HOT TAKE: BEYOOOOONDS Goes One Step Beyond Idol-Metal!

BEYOOOOONDS (with five “O”s in their name”) continue to kill it with another blast of pop goodness! For me personally, this is a group that has single-handedly injected a massive fire back into HELLO! Project with their personalities, enthusiastic spirit, and just plain incredibly fun music. Their mega-workout themed update on a 400 year-old classical piece-turned gay-rights anthem-turned football stadium rocker was a humongous winner in it’s own right, and now they’ve unleashed “HOT!”, a full-on banger of a rock tune that’s a new epic for the masses.

Now if you’re somebody who’s gotten into idol through the whole Babymetal/rock idol/or this so-called “alt” thing, you might be thinking “Man, I don’t care about this H!P stuff.” and I’m here to tell you, this is the one to get on board with. No really, turn up your volume and hit that play button….

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RAY Drops a Visually Stunning Meteor of Emotions and Reverb…

It was just mere days ago we were talking about that wonderful footage of RAY performing live in Taiwan, and we took a moment to also mention that the group will also be releasing their first single/EP, entitled “Blue”. The release has lovely cover art and an extremely impressive roster of collaborators. Now we’ve been blessed with another highly anticipated track on the disk, “Meteor”, featuring an instrumental arrangement by Elliot Frazier of the highly regarded Austin band Ringo Deathstarr!

This is one of those times and RAY is one of those groups where I try to remain self-aware of my effusive praise and realize that if I get too over-the-top raving about how much I love this, I run the risk making some of you question if my judgment is clouded by my gushing enthusiasm. Yeah well, I’m raving cause Holy Moses I love this song to the moon and back.

Even if this wasn’t one of my favorite groups currently on the scene, I’d be still incredibly excited and wanting more. The wash of the guitars, the reverb, bubbling bass and the drums are just perfect examples of the musical influences of this group. And the lush, almost buried (Sung in English, no less.) vocals are beautiful indeed! There’s a bit of a half-joking argument in shoegaze circles that in this genre, the vocals need to be barely heard and nearly indecipherable to be truly gazing at shoes, and this certainly does that, adding a delicious air of mystery to the song. (The actual lyrics are in the YouTube description, by the way.) 

As for the MV, it’s just gorgeous, brimming with sensory overload and yet an underlying feeling of melancholia. It intimately captures how a megacity like Tokyo can be at equal turns exciting and bursting with bustling activity, but yet at the same time be the most oppressively lonely place on Earth.  Notice how the MV begins with high-tech consumer-driven dazzle, but by the end, mundane images of street cleaning and trash collection work their way in, as the superficial wonder of the city gives way to garbage bags and emotionally exhausted people hanging their heads low on the late-night streets.

There’s so many amazing shots here, from the wide pans over the busy intersections to the close-ups of pay phones and long treks down vacancies corridors, that tell us a dozen stories at once. And binding everything together is RAY member Marino Kai wandering through it all, trying to simply get through this night and maybe hopefully finding something better tomorrow as she pauses to silently sip a beer.

RAY is delivering on it’s every promise here. A beautiful merging of music, art, and the concepts of idol in complex, fascinating ways, with collaborations by top talent. I hope this upcoming release really puts them on the map, and that people everywhere take notice. I would love to see this group visit Austin and perform at SXSW, showing the real potential of this genre beyond the old idol tropes and stereotypes. Here’s wishing them the best! 

https://twitter.com/_RAY_world/status/1180784780381569024?s=20

 

 

RAY Gazes Upon Taipei… (With Live Footage!)

RAY, the next generation shoegaze idols who arose from the ashes of the legendary dot-chans, have been hard at work crossing genres, boundaries and now borders. The group visited Taiwan and performed a show in Taipei. Excitedly, I scanned Twitter and YouTube hoping to find some footage of the concert. Viz and Rain were also thankfully on the case, and proved to be ethusiatic as always to help out…

And Rain went and found an upload of the entire set! He certainly wanted to make sure we didn’t sleep on it… Continue reading

This Week’s Friday Fun Sneaks Into The Movies! #IdolMoviePitch

Wow, last week’s Friday Fun was pretty beautiful! Kerrie once again fulfilled her role as the nexus of idol fan energy and nurtured some positive vibes. We all should occasionally remind ourselves that while we do indeed love idols, the interconnected family that is the fandom community is perhaps an equal, if not greater draw to what keeps us here. Last weekend was even better for that little love-in, and we should indeed take a bit of pride in ourselves and each other for this thing we’ve become a part of.

