I knew that I was going to be on a train under the ground when GANG PARADE dropped the video for their new single, so my mind went to all kinds of fanciful places with it. Would it be heavy or dark or epic or tortured? Would it be great, or greatest? After all, nobody on the WACK roster has been as consistently cool and interesting with their releases as GANG PARADE since at least the latter parts of last year. A new single so titled as to get Ke$ha into my head from references first to last just had to be great, right?

I mean, it’s nice!

Inspirational! Also kind of nihilist!

I’ll admit, I was hoping for something a little more something out of this one. It reminds me way more of late-run POP than it does what GANG PARADE’s been doing since the SiSncident injected raw excitement into what had been WACK’s least effective product, and that took some doing when you consider that the opening guitar licks got me het up like I was about to get the rock anthem I’ve been waiting for. Alas! I guess the limitations of being for a TV show proved to be too much.

This nice single will be out on the 11th.


THE BANANA MONKEYS are truly one of the most cursed, yet fascinating idol groups happening at the moment.

Let’s get the good news out of the way. A new EP, Good bye, Hello, coming in just a few weeks!

Yes! Label is not bad is already a candidate for Album Of The Year 2018, and I liked their recent digital singles too, so I’m pretty dang excited about this. So much so that I haven’t even watched this trailer so my first reactions upon listening to the whole thing can be genuine (aka so that if I do a sleepy review of this it gets the kind of weirdness that this group deserves).

“But Kerrie”, I hear you cry. “Didn’t they add a fifth member recently? Why are there only four of them?”

Yeah, about that … Continue reading

When You Friday Fun to Make Ends Meet

Summer is almost over! Thank god. No offence to those of you who love summer, but I just can’t handle the sweat, bugs and hayfever, so I’m hyped for autumn. Plus, we’ve got the new Necroma album in autumn! Am I rambling? Sorry. On with last week’s Fun highlights:

It’s no secret that many idols, especially underground idols, have to work secondary jobs to make ends meet. As Pour Lui has shown, even big names don’t normally make that much compared to most western celebrities. So this week, we come up with some adequate side jobs for those idols who might need a little extra help lining their pockets this week. After all, being an idol can provide you with a variety of unexpected skills for any career path! This week’s hashtag is #IdolSideJobs and lets hope our oshis don’t really need to apply to one of those.

(Update: Surprisingly, this was actually written before this other thing that I’m writing about happened. Seriously!)

These Two New Tracks from Wonder Lander Are Solid

There were two surprise music things in my stream this morning: Eminem’s Kamikaze album of diss tracks, and these two demos from Wonder Lander.

Yeah, Wonder Lander! When was the … holy smokes. I mean, they’ve popped up in the Weekender a-plenty during the past year, but you’d think that I’d do something more for one of my personal guilty pleasure idol groups. I have to admit that I don’t even know where the membership stands vs. its original iteration anymore!

Just enjoy the dang songs.

Diable Voix Has a New Single

You talk about things that you would’ve completely missed if not for a quick Twitter dive, you’re talking about stumbling over the new single from solo idol project Diable Voix, “Sakura memento”, which is incidentally Haluka’s third single release in a year under this banner:

I’m proud of Halu, you know? After Lolisyn and then PSYCHO PREDATOR, it would be understandable if she’d wanted to call it a day. Plural years in idol is a long time, and probably an eternity when you’re chika as all hell. To just keep on trucking shows a real dedication, doing it for the love as much as anything else.

It’s Time to Get into Toricago, Gang

Update: And there’s an MV!

And more to the point, if you’re yet to get onto the Toricago bandwagon despite the pretty breathless reception that I’ve given them since their debut (in March, no less!), now might be a good time, because they might be ready to break out, and soon.

