After years of silence, the Modern Freaks of “Chika” Idol Department in Japan re-emerged yesterday to drop a surprise announcement that rates as some of the biggest music news of the year: in recognition of the 10-year anniversary of the debut of BELLRING Girls Heart, the legendary unit’s entire catalog will be made available via streaming.
It’s not every day that we get new long form content from the underground idol scene, especially now that we are in this whole sanitary disaster. So it was with great curiosity that I rented Derek Vasconi’s first episode of his documentary series Flowers of Passion.
Derek Vasconi has made his mark in the idol scene through several ventures: he organized the East Meets West Music Festival, and went on to create the idol merch website Idol Underworld, which aims to make idol merch more accessible for overseas fans, as well as producing original merch, like the many idol exclusive photobooks. Idol Underworld also has a sister site called Cheki World, a second-hand market to allow oversea fans to sell and trade their covetable idol polaroids. Flowers of Passion is his first foray into film and his first documentary.
By now most of you know that Kai, one of our favorite quirky oddball idols around these parts, has decided to step down from all activities. TRASH-UP!! Records released a statement late last week breaking us the news…
For a lot of us, this retirement of sorts is a more personal loss than usual in a business where graduations and disbandments are common events that we’ve developed an understanding and acceptance of. Kai was just something… well, unique, y’know? Aside from her fans, she’s also always been a consistent friend of idols. I can’t recall exactly how many times she showed up in my instagram feed having lunch with someone else I followed. Beni made a point to post her well-wishes and reminisce over some fond memories…
Yoneko is continuing to explore her post-idol growth as an indie-singer-songwriter, and it’s been rewarding for the rest of us to watch her evolution. Over the last several months, I’ve found her her to be consistently surprising and engaging with her rather prolific output. She’s worn quite a few hats already, at times being a quirky indie popper, and lo-fi rocker, and a one-woman bedroom pop wunderkind in the making.
And like clockwork, the one-time raven has crafted yet another new song and an MV to go with it! It’s been up for a couple of days now, so maybe you’ve seen it already, but if not, you really should…
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.
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:
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!
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:
【祝1stアルバム発売記念】 ゼアゼア曲をカバーする期間限定“メンズ”アイドル「HERE HERE HERES（ヒアー・ヒアー・ヒアーズ）」メンバーを募集します！