The 50 Greatest Alternative Idol Albums of the Last Decade: #41 – 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

IDOL NEVER DIES: Help Create this Film about Idols at the End of the World

Gyuzo of the Tokyo Shock Boys but better known around these parts as the mad genius behind the Gyu Agricultural Festival aka Gyuno Fes aka the best recurring series of chika idol lives on the planet is making a movie!!

Tentatively titled IDOL NEVER DIES, the movie is described as a “youth fantasy” about an idol unit struggling to complete a music video on the day the world has been predicted to end. The cast of idols shooting this MV in the face of the apocalypse will include some familiar faces:

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Weekend Livestream Spotlight: NECROMA + Cinema & Boy CQ, FruPoche, MANACLE, MELON BAT and a Birthday Bash

The weekend is supposed to be a time for relaxation, not uncertainty and difficult decision making. Unfortunately, there’s a fair share of both on The Calendar for this weekend.  We’re still awaiting ticketing details on a few promised shows while several A-listers are streaming lives head-to-head. I mean, it’s nice to have so many options but, a person should not be put in the position of having to choose between MANACLE, FRUITPOCHETTE and MELON BAT. That’s just cruel.

For a preview of the next few days of torment, here’s some of what’s being livestreamed from Japan this weekend: Continue reading

Rukatama Go-Goes Out Of Melon

When Melon Batake a Go Go announced the other day that they would be holding auditions, one of the first responses in the Homicidols group chat was “Oh no, who’s graduating?”

Unfortunately, we now know that, not only was that very member Rukatama, but her departure is less of a pre-scheduled graduation and more she’s just up and left immediately without warning.

https://twitter.com/rukatamaki/status/1232345498230476801

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This Is My Favorite Melon Thing Ever

Ah, Melon Batake a go go. Remember last year, during Best Of season, when asses were shown in earnest by folks who couldn’t understand that a public process to select community favorites that they did not participate in themselves would fail to honor their favorite thing (Melon), and tried to make it as if there were some conspiracy on behalf of Team Homicidols, all of whom are unabashed lovers of Melon and want nothing but the best for them? That was fun.

The point is, we here at Homicidols Dot Com are very big supporters of Melon Batake a go go, and we have all been very happy to see their exposure grow by leaps and bounds ever since Brian first published about them ages ago. That said, we also try to avoid rose-colored glasses when regarding the things we like, so we’ve also been a little less than completely enthusiastic about everything that Melon’s done in more recent times, not because it wasn’t good but because it was getting kind of tired.

And so color me very pleasantly surprised when Melon — two weeks away from a very big one-man and accompanying single release — dropped said single via MV and left me slack-jawed and revising my internal narrative: Continue reading

Catching Up: So This Is Melon’s New Single

So deep was I into enjoying not doing anything last week that I didn’t even see this latest little bit from Melon Batake a go go until a little bird said on Saturday morning that I should put them on the look-up list. And oh neat, there’s a new single coming what’s now a month from today, plus other stuff!

Oh, and an MV out really early to sell it: Continue reading

Talkin’ About “Our Generation” With The Grateful a MogAAAz…

GOLLIPOP RECORDS new group, The Grateful a MogAAAz are here to rumble as the new bad kids at Idol High, ready to take on everybody else’s gang and steal their bikes! 

https://twitter.com/mogaaaz/status/1163411137360084992?s=20

They’ve released a first MV, which is also our first look and listen at what the group is going for sound and vision-wise, and that’s the best place to get started. A lot of you Melon fans have probably already checked it out as quickly as I did, but ultimately I have only my own first impression to go by, which was a resounding…

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TRASH-UP!! Records Presents “Idol & Art 3”!!

One of my personally most-anticipated idol events of the year isn’t TIF, or Jam Expo. It doesn’t even even feature performances for that matter. For me, it’s the annual collaboration between TRASH-UP!! Records and Tokyo’s Mograg Gallery, “Art and Idol”, now in it’s third incarnation! It’s a simple and irresistible premise, an art show where all the art is created by idols. Now it’s it’s third edition, it’s fantastic to see this event be so successful and well-regarded.

https://twitter.com/mograggarage/status/1154002383682166785?s=20

When you think about it, it’s a perfect idea because the idol world is packed with wonderfully artistic talent who are always pursuing multiple ways to express themselves. As it’s been covered before in this blog, idols, especially within the chika circles, are multi-layered creatives who consistently deliver an entire package of intriguing work beyond singing and dancing.

With previous showings, it’s been the practice to keep the artwork under wraps until the opening, and then after a few days, images of the participant’s artwork pops up online via social media. I find it fascinating to see what the idols came up with, and in some cases, it’s illuminating to see their creative output because it offers a new peek into their personalities. Other times, it’s just cheeky fun. (Like the time the Dot-chans presented miniature terrariums with chirping crickets inside!)  But regardless of what they do, it’s never boring. Continue reading

The Italian Job: One Englishman’s First Idol Concert

Our story starts on the morning of the concert.  I had been doing a spot of sightseeing in Bologna…

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For Melon Batake a go go, Plan 9 is a State of Mind

So if you’re keeping track, so far Melon Batake a go go have been:

  • Sick Idols
  • Idol Cats
  • The Idol From Outer Space
  • Idol of the Wilderness* 
  • Idol From Another Planet

…and as we see in this MV, they’re also the “Idol From Plan 9”!

We already know the psychobilly-flavored song (which is terrific!) because it’s a track included on their album “Ikasuze Idol 1.2.3!!’ released early in the year, so for the purposes of this article, let’s discuss the video. This has got the same inherent DIY quality that’s charmed us with their previous MVs. It’s low-budget, spontaneous, and you can very plainly see the members of the group are having a lot of fun. That’s really all you need, y’know? Continue reading