Alas, Kerrie is still suffering through her frustrating technical difficulties, so the fun is falling onto the substitute squad’s shoulders. Thanks to Daemon and his mad mind though, we’ve got a very fun….well, Friday Fun!

You know what we need in the movies these days? Less Moody-McMoody superheros and more idols! So that’s where you come in! Imagine you’re pitching your concept for an idol-themed movie to an executive or investor and use a tweet to sell it to us!

It can be an idol-specific storyline, or perhaps a remake starring your oshi, or just about any wacky (or serious) thing you can imagine! Tweet your #IdolMoviePitch and wait for the offers to flood in! We’re waiting and have millions of dollars ready to throw at you! (Okay maybe not, but how about a $7 box of Raisinets?) 

HANAMUKE Is Too Cool For School!

HANAMUKE is the third idol act on the current SHINDENTSU PRODUCTION roster, the same agency that has won us over with the fabulous ELECTRIC HEARTS and the delightful scribble scritch!  While we’ve been previously introduced to the other two acts, HANAMUKE have only been known to us over here at Homicidols in name only, so there’s been a bit of anxious anticipation to find out what they’re about…

All I’ve really known about them is that they’re a duo consisting of Yuni and Tsubra, and that they describe their music as “Underground Techno Idol”. Beyond that, I had nothing to speculate on regarding their musical sound until now…

So finally, in the tradition of previous SDP promo media, here’s a cool little low-budget video for you!

I sure do like it a lot! It’s all very familiar sounding but yet not so derivative that it feels like meatloaf again. It’s good, solid pop music that would lend itself well to dancing around your room or helping you survive the drudgery of a morning commute into work. It also sounds ripe for some fun extended remixes, so hopefully they’ll follow up on the underground techno spirit by letting the tracks be open to experimentation  by amateur soundboard enthusiasts.

And as for the MV itself, it plays off nicely with a bit of a young Vanilla Beans sort of vibe, complete with lackadaisical choreography,  retro dresses, and bob-cut wigs! And oh yes, bonus points for the robot dance moves at the 2:50 mark, you really can’t go wrong with that!

Obviously, with a limited amount of material and small following, the group still has room for growth ahead of them, but that’ll most certainly change in the months to come. Give em’ a chance and follow them so you can later brag that you knew about em’ early on!

HANAMUKE official website

Official Twitter

SHINDENTSU PRODUCTION Youtube channel

 

Go Mod With Beni and CHILDISH TONES!

avandoned‘s leader-self-producer-and all-around mastermind Beni Usakura enjoyed a  surprise hit earlier this year when she collaborated with the toy-instrument garage-punk band CHILDISH TONES! Aside from an acclaimed single, the 45 record sold-out it’s pre-sales, then sold out it’s extended press-run, and eventually got a second pressing to meet it’s demand! Of course it makes sense that the hippest idol in the biz would once again team up with rockin’ist toy band on the planet, and here’s their latest delicious pop nugget for our listening satisfaction!

https://twitter.com/usakura_beni/status/1178517922701955072?s=20

The A-side is called “Make Her Mine”, and there’s an appropriately lo-fi homemade MV to go along with it…

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It’s Time For Our First #IdolDoodles Fan-Art Round-Up!

Time goes by quick! It was at the very end of August when we hosted a Friday Fun dedicated to the joys of fan art, and it came together quite nicely, and YOU deserve all the credit for that! Literally every single post with the #idoldoodles tag was wonderful, I mean that! That kind of positive, creative energy really makes my day, and is truly one of my very favorite things about being a part of this fandom.

One thing you may recall is that we’re intending to maintain a regular feature here on the blog where we share a few of our favorite pieces with the masses. We’ll be revisiting the aforementioned hashtag, but also keeping our eyes peeled for any other terrific idol-themed artwork we happen upon. I’m not sure how often we’ll do a round-up yet: semi-weekly, monthly, probably most likely when we feel like it, but I really want everybody who cares about the wonderful artwork in this community to participate in any way they want. If you make art, (any kind of art) let us know! If you see some else’s art you especially like, also let us know!

