Melon, Who Gonna Melon, Does Melon: New Single

I’d been very curious about what Melon Batake a go go were going to do with their next (major) release. At first, those thoughts centered around the whole business of their recent international work — what’s well and truly next at that point? Where do you take things? Where do you aim? Within the concept, what’s possible?

Well, the new single is out in June, and the MV is here, and now we know:

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And Then We Are Graced with New Shihatsu-machi Underground

There must be some kind of theme going on out there, you guys, because just as I was gearing up to write that other piece this morning about getting something new from a total personal favorite but being underwhelmed by it, up in the TL showed the get-hype letters M and V in a tweet from Shihatsu-machi Underground as well, and I dang near squeed in delight. The result was, again, not quite what I was going for, but I’ll be damned if I don’t shout loudly in your face that you need to listen to this and celebrate everything that the group does. I absolutely can not, will not be capable of supporting them to the fullest at all times and for all reasons, though, and I’m motivated as much by the fact that resources were spent to produce this spot (which means that they exist! in surplus!) and that maybe my inerrant devotion these girls and their work can pay off for them in even microscopic ways. They deserve it, even if the subject in question at all times isn’t necessarily what I wish I were getting, for its very existence is a gift:

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There Was New Toricago for Your Ears and Eyes

I was going to try to make more of this yesterday but flat ran out of time for it, but if you were aware of its release, you no doubt knew in your heart of hearts that this post would be blogged: Yes, Maniac bias Toricago did in fact release a new MV yesterday, and yes I smashed the hell out of that Play button as soon as an opportunity was presented. And what’s the occasion? As far as I can tell: Because they can. Which, hey sure, that’s kind of your MO as a group, and I’m sure that there’ll be more than enough of that attitude on display in this photobook that you’re promoting via image of member wrapped in gauze.

Anyway, the MV:

Full disclosure: I’m personally somewhat less enthusiastic about this one than pretty much everything else from Toricago that I’ve ever had the pleasure of covering. Not because of the song’s character, mind you — if I discounted every culturally homi-viable idol as a result of occasional ballads, I’d have nothing left to write too-long sentences online about — but because on top of having all the teeth of a newborn, it’s surprisingly meek even when it should have more emotional lift. Didn’t expect that from Toricago! I mean, it’s nice and all, but I don’t do this business for nice! I do it for everything but nice no matter how nice a nice thing can sometimes be!

CROSSNOESIS Could Possibly Save the World

So I don’t know where all of the good idol stuff went over the past several days*, you guys, but I’m kind of thankful for the moment’s peace. I told myself even yesterday that maybe I should just let the week ride itself out and only feel like I need to respond at all if something genuinely cool and big happens.**

Well, the best thing happened, and we finally got a look at the post-HAMIDASYSTEM project of the former members of HAMIDASYSTEM, who are not at all the new and current HAMIDASYSTEM, but are veterans of maybe the coolest, most creative, impossible-to-overrate multimedia art project to have ever struck idol. Specifically, we get music and some light visuals!

That was the fastest smashing of the Subscribe button in my over-enthusiastic history

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HAMIDASYSTEM, Rebooted

Ah, friends, the day has arrived! With their official debut as part of Gyuno Fes (today!), my personal Idol of the Year for 2018 who like immediately afterwards announced a mass graduation and then a soft reboot with new members and I say soft because 3/4 of the old members just went on to a new project with the same management, so okay, HAMIDASYSTEM is back!

Go ahead and play the match-faces-with-names game!

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This New QUEENS Stuff Is More Fun Than Anything Else You’ll Do Today

And in continuing the quick recent trend of things being announced and/or released on the final day of the Heisei Era, we have QUEENS, who are lots of fun anyway but capable of turning that all the way up to 12 just to spite your grumpiness you big, grumpy bear, who announced at their one-man the release of their first full album for June by dropping an MV that I just very loudly said on Twitter that I’d anticipated, which turned out to be for the wrong reasons by bear with me!

First, the MV that I urge you to take Dramamine before viewing:

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It’s the Flip Side of ZOC

First, disclosure: ZOC’s official Twitter gave me a full-on heart attack the other day when I was idly just trying to clear out the notifications and I saw … a blog post from Seiko without context! DUN DUN DUUUUUNNNNN. But naw, it was nothing, no graduation announcement or a “that was fun, what next” or anything, just words of praise and encouragement from the boss behind it all. Yes, the legend herself is still part of the group she founded.

And on that note, given that their first single released yesterday, it only made sense for ZOC to release an MV for the B-side!

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Let’s Catch up with Marionet

So in addition to not being able to blog all the posts I’d like these days, it’s also embarrassingly easy to miss things that I ordinarily would never, ever want to miss. No, I’m not talking about the birth of a child (though: try me); I mean new things and fun things from favorite idol projects of mine. Good thing that I have you guys! Just like how I got saved on the NEMLESS MV, Andrew was kind enough to tug my pant leg and point out that yes, Maniac, you did in fact miss something from Marionet, what is actually wrong with you!

Well.

When we last left our heroines, they had reached that point in their record-promotion schedule where they’d teased like all of the tracks and had their first bona fide MV in hand and were waving it around and loudly encouraging folks to give them an honest chance. It was a good look and a good time! And now that a month has passed, it’s time to … well, it’s time to release a new song for the adoring masses!

Is it on the EP, or is it truly new?

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ZOC Is Here to ZOC Your Socks Off

For almost any idol group that debuted last year, during a great-enough-to-be-noteworthy glut of new projects, to stand out after the fact was going to require unique efforts and angles. Some of them, like we saw from Toricago the other day, are all in on creative updates on familiar tropes. Others looked to up any of a series of antes — to be more something than thei r peers — while others did enough to catch the eye and now face a long road ahead.

Arguably the greatest move that anything in idol could have done last year, then, would be to be in fact the creative side project of a modern musical legend who would lend credence, gravitas and much-needed artistic credibility to the whole in addition to that all-important name recognition. Yes, of course I speak of ZOC, who may have had the most enthusiastically received debut I’ve ever seen despite being more notable for instant member drama than anything they did musically. Basically, it was super idol.

A few months in, though, ZOC has been active and working and stable, and now with a single on the way next week, it was time to really show us what they have to offer. The MV for “family name” tells the tale:

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The New Toricago Is Hype

We’ve gone through quite a bit as loudol fans in these early months of 2019. Hell, being even passingly familiar with the idol scene in general has been an invitation to a shitshow lately. It’s wild, and a lot of the established names and faces that helped to form our community’s sense of stability have been through a brutal wringer.

Things do have a silver lining, though, and maybe this year’s apocalypse of loss and sadness and rage can be laid next to the ongoing emergence of a new generation of talents who are stepping up in all kinds of interesting ways. And in that group we can include Toricago, who I would be remiss to not point out as being just barely over a year from their debut but are operating on such a professional and well-executed and sort of nouveau-fresh level that I’m shocked that they haven’t completely conquered all before them yet.

Folks absolutely went off on Saturday when the group dropped this latest MV, which isn’t connected to their most recent (excellent) album, but is a limited single (until the next album, obvs) that necessitated heading to Hong Kong to shoot apparently. I had to skip it for two straight days because I was going in too many directions at once to try to put real attention on something, but now I’m here and brother am I ever glad I am:

Now, it took me almost 48 hours from the first hyperventilating accolades bursting through my feed to actually get to watch this, and goodness knows that I have a mess of hype-worthy things to deal with right now in like all media, so one must as a matter of simple psychological survival temper all that hype with a strong dose of counter-hype. “Oh how good could it be” is one such coping tactic! Continue reading