We Review Things: Kai’s “Moonlight Tokyo”

Ever since it was announced that Aqbi superstar Kai was joining the TRASH-UP!! roster, I’ve been looking forward to hearing what she’d be doing as a solo artist. Kai of course, is no stranger to TRASH-UP!!, having been part of the oddball folk song trio Engawa, (Most often referred to in these parts as “The weird Beni/Kai thing”) and considering the close ties between my favorite idol label and Aqbi, (Including Yoneko and Mizuho connections!) it made perfect sense as career transition…

Anyway, there’s been a bit of an anxious delay on my part because I tried to order “Moonlight Tokyo” from Amazon Japan and it was momentarily listed with a possibly two month shipping delay. (!) I don’t know if I’m correct in my theory, but I’d like to believe that’s because it was a surprisingly bigger seller than anticipated, so that’s what I’m running with. It pleases me to share that the digital version is finally online!! streaming with Spotify and Apple Music, and the latter platform is selling it via iTunes as well. For lossless purists, I keep checking on OTOTOY but no luck just yet, but don’t assume it won’t happen eventually.

So anyway, how is Kai’s solo debut? Continue reading

NILKLY Is as Close of a Spiritual Successor to BRGH/TTTS as We’re Going to Get

In a final ICYMI from the long weekend, I call your attention to the latest progeny of Aqbi Rec boss Tanaka in the aftermath of the demise of flagship project (and chika royalty) THERE THERE THERES, who in turn were by the end basically just Bellring Girls Heart Redux with a membership twist anyway, but also kept the look and music of the original as well as core personnel. Hell, even the Cleveland Browns had a cleaner break!

But in the aftermath of the TTTS breakup, Aqbi announced various spin-offs for the former members, just as had been the case following BRGH, and happened to mention that Mei was staying with the company, and that she’d have her own project to lead. Said project is NILKLY (Twitter), NIL by MEI apparently, and they had their debut live the other day, which was extensively covered by the very hardcore wota who remain dedicated to the Aqbi family the way that I’m dedicated to gardening and auto repair.

This was the scene:

Continue reading

All Kai All The Time!

I was just like everybody else when There There There’s announced their disbandament.  A little disappointed, a little confused, and a little worried about where all our favorite ravenesque girls were all going to go. Thankfully, most of it worked out well, with some former members like Rere and Mei staying with AQBI, and in a completely appropriate and perfect twist of serendipity, Mizuho and Kai seamlessly joining the roster of TRASH-UP!! Records, which is also a home for another former AQBI mainstay, Yoneko, who’s working harder than ever as a self-produced idol.

But this post is all about Kai, (!) the delightfully deadpan idol who, despite her detached demeanor, somehow easily connects with her fans in her very own way. I’ve always really liked Kai and her rather non-idolish approach to being an idol, and I’ve been looking forward to see she how adapts to the stage as a soloist, so let’s check out her first MV, a number called “Moonlight Tokyo”

How about this song? It’s no secret that it’s an easy sell on me when you go 80’s retro, so that’s certainly no complaint! It’s a terrific tune that I’ve listened to on repeat several times already since it debuted. I have no idea if this synth-dance-groove thing is an indicator of her future work or just a one-off tune, we’ll just need to see, but I’d be totally cool with Kai becoming a neo-city-pop queen and making a regular gig out of this sound. All the same, I have an equally positive feeling that with TRASH-UP!! at the helm, she’ll be trying out other genres as well and testing some unexpected waters for the benefit of all of us.

And what about this MV?  I enjoy it’s quirky VHS (or is it Betamax?) look, complete with an old-school aspect ratio and it’s blown-out-saturation. Also, the video brilliantly tackles a classic debate that even the idol world contends with: Are you a cat or dog person? I keep telling people, “Why not both?”, and it makes me pleased-as-punch to see that Kai agrees with me!

The video also answers another anticipated question: Would the TRASH-UP!! incarnation of Kai, with her newly colored hair and a wardrobe other than black crow costumes, maintain the classic Kai personality-type we’ve come to know and adore? It sure looks that way! She’s just as endearingly disconnected as ever, coming off as the sort of person who’s far more comfortable with a couple of cute pets than a room of chanting wota, and doggone it (see what I did there.), that’s the Kai we love! Would you really want it another way?

At present, I haven’t seen any word yet on any actual releases for Kai yet, digital or otherwise, but I think that’ll happen soon. Currently she’s preparing for her live debut and cooking up some merch that she showed off (see above) on twitter. There’s also an official website for her solo work, appropriately with the perfect domain name all-kai.com, cause this 100% pure Kai, and that’s just what we the people need!

https://twitter.com/mizuho_TUR/status/1119952235683651584?s=20

I think we’re off to a good start here! And we still have Mizuho’s upcoming idol group, ATOMIC MINISTRY (Which is an awesome group name!!) currently in it’s audition phase to still look forward to. I keep repeating it for the people in the back, TRASH-UP!! is the real future idol dynasty to watch out for, and I’d recommend paying attention to all the exciting things they have in the works.

