And Now A Delightful Visit To SAKA-SAMA World…

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.

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Cinema and Boy CQ Present “The Picture Show of Chronic Deja Vu”…

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…

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Have You Heard The Good News Of RAY?

The glorious RAY posted on their twitter to look forward to an upcoming announcement, which sounded very promising for once, as opposed to all the downtrodden news we’ve gotten recently. “Yes please o’ etherial shoegazing idols , give us something good!! We need this!!”, we were all thinking to ourselves…

And so today, (Which is is actually now yesterday as of this publishing.) the good news was delivered! Have you heard? Listen and listen well, those who believe, and welcome to the light, those of you who are new…

https://twitter.com/_RAY_world/status/1250378525732786176

 

Yes, Sweet Hipster Moses, RAY is releasing their first album!! I swear the sun came out and bathed the Earth is a pink glow while the Corona virus cowered a little today. Everything just got a little better. And oh, guess what else? For a limited amount of time, the album in it’s entirety is uploaded on YouTube, to let you taste the rainbow a little bit early!

Maybe before I say anything more about the details, I’ll leave the embed right here and let you dive in. So go ahead, breathe in, and savor a full preview of RAY’s very first full-length album, entitled “Pink”

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The Grateful a MogAAAz Bring a Wide-Screen Masterpiece…

Yeah, I know we haven’t really dedicated as much ink to The Grateful a MogAAAz on this blog as they deserve. It’s not that we have any bias against them, we like them actually, but for me at least, they’ve never quite broken the intangible barrier that would truly win me over. I can’t even give you a good reason why except maybe to say that Melon Batake a go go’s shadow loom over them a bit too much. But I think the real truth is that it’s really my fault for not giving them enough attention and I simply need to do better.

https://twitter.com/mogaaaz/status/1239401155613974528?s=20

But there might be a change in the wind’s direction with this new tune from Melonbat’s sister group. They dropped a new MV and I casually decided to give it a click, thinking that I’d probably suggest it for the Weekender later on. And then I watched this video, and then I watched three more times…

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For Him? For Her? It’s POUR LUI

Is this the longest downtime between albums in idol history? Seriously, we’ve been waiting for 10 years!

Today the sequel to Pour Lui’s original solo album “Minna no Pour Lui” aptly titled “Minna no Pour Lui II” drops and oh boy was it worth the decade long wait.

As you can see we have a full double album here! Eight brand new songs and a second disc of re-recordings from the original Minna no Pour Lui.

The initial sound is what you’d expect from a WACK and SCRAMBLES production – it’s solid alt-rock that makes you want to slam your head back and forth, with opening track “I’m in love” featuring some guitarwork that wouldn’t go out of place on an Iron Maiden album. Pour Lui would kill Run to the Hills but could Bruce Dickinson do THIS? No, because he can’t speak Japanese.

 

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Beni and CHILDISH TONES remember life as an “Ex Fan Des Sixties”…

avandoned may be approaching an end to it’s illustrious career run, but by no means does this mean that Beni Usakura will be ceasing to work on terrific musical projects that are both sublime and meaningful. Once again the multi-media chanteuse has teamed-up with the amazing toy instrument garage band CHILDISH TONES to offer another great take on a classic pop tune!

This time the delightfully quirky combo is treating us to a haunting cover of a song written by the LEGENDARY master of subversive pop, the great Serge Gainsbourg himself, which was recorded by his long-running romantic and artistic muse, the fabulous and stunning Jane Birkin

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Yoneko Enters Her Post-Idol Career With Her New Single “SET FIRE TO NOW”…

Aside from the massive paychecks we receive as members of Team Homicidols, we occasionally have some other nifty perks that come our way! In particular is this instance where we were honored with a bonafide press-release (Very kindly provided by a certain western dealer of chika goods whose name rhymes with Erik. Thanks!) that allowed the Team to have a look at the MV for Yoneko‘s new single, a fiery tune called “SET FIRE TO NOW”!  *

Please understand that this MV isn’t going to be unveiled until the 22nd, so sorry, I don’t get show it to you or anything, but I can sure as heck tell you about the song, and believe me, I’m very, very eager to talk about it!!

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We Review Dorama: Dakara Watashi wa Oshimashita

“Say, have you heard of ‘Oshi’?” 

This is the opening line of 2019 NHK dorama Dakara Watashi wa Oshimashita (English Title: “My Favorite Member”), in which a 30-year-old office worker stumbles across a performance by underground idols and is slowly and inexorably pulled down the rabbit hole to chika idol wotadom.  This entirely relatable synopsis was enough to garner the show a high priority on My Dramalist as soon as Papermaiden made me aware of its existence. And as much as I wanted to binge all eight 30-minute episodes as soon the fansubs were complete, I disciplined myself and slowly devoured the show over the course of a few days. 

It was a rewarding effort. The dorama shines as an incredibly instructive, rewarding and, in the end, empathetic spotlight on the world of underground idol. In delivering this detailed insight, the show adopts a mostly naturalistic tone and doesn’t sugarcoat or romanticize the struggles of the idols or wota. Although the story unfolds through a melodramatic plot device, both the idols and their fans are portrayed as real, imperfect people trying to build a better versions of themselves.

If nothing else, the show answers the question I saw posed on Twitter the other day: “Is the ‘w’ in ‘wota’ silent?”  Continue reading

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You Can Listen to the APOKALIPPPS Now!

Idol supergroup APOKALIPPPS have been active for a while now, but unfortunately a bit out of reach for us Western fans. The group is still very much an indie thing and their previous singles haven’t been terribly assessable due to their limited distribution, so supporting the group has mostly consisted of cheering the group on from afar…

Well, cheer up peeps, because the APOKALIPPPS is finally reaching worldwide!

https://twitter.com/APOKALIPPPS_NOW/status/1160061863998083073?s=20

The wonder group has self-released an EP, “APOKALIPPPS ONGEN”, and it’s also seeing a digital release via the major streaming networks, so you have no excuse to sleep on it! I eagerly decided to give a listen…

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We Review Things: BiSH | ‘CARROTS and STiCKS’

BiSH - CARROTS and STiCKS

Sitting down to a first listen of the fifth BiSH album, CARROTS and STiCKS, the big question is: Which BiSH will predominate? The brazen punks who got kicked out of Tokyo Idol Festival? The potential game changers who released a two-minute thrash punk single as their major label debut? Or the commercial idols who promote cell phones and sing anime theme songs?

We know the punk is still in BiSH as demonstrated every time they let Ling Ling center and she does the emotional equivalent of kicking your teeth down your throat. At the same time, it’s hard to give punk cred to a group that’s signing exclusive deals with Apple to restrict the digital distribution of their own music. I certainly won’t begrudge a person for making a living off their art, especially in the crap ass world of Japanese entertainment where the vast majority of power and profits are concentrated in the hands a few management moguls who are far less benevolent than BiSH’s boss-who-we-love-to-hate, Junnoske Watanabe. And it’s not like those of us who have climbed aboard the BiSH train can cry about genre, aesthetic or ideological purity anyway. Watanabe has never hidden the fact that he is punk in the same way that Malcolm McLaren was punk: thumbing the nose of a conservative society is good fun and all, but only if you can make a buck (pound or yen) doing it.

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