Good morning! Oh you guys, I am so damn tired. The silly season at work is winding down after a few months of ramping up. The last two weeks have been work-work-work, but finally we start to close the book beginning today. I’m quite jazzed when I’m not staring blankly at a computer screen, mind vacant from exhaustion!
But notably, two years ago this time was when my brain broke and I made the first of two stress-induced disappearing acts. After getting that all sorted (during the friggin pandemic no less) and actually getting not just to the heart of the matter, but to remedial and therapeutic approaches, not only do I feel a tiny fraction of that old stress, but it’s much more deal-withable besides. And so I like to think of this time of year as my own personal Mental Health Awareness Week Or So, and I am definitely right now encouraging you to seek help for any of the myriad things that could be weighing you down or stressing you out.
And with that said, this is where I get to say that I barely paid attention to idol this week, so it’s a short Weekender and I’m sorry. At #245, I get to lay a few eggs, you know?
Well, didn’t we time that most recent top 50 post well? New FRUITPOCHETTE single:
If you’ve been following Italian multinational unit Erisu like all good children do, then you not only are aware of their release history, but also the long narrative playing out in their work, and the somewhat more digestible version that comes through in their videos. As a person who loves himself both concept albums and deep commitments to a backstory (see: GWAR), I gleefully absorbed yesterday’s most recent installment:
We have reached the second-to-last week of our Top 50 countdown featuring the albums that placed 11 – 20 plus one honorable mention that didn’t quite make the final list of 50.
“Why the honorable mentions?”, no one asked, “Why not just make it a top 55 or 60?”
There are a few reasons such as we had to draw a line somewhere, and also because we wanted to respect our quasi-democratic process. The primary reason though is because, when we first took a look at the final top 50, we were surprised by a few things that weren’t there. This week’s honorable mention is a prime case in point:
Boy, was I excited when I saw this pop up in the queue the other day. We don’t ever hear enough from GRATIA-ALA, to the point where I’m not even going to pretend to know anything about them anymore. But I enjoyed them before, I must enjoy them again, right?
What the absolute hell was that! I give it lots of points for a nice hook and having the sheer audacity to smash all of that stuff together into a single track. How can you even be mad about it? Absolute chaos.
Some of the coolest idols from Thailand have a new live video and boy do they have something to say. With instrumentation from Thai band While We Were, sink your teeth into the live footage of “Su Tae Tong Mai Tai” (สู้แต่ต้องไม่ตาย, “Fight But Don’t Die”).
So last week, while writing up my own little contribution to our ongoing all-time top 50 albums project, I was re-listening to Shihatsu-machi Underground’s self-titled for probably the 100th time and casually adding them to the list of groups that, going into 2020, really felt like they might be on the cusp of great things (before, you know). And I won’t walk that back because I’m a fan, though I will allow that a certain bias may tinge the perspective — the whole reason that Shihatsu-machi made it onto our countdown at all is because of the unique alignment of the people on Team and the spectrum of tastes among us; obviously we aren’t talking about a hugely influential group or release here (not yet), but rather one that holds up in our opinion as just being remarkably good. Continue reading
Good morning! Or as good as it can be — there’s a sort of hell-in-a-handbasket thing going on in the news right now, like everywhere. Even our distractions are terrible. I caught a few minutes of the Olympic Open Ceremony last night and just couldn’t deal with not just the empty stadium, but the fact that it shouldn’t be happening anyway, like nobody other than a handful of rich people really want this to go off. And at roughly the same time, a young hockey player whose rap sheet is longer than his career highlights and who literally said he shouldn’t be drafted into the NHL was drafted in the first round anyway. The world can be so poisonous.
But here we are, and sometimes it’s important to remember that we only have any kind of control as far as our own lives go. That’s good, actually, and it means that we can form the world a bit around ourselves, find things that make it work for us. And, ah, ahem, look at this Weekender and all of the fun in it!
Also go read the latest installment of the countdown, and comment about how mad you are that the thing you like didn’t crack the top 20!
Presumptuous, Aren’t We?
Oh lord, they let BiSH join LINE:
We have hit the half-way point of our attempt to capture some of the greatness that the alternative, indie and underground idols of Japan have contributed to the world over the past ten years. If you would like a recap of the methodology we used to arrive at the album rankings, please visit week one’s installment. If you missed last week’s post or want a refresher of the albums that placed 31st – 40th, you can find that here.
Now, on with the next ten albums in the countdown plus one honorable mention that fell just a little bit short of the top 50:
Where my other old-time UNDER BEASTY fans at? This is so cool, right? Our girls landed themselves a TV show theme, and while it is pretty standard idorock, it’s good standard idorock, and with a cool MV to boot:
UB’s soon to celebrate their seventh anniversary (as UNDER BEASTY). I’m always so happy for them.
This is a very short post because I’m on a train
Some idol groups, even those that are just grinding away on chika stage after chika stage, release tons of material and as a result are super accessible; others … not so much. I do have a gift for recall, fortunately, so it’s rare to really, truly forget about a unit once introduced, but as time goes on and life’s priorities change, I do have to admit to being surprised when certain projects pop up from the blind spots in my mind.
Like PapiRosier, who released this MV the other day for their new single! This is the first thing I wrote about them, in the summer of 2016; we have averaged 0.8 post per year from them since, as that seems to be the approximate release schedule. And given how things change over time and the whole “heavy idol” thing has run its course in certain ways, I fully expected this MV to be a simple, sparkling idol song, probably kind of anthemic because that’s what they do, but bereft of much in the way of rock sounds and definitely not something to blog a post about: Continue reading