Back in 2012, I did a little blog post called “Awesome Idols that you might not know!”. My goal with that post was to bring attention to some of groups
that international fans of Japanese music might have overlooked. One of the great things about Japan is that there’s such a vibrant independent music scene
for every imaginable genre, and Idol music is no exception. Often times the more obscure a group is, the more intense the fans of that group are.
With that said, as a DJ, I consider it my ongoing quest to find the “next thing”. I like to look a little past what’s most popular at the moment, and find music that’s
truly enjoyable, and present it to everyone. It’s easy to get stuck listening to a few core groups that you love, and sometimes you can really benefit from trying
something new so you don’t burn yourself out on your favorites. Besides, at some point your favorite artists were new to you, and you just might find a new favorite here.
Since being back in Japan in February i’ve found some real awesome stuff. Many have been recommended from my idol expert friends who live in Fukuoka, so there’s going to be many Kyushu based idols here, however I think that’s a great place to start because Kyushu’s music scene is vibrant, however often overlooked due to media focus on Tokyo and Kansai Regions.
With that said…. 2nd edition here we go!
ひろしまMAPLE★S (Pronounced: Hiroshima Maples)
So I was in Fukuoka chilling at a friends workplace for bit and he’s playing this track, and it sounds so good that it’s gotta be some huge major label artists or maybe
anime theme song, but in fact it’s “RPM” by ひろしまMAPLE★S. This is one of those groups that really, you’re going to want every release from them. All the music is very high quality, high production value that reminds me of Kz Livetune. Everytime I bring up this group in conversation everyone agrees that they’re awesome. I don’t think they get nearly the attention they deserve.
Damn this group is great. They combine elements of EDM and Hardrock/Metal into a swirling unstoppable force of epicness. The music is very complex, navigating genres and tempos with ease. My hat goes off to the producers. Just watch! I’m surprised I don’t hear about them very much.
I’S9 (yeah… it’s said “Eyes Nine” FYI)
I’S9 is a group I had the luck of seeing live in Fukuoka during my last trip. I was very impressed with their performance, and their music comes across much better in
a live setting. I feel that their recordings don’t really capture their energy well, but they’re a very high level group that deserves a 2nd look. Please search them
out and try to attend a live show!
I had a lucky chance to get introduced to Yuyupoyo from Photograph before going to see their live show, she was really cool and tried her best to talk to me so I was
looking forward to seeing Photograph live. Despite this particular PV, they actually have a more “Pop” vibe than a Idol vibe, I would compare the atmosphere of their performance to AKB48’s sub-unit DiVA. Their Dancing was really well choreographed, and they vocals were well done. They seem to have a great following in the Fukuoka area, and I can definitely see why. Please check out their releases. btw Yuyupoyo is the best.
MilkShake is kind of a difficult group to actually get music from online sources, but if you can get it, you’ll find some quality idol music. They’re catchy, happy, and will
make your life more enjoyable by listening. I don’t have alot of information on them yet, but I bought this single, and i’m definitely enjoying it.
1Believe FNC [Future]
I’m pretty sure 1Believe FNC is an umbrella company for several groups. “Future” is one these, and I picked up one of their releases recently after seeing alot of youtube
live footage over the past year or so. It’s solid stuff, I recommend checking it out if you need some good idol music.
青山☆聖ハチャメチャハイスクール（メチャハイ）(Aoyama Saint Hacchameccha High School…or “Meccha High” for short)
Meccha High is one of those groups that I’ve been really addicted to over the course of last year. Then in 2015 they started of the year by releasing this single, and
it’s really something to behold. Everything from the music, choreography, and perfomance is just awesome. Just wait for the chorus to kick in, because it just makes your heart fly. I finally got to see them live recently, and did the whole handshake session with them, and I gotta say my expectations were not let down. They were every bit as awesome as my mind had been hyping them up to be. The thing that gets me about this group is they have this kinda rough around the edges crazy energy that captures their personality, and the vocals are a great soup of voices that lift your spirits. I can’t recommend this group enough, they’ve been getting alot of plays on my mp3 player when I’m out and about.
Ayumikurikamaki is really high level group with a great combo of high energy rock and electronic music elements. They have a overall happy fun energy that really is
infectious. They seem to have a lot of promo, but I rarely hear people talk about them for some reason. I notice that one of the members DJ’s around tokyo alot, so I’d like to see her play at some point.
Rev. from DVL
This group came a long way last year from being “that one group Hashimoto Kanna is from”. They released a batch of very high quality singles last year, and I became hooked more and more with every release. This music video in particular stands out for me as a great example of the group, because it showcases everyone’s personality, and the song is just so catchy, and it shows some of the groups signature tight choreography. I recently bought a live DVD of theirs, and it’s quite impressive. This is a top Fukuoka based idol
group that really should have more international fans. please check them out, and if you’re into more mature sound, check out their single “REAL”.
乙女新党 (Otome Shinto)
I’ve been a fan of this group for awhile now (I saw them live a couple years ago). If you like the super cutesy idol stuff, then this is your new jam. I recommend it.
I saw this group live recently as part of a meccha high show, and I was pretty impressed by them. Their fans were really intense, and their performance was very high energy.
I’m still learning about them, but please take a look at their stuff.
Really??? Why aren’t you a huge fan of them yet?? wth man. LinQ is arguably THE idol group from Fukuoka, their music covers many genres, and their live theatre performances are
excellent. They have a great setup with subgroups for more mature members (LinQ Lady), and more cutesy stuff (LinQ Qty). Basically, think AKB48 with better music, more talent, and better live performance, and not so many members to keep track of. Besides, i’d say they’re truly the “idols you can meet”. After every show they have a very nice handshake/autograph session and it’s very casual, so it’s a really great way to meet your favorite members.
すぷらっしゅレボリューション (Splash Revolution)
This is a sub-group of HR (Hakata Reboot). It’s pretty awesome, and I also still suggest HR as well. My favorite member from HR is in this group so there’s that too.
J-pop Idol METROPOLIS
This group is another one with great music production. They seem to be getting a lot of attention from idol fans in tokyo, but I still don’t hear people talking about them much online. Please check them out, they’re on the cutesy electronic side of things, but with high energy.
Pla2me (said: Pla-ni-mei)
Well, this group actually kind of gets plenty of attention already because one of the members was in the hugely popular group “BiS”. However, I’m more happy to see Mari (formerly known as Izukoneko) getting attention for being in this duo. They range from hard driving electro-rock to hard rock. If this group isn’t in your personal rotation, get it now!
Another former BiS member doing some unique stuff. This is pure retro 80’s throwback at it’s best. if you dig retro stuff this is a legit track that really captures the 80s vibe without compromise.
Callme is made up of members from Dorothy Little Happy, and their sound is fresh. I love the production (as should be expected from being on Avex label). I see alot of advertisements for them, but rarely hear talk about them.
Well, that’s it for now. I’m sure I’m forgetting some groups, but maybe that’ll be for next time. Hope you find some new favorites in this batch, so enjoy!