Every idol unit across Japan announced mass graduations today after a scathing yet revelatory indictment was leveled against the entire industry via commentary on a Western website. “We had no idea our entertainment culture was so flawed and toxic”, said an industry spokesperson. Continue reading
So remember back in 2017 Year in Review in Review*, when I said that I was making it a new year’s resolution to do more for idol debuts in 2018? And then I did and 2018 was like the best debut year since … 2014? 2012? It was amazing. So much good stuff, though not all of it panned out. Well, I’m making something of the same commitment for this year; I have a tough time keeping up with news these days, but maybe I can keep up with cool debuts as they happen? Sure.
Which brings us to Night Owl (Twitter)! Who … did not debut anytime near now, but in fact back in August, during the period that we shall always refer to in hushed tones as “Maniac’s Interregnum.” And then I had them on my official radar since, golly, at least November if my tab history is to be believed. But more on that. This is what they got:
Oh that’s interesting! What are they about? Continue reading
The waning days of 2019 and opening week of 2020 have been a special time. Some of the greatest legacy acts and personalities of our time hang ’em up at last — the literal goddess of earth and sky herself even revealing that she’s been secretly married all this time — and with that saw the retirement from idol and return to solo work by the grand dame herself, Pour Lui, twice founder of BiS, mature member of BILLIE IDLE, from whose fecund mind sprang the cultural movement that created not just modern chika idol but about 95% of what we like to cover here. That Lui was going back to her roots as a solo musician (though still connected to the Watanabe/Matsukuma machine) felt like a nice coda, something natural. She was done with idol, and idol — graciously — was done with her.
Or so we thought!
— 音楽ナタリー (@natalie_mu) January 6, 2020
New group with a familiar-sounding name. New auditions. New music. “It’s complicated” with WACK. Somebody stage an intervention for this woman! Continue reading
That’s right, I don’t think we’ve covered virtual idols yet!
Well, everyone give a round of applause to bacci on twitter for introducing me to this curiosity last night:
when will you Togawa/Urbangarde/Necroma/etc nerds will get hype to Ikigusare? https://t.co/1DwOdxFeKk
— bacci・おぼえていますか (@Baccibloo) September 5, 2018
As an avid fan of all three of those names listed, how could I not give Ikigusare a chance? So, going into it blind, I can say … yup, that sure was an excruciating yet somewhat enjoyable experience of three Sega Saturn-looking girls singing about eating hamsters I just sat through! Continue reading
How conveniently named then!
Yes friends, the thing that you should be incredibly hype for if you’re able to go, and at least somewhat hype for just because it exists, is now something that you can officially purchase a ticket for, which you should undoubtedly do, and soon:
— ORIONlive UK (@ORIONlive_UK) January 18, 2019
Meet the people bringing Japan’s most compelling music acts to the West
For those Westerners who have fallen down the JPop rabbit hole, there are a few common stages that just about everyone goes through. Somewhere after devouring any English-language sites Google can find and consuming all unblocked videos on YouTube, comes the burning desire to see our newfound musical idols live. North America and Europe have been fortunate the last few years to see almost annual tours by BABYMETAL, Perfume, One OK Rock and Hatsune Miku, but for those whose tastes are a bit less mainstream, the chance to see independent and alternative artists usually involves pricing plane tickets to Japan.
Fortunately for us, a small group of fans-turned-promoters have taken it upon themselves to bring live underground idol and alternative JRock to the West. A few of these intrepid souls were gracious enough to answer our questions about why they decided to jump into the business of international music booking and promotion, the biggest challenges they encounter, and what plans they have for the future.
As if 2018 hasn’t already been absolutely lousy with great idol debuts, along comes every idol’s greatest champion, Oomori Seiko, with a unit of her own. Like, when this was announced, I thought, oh neat it’ll be cool if she stands in as producer and writes some tracks — I didn’t expect that she’d don the skirt herself and step right the hell up as leader.
Given the quality of this pre-debut teaser, I’m guessing that she just didn’t want to feel left out:
And this is just the intro! There’s precious little info about where this project is heading (even Natalie.mu is stripped down to the basics of them debuting tonight). That means speculation — the stupider the better! — so I’m going to go out on a wild-ass limb and say that it’s time to go all-in because: Continue reading
Okinawa Electric Girl Saya is one of those artists we’ve been intending to cover on Homicidols for quite a while (Like at least a year.) but criminally, we haven’t gotten to it until now. My apologies for the wait, but the truth is, that while I’ve been digging what she’s been up to, I felt like I never knew enough about her to flesh out an article. But in recent days I decided that it was simply past-due to give this avant-garde idol a feature she undoubtably deserves. Saya is actually still a bit of an enigma to me, but that’s not a bad thing, and we should embrace the mystery. We’ve certainly done that with other idols who fall into the experimental realm before, after all!
Saya traces her home base to the lovely island of Okinawa. This is fascinating already, because I don’t really picture experimental music coming from such a laid-back, easy-going region of Japan. On the other hand, Okinawa also has a reputation for fiercely independent people, so maybe it does make perfect sense. This island is where the idol group she originated from, Tincy, was created. Continue reading
Who else remembers that glorious first TIF that we all spent together, in 2016? Ah, those were the days, when streams were free and people could rip video right from their DVRs, or industrious gaijin wota would use screen capture apps to capture everything that Nico Nico could throw at them. Terry had nabbed something like 15 videos that all lasted just long enough for TIP to notify YouTube, and then came the copyright hammer. We probably lost more vital idol-enjoying content in that one fell wave than at any one point up until then, and arguably since. Good times!
Last year’s TIF emerged practically video-less, and maybe TIP learned their lesson, because there’s actually a decent amount of good stuff left over from the Greatest Weekend of the Year. I have way more to do than clog the world with unnecessary HTML, so here’s just a big ol’ glut of stuff.
The biggest glut is the let’s-take-over-Saturday thing that all of the WACK idols did, covering each other’s material and doing solo spots and all: Continue reading
After just over 10 years of delightful Shibuya-kei inspired pop mixed with electro excursions, Vanilla Beans officially announced that their disbandment will take place this October, ending with one final concert.
— 音楽ナタリー (@natalie_mu) August 1, 2018
While I’d admit it’s not a terribly shocking turn of events, (They’ve mentioned the possibility previously.) it’s still a sad loss to those of us who always adored their harmonies and retro-cool aesthetic. They were, in a sea of idols, a very special group marching to their own drum.
I was first charmed by Vanibe way back in 2008, after seeing the MV for their second single “Nicola”. (Lisa was actually not part of the very early duo, but a girl named Rika.) I was instantly obsessed with the song, and it remains to this day among my very favorite pop tunes of all time. And MV was also sublime with it’s brilliant design and subtle humor. In short, it gently delivered what I consider to be a perfect capsule of pop. Vanilla Beans let me in on something exciting: “Idols” weren’t contained to the carefully constructed tropes I had pegged to the genre.