February 6, 2019 Playlist

FEMM (Far East Mention Mannequins - RiRi (Emily Kaiho) and LuLa (Hiro Todo)

"FEMM-isation" EP by FEMM (2014)
FEMM (Far East Mention Mannequins) "FEMM-isation"  2014 (Japan/USA)
This week, our "weird girls from the Internet" classic album series continues with another Japanese electro-pop jam from the 2010's decade which was originally only released as a digital download (futuristic!) FEMM is a high-concept, post-ironic "group" which apparently has just two members, the rapping, dancing "living mannequin" duo comprised of "RiRi MS-000000" and "LuLa SW-000000". Since mannequins can not talk (though apparently they can sing and rap!), each member also has an "agent" who acts as their spokesperson: "Honey-B" and "W-Trouble" (who also made a guest appearance rapping on one of the first FEMM singles). Needless to say, these are all stage names for the girls who portray the characters: real names, Emily Kaiho (former D-list Hollywood actress) and Hiro Todo (former failed solo singer). FEMM is really a project involving a large team of unseen songwriters and producers from Japan, Europe and the USA: more than 30 people got songwriting credit on this album, and none of them are named Kaiho or Todo (do the girls in the videos even sing on the record?!) They are notable for being the first J-Pop group to record an album entirely in English, which may explain why it remains an underground thing: they sound too American for Japan, and too Japanese for America? And taking this international chameleon thing even further, both of the girls in FEMM are "halfs" (the Japanese term for half-Japanese): Emily is half-Scottish-American (born in Hawaii) and Hiro is half-Filipina (born in Tokyo). So when you see them in a video - often wearing colorful wigs - it's difficult to tell what country or continent they come from! Artistically speaking, their debut and so far only full-length album is an electronic dance pop record with rap lyrics on the theme of "girl power", which means "get out of our way for we are powerful girls!" rather than some kind of hippie "equality/feminism" deal. But then, they are robots made of plastic, so they were built perfect! FEMM is also an extremely "corporate" undertaking, as measured by the fact that many of their live appearances seem to be at music and technology conferences rather than club dates (they also did an "in residence, art installation" series of performances in Tokyo last year - no doubt with sponsors), plus the vast quantity of corporate logos that proceed all of their music videos. I think there might be a video for every song on this album; here's the four songs I played on the show this week: "Astroboy", "Kill The DJ", "The Real Thing", and "POW!" (a follow-up single from 2016). However, their most popular song (the only one to reach 1 million views on Youtube, which is actually not that impressive) is "Fxxk Boyz Get Money" - for those times when you're feeling misandristic and capitalistic but also want to curse a lot while twerking in a vinyl maid uniform! Can't get enough robot pop dancing? Here's two more: "Dead Wrong" and "Whiplash". FEMM's combination of cutting-edge electronic music, ironic "robot shtick" and girly pop lyrics seems like it may be yet another influence on America's most J-pop-influenced singer Poppy (who is also robotic, ironic, girly, and makes fine electropop music - Poppy even raps like a Japanese girl on her latest release.)
(N) = New Release
Artist Song Album Year Country
Blue CheerFruit And IcebergsNew! Improved!1969USA
ArmageddonPaths And Planes And Future GainsArmageddon1975UK
ChromeIn A DreamInworlds EP1981USA
BeBop DeluxeFuturist ManifestoB-side single1977UK
Tropical Fuck Storm Chameleon PaintA Laughing Death In Meatspace (N)2018 (Joyful Noise)Australia
ScorpionsRobot ManIn Trance1975Germany
The Skull DefektsCyborganizationDances In Dreams Of The Known Unknown2014Sweden
Senor Coconut y su ConjuntoThe Robots (Kraftwerk)El Baile Aleman2000Germany/Chile
Rufus ThomasFunky RobotCrown Prince Of Dance1973USA
Kool KeithI'm Seeing RobotsBlack Elvis/Lost In Space1999USA
FEMMKill The DJFEMM-isation
FEMMThe Real ThingFEMM-isation
Kyary Pamyu PamyuUnite UniteB-side of Ninja Ri Bang Bang single2013Japan
BABYMETALAwadama Fever ("Gumball Fever")Metal Resistance2016Japan
Poppy Voicemailnon-album single (N)2019 (Mad Decent/I'm Poppy)USA
DMBQGirl CreamJinni2000Japan
Carmen Maki & Blues CreationUnderstandCarmen Maki & Blues Creation1971Japan
Flower Travellin' BandSatori Part 4Satori1971Japan
Speed Glue & ShinkiSearch For LoveSpeed Glue & Shinki1972Japan
Les Rallizes DenudesEnter The MirrorYodo-Go-A-Go-Go (Flightless Bird) compilationrec. 1970's?, rel. 2006Japan
Masahiko Satoh & SoundbreakersSide OneAmalgamation1971Japan
Kimio MizutaniSail In The SkyA Path Through Haze1971Japan
Fela Kuti & Afrika 70Fear Not For ManFear Not For Man1977Nigeria
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