Wonder Lander Keeps Rewarding Me for Liking Them

This post is all messed up. It was supposed to be a straightforward celebration of all things Wonlan and their current releases and motivating you to give them a go if you haven’t already several times, written yesterday no less, except that I drafted the whole middle bit and left off the ends and now I can’t remember which witticisms were used to do what, so how about this: You go look at this MV, which is new to the Wonder Lander corpus, and you get all “oh neat I like this” as is appropriate, and then you continue through the post because there’s more to it, and if you can figure out the context for yourself then you win a prize, which will be determined by Chris at his convenience. So go for it:

This is a journey, man

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I See That Wonder Lander Has Been Busy

I’m trying to remember my first Wonder Lander post. It very may well have been all the way back in Year 1, which is pretty wild considering the volume of disbandments among groups that were covered in that era (let’s call it the peak of Loudol 2.0, the Wonder Years), and all of the various membership ins and outs of Wonlan itself over that time. I sort of always felt that the group was destined for the same fate that ultimately befalls all idol projects … and yet, here we are, round about four years (I guess) since the first time I heard them, liked them, shared them, and a thing called Wonder Lander definitely still exists.

Different though! My very literal first thought was “oh wow, the group’s like a whole different thing now.” The most important thing of course being the music, which is, like, different! Not wholly so, mind you — Wonlan’s always been good for about 50:50 cool rock-like tunes and more conventionally idol material — but different maybe in the distribution of what they’re doing in relation to the core. You, obviously, can be the judge:

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Perfect Vibes from the Latest EMPiRE

“Oh gee look at all of these draft posts to try to address this morning” I said to myself as I flipped over to Twitter about 15 seconds after this hit the top of the timeline:

Plans? Canceled. Other than a very quick crash course from Kerrie and Cal, I’d managed to avoid just about everything WACK in the past few weeks — by choice, mind you — but this aesthetic, coming from EMPiRE, clearly an MV, subtler reasons galore, you follow me yes of course I shunted my other plans aside and gleefully steepled my fingers in anticipation.

This is from EMPiRE’s upcoming new EP SUPER COOL EP (bless them), and it might not be my favorite song or video by any means, but I’ll be damned if it doesn’t hit in exactly the right spot at the right time: Continue reading

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Hey, Let’s Look at the New WILL-O’ Video Stuff Together!

It’s 2020 now, and all of this is firmly in the past, but I think it’s worth mentioning the wild ride that WILL-O’ went on over the course of the previous year. A lot has changed in the now three-plus years since Alloy was originally formed, and though WILL-O’ as WILL-O’ is fairly well-established at this point, I think it’s fair to say that change is the most consistent thing about the group. Well, change and doing great rock-related idol work, that is, and I mean that literally because you’ll remember that I held up “POP’N” as my personal favorite song of 2019.

And as that was going on, they were also releasing a new EP to close the year! I kind of forgot about it (it was sitting in my wait-until-an-MV-drops pile), then the MV finally did come a little on the late side, so here I go rhetorically returning the favor! But also they did some interesting stuff in the meantime, so waiting turned out to be smart. Anyway, the MV: Continue reading

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Happiness Is Listening to a Wagamama Rakia Acoustic Album

As very dutifully reported in a recent Weekender, among various other endeavors swirling around Wagamama Rakia, they had a new EP, and an acoustic one at that, heading for release. It hit streaming services on Christmas Day, but I only just got around to listening to it yesterday, and while doing so I thought that, you know, maybe this exactly how we should be closing things out for 2019 — stripped of the usual noise, the songs in this case give the members a chance to really showcase their talents, and the simpler renditions of popular standards gives the group’s work an interesting spin.

Anyway, put this on while you have about 20 minutes of stuff to do, and tell me that your experience isn’t improved by a factor of about 7,000:

To give this post extra heft, here’s their end-of-year message to fans:

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I Enjoyed This New One from CROSSNOESIS Quite a Bit Thank You

Lost a little bit in the sour feelings from yesterday was the fact that the former HAMIDASYSTEM minus one HAMIDASYSTEM plus one new member, aka CROSSNOESIS, had dropped their EP. This in the midst of the new HAMIDASYSTEM, which does not involve any of the old HAMIDASYSTEM, which is now CROSSNOESIS, who are in the middle of a single-per-month run that we just enjoyed the other day, so there is understandably even some confusion for folks! All well and good. At any rate, the group that is now CROSSNOESIS and in no way HAMIDASYSTEM stop saying that, to promote the release of the EP, released an MV to really flex those muscles and show us their chops as a standalone, next-step kind of group:

