RAY has been the center of a flurry of activity in this week that will be capped by their fourth one-man live. This includes yesterday’s drop of the MV for “moment”, a new song composed by “Almighty Omnidirectional Pop Group” Couple (who are definitely worth checking out).
We have reached the second-to-last week of our Top 50 countdown featuring the albums that placed 11 – 20 plus one honorable mention that didn’t quite make the final list of 50.
“Why the honorable mentions?”, no one asked, “Why not just make it a top 55 or 60?”
There are a few reasons such as we had to draw a line somewhere, and also because we wanted to respect our quasi-democratic process. The primary reason though is because, when we first took a look at the final top 50, we were surprised by a few things that weren’t there. This week’s honorable mention is a prime case in point:
Spring is here and new life is emerging from the Earth (It really is!) and the days are nice and long! We’re gearing up for summer with (hopefully) significantly less Covid-ness and I for one, am longing for a new soundtrack for the humid nights I’m driving around with my windows down. What’s it gonna be? I’m sure you all have multiple things you’re anticipating, and here’s the newest hat thrown into the summer soundtrack sweepstakes…
The glorious genre-spanning etherial beings of light that we know as RAY are streaking across the heavens with a new four-song single release simply called “Yellow”! This announcement alone is a stop-the-presses level of importance as it is, but the wonderfully generous souls behind RAY have been gracious enough to give you (for a limited time) a complete listen to all four tracks! You’re now excused if you want to cut me off here and go listen immediately, after all, I’m as excited as you are and understand fully..
Once again actually by Viz Major!
When ・・・・・・・・・ (vocalized as “Dots” or “Dots Tokyo”) emerged onto the idol scene in late 2016 with their shoegaze music and unorthodox presentation, it was a surprisingly much needed breath of fresh air from the saturated market of overcolored aesthetics and systematic cheerful, yet often contrived, songs predominant in idol culture. Along with this new approach to the genres of music that idols perform, the group attached an eccentric mythos to their profile, implementing things like all members are named ・(a single dot) but have nicknames that change every so often and go by themes such as vegetables or even infrastructures (one member was nicknamed “Konbini”, the Japanese word for “convenience store”). Visors were worn over the eyes of the members to conceal their identities, which established them as both an innovative and mysterious idol group. They quickly gained fans in not only the idol spectrum, but also among fans of shoegaze and indie rock outside of the J-pop music sphere, and in 2018 released their debut album『 』(a title with no words but actually 9 half-width spaces), which proved to be one of the best albums of that year. Unfortunately, the following year the inevitable fate which many idols have succumbed to was met, and the group was dissolved after performing a final one-man live at Tokyo Kinema Club on March 24, 2019. Continue reading
The glorious RAY posted on their twitter to look forward to an upcoming announcement, which sounded very promising for once, as opposed to all the downtrodden news we’ve gotten recently. “Yes please o’ etherial shoegazing idols , give us something good!! We need this!!”, we were all thinking to ourselves…
And so today, (Which is is actually now yesterday as of this publishing.) the good news was delivered! Have you heard? Listen and listen well, those who believe, and welcome to the light, those of you who are new…
Yes, Sweet Hipster Moses, RAY is releasing their first album!! I swear the sun came out and bathed the Earth is a pink glow while the Corona virus cowered a little today. Everything just got a little better. And oh, guess what else? For a limited amount of time, the album in it’s entirety is uploaded on YouTube, to let you taste the rainbow a little bit early!
Maybe before I say anything more about the details, I’ll leave the embed right here and let you dive in. So go ahead, breathe in, and savor a full preview of RAY’s very first full-length album, entitled “Pink”…
This dropped a few days ago, but it was simply too good to let slip past the radar. Shoegaze idols RAY, (Successors to the now-legendary group with no with no real name save for a row of dots) are still not a year old, but have already made a huge impression with a dose of effortless charisma and incredibly strong musical collaborations with top-tier talent.
Their first EP release “Blue” was a near-perfect collection of songs that revealed a sky’s-the-limit potential. We’ve been treated to MVs for “Butterfly Effect” and “Meteor”, and now there’s a more low-key video for the closing track, “The End Of The World With You”…
As the tweet above explains, this MV offers us a retrospective of the group’s upward trajectory since their inception, including most notably their acclaimed show in Taiwan. Let’s have a look!
It was just mere days ago we were talking about that wonderful footage of RAY performing live in Taiwan, and we took a moment to also mention that the group will also be releasing their first single/EP, entitled “Blue”. The release has lovely cover art and an extremely impressive roster of collaborators. Now we’ve been blessed with another highly anticipated track on the disk, “Meteor”, featuring an instrumental arrangement by Elliot Frazier of the highly regarded Austin band Ringo Deathstarr!
RAY, the next generation shoegaze idols who arose from the ashes of the legendary dot-chans, have been hard at work crossing genres, boundaries and now borders. The group visited Taiwan and performed a show in Taipei. Excitedly, I scanned Twitter and YouTube hoping to find some footage of the concert. Viz and Rain were also thankfully on the case, and proved to be ethusiatic as always to help out…
Witness one of the best idol groups from Japan. Their summer matsuri performance at Otsuka Hearts Next this past August is still so vivid in my memory. Visually & sonically amazing.
Meteor / RAY 2019.10.19 Total Feedback at THE WALL LIVE HOUSE TAIWANhttps://t.co/8vGwPEfPdv
— ヴィズ (@VizMajor) October 22, 2019
And Rain went and found an upload of the entire set! He certainly wanted to make sure we didn’t sleep on it… Continue reading
Friends, idol has been in tumult this year. Emotional graduations, gut-wrenching disbandments, the usual shenanigans turned up to 11 … it’s been a year of as many negatives as positives, I think, and that’s really hard to do in an industry built on the idea of making people happy. For a lot of us, one of the hardest-to-take moments of the year’s first half was the disbandment of our beloved Dots, who for two-plus years had been the real standard bearer for awesome shoegaze-derived alt-rock songs and enigmatic personalities. It was a blessing, frankly, to be able to host one of the good digs into the concept. Everybody on Team, I think, loved them.
And then they were gone, but it wasn’t long before the suspected successor came along — Ray came into theoretical existence not terribly long thereafter, and while things have been quiet for them in the first couple of months, of course it stood to reason that interesting and creative things were afoot. That’s where we land today, with their effective debut:
I’ve been kind of tingling with giddy anticipation all day today since this bit of news broke via a retweet from the Dots staff twitter. As you may know, the mysterious mind behind Dots has been quietly planning a successor to the seminal experimental and constantly evolving shoegaze idol project, and at last, it appears that the time is nigh for the next event to break out and dare I suggest, likely shatter expectations with an exciting new unit…
— 音楽ナタリー (@natalie_mu) April 15, 2019