Their first album, i cAn FLY, sprang into existence on Tuesday, and it’s ready for you to download and whatnot:

Lots of idols release stuff all the time, you correctly point out, but you, Maniac, rarely make that much of a deal about it. What’s so special about this? I’ll tell you! It’s because we, as a community, are still mostly neck-deep in the acts that got us into idol in the first place (or their descendants/sisters), which largely scans to a 2014-16 time frame (thanks Babymetal!), and while we individually catch up with acts the correspond to our own biases over time, the tippy-top community favorites are largely unchanged over the last couple of years. Toricago, along with a handful of others who have debuted over the past year, has a chance to break some of that hegemony and potentially even be a standard-bearer for idols dispensing with the last generation’s New Way of Doing Things and forging on with scene-defining work of their own. Continue reading

And Now HAMIDASYSTEM: The Final Chapter

And here, finally, after months of construction, of combining the aural with the visual with the personal with the novel, HAMIDASYSTEM finally gets to put an end to the four-part arc brought they kicked off all the way back in May. This is the final chapter in their story:

For the storytelling: Continue reading

We Interview Idols: Yanakoto Sotto Mute

This past weekend, our man Daemon hit up the East Meets West Music Fest; with Monsterpanda in tow as translator, he sat down with literally three of this site’s all-time favorite idols. Today, we have his report back from entering the holiest of holies with Yanakoto Sotto Mute, the perfect modern idols.

Talking to the people waiting for the doors to Anaheim’s Chain Reaction to open for East Meets West Fest, it became apparent that the one group over from Japan that people were least familiar with was Yanakoto Sotto Mute. Even though their debut, “Bubble”, was on several websites’ Album of the Year lists for 2017, and their follow-up Mirrors is a contender for the current year, Yanamute still seems fly under the radar for some Western fans of chika idol. One person in line behind me said he had intentionally avoided listening to them. “I don’t want to know anything about them,” he said, “I want to experience them raw for the first time.”

While a part of me envied him that imminent experience, I was also a little concerned. Yanakoto Sotto Mute can be a lot to take in all at once. Their music is complex: Rife with signature, tempo and key changes while their vocals play with harmony and dissonance. Their dancing is like a more contemplative version of Mikiko-sensei’s gesture-based choreography and can seem more focused on expressing internal dialogue than generating audience participation. But for all of the brooding introspection, Yanamute’s performances also contain frequent, audience-churning moments of fierce and inspired joy.

A few hours prior, we had been given the opportunity to speak to Yanamute’s Nadeshiko, Mani, Ichika and Rena about their impending debut American performance. As we were led in to meet them, the quartet were dressed in their signature white costumes, each cut to a distinct and individual pattern. Much like their music, they came across as both bright and introspective; contemplative and friendly. And just a little nervous. Continue reading

The Contemplative Quiet of Penultimate HAMIDASYSTEM

Hey, just like yesterday, let’s leave alone what doesn’t need to be tampered with. Tomorrow is D-Day for whatever work of artistic glory that HAMIDASYSTEM is going to bless the world with; today is about completing the original circle with FLAME’s contribution to the Epic of HAMIDASYSTEM:

This is so introspective that it makes my heart hurt

Aw heck, let’s say a thing! Continue reading

The Magic of HAMIDASYSTEM Week Can Leave You Speechless

The greatest gifts of all are the ones that keep on giving. Unless they’re cursed monkeys’ paws, being able to regularly turn to that something special and get a little bit more out of it each time, that’s real quality gift-giving. It’s why I personally like to create memories for the people I care about, rather than hand them another doodad that won’t matter much in the end.

Is that a ham-fisted enough metaphor for the glory that is HAMIDASYSTEM Week? We’re on Day 3, time for BEET’s tune, and well past the point where gushing is worth it.

To backwards-paraphrase Rod Farva, I’m not going to disgrace this fine piece of work with any additional commentary. You’ve heard it; you’ve seen it; let’s just bask in the taintless glory that is HAMIDASYSTEM Week and prepare ourselves mentally and physically to be changed forever.