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!
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…
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…
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…
Here we go!!! With Day 16 of the 50 YMM! MV Project, we’re in the thick of YOU’LL MELT MORE! on an unstoppable hot streak. This was the moment where everything the group did became a event for me and many of their other fans. No matter what genre, what style, whatever circumstances, YOU’LL MELT MORE! proved they could be the master of any form and deliver with extra interest paid in full.
The group had released a number a couple of top-tier albums, and steady flow of rock-solid singles and EPs, one of which, the brilliantly titled “Literature and Destroy” contained this song as a closer. Shortly after, the song reappeared on their landmark album “YOU ARE THE WORLD”, which I will continue to unequivocally declare is the greatest idol album ever recorded, and when this MV arrived to promote it, it was clear that at last, the group had unleashed their magnum opus unto us undeserving souls…
One of the goals of doing this 50 Days of Yurumerumo! MVs Project was, aside from celebrating one of the most beloved groups among the Homicidols staff, was to help acquaint potential new fans into their fold and get them to “Melt More” just like we did. For myself personally, this is an especially valuable entry in the series, because this very song was the one that fully sealed the deal and crossed me over from being a casual admirer of the group into a committed fan.
The song is titled “人間は少し不真面目 (Onna no Ko yo Shitai to Odore)”. It was conceived by the core YMM! team: Arranger Hashida Kazuma, lyrics by Kobayashi Ai, who together with the group’s producer, Taichi Take, set out to record a beautiful, sprawling shoegaze epic…
13th Day of UM 50 Plan This time we will see your joint song “Hameedasomo!” A few days ago, the song sounded like a song, but it was very active, so it was a combination of the Stereo Francophone melodies. Are we in heaven or hell? Perhaps the answer is both.
Developed by Tamiya in 2060, “A Hell of a Remix and Remix!” An electronic nerd who doesn’t look like a source material, but every minute makes an amazing speaker. On the other hand, the manipulation of the original referee is frightening and inspiring. Can you really dance? If you keep quiet, an explosion will occur. The acoustic energy can be handled correctly, but the weapon means inadequate manual destruction.
I’ve been wondering if this steady stream of... um, well…streaming live shows is the beginning of another game-changing alteration in our strange and new socially distant world that’s here to stay, or just a means to get through the weirdness of the times. Ultimately I feel like it’s probably a little of both. A number of idol groups have figured out that there’s different ways to supplement their incomes through these online shows by either charging indie-pay-per-view fees, selling merchandise tied into the moment, or even just leaving up a donation link like a virtual hat laying on the sidewalk busker-style. There’s a ton of these events happening now of course, and thankfully Daemon’s been doing a capital job of trying to help keep us aware of what’s coming up.
Our number-one favorite coed-experimental-theatre-art-idol duo, Cinema and Boy CQ (You may call them Densho to shorten it.) have graced us with a new release! Following up their groundbreaking album The Soundtrack of Different Dimension Travel”, the pair have digitally unveiled their second full-length. due out on a physical disk on May 18.
For the more adventurous masses who yearn for bold, left-of-center experiences that push the edges of what one typically considers to be within the “idol” genre, this is the far and above one of the most eagerly awaited albums of 2020. However, due to the recent historical-scale health crisis, this album was actually delayed slightly, but like all great art, it just simply wasn’t right to suppress work that yearns to be heard. And so Densho and TRASH-UP!! Records have generously gifted us this release in advance courtesy of digital streaming platforms, and you should by all means immerse yourself in this rich audio/visual journey…
The new album is called “The Picture Show of Chronic Deja Vu”, which right off the bat is a pretty cool sounding title that conjures up feelings hallucinatory projected images that match up (or even clash) with relaxed moments of solitude. It wouldn’t be the first time visual and audio art colluded to make for a serious headtrip, y’ know?
Anyway, right on cue with the new album, there’s also a couple of MVs to help get you in the Densho mood. First up is “No. 9”, directed by Yukkyun himself…