We are one third of the way through the Homicidols calendar year (which runs December through November for REASONS) so we thought it was time to make note of the songs, albums and MVs that we’ve had on repeat for the last four months. When I say “We,” I mean Team Homicidols and the denizens of the Homicidols’ Discord server. We’ve surveyed the entirety of the various elements that make up the Homicidols’ hive mind and come up with the following nominations for best singles, EPs, albums and MVs of the first quadrimester of our 2023.
One thing to note is that you will find a decided lack of BABYMETAL in the below list. While THE OTHER ONE is proving to be an exceptional album and I’ve personally contributed at least two-dozen views to the 3 Million replays of the piano version of “Monochrome,” BABYMETAL is a multi-national, multi-million dollar project that doesn’t really need a signal boost here. We wanted to use this time to focus more on the efforts of the truly independent and underground idols who are also doing extraordinary things, oftentimes with budgets smaller than the cost of the microphone SU-METAL sang into on THE FIRST TAKE (reportedly, an $11,000 TELEFUNKEN). WACK snuck some entries in too, but that happens sometimes.
Best New Singles
Melancholic Cinderella Story – “Answer.”
One of the breakout tales of 2023, Melancholic Cinderella Story has been wielding their brand of hard rock and idolcore to great effect. While the gloomy, gothic lolita princess wannabes have dropped several extraordinary pieces of work in the last few months, they are probably best profiled in this, their latest single.
Zsasz – “Ultra Heroine”
Zsasz have been excellent from the beginning and just keep getting progressively better. Here in 2023, the Utsu-P produced unit seems to be nearing perfection.
BiSH – “Bye-Bye Show”
Like bookends, BiSH started with a reference to The Yellow Monkey song “Spark” with their debut song of the same name (the line “Something inside of me is changing” being directly lifted from it) and ended with their last single being produced by the band members themselves. The B-side is even a cover of the OG song. As a BiS successor project, BiSH starting with a Yemon reference probably wouldn’t surprise too many people, but to end with such a bang really does showcase how different they became; Formed in the mirror image of the group that’s always an emotional disaster, now standing at the end with a success story to tell. Instead of a pained cry, BiSH are ending with a melancholic, single tear. – Cal
MAZE – “SUPERSONIC”, “IDOL RIOT” or “Grotesque Creatures”
It’s not that we’re indecisive. It’s more like we’re OVER-decisive. When we asked the Homicidols’ Discord server who they would put up for Best Single So Far, every last 2023 release by MAZE got at least one mention. Let’s hope they put this exceptional collection on an EP soon so they don’t monopolize the category come Best of They Year time.
RAY – “secrets”
RAY has been the most consistently superlative project in the idol world since their inception. Their latest release (titled “Himitsu ga itaiyo” in the Japanese version, or “I’m dying for a secret”) is another superb addition to their already remarkable catalogue.
B.O.L.T – “Accent”
Set to disband next month, B.O.L.T left us with one last irrepressibly addictive pop punk melody to get stuck in our heads forever.
Best New EPs
The Grateful a MogAAAz – Round & Round
A quintessential “blast this in your car” record, The Grateful a MogAAAz have produced the ultimate road trip EP with Round and Round. The chugging guitar riffs and up-tempo rhythms are the very definition of “driving,” all backed by the tongue-in-cheek, trademark playfulness of Gollipop’s power rock idols. This is quite possibly the best EP of the year so far.
GALS – MiwakuNoCream
Skirting the borders of electro-swing and hyper pop with occasional nods to J-rock, “empowerment idol” unit GALS have served up one of the most delightfully refreshing EPs in Miwaku no Cream (“enchanting cream”). Standout track, “Anti Generic Idol” is enough to secure a nomination for Best Of consideration, but every track here is worth a place on a playlist.
MELON BATAKE A GO GO – BLACK MELON / WHITE MELON
Our favorite sidekick idols from outer space decided that, instead of just releasing an album, to release two EPs highlighting their two formations: BLACK MELON and WHITE MELON. While there is no consensus among the denizens of the Homicidols’ Discord server regarding which EP is better, it doesn’t matter: just enjoy both.
PassCode – REVERBERATE
Back in 2013, PassCode almost single-handedly established the idolcore genre. Ten years on, they are still the vanguard of the artform and may still be getting even better.
Best New Albums
MAMESHiBA no TAiGUN – MAMEQUEST
It just figures that the WACK unit currently putting out the most compelling music is also the group that Watanabe keeps threatening to kill.