We’ll link the twitter or Instagram posts here, and if you see something you appreciate, by all means, please visit their account and let them know you like it! You’ll be surprised how much a simple click of the heart, or a nice comment, or a retweet can mean to a person brave enough to put their work out there. If you do that, they’ll feel compelled to make more art, maybe even score a commission, or just plain feel more confident in what they do. Everybody wins!

With that said, here’s some stuff from the last month that we really liked…

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HEY WAIT A MINUTE! We never talked about scribble scritch!!!!

Man, what is up with us?!? We’ve been gushing so much about how much we all love ELECTRIC HEARTS, (Which is 100% totally justifiable.) that we never really wrote a proper profile of their sister group, scribble scritch! I went back and searched the site, and while Daemon had the good taste and keen insight to include their “DROP” MV in a weekender back in August, there’s still no dedicated article to this damn near perfect punk-pop-idol outfit from Osaka, and that’s kind of unforgivable! (I’m blaming myself in this too.) Well, that ends ends today, buster!

Since we’re on the late bus with this, chances are mighty good that you may know these ladies already, and that’s great! But I also think some you haven’t, because I feel pretty certain you’d be ranting and raving at us for not covering them sooner because Holy Moses are they terrific.

As it stands at this exact moment, the group is a trio made up of Nina, Suzuna, and Erina, hailing from the Osaka area under the Shindentsu Production banner, which as mentioned before is also the agency that represents our favorite idol group with paper bags on their heads. (The agency also has a third group, and duo called HANAMUKE, who we’re also watching out for.)

Musically…well, tell me to shut up and post the MV already!

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More ELECTRIC HEARTS Than You Can Shake A Paper Bag At!

ELECTRIC HEARTS, the purveyors of “FANTASTIC PUNK IDOL FROM OSAKA” are rapidly finding a place in our hearts with their speedy lo-fi punk rock and cheeky style. Chris first brought them up last month and they instantly earned a place on Team Homicidols’ radar as a group to watch.

It’s an interesting strategy to attempt to pull off another anonymous idol group, because while it’s very fun to see girls singing and dancing with paper bags on their heads, there’s a risk that comes with it due to the limitations it places on fan’s ability to connect and bond with the members. Just ask the Dot-chans about the challenges that come with that. I still wonder if ELECTRIC HEARTS will eventually un-bag themselves as their star rises in the idol world.

But the other side of the task is this: Without the more obvious ways to make to that wota/idol connection, the girls have to rely on good music and charasmatic attitude to reach out for new fans. Maybe that’s been their plan from the get-go, who knows? But to help advance the cult of the paper-bag idols, here’s a bunch of partial songs to check out. And you know what? They’re all great!!

Dig that buzzsaw guitar and the vocals on this track!

And here’s some pure pop goodness served under a layer of punk rock…

Also, I love these super-low budget preview videos! It’s about as DIY as ripping holes in a paper bag!

“Ballads? We got ballads!”

And here we’ve got “SKULL BOWES”, another punk-pop sing-along gem, this time accompanied with some highly sophisticated animation..

Dang, these are all pretty good, huh? I checked in on the group’s twitter account, and currently they’ve only got 153 followers…that’s criminal! Everybody who’s gotta soul should be dropping everything to lend their support (And maybe donate some paper goods!) to ELECTRIC HEARTS and their label mates scribble scritch. (Who have the best name for a group right now.)

You can still support those stuffy pretend-punk corporate idols if you want, that’s fine, but we’ve got the real deal right here, and certainly you can dedicate some time to them too. Paper or plastic?? I know what I prefer! 

 

 

 

Beautiful Chaos From Okinawa Electric Girl Saya…

Wow! Okinawa Electric Saya is so full-steam-ahead at this point that I really can’t keep up with her, but I’m trying my best! I joked before that I suspect that she doesn’t actually sleep, and that theory seems to only continue to hold up to the evidence at hand…

So our favorite black-clad-experimental-neo-art-idol from Okinawa dropped another MV today, her third video set piece promoting her recent album “Black Angel”. As per usual, it’s worth checking out and delving into a world significantly different than what anybody else in the game is exploring…

Now this is the kind of stuff I really dig from her! Continue reading