BiS Kaidan

BiS Kaidan

Ever since we added Babymetal and their J-pop-meets-death-metal steez to the Weird List earlier this year, a bunch of you have written in to point out that actually, Babymetal aren’t even the most extreme example of adorable headbanging Japan has to offer. For truly insane idol-meets-noise Japanese weirdness, we have to go to a short-lived project called BiS Kaidan.

BiS Kaidan was a collaboration between an idol J-pop girl group called BiS (short for “Brand-new Idol Society”) and the veteran noise band Hijōkaidan, who have been churning abrasive noise collages like this one since the late ’70s, occasionally accompanied live by smashing up equipment, pissing onstage and throwing garbage at the audience. (Japanese noise bands, in case you’re not familiar, do not fuck around. The Gerogerigegege used to jerk off onstage and eat each other’s shit, and an early version of the Boredoms called Hanatarash, during one show, once took out the back wall of the theater with a backhoe.) BiS already had a bit a bad-girl rep for mixing hard-rock guitars into their music and making music videos like this one:

So it was a match made in heaven. Or hell, depending on your tolerance level for listening to the dog-whistle shrieks of Japanese girls over guitar feedback and caffeinated punk-pop.

BiS Kaidan were only active for about two years, from late 2012 until this past May. Shortly after they disbanded, BiS broke up, as well, in a move that’s pretty typical of idol groups, I guess, since hardly any of them stay together once the members exit their teens. Wish somebody would tell American and British teeny-bopper groups about this tradition. I saw Take That on The Graham Norton Show the other night and those guys are definitely way past their expiration date.

During their brief run, BiS Kaidan played a few shows that, based on the YouTube videos we’ve seen, look like a cross between a GWAR concert and a pillow fight at a Japanese girls’ boarding school. Aborable and horrifying. Adorifying!

While the BiS ladies were wreaking havoc with Hijōkaidan, they were continuing to produce their own, increasingly out-there music and videos. We’ll leave you with “STUPiG,” which is like some kind of cyber-horror cross between Dir En Grey and Lady Gaga set to the most headache-inducing hardstyle EDM you’ve ever heard blasting from a Honda Civic with a street racing spoiler. Not even Miley Cyrus went this scorched-earth on her cutesy teen-pop roots.

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USA Today really isn’t sure what to make of the new Babymetal video

Babymetal

Don’t look now, but the American media has discovered Babymetal. Just a few weeks after we made them a Weird Band of the Week. Coincidence? You decide. But whatever the reason, Babymetal are suddenly more popular with the journos than Justin Bieber’s jail pics.

First the pseudo-feminist website Jezebel did a little drive-by blurb about Babymetal’s new video “Gimme Choco!!” They called the girls the “world’s best (and probably only) half-pop/half-metal entertainment sensation,” which seems like a bit of stretch. Ever hear of My Chemical Romance, guys? Or, I dunno…the ’80s? But they also  described Babymetal’s songs as “insane. And then really catchy. And then insane again.” Which sounds about right, actually. So OK, Jezebel, we’ll give you a pass.

But then USA Today tried to jump on the Babymetal bandwagon and immediately was all like, “Eh, I don’t know about this, guys! Can we get off again now? This music confuses me!”

“Babymetal’s video is the greatest ever — or the worst” reads the USA Today headline, in no way shamelessly trolling for clicks. (For the record, “Gimme Choco!!” is not even the greatest Babymetal video…clearly, this one is. And as we keep pointing out, the worst video of all time remains Brokencyde’s “Freaxxx.” On this point there can be no debate.) And then, in their “Story Highlights” sidebar…because yes, USA Today has “Story Highlights” now, because what kind of asshole actually reads an entire USA Today article?…they write this: “Babymetal is a J-pop/death-metal girl-group trio. Yep, that’s what it is, all right.” Yep, that’s what passes for music journalism nowadays, all right.

Let’s see, who else got in on the Babymetal action this week? Vice’s Noisey music blog. GlobalPost. Huffington Post, which actually has an entire section dedicated to weird news, which we really wanna hate but is actually kind of awesome. How else would I have known to put “Putin butt plug” on my Pinterest “Gift Ideas” board? But I digress.

Anyhow, here’s the video that started this whole thing. Depending on who you believe, the song is either called “Gimme Choco!!”, “Give Me Chocolate!!”, “Gimme Chocolate!!” or possibly “Give Me Choco!!” All I know is that it has two exclamation points at the end. And in the video, they appear to be dancing in front of a giant statue of the Virgin Mary and throwing kawaii metal gang signs. Yep, that’s what happens, all right.

Babymetal are all grown up and releasing their first album

Babymetal

Question for all you young’ns out there: Do you guys even still buy albums anymore? Isn’t it all just YouTube and Spotify and the occasional one-off Katy Perry download? If that’s the case, then I guess the forthcoming debut album from “cute metal” future legends Babymetal is specifically aimed at the creepy-old-dudes-who-like-gothed-out-Japanese-schoolgirls demographic. To which I say: Thanks for thinking of us, Babymetal!

I just assumed that Babymetal had already released an album by now, since they’ve been around for at least a couple years and put out about half a dozen singles and a concert DVD. Turns out I was wrong. Their debut album, BABYMETAL (in all caps, cuz it’s gonna be LOUD AS FUCK), comes out later this month. So far it looks like it’ll be a Japan-only release, but hopefully us American creepy old dudes can score us a legit copy soon, too. [Update: A kindly reader just informed us that the album will be available to non-Japanese buyers via CDJapan.co.jp.]

Ready for the staggeringly epic album trailer? No, you’re not. You just think you are.

Babymetal

Babymetal

Look, Japan, I get it, OK? You’re a strange country. You don’t have to keep proving it to me. I know all about your jam bands who dress like giant shrimp and creepy singing robots and game shows where you have to play a harmonica inside a dead fish’s mouth. So you can relax already. You got this weird shit on lock.

But no…every time I open my inbox, I’m greeted with more “what the fuck is going on?” moments from the Land of the Rising Sun. The latest is a band called Babymetal that is, in fact, made up of babies who sing metal. Well, OK, they’re not babies; I think the oldest one is like 14 or something. But the point is, they’re sweet little Japanese schoolgirls who should probably not be allowed to watch any Dir En Grey videos for at least another four years…and yet, they kinda sound like Dir En Grey. Japan strikes again!

Apparently Babymetal is the metal-themed spinoff of another kiddie J-pop group called Sakura Gakuin. They call their music “kawaii metal,” which sounds like metal for surfers but actually translates to “cute metal,” which actually sums this stuff up pretty well. There are definite elements of pop and EDM and even the occasional hip-hop and dubstep…but it all comes back to the double kick drums and drop-D guitar riffs, which are played by a scary-looking masked backing band while the girls dance around in their Hot Topic finery. Never before has the devil’s music been this adorable.

Do I even need to tell you that this shit is huge in Japan? Here’s a link (embedding disabled…fuckers) to a video of them playing a song called “Headbanger!!” for approximately one zillion people at the Inazuma Rock Festival this past September. I believe this is part of a DVD they released last month called Babymetal Apocalypse, which I guess if you’re a metal purist is probably the most accurately named concert DVD of all time. Personally I can’t get enough of this shit, though. It’s like watching a Metallica show inside a Hello Kitty store.

I’ll leave you with one last video because it’s awesome. Spoiler alert: Her microphone houses a tiny samurai sword. In your face, Marilyn Manson!

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