TOKYO Tefutefu Is Playing with Our Hearts for Keeps

The Codomomental newbies — both of them — are out here following a fairly familiar script for units in the family, but something clicked in me yesterday when this MV dropped and I’ll be damned if I can really place it. What matters, I think, is that this second digital single from the don’t-you-dare-call-them-other second bright, shiny act out of Codomomental to close 2020 (TOKYO Tefutefu, if you’re following) is also taking the highly emotional stuff for a spin, and in this case, well:

Not having Tsurezure anymore gives both groups opportunities to pick up that sound and run with it, and I’m sure these last couple of entries aren’t the last we’ll see of really any of NSLE’s several modifications over the years, but TOKYO Tefutefu’s “double” here sounds like it, if you know what I mean. Like this is what a successor group sounds like, using a lot of the core elements but also taking them in directions they haven’t necessarily been used to explore before. That TOKYO Tefutefu presents as fairly tradol in orientation even if their music is yet to be decided*, and roles between members (at least for now) seem kind of settled in, I think sells that even more. Don’t think of them as a nostalgia act — think of them as exploiting your emotional vulnerabilities by showing just enough of the beloved familiar to draw you in and then sucker-punching you right in the feels so you can’t ever get away. It’s kind of brilliant.

“double” is out today on … all of the streamers of your choice? Close enough.

*Though they seem closer to it than akugi, which is to say that they may be coalescing on this kind of tortured-emo-alt-idorock thing, which is just fine

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There Is Every Reason to Be Excited about Sway Emotions Slightly

One of the highest-quality new acts of 2020 is showing that they’re grabbing 2021 by the horns, too.

At their first one-man the other day, they announced a new EP that’ll be along before we know it:

Sounds great even as a snip! And naturally it’s easy to infer what we can expect as far as an MV will go; apparently you can see it early if you download this app and win a lottery or something?

This is a very short blog post for something that is very exciting!

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Jesus Christ, This Is Absolutely Perfect

NELN, as expected, dropped yet another single in their 12-month-long series of releases, and did so right at the end of the month per usual. I want to get all of the reax out of the way first because, I swear to you, if you haven’t already watched this video and/or listened to this song, you’re going to be more than a little impressed, and you’re going to be like, oh wow, didn’t they do nine of these during 2020? And why didn’t we make them the debut of the year? And the answer is that I don’t know, but seriously it’s like NELN is just upping the ante every month, and I’m almost afraid of the beauty they’ll spring on us when the series ends in March and then they’ll do something during their big gig in April that might break reality. We’ll see. In the meantime: “snow light”:

Everything about that is wonderful.

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It’s Not Too Late to Talk about How Awesome akugi’s Second Digital Single Is, Is It?

Well oops. Not-quite-the-latest Codomomental project, akugi, who is currently in the lead for Group Most Likely To Fill The Komachi-Shaped Hole In Your Heart, officially dropped their second single and MV and … well, this is really different from the last one! In fact, my above description is way more apt than I would’ve expected. Team, predictably, adores the track and had a brief chat about the video, and then we all had other things to do and holy hell it’s Saturday, let’s real quick do something with akugi before the boss thinks we don’t like their things anymore.

It’s actually a really easy thing to do. Frankly, I’ve had the refrain in my head for days and have been completely happy about it. So, on the off chance that you’re in this community and you like sequester yourself from Codomomental for some reason and aren’t hip to akugi, let’s take this brief step back into, uh, mid-week to enjoy it all again:

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This Post Is a Celebration of the Mere Existence of XOXO EXTREME

Idol is genreless. You learn this pretty quickly even if you don’t start off going down the bottomless rabbit hole of chika loud idol — you might be like “oh wow I really like BTS perhaps this ‘Perfume’ thing from Japan is similarly fun” and within a week you’re wondering what the hell a GO TO THE BEDS because that’s next in your somewhat randomized playlist and you’re currently listening to some lady with an extremely squeaky voice rap perhaps a little too well for comfort. Genre, such as it is within idol, is largely a matter of trend: Idorock is a thing because it’s easy, and we’ve had really solid runs through metal and punk and nowadays, yes, rapping is apparently the latest big thing. The really memorable idol units, though, are the ones that take a fairly unique genre position (Dots with shoegaze, Yanakoto Sotto Mute with grunge, Hauptharmonie with … however you describe Hauptharmonie) and double up by also being really goddamn good at it. Those things stick; so too do those rare times when an idol unit fills a very unique niche that needs filling, like GARUDA coming out of the woodwork as my personal white whale doing unsettling industrial stuff.

