’s like an injection of better:

There are times when I’m in a mood for true idorock, friends, and this is one of those times. It’s true, as the sages say, that every idorock song emanates from the One True Idorock (origin uncertain, possibly recorded by Kamen Rider Girls at the beginning of Idol Time) and, in the space between realms that transcends time, converges again with every other idorock song to create the One True Idorock. That familiarity, that safety, that goofy feeling of elaborately costumed young women song-and-dancing through a sonic blitz and making it sound pretty … love.