This was way too good to Weekender, way too much of just the right energy at the right time to hold up and admire for all of its athletic and artistic excess, super charming and, hell, even kind of inspiring. You may also recall that I vowed to exploit the ever-loving christ out of ATARASHII GAKKO!’s emergence for Western audiences by posting about them in lots of ways all the time and making sure that ol Homicidols Dot Com shows up a lot in search results! I am very clever.
BUT NOT SO CLEVER AS ATARASHII GAKKO!, who “Night Before the Exam” today, which is the extended one-take version of a clip they released back in the early days of their international breakout. I warn you, you will want to dance, but to attempt to dance like ATARASHII GAKKO! for more than, oh, a few seconds is going to leave you breathless and possibly looking for the ice pack and ibuprofen:
Imagine being this fit
After that last release of theirs, I do worry a bit that Our Friends Formerly Known as Leaders may abandon their wild-ass acid-jazz-fueled whatever-you-call-it musical flavor for something perhaps a bit more internationally “normie” friendly, but that they (and 88rising) brought this out is some relief.
And now that we have sufficiently padded our SEO for the week, this is your Homicidol Maniac, signing off!
Atarashii Gakkou no Leaders have dropped the news that they will be kicking off 2021 with an international debut courtesy of a newly inked agreement with the US-based 88rising. Our favorite four-member piano funk meets post-punk and acid jazz unit will be be taking on the world under the name, ATARASHII GAKKO!
Every year, enduring songs emerge that collectively define the summer months. They are the infectious tunes that serve as the backing music for the few brief months between school years, or the soundtrack of unforgettable vacations. Summer is often a transitional time of new experiences and transformation. The accompanying music will later inspire nostalgia for a specific point in time when everything changed.
On the verge of an unprecedented summer time, more than ever, we have no idea what the season may bring. Team Homicidols is here to help eliminate the uncertainty in one area at least: filling out your summer playlist.
Homicidols Nominations for Song of the Summer, 2020
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 contendersAtarashii 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 →
Attention students!! Leaders just dropped the early front-runner for album of the year.
Atarashii Gakkou No Leaders has never been the most accessible of units from a Western perspective. Their MVs often sit behind region blocks and paywalls, while their music makes artsy references to social concerns that may require cultural translation. In short, exploring the group’s music requires a bit more proactive labor than just clicking “play” on YouTube and rockin’ your socks off. However, with the release of their stunning second album, Wakage Ga Itaru, now is the time to put in that extra effort.
So that’s Atarashii Gakkou no Leaders — Leaders of the New School — “dancing” for URBANGARDE’s latest, which just so happens to be coinciding with their announced transition to the “Shoujo Era” (the kind of thing that comes up when you’re in a group chat with officially all-over-the-place Japanese music hobbyists!) (this also makes so much sense in context!). It’s not URBANGARDE’s first mix-up with idols that we’ve even covered here in the venerable HTML margins of Homicidols Dot Com, nor is it the first pass at Leaders, though it’s obnoxiously removed from previous connections with them because they used to be region-blocked to death.
Anyway, that’s a wild-ass song! Depending on your tastes, possibly the best (or at least most interesting) idol-related collaboration this year. Certainly memorable! I feel like Suzuka (leader of Leaders!) needs to have her face cast in pliable bronze or something, the better that those expressions are preserved for posterity.
I have a new least-favorite company in the idol business. It used to be Universal, but now it’s Victor Entertainment, whose refusal to buckle to the capricious whims of YouTube Red’s financial tyranny keeps me from seeing lots of new stuff that I’d really like to see, but can’t! Or at least not until I inadvertently prop up whatever terrorist group or drug cartel (or both!) that runs Proxysite.
That’s a long way of saying that, hey, Atarashii Gakkou no Leaders, who are not only good and cool but also kind of intense and intimidating (please don’t hurt me, Suzuka), but who are also aligned with Victor and therefore lose eleventy bajillion points, dropped themselves a new MV, and I don’t get it, but that’s fine:
This is one that I’ve been meaning to get to for a while, gang, but I’m really glad that I finally did.
A little while back, Pure Idol Heart shared this one with me for I think like the third time, I guess possibly a little annoyed that I hadn’t responded before. But don’t blame me! There’s a lot of idol and only so much stuff to take in at once. However, what it was was Atarashii Gakkou no Leaders, 新しい学校のリーダーズ, Leaders of the New School (Twitter), and it was really interesting and I bookmarked everything that they had and then … nada, because while I’m more than willing to share new stuff with you guys via proxy if it’s from a known entity (like BiS!), I felt like I was doing everybody a disservice by relying on dumb ol’ YouTube and its region blocking.