All of this to say that there is really one prog idol unit out there, they’ve been in that position for several years, they’re always incredibly, absolutely, wonderfully entertaining, and they check every box I just described, making them some kind of weird idol genre gold standard that may not make them the world’s most popular performing act but definitely makes them one that deserves love and respect, all of it.

That’s the post. Go enjoy your Saturday.

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We Review Things: The Flowers of Passion – Episode 02

Episode 02 of Derek Vasconi’s documentary series, The Flowers of Passion was made available for streaming on Friday, and I dug into it almost immediately. 

The episode packs a lot into 73 minutes, giving us XOXO EXTREME’s thoughts on the history of idol and the difficulties of holding a place in it, some dramatically personal insight into what it is like to be 14th Generation Toilet Hanako-San, footage from a special acoustic set by NaNoMoRaL, and a behind-the-scenes look at LiLii Kaona’s creative processes including the birth of their incomparable tune, “Rust”.

This is all delivered via extremely candid conversations and intimate performance footage capturing the action both on stage and in the studio. So far, the strength of the series stems from the presentation of the interviews and performances largely without external narration or commentary. Other than the first several minutes of episode one (which we reviewed here), the only editorial context comes from infrequent captions that usually serve an introductory purpose. The end result is that what we see and hear is almost entirely the unfiltered thoughts of the idols and their management or production staff.  Continue reading

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ATARASHII GAKKO! Drop First International Single and MV

After their November announcement of signing with American multimedia platform 88rising, and their December participation in the DOUBLE HAPPINESS Global Holiday Festival, ATARASHII GAKKO! are continuing their quest for world domination with the January release of, “NAINAINAI”, their first international single and MV.

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Let’s Discover Some Idols: AKIARIM

All right, let’s get back to Discovering Some Idols, shall we? I feel kind of badly that more than a few of these groups that I’ll wave in front of your face did in fact debut at points in the past and some of them are pretty good so they’re never be eligible for the kinds of major awards that can make or break an idol career, but that’s okay. We’ll enjoy ’em on their merits anyway!

And what merits! Friends, I introduce you to AKIARIM (Twitter), who are … okay, so you know how there was this global outbreak of a potentially-deadly-and-even-under-the-best-of-circumstances-difficult-to-treat pathogen and, you may recall, it kind of got a whole lot of things canceled in the early parts of 2020? Yes, like almost a year ago? Okay good. So that’s basically AKIARIM, who if I’m following the timeline correctly were like, hey, we’re a cool group with some talent behind us and some resources and we’re debut– well okay, let– WE’LL JUST DO IT LATER THEN. And so began their life in earnest a few months ago:

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Dan te Lion: The Hardest Working Unit in IdolRock

If, like me, you have spent the COVID crisis bingeing chika idol livestreams from Japan, then you have probably come to be familiar with Dan te Lion. When I started keeping The Calendar back in mid-July, they had just hosted Volume 35 of their Diffusion Φ Brightness Twitcast performance series featuring agency mates Chu Kiss RIP, KANARIA and recurring guests like ZOMBIE POWDER and (personal favorite) Lil na Valley. This past weekend, they broadcast Volume 61, which is a remarkable pace made all the more impressive by the fact that they typically perform two-to-three other shows each week on top of that.

Dan te Lion took a break from their relentless live schedule to drop a new MV on Tuesday that serves as the first single from their new album, [GO], which they then proceeded to drop on Wednesday.

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It’s a GREAT MONKEYS RE:START!

Heck yeah, GREAT MONKEYS! What a group. Just like the totality of idol in here, and they’d be about six months old at this point if– well, if you haven’t been keeping score at home, they:

  1. Released one of the awesomest songs of 2020 as a debut single
  2. Actually debuted
  3. Almost immediately went on hiatus
  4. Announced that the group was disbanding
  5. Clarified that it was only mostly disbanding actually
  6. Proved it
  7. Set a re:start date of tomorrow
  8. Dropped the below this morning

Absolutely my kind of project. I love fun things, and I love chaos for the sake of it; if they started doing atmospheric blackgaze and gave themselves names like Idol ov Hell, they’d be my literal perfect musical interest ever. But! As it stands, this is what we have with the re:start:

So really more of a re-shuffle in fact

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