 

 

The Cycle of Life in Aqbi Idols, Part Deux

It feels like we just did this

In keeping with today’s apparent theme, let’s take a few minutes to acknowledge the death of one of the true giants of our scene and the life that’s springing forth from that destruction.

The other day, THERE THERE THERES held their final performance, a joint show with their longtime besties in You’ll Melt More!(.) You can and should watch the literal whole thing:

Heck, here’s a bunch of photos, too: Continue reading

THERE THERE THEREs Done

Is there some kind of evil miasma floating through idol today? It’s just bouncing between already anticipating major idol loss and being buffeted by news left and right by horrible add-ons. Like, yeah, see title:

Continue reading

There There There’s No More Rapid-fire Album Trailer Than There There Theres’

If you’re looking for a good time with very little commitment of your precious time resources, you could do a lot worse than discovering whether you’re definitely going to be picking up the new There There Theres album, BRICKS, or whether you’re almost definitely going to be doing so. It’s just a question of personal hype level, isn’t it? In spirit if not in fact continuing on the BRGH legacy of being the queens of chika means that TTTs releases are events, man. You gotta step into that and let it hit you with all due severity.

And especially when the rapid-fire nature of the it could leave an adult human staggered and gasping for relief! It’s a lot like Arguably Greatest Punk Collaboration Ever Short Music for Short People, a glory of 30-second songs. TTTs absolutely destroyed that standard in setting a new record in Getting to Know Music By Hearing It in Tiny Snips!

Continue reading

Gentlemen, Your Chance to Be Aqbi Idols Has Arrived

Every so often, especially back in the early days of the site when every idol giggle felt like a momentous event that had to be shared with the world, I used to share audition information. Here’s a great example from way the heck back in the day. Then and even now, the process by which agencies refill their rosters with talent, and how groups sustain themselves through the inevitable chaos of teenagers’ whims and managers’ improprieties, is fascinating. Also alarming sometimes!

Now, friends, thanks to the unique generosity of Tanaka-san and Aqbi Rec, you too have an opportunity to join an all-male idol group under the There There Theres brand, as long as you’re between the ages of 15 and 22 and aren’t a total jerk:

Continue reading

There There There’s a (Great) New There There Theres Song

There There Theres! I don’t get a ton of opportunity to write about the former Bellring Girls Heart anymore. The main reason is very simple: They don’t do a ton of video anymore, and I haven’t the time to be chasing after every cool live clip anymore. That’s what Jesus invented the Weekender for! Nonetheless, my support for the Aqbi flagship remains unwavering, always hoping for something new and cool and eminently shareable. And here, finally, from their KHIMAIRA one-man, a new song … with live video!


Snacky indeed!

There Theresring Heart never disappoints. Do they ever do bad songs? I’m yet to hear one, from any iteration of the project, and this one comes with the added bonus of harking back to the halcyon days of “Rainy Dance” (an Ultimate Homicidol Playlist favorite!). It’s also going to be their next single, coming out next month (Natalie.mu with the details). If it’s ultimately anything like last year’s epic, I may have to cancel the rest of the year’s Best Of.

There There Theres Daycare

It wasn’t going to take long; after they streamed and recorded their live for the single most difficult audience that any idol has ever faced (on a Beni-designed set, no less!), it was inevitable that an MV for the newest There There Theres single, “SOIL”, would be upon us. That “upon us” would mean figurative minutes in the grand sweeping narratives of time, that’s the closest thing to a surprise:

Continue reading

There There There’s a Whole There There Theres Live to Watch

I don’t know about the rest of you guys, but here we are in the midst of yet another significant winter storm in the northeasterly quadrant of the United States (and probably also Canada!), though this one today is the first to bring appreciable snow to the National Capital Region. Everything is closed, and it’s just snowing-snowing-snowing. Perfect time to settle in for some idol live!

As it turns out, last night, There There Theres streamed a show on YouTube, I believe including filming for an MV for “Soil” (which is frankly incredibly overdue, but I digress), and it’s still alive and waiting for you to take it in, as you should do, right now, because There There Theres, now even more of a really-it’s-Bellring-Girls-Heart-with-some-adjustments thing going on what with all of the membership to-do, is genuinely one of the signature projects in the Chikaverse, and I will strong-arm people all day into at the very least appreciating what they do: Continue reading