I (Cal) also really liked this album. WACK is currently undergoing a bit of a shift in terms of sound and image, so the MAMESHiBA album being an array of new producers that still kind of flirt with that old sound is a nice stepping stone. “MUST GO” being a secondary take on that Kentacore, WACK-y “we have to go” ballad kind of felt like an off-brand SCRAMBLES moment at first, but it’s a grower, not a shower. What, you’re surprised we’re making dick jokes about WACK? C’mon now. – Cal
nantyara-idol – Life Goes On
From WACK to the truly indie and underground, nantyara-idol give us Life Goes On, a brilliant, 20-track take on multiple post-punk genres. While the album features a collection of re-arrangements, collaborations and remixes from their decade of existence, every song feels like an original and as it was meant to be. The above punk version of “Salad Familiar” is proof positive and will never leave your head.
airattic – airattic
In only their second year of existence, airattic have made their case to be mentioned among the top tier of the genre, and their self-titled first album is the irrefutable evidence. Their short life has produced a deep, diverse and artful catalog of electronica, shoegaze and dreampop. This album is full of standout tracks including, “Kanjyosen Children” (above), “About the Gray City” (below), and the frenetic “plastic dada.” Anyone still heartbroken by the dissolution of Yanakoto Sotto Mute or LiLii Kaona will find some comfort here.
NOW DRAMATiC – LIFE IS DRAMATiC
While WACK has turned away from using SCRAMBLES for music production, there is no need to worry about the future of Kentacore. O-Key has stepped in as SCRAMBLES’ primary employer these days, and perhaps the biggest beneficiary of this relationship is one of their newest units, NOW DRAMATiC. This cast of standout veterans, including King Yuria (former Dan te Lion and KANARIA), wield the new SCRAMBLES sound like they were born to it. Anyone who still pines for SPARK SPEAKER should give this excellent debut a listen, especially tracks like “Higaimousou Loser” and “Colorful” .
Best New MVs
airattic – “About the Gray City”
One of only two units to land multiple entries on this Best Of list, airattic have decided to make a definitive stir in their second year of existence. Idol MVs usually place the idols front and center, but this subdued video takes the contemplative route, showcasing the personality of the song and the members through artistry and mood. It is entirely effective, mesmerizing, and memorable, and deserving to be at the top of this category.
Melancholic Cinderalla Story – “punish you”
Taking the opposite approach of airattic, our only other unit to score two mentions on this list, Melancholic Cinderella Story, push their members to the forefront to create the chilling imagery for “punish you.” Film makers on a budget should take notice of this incredibly effective way to tell a visual narrative with make up, camera angles, clean lighting and aggressive editing. The excellent tune helps, of course, and turns this into a compelling MV that demands replays.
Isiliel – “Seian Kengen”
No one is doing it better than Himari right now, and Isiliel is easily the most compelling project in chika idol. While we anxiously await the release of her upcoming debut album (recently recorded in Sweden with the help of Fredrik Nordström whose credits also include Arch Enemy, Bring Me the Horizon and Sabaton), we have “Seien Kengen” to watch on repeat.
Pure White Canvas – “Bocchi”
This entry is a twofer as “Bocchi” by Pure White Canvas is also one of the best new songs of 2023 as well. We don’t typically turn to Shirokyan for emo, pop-punk, but here they really turn it out and pair the surprising tune with a heartfelt MV. Good MVs tell a story, convey a mood, and take you on a journey compelling enough to keep you watching until the very end. The best MVs leave you with feelings that you just want more of to the point where you hit repeat just so you can experience it all over again. Pure White Canvas got everything right with this one.
Qppo – “GOODBYE IDOL”
On the flip side of high concept/high production value we have Qppo, who are all the best kinds of crazy, giving us a true taste of what it really feels like to be dirt broke, indie idols living their best life crawling from one live house to the next.
PLANCK STARS – “ROCKNROLL FUXXN TONIGHT”
We will leave you with PLANCK STARS. Unsupervised. May god help you.
Fresh off their world tour, which seemed to involve lots of drinking in bars and a few live shows, PLANCK STARS released their tribute to Queen, The Who, Oasis and all things rock n’ roll. It’s an anthem that we can all get behind: “Hey, Sing a Song. Rock and Roll. Fuxxn Tonight. Yeah!”
For better or worse, PLANCK STARS are gathering enough momentum to be a big part of our 2023 and future. They have just stated their intentions to one day play BUDOKAN.
— ぷらんくすたーず | official (@planckstars) March 30, 2023
One thought on “Homicidols Best of the Year (so far)”
BiSH Good Bye Show is shot where the first MV “BiSH” was shot including the mud slinging. I will miss them and hope they all do well going forward.
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