Did Any Of Us Ever Really Know Maison Book Girl?

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.

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A Yellow RAY of Sunshine For You!

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..

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Hayasaka Nanse Has Some Harsh Words For the PTA!

You totally know Hayasaka Nanse even if you don’t recognize her name right away. She was a member of the legendary (at least around these parts) Shoujo Kakka no International, i.e. one of the most groundbreaking and seminal chika idol units of all time!  Yeah sure, they never got “famous” but they certainly made an impression that still resonates with the idol underground. At the time, Nanse went by the stage name “Fukumaru Mochi”, and shortly after that group disbanded, she became known as DJ OMOCHI when she joined up with, yep, you got it, the beloved rap-idol unit RHYMEBERRY! See, I knew you knew her!

When RHYMEBERRY came to an end, Hayasaka Nanse didn’t join any new groups, but she didn’t fade away either. She maintained her social media presence and streamed live fairly frequently, stating her current role as a vlogger personality and voice actress. (Two frequent post-idol career paths.) And while I don’t fully expect her to entirely brand herself as an idol again per se, it’s very pleasing to see she still records new music on occasion, and now has even graced us with an MV that fits appropriately within the Homicidols canon.  Are you stoked yet? Well, you oughta be! Let’s check it out!

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Zoomgals Are A Conference Call Of Energizing Awesomeness

If you haven’t seen/heard this yet, I envy you because this is so urgent and exciting that the first time is the best time. (But don’t worry, it’ll still hold up the 323rd listen, trust me, I know.) Just be warned though that if you’re viewing this on your phone, the fire just might burn your hands, so be careful…

With that in mind, turn your volume up as loud as it can go and hit the play button on “GALS” by hip-hop supergroup Zoomgals, joined by special (awesome) guest Yayoi Daimon with an unlikely but welcome cameo of Japan’s esteemed academic sociologist Shinji Miyadai!!!

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SAKA-SAMA Think You Are The Coolest!

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…

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CHILDISH TONES and Beni Remind Us To “God Bless The Girls”…

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…

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Bandcamp Friday Is a Perfect Day To Support Some Idols!

While the big streaming services are certainly conveinent and useful, (And surprisingly packed with idol music.) they are, at their core, in league with Satan. And not Satan in a cool metal kind of way, but Satan as in soulless and greedy corporate ogres. You know who’s not in league with Satan though? Bandcamp!

I’ve mentioned it a few times before, but I believe Bandcamp is the very best thing that’s happened to music distribution in the 21st century. I love it and surf it addictively, searching for neat stuff and often striking gold. And the other reason I love is because it’s a terrific company with ethical practices and noble motives. As you may know by now, in light of Covid’s destructive impact on the ability of musicians and music providers to earn a living, the website began “Bandcamp Fridays”, where on the first Friday of every month, the revenue earned on that day goes entirely to the artist. I’ve been trying to keep this when in mind when purchasing from the website, and since today is the first Friday of October, here’s a few idol and idol-adjacent offerings I felt compelled to share with you…

Okinawa Electric Girl Saya has been uploading the majority of her prolific catalog of experimental releases onto Bandcamp, and there’s a couple that especially stand out for me: Continue reading

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Kai: A Retrospective Of A Wonderfully Unique Idol

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…

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YOU’LL ROCK MORE! with YOU’LL MELT MORE!

Our fully comprehensive but not-too-throughly-serious retrospective of the first 50 (52 actually) MV’s by the always daring and darling YOU’LL MELT MORE! may have been wrapped up, but this blog has no plans to stop covering one of our personal favorite groups! Yea, verily, let it be known that as long as YMM! has the power to melt our hearts, we’re on board with them til’ the end!

Having gotten my opening declaration out of the way, let’s talk about what item has us here today: A terrific live performance of the bravest and most experimental idol unit returning to a band configuration that includes new members Nerun and Nani! This is also notable because Kechon gets to play an actual full drum kit while Younapi has cast aside her usual keytar for a nice n’ noisy guitar…

First off, I’m always very happy to see these ladies do their “band thing” and I’d be more than pleased if they did it more frequently. Are they the most polished and slick band around? Heaven’s no and thank goodness for that! There’s already a a few hundred too-slick, booooooring, over-produced bands on the planet, and who really needs another one on that forgettable heap? Personally, I’m from the Shaggs School of Primitive Rock and this scratches that itch wonderfully.

You can sense the slightly tense concentration here as the group does something they don’t do that often, but that tension is tempered with a shot of joy and fun that keeps this from feeling awkward and forced like a music school recital. You can get a feeling of quiet satisfaction in Kechon as she keeps up the time on the drums, like a personal battle is being won, while Younapi becomes giddy as she shifts from playing simple chords to let loose on a chaotic Jojo Hiroshige-esque guitar solo. I also love the way Chiffon not-quite-so-discreetly sneaks across the stage to get her own little shot at making some guitar noise too…

And then there’s our two new members, “Song of the Summer 2020” nominees Nerun and Nani… Being so relatively green, they perhaps haven’t gotten a crack at an instrument yet, but they do a great job of offering vocals and even a little of back-up percussion including yes, a glorious cowbell!  And then Nerun pulls out a recorder (most infamous instrument in the world) and manages to play it in a non-irritating fashion, which is certainly no small feat!

It’s a short, breezy video that goes by fast, but I think it’s most certainly brought us a few minutes of positive cheer. Hopefully we’ll get a another reward like this soon, and goodness knows I hope we can get more ep/MV/singles from YOU’ll MELT MORE! before the year is over. We need all the good vibes we can get!

With this spirit in mind, and a realization that summer is rapidly coming to a close (and heading into an uncertain Fall) here’s one more live blast of Yurumerumo! to take us out…

 

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50 YMM MVs Day 17: Violence

Day 17 and we’re up to another favorite YOU’LL MELT MORE! song of mine. (Yeah, I know, I’ve called like the last three of these “my favorite”…. cause they all are!)  This is “Idol ID”, which also appeared on the landmark album “You Are The World”. It’s a fabulous song with an MV that….well, let’s watch it first…

I think this is the MV that I’ve watched the most times out of all the Yurumerumo! videos, perhaps because I’m both fascinated with it and yet just a bit conflicted and bewildered by it. I have never seen an explanation of the context behind it, probably because of the language barrier, so it’s a total mystery what’s really happening here, and what themes were being explored. I really only have it at face value, leaving it up to my interpretations. But part of me loves that ambiguity and prefers to keep it that way.

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