Keep your Maison Book Girl jokes to yourself

Well heck, that’s simultaneously exactly what I should have expected and not really what I expected at all. It sounds just like, well, them! And of course it does — the creative team didn’t stop working together when CROSSNOESIS was birthed, and our prior exposure to their work didn’t exactly break with tradition. We’ve even heard this before! Am I complaining, though? Absolutely not. Ever since their turn toward the exquisite a couple of years ago, the entire HAMIDA experience has been one of ethereal goodness that always makes me feel good to listen to. I can’t wait to dig into the whole record!

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I Got a Bug for buGG

I haven’t been following buGG as closely as I probably should*, but I enjoyed them enough out of the gate to keep them in my regular “check up on these girls” queue, and I couldn’t have been happier with how they rewarded that yesterday, especially so in the context of the post immediately preceding this one. But for buGG: They have an EP out next week, and while they’ve been fairly tight-lipped about the contents, here’s some, and if isn’t a straight-up palate cleanser, I don’t know what is:

Cool that they filmed this at the same location as my last camping trip, apparently

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I Don’t Think I Have the Energy to Give This Osaka Shunkashuto Post a Good Title

The hardest part of being a fancy idol blogger is definitely dealing with the disappointments. I’ve pointed out in the past to absolutely zero objection that, if we’re all being honest, a lot of the people covered in this space aren’t terribly talented, and the music, though it undoubtedly has appeal for someone somewhere, just isn’t all that exceptional — but those aren’t the disappointing things. What’s disappointing is when a project is cool and fresh and smart, and the idols have great individual talents that align perfectly with the concept, and it all coalesces into something really great … that then, almost always for bottom-line business decisions, get reduced to a soulless husk. That is disappointment, and it kills your want-to as a blogger.

All that being said, Osaka Shunkashuto, who once upon a time did this, have a new EP coming out next week, and they released an MV, and the song is from that FAIRY TAIL anime that most notably BiSH also contributed theme music to, and stupid me got hype about the release for a minute before I hit play and: Continue reading

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Candy GO!GO!’s New EP May Be What You’re Looking For

So okay, maybe this hasn’t been the most exciting idol summer so far, but what if I told you that one of the most absolutely stalwart of projects — I’m talking duration, member stamina, growth and onward — just put out a new record that could hit all the right notes for you this summer, because it’s the purest encapsulation of idorock, the Music Genre Made for Summer? Would you be all, Maniac, please, my wets tell me what this is that I might enjoy it!(?)

You should be, but perhaps you will not, for I speak of Candy GO!GO! (obviously), and for some reason I’ve never been able to get other Western fans to enjoy them as much as I do. Maybe it’s boo me for effort, I dunno. But! They recently dropped an EP to follow up on last year’s “Fake News” single, and, frankly, everything that I’ve heard so far from IDOROCK-beyond- has made me a believer. Here’s “Dahlia”:

This one’s I guess the other side of the coin: Continue reading

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I’ll Definitely Take This Version of Kinder, Gentler BiSH

I was so tired, you guys. Like you know when you reach a point where not even sleep seems like it’s going to get the job done, and what you really need is to remove any and all obligations from your schedule for a few days while you blissfully do absolutely nothing of import? That’s where I was yesterday! And I thought to myself, you know what, you still need to finish the week, but let’s keep the sideshows to a minimum and just chill when possible. No projects, no working out, no bringing the job home, no idol.

So of course on that last point I knew better immediately and thought out loud, “Right, and now watch BiSH or somebody drop another MV and then all your not-plans will be for naught.”

Silly, silly Maniac. If I’d been mindful in even the tiniest way, I’d have known that, yes, another BiSH release was looming, and with it likely something to talk about. They were pretty clear about the build for CARROTS and STiCKS — one EP each in April and May, and then the full album in June — and had already provided one MV as promo to prove it. Why was I sleeping on this?

Here we are, then. And can I admit that I had the most conflicted smash of the Play button of my entire life? The song title and general visual aesthetic put my mind right down the path of expecting yet another Kentacore ballad that would probably sound very cool and nice and possibly even powerful, like that style is at its best, but very much the same, and yeah, that blunts a lot of enthusiasm. On the other hand, their last lead song and MV were absolutely delicious and reinvigorated my old passion for the group, so I had to see where this landed one way or another, right?

Yeah. Continue reading

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