What have you been listening to lately? My playlists have somehow become even more random of late — my curated playlists on Spotify are horrorshows, basically — but the one thing that I haven’t been listening to very much at all is metal. It’s weird! But other than some adjacent acts like Ghost and Alcest, I don’t think I’ve heard any actual “heavy metal” during the usual daily listening since last week. Call it luck of the draw, I guess, because I can’t think of the last time I would have passed on a good metal album, or even just good modern hard rock (it exists!).
All that being said, finally getting a chance to write about the latest from my girl Yajima Mai didn’t just bring the catharsis of blogging a post, but also finally getting to hear some heavy-ass metal too:
The WAGAMAMA RAKIA glow-up has really been something to behold, hasn’t it? I would say that the group was always interesting, albeit kind of lost amid a ton of competition in their early years, but they did seem to be moving in the right direction by 2018. Then they add MIRI, start to shift their sound a little bit, and then last year’s WAGAMAMARAKIA effectively sealed them as major breakouts. And now look at them compared to this — Minami and Rin are still there from the beginning, but it’s effectively a completely different group doing different things and still just way the hell interesting and doing musical stuff that seems just a step beyond the cutting edge compared to their peers.
The SUPERIORITY EP has a certain victory-lap kind of feel to it in that regard. WAGAMAMARAKIA was the hey-look-at-us, and now here’s the follow-up, five more songs from guest writers that have this much more “street”* feel to them, doubling down on rapping and rocking and idoling all in equal measure — it seems like half of all new units anymore try to work in some raps no matter how incongruous, and while Wagamama may not have been the first, they did seem to emerge as the best practitioners.
The MV for the record’s lead, “JOKER”, hit this morning, and … yeah, really, you just have to experience it: Continue reading
The first EP from Codomomental newbies akugi, Playplay, seems to be hitting the stores in Japan as we speak, and that means that it’s time to show us why we should buy the thing, and that means an MV, and frankly it’s been too dang long since we saw akugi do their thing, so let’s just right in:
Zenkimi guest spot!
This post was, uh, supposed to run on Saturday, and then through some mechanical error on my part did not run on Saturday. So instead let’s do it when it’s convenient!
I love having Erisu in a permanent state of notification on my phone. Because they don’t do 20 lives per week, every announcement has some actual heft to it, and you’re goddamn right I was stoked when they started their last most recent countdown. The reward was this latest EP, continuing on their theme of alien goddesses come to earth, which is capped by:
Yep! Continue reading
Without quite going right back over the same kind of territory that I covered in my original Let’s Discover of these folks, I say again that I loved me some sugartrap, and while 340.29m/s isn’t a 1:1 there, they’re still in the same musical tradition, which is to say idolcore from that glorious 2014-17(?) period when the synths were as heavy as the percussion and the shark hadn’t quite been jumped just yet. Yes, of course some groups were better than others in the first place, and the ones that did rise from the chika morass to make something more of themselves than a handful of CD-Rs and hundreds if not thousands of stilted cheki usually did so on the backs of bigger funding and a running start, but to me idolcore (and I specifically mean this exact flavor of idolcore) is and will always be the sound of Getting Into Idol.
Not a whole lot of groups are still doing it, though, is the point. There are a few, for sure, but even the remnants of acts from that era have either moved on musically or moved up, if you get my meaning. Idol’s a business, after all, and even the most meager of amateur friends-on-a-lark acts would probably prefer to do things that people want to see and hear. And that, for me, is part of the charm of the idolcore die-hards — they’re like Saxon or (gods help us all) Whitesnake in that they could stop at any time, but there are still enough fans to support them that there’s really no reason to change.
This post was supposed to be more of a celebration of 340.29m/s and the release of the record and I went and turned it into a backhanded celebration of commitment. So let’s re-tool real quick-like and actually listen to the dang record! Which those of you who nodded at any point in the preceding two paragraphs will probably like a whole lot if you haven’t already given it several spins! But I think you’ll agree with me that, while the sound is a certain kind of nostalgic, it’s also fresh and good. Continue reading
As soon as I hit the publish button on that the mishmash post:
Correct you are, Chris! And because I have unofficially vowed to unabashedly support every idol thing that Julie does, and also because GREAT MONKEYS are great fun, let’s give this one a listen, too, shall we? Continue reading
I will tell you, I noticed on the TL the other day that the mishmash had a release date for a new EP, and I got super excited about it, and only in the mental preparation for this post did I come to see that the record’s title and title track itself (and #2!) have been with us for months via MV, and so there would be no MV associated with this release, and so I was going to be a jerk about it and not post, but then I actually listened to it all and while I remember not really caring for the title track, I did find that the overall spirit of the release (and okay, the rest of the songs) was actually nice and fun, and I’m in a mood, so let’s do it!
I don’t expect you all to like this the way that I expect you all to like, say, something from PassCode or whatever, but I do expect some of you to like it, and you know who you are, because you’ve been bopping ever since you hit play. Me, it’s not my favorite thing that mishmash (+/- the) ever did, and frankly I preferred their closer-to-OG sound, but groups get refreshes all the time and maybe now was that time for the mishmashes. And who knows? Maybe there’s room for greaser idols out there, too.
I wish more idols had the sheer gusto of Erisu. They’ve been officially a thing for six? seven months? And yeah, a lot of new units pump out a lot of content early to build a fan base, and then from there I presume that the business logic is to spend judiciously, release strategically and hold on for dear life as the consecutive percussive waves of flavors of the month roll on and on toward the little niche of recognition you built for yourself. But isn’t Erisu in an interesting position? Based in Italy, under absolutely none of the same kind of performance pressure of every other idol unit in existence, and as true a passion project as you’re going to find, they get to do what they want how they want and when they want, and damn if they don’t do it well.
The announcement of the new EP with the kind of prog-or-Fall-Out-Boy title that I love hasn’t even been out all that long, I don’t think, but I knew that I didn’t want to miss the drop. And I was right! You don’t either. This is taking your “idols have a concept” concept and running it to absolute exhaustion. If you’re gonna go, kids, go hard:
So you may have seen and/or heard that recent Codomomental debutante akugi dropped a preview track yesterday, which wasn’t foreshadowed so much as all but outwardly promised after some heavy-handed tweets and enough of a timeline (if you pay attention to such things) since the last drop that it only made sense.
And of course we missed the boat! It happens, man. Life gets busy. But communities and Teams are nice and helpful things, and of course we didn’t miss the boat completely, we just had to chase after it in a little fishing dinghy with a vintage outboard that we commandeered at knifepoint from some poor sap who just wanted to toss his line in the water, maybe get a nice catfish for dinner. Poor guy. But not poor us, for we have the song, and you’d better believe that we’re going to share it after the jump in imitation of the usual format for these posts, and boy oh boy if syva hates that fans share his songs after the preview windows close under normal circumstances, I can only imagine how he’ll feel about this. Continue reading
So let’s talk about the speed of sound. It varies, right? Like there’s the speed of sound in air at particular temperatures and also different altitudes (because density), and it moves better in water and even better through conductive solids — a block of Velveeta, I hear, is actually a terrible medium for sound to move through. BUT WHAT ABOUT THE SPEED OF SOUND MOVING THROUGH IDOLS? That is apparently 340.29m/s.
Which brings us to 340.20m/s (Twitter), who are actually coming up on their second anniversary and have been plenty busy in the chika realm in that time, for instance having released this sucker on Monday: