Once again, we’ll be shifting our focus off of Japan and towards another country’s idol scene. Say hello to Fingers Cross from Thailand and their new music video for Theory!
Fresh with a new member in tow, RILISREVERSE are back with their new digital single SAISEI and we have a lot to say indeed.
When the original BiS arrived at their decision to disband wayyyyy back in 2014, did they ever consider how all the tangled strands of their legacy would branch out into a dozen hydra-like directions that each evolved into their own unique entities? In the moment, I recall my own bummed out reaction to the breakup quickly turning into eager excitement for the future as each member revealed their plans. There was LUI FRONTiC, Pla2me, BILLIE IDLE®︎, Tentenko’s solo experiments, and then there was one that really especially stuck out to me…. Koshouji Megumi’s newly announced “Book House Girl”, which promptly became the enigmatically named Maison book girl.
Cinema and Boy CQ just released their latest MV and it’s a phenomenal one.
The song is Tranquilizers no koibito (translated, as shown several times in the MV, to “The Lovers of Tranquilizers”) and the song was written by Yoko Hamasaki of Urbangarde fame.
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..
— RAY (@_RAY_world) May 24, 2021
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.
The hour long episode, first of a series of five, seems centered on the production and self-production aspect, as well as the historic roots of idols. It revolves mostly around Asakura Mizuho via Bellring Girl’s Heart & Saka-Sama, NaNoMoRaL, Usakura Beni from avandoned, and finally, Merry Bad End.
It’s been a very active year for SAKA-SAMA! The current duo incarnation of Kokone and Mizuho seems to be a line-up that’s really found it’s stride since TRASH-UP!!! Records conceived of the group back in 2016. Aside from a darn-near perfect album released back in February (“DAYDREAM”), as well as a couple of terrific EPs, Kokone recorded her delightful solo EP and Mizuho’s project (Which is basically a solo act right now.) ATOMIC MINISTRY finally brought us a cool single that flew in low-key under the radar.
Now it’s December, and as the year draws to a close, here comes another album by the lo-fi dream-pop twosome. It’s a double-disc, 28-track track opus entitled
“You Are The Coolest!”! TRASH-UP!! was kind enough to share audio of the title track, so take a moment and give it a listen if you haven’t already…
CHILDISH TONES, the toy-instrument garage-rock band led by Naoki Nemoto seem to have really struck gold ever since they started recording songs with Beni Usakura. They’ve released four highly-prized singles so far, all of which sold-out of their initial vinyl pressings almost immediately upon release, and it seems only natural that it’s time for them to level-up to the long-play format.
So with that, their newest release is a package of twelve twee-pop nuggets, including both the previous singles and and some new stuff as well! “God Bless The Girls” is the title of this collection, and it just dropped last week!
— 宇佐蔵べに (@usakura_beni) October 28, 2020
Here’s a short trailer with a handful of song snippets from the previous singles to check out…
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…
— trashup_records (@TrashupRecords) August 28, 2020
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…
SAKA-SAMA is most-certainly an encapsulation of what we think of when we discuss the ups-and-downs and side-to-sides of this whole idol business. This group has run a full gamut of graduations and roster configurations, all while maintaining a musical vision that alters just as much as the member incarnations. There’s only one thing about the lo-fi dream pop idols that has stayed consistent, and that’s Suzuki Kokone, the leader and sole founding member of the group…
— タワーレコード錦糸町パルコ店 (@TOWER_Kinshicho) August 1, 2020
Kokone’s perennial presence in SAKA-SAMA has now paid-off for her (And for us, too.) with her first solo release! While Kokone has dabbled with some solo lives while playing her guitar, this marks the first actual catalogued TRASH-UP!! recording by her. (There may have been some solo CDRs sold at live shows perhaps, but I can’t quite recall.) “FEVER” is a six-track mini-album now available through TRASH-UP!!’s online store.
And right along with that welcome news, we’ve also been gifted this delightful MV of the title track! The video is very much in keeping with the sort of whimsy one would expect from a TRASH-UP!! solo artist. Tell ya what, why don’t give it a watch if you haven’t already…