We have hit the half-way point of our attempt to capture some of the greatness that the alternative, indie and underground idols of Japan have contributed to the world over the past ten years. If you would like a recap of the methodology we used to arrive at the album rankings, please visit week one’s installment. If you missed last week’s post or want a refresher of the albums that placed 31st – 40th, you can find that here.
Now, on with the next ten albums in the countdown plus one honorable mention that fell just a little bit short of the top 50:
When future music historians look back at the history of the genre the English-speaking world, for lack of a better term, generally refers to as “Alternative Idol”, the decade of 2010 to 2020 will be seen as foundational. Underground idol in Japan has been around since at least the late 90s, hard rock composers were penning songs for idol units in the mid 2000s, and indie idol has probably existed since the birth of the idol genre itself. However, it was the year 2010 when the momentum of disparate events would begin to coalesce and eventually define the broad genre we know and love today. That year’s creation and subsequent seismic success of BiS and BABYMETAL would inspire the formation of hundreds of punk and metal idol units. At the same time, the zeitgeist of the early 2010s independently birthed several other less prominent but just as significant influences. Bellring Girls Heart, You’ll Melt More, Especia and others emerged to embrace an edgier and more avant-garde approach to idol, crafting the sounds and sensibilities of post- and pop-punk, new wave, techno and progressive rock into something entirely new. These early groups inspired both creative composers and adventurous music fans to embrace independent and underground idol as an effective medium for expressing almost every subgenre of rock, hip hop and electronica. Over the past decade, alternative Japanese idol has grown into a world class laboratory for the creation of some of the most innovative music on the planet. Continue reading
Well now. After a year of delays it finally happened and GANG PARADE are finally just another memory for all of us. But just because it’s a memory doesn’t mean it’s gone – the new GO TO THE BEDS song from their upcoming EP BLOOD COMPACT has a melody that you might have heard LAST time…
Oh good lord, it is happening again. This year’s WACK AUDiTiON CAMP ended in a resounding success: new members for GO TO THE BEDS, PARADISES and WAgg but in addition to that, we have an entire group of bondage-clad identityless idols who need YOUR help to be freed from their uh… bondage.
Say hello to ASP, ANAL SEX PENiS!
If somebody ever told you that Christmas is about togetherness and family, they lied to you and you should stop talking to them. Christmas is about gifts, sometimes expected, sometimes unexpected. The culmination of the PARADISES audition gave us the expected Christmas EP featuring some of the WAgg girls and also the unexpected results:
1. Utauuta will be promoted to PARADISES
2. Tsukino Usagi will join trainee group WAgg for 6 months
3. Yuina Empire, formerly of EMPiRE, BiS2nd, BiS and CARRY LOOSE, will join WAgg
If you loved the PARADISES single from the other day you’ll be very pleased to know that they have five more songs out today! Let’s hope you really liked that song, because their new releases are the same song but recorded with each individual member of WAgg. You wouldn’t be far off thinking this is another strange WACK marketing tool, but this is actually the result of the latest audition from Watanabe and his conglomerate of girl gangs.
Remember when GANG PARADE split into two groups and nobody was really sure what was happening because they were seemingly promoting together and kept using GANG PARADE despite not being GANG PARADE anymore? Well good news! It’s significantly less confusing now AND we have two new music videos!
Well, this year’s WACK AUDiTiON CAMP certainly was eventful! Auditionee Waki Waki Wakki got added to WAgg and WAgg member Kira May who’s been apart of the group for 3 months got added to GANG PARADE.
…for all of 3 minutes. GANG PARADE will be splitting into two smaller groups. Just as BiS2 made the decision last year to break up, GANG PARADE will be doing the same thing. But in a completely different manner that’s effectively not the same as breaking up. Totally 100% similar.
This is the culmination of an internal decision between members and staff. In Kamiya Saki’s previous graduation announcement, she revealed that she felt like she was holding GANG PARADE back and while Watanabe, the fans and the members probably don’t agree, it set something new into motion. If you can’t achieve your goals after reaching a certain point, it’s okay to try again from the start isn’t it? So, we’re here now, with two new groups born from GANG PARADE splitting into two.
If you’ve been keeping up with the news, both regular and idol, you’ll probably know that Abe Shinzo issued a countrywide order temporarily banning all large scale public entertainment events because of Novel Coronavirus fears. ZOC cancelled their entire FINAL INNOCENT ZOC tour, Aya Eightprince cancelled a smaller public appearance and Pour Lui cancelled the shooting for her upcoming idol group’s music video to name a few. Things have been cancelled harder than a celebrity who’s angered a kpop fanbase.
Currently, WACK are meant to be embarking on their nationwide WACK FUCKiN’ PARTY tour but alas even Watanabe Junnosuke who has objectively more clout than the prime minister can’t get around a ban on public events.
Just kidding, yes he FUCKiN can!
This Saturday at 6pm JST, the show will go on! NO AUDiENCE LiVE is exactly what it sounds like – nobody is going to be there. You can’t cancel a public event that isn’t a public event. The entire thing is going to be broadcast on Niconico so everyone will be able to be there in spirit. A premium subscription is only around $5USD too, so hey, if you’re spending your time indoors as a health precaution why not spend it with the idol fanbase’s favourite women’s prison colony?
It’s been a rough week for a lot of people on Earth because of the you-know-what, but in a dire time things like entertainment are what make it manageable! So, cast aside your worry, wash your damn hands regularly and enjoy your time at home.
And if you’re in need of a little something extra, BiSH and EMPiRE made a few previously limited broadcasts available on their YouTube channels as a sorry for cancelled shows too.
Remember, while this is a lot of fun content for us overseas, fundamentally it’s a sorry to people living in a country that’s tightening it’s grip attempting to deal with a pandemic, so remember to be respectful! Or if you’re living in a country that’s going through the same thing do what you want, we’re not the reaction police over here.
Happy new year! Japan have already rang in the new decade and with it, a menagerie of new music.
Rock and alternative style idols are no stranger to unexpected collaborations, from BiS and Hijokaidan to You’ll Melt More and… also Hijokaidan. But in this subculture, mainstream breakthroughs are the real sucker punch to longtime fans of girls dancing to alt rock with a crowd of about 30 people.
So, fresh off their major label debut, GANG PARADE have dropped an announcement that their second digital single will be a joint composition between Scrambles’ very own Matsukuma Kenta with a very special guest…
Mastermind behind Momoiro Clover Z: Hyadain! Continue reading