We Review Things: BiSH | ‘CARROTS and STiCKS’

BiSH - CARROTS and STiCKS

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.

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Let’s Form a More Perfect Union with this Friday Fun

The Americans are taking over the Fun! In the spirit of the 4th of July, us Yanks with no social media savvy have wrested control of the Friday Fun away from our resident British monarch, Kerrie.

This revolution should in no way be seen as Kerrie’s punishment for last Friday’s Fun, #AltIdolBabyShowerleaking a little too far into reality.

Other than SENANAN taking the idea literally, the rest of you were surprisingly well behaved.

As we recover from our raucous Independence Day celebrations of hot dogs, monster trucks, fireworks and Pabst Blue Ribbon (ed. actually I just binged Stranger Things and had a Chinese chicken salad), we ask you to imagine, what would our land of the free and home of the brave look like if had been founded by idols, for idols?

  • What if the Constitutional Congress had been run like a BiS audition?
  • What if Zero-chan had crossed the icy Delaware wielding a baseball bat with nails in it?
  • What if Hanako-san had gotten to add a few amendments to the Bill of Rights?
  • What if Melon Batake a Go-Go had their very own State?

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SENANAN Makes Some Life Changing Announcements

Yesterday SENANAN, our favorite unstoppable ball of Monster Ultra Blue-fueled energy, took a break from her 300 active projects to make a few surprise announcements. First, she’s gotten married.

The lucky groom is OFFPACO, drummer for the rapcore group HOTVOX. Continue reading

Tsurezure Makes Us All Feel Something Different with “ssixth”

Yukueshirezutsurezure will be dropping their uncharacteristically upbeat single, “ssixth”, this coming Wednesday, July 3rd. To prepare us for this imminent release, these barefoot angels of yami kawaii blessed us with a chilling MV that inspired dueling interpretations around the Homicidols press room. 

In it, Mei Yui Mei and the adorable Kotetsu portray gleeful bullies documenting their torment of a passive Takara. Left battered and restrained, Takara is rescued(?) by  opportunistic predator or compassionate fellow victim Komachi.  This is left a bit ambiguous in the blood spattered end as is their final fate. Continue reading

BABYMETAL AWAKENS!! Announces 3rd Album Release Date, European Tour and More

On night one of BABYMETAL AWAKENS – The Sun Also Rises at Yokohama arena, KOBAMETAL woke up and realized he had forgotten to tell anyone when the group’s new album was being released. Shortly following Friday night’s show, he finally announced:

METAL GALAXY, BABYMETAL’s third album, will be released on October 11th 2019. This date coincides with their first-ever U.S arena show at the Forum in Los Angeles.

The 16-track album will come in at least seven flavors:

  • Limited SUN version – (2CD / Analog size jacket) – ¥ 4,500
  • Limited MOON edition – (2CD / Analog size jacket) – ¥ 4,500
  • Limited edition – (2CD + DVD) – ¥ 4,200 
  • Normal edition – (2CD) – ¥ 3,500
  • Analog version – (2Vinyl) – ¥ 5,000
  • THE ONE Limited Edition- (2CD + DVD) – ¥ 9,000 + THE ONE fan club membership
  • A transparent vinyl version has also popped up on the English language store.

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Tsurezure Announces Sixth Single, “ssixth”

Not Secured, Loose Ends have announced that “ssixth”, the group’s sixth single,  will be released on July 3rd and, for some reason, the world suddenly feels like a better place.

I was going to say something else, perhaps about the album art, but thoughts are strangely difficult to put together… Continue reading

We Review Things: NECRONOMIDOL | scions of the blasted heath

NECRONOMIDOL release their highly anticipated five-song EP, scions of the blasted heath, this Wednesday, June 16.  It is their first studio recording since the graduation of beloved and iconic idols Hina and Sari, and the addition of new members  back in January.

Necronomidol, scions of the blast heap

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:

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New Month, New Music from Minna no Kodomochan

I love this! The first of the month used to just mean handing over my rent check and making sure all the utilities got paid. These days, it also brings a new song from Minna no Kodomochan, one of the most musically adventurous chika idols who just happen to be hitting everything out the park recently.

You can get the song from other outlets here: https://t.co/MCpbeZzVOH

“Soliloquies” is Kodomochan’s attempt at a light, breezy summer song with acoustic guitar strumming and popcorn keyboards.  Of course, it is Kodomochan and quickly evolves into frenetic dissonance, but it never loses any of its warm charm. Continue reading

We Over-Analyze Things: BABYMETAL | “Elevator Girl”

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 contenders Atarashii 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

Minna no Kodomochan Launch Five Months of New Music with “wall”

Kodomochan, fresh off of their back-to-back Corenement championships, has released the first deliverable of their recently successful crowdfunding campaign. As promised, from now until September, Everyone’s Children will bless us with a new song each and every month.  

May’s entry is the minimalistically titled continuation on the group’s core theme: “wall”

“What potent blood hath modest May.” ― Ralph W. Emerson

The doom metal pacing is is a perfect set-up that drives right into a synth-pop transition to… more metal. It’s like Iron Maiden invited Flock of Seagulls over to jam (think “I Ran” meets “Run to the Hills”).  Like many Kodomochan songs, it contains a glorious aural revelation that is worth staying around for before devolving into a reckless and manic finish including one last metal drop. Continue reading