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Tuesday, November 29, 2005

I Was A Teenage Diary

Looks like Halcali have started their Sony blog. I lamented the loss of the BBS on the old site, but whereas that thing came with a rather offputting Halcali do not post on this BBS! warning, this does give you the feeling that there's a bit more room for Halcali -fan interaction (although whether they'll actually respond to comments or not remains to be seen). This first one is about the new PV, and includes a picture of Haruka sat in a box. Charming!

Something else, quickly-
While I know spam comments will be blocked, I wonder if they'd delete, say, a negative comment on Tip Taps Tip?

Something else, quickly (2)-
When Yukari said "check back everyday" she meant it. She made another post already, about their appearance on Tokyo FM's The Rhythms.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Gig no. ??

Barely a week after the CD Data Xmas gig, Halcali are getting back up on stage at Osaka's Under Lounge on the 29th of December. It's a special event hosted by Osaka radio station FM802. It's limited to 200 tickets, 100 pairs to be given away by writing into the show (〒530-8580 FM802 「UNBALANCE HALCALI係」) with your address, name, age and job by the 20th of December.

They just don't stop do they? This is what happens when you're away for so long and faced with an indifferent pop buying public- you're forced to hit it. Which can only be good in terms of exposure. Although i'm still hanging on for the one that isn't a shared bill/fashion show/you can go but only through some miracle gig. I just want to get there early, buy a t-shirt, a couple of badges and stand down the front. And no girls-only deals either, ladies. I much as I appreciate the Kathleen Hanna-ness of 2003's sentiment, I really would like to see you live at some point.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

New Renewal Open

The old page has gone. The new Epic page is here. Things are good. The layout is better, it's much easier to navigate now, and it looks like this one is actually going to get updated. Parts of it still sit unfinished; both the links page and the blog are empty, and there's still a strange lack of Baby Blue! from the discography. Actually, I kind of got the impression that Sony are trying to hide the old Halcali away. You have to click on a tiny link to view the bands back catalogue.

Those are minor gripes though. By far the most interesting addition to the page is the Halcali mail magazine, which promises up to date information delivered straight to your inbox. It sounds great, and if all works out it should become a regular translation spot on this blog. You need to register with Sony first, but it's free.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Candy Stripped on Mixi

If you cast your minds back, you might remember a post about Halcali appearing at a fashion show. Well, what with Shakalabbits and some guy from Glay Djing (as well as our girls on stage of course), tickets sold out in record time and I was left out in the cold again.

Luckily though, one of the more fortunate H and Y fans chose to put up a bit of information about the show on a Japanese community website called Mixi. It's one of those vaguely annoying clique sites that only lets you join if you've been invited by another member. Although honestly, it's just like a Live Journal in Japanese, albeit with what feels like a stronger contingent of artists and musicians kicking about on it. Anyway, the mysteriously named a t only posted scant details, but he included the set list.

1.Baby Blue
2.若草Dance (Wakakusa Dance)
3.新曲1 (New Song 1)
4.新曲2(Tip Taps Tip)(New Song 2)
5. (Ai)

5 songs probably equaled about 30 minutes, which seems brief but considering the packed line-up it's about what I was expecting (they played a set of similar length at the GirlPop Factory gig a few months ago.) The poster didn't know the name of the 3rd song, but it'd be a safe bet to presume it was either Pisudori or Halcali 'n' Bass.

There's another gig soon too, CD Data magazine's Xmas Party on 21st December. It's on a weekday in Tokyo, so again i'm not going to be able to make it. It looks like being another short set though, as like before they'll be sharing a multiple act bill.

Hopefully all this live activity will culminate in Halcali headlining again. We might have to wait for the release of the 3rd album for that though.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

37 seconds

If you still haven't heard the new song yet for whatever reason (I know a few of you were having trouble with the PV download), you can listen to 37 seconds of it over at the Sony Halcali site (link to the right). They still haven't put up a shot of the cover though.

Friday, November 18, 2005

What's In?

There's a brief interview with Halcali in this months issue of What's In? magazine (issue 222). It's a fairly straightforward interview, but it's got a few interesting bits and pieces in there. I imagine that the magazine appearances are going to increase over the next couple of months along with the TTT promotions.

-This is the first release we've had in a while. It's been, what, 1 year and 2 months?!

Yukari We're skating on thin ice I know, I'm sure everyone's forgotten about us! We're sorry to have kept you waiting, but we have something to reward you with.

Haruka- Yeah, the new Halcali!

- What were your first impressions after hearing Tip Taps Tip?

Y "This doesn't sound like Halcali". It felt more like a 'proper' song. The flow of the rapping felt different to how we've done it before too.

H I thought "Oh, Halcali are singing now..."

-What was that "oh"? Excitement or apprehension?

H A bit of both, I think. But when we were working on the demos I thought "you know, this is a really good song". I'm happy we could put out a song like this.

-The lyrics were written by U, but what themes are you singing about here?

Y Broadly speaking i'd say the themes were 'risk', 'adventure'...

H Or 'challenge', something like that. Fairly heavy stuff for us.

Y The working title for the song was 'nazo nazo' ('riddle'). So more generally speaking, there's the theme of the song; having a riddle and figuring out it's solution. The title Tip Taps Tip refers to 'ashibumi' (marching on the spot).

H So really it's about the fact that everyone has these riddles, these things in their life that need solving. The theme is 'don't give up until you've done it, don't be afraid of failure'.

Y I guess there's a lot of different messages in the song. Even though we've always said "there's no message in Halcali"!

- So you're saying we can experience the 'Halcali with a message' now?

Y Yeah. RYO-Z always had fun with the lyrics and wrote them in interesting ways, but I feel like U actually had a message to get across. That's why I thought "this is so different to what we've done before".

- If you compare the lyrics to what you've done before, they seem really adult.

Y That's good to hear! We're 17 and 18 now, adults! You can even see it with the rapping in this song too. It still feels genki, but also more laid back and relaxed.

- You're declaring the arrival of the new Halcali then?

H/Y Yes!!

- Let's talk about the b-sides. 'Pisdori' is a cute song.

Y The title is a mix of the words 'peace' and 'dream'. Like the title implies, it's the kind of song that makes you think 'peace', you know. Images of the blue sky come to mind, that sort of thing.

- What about 'Halcali 'n' Bass'? This is the first time you have written all the lyrics yourself right?

H Yeah, we thought it was time we tried it ourselves.

Y The theme of it is just what we feel is happening with us right now, taking the next step up, moving on and so on. I don't know whether we overreached ourselves with that though! We wrote it together, but we were always going off on tangents. We were arguing like "no, not like that, that's not right!". But we really tried hard with it, and everything on Tip Taps Tip. So go on everyone, check it out!

Tip Taps PV/Artwork

It comes as a huge, audible sigh of relief that neither the cover to the new single or the PV share any connection to that Sunday morning anime the song has been tacked onto. It looks like that promotional nonsense has been contained to the stickers that are going to come with the single.

I'm still unsure about the song itself. It's vocoder opening is beyond awful, but on the whole there's just something inherently flat and listless about it. It's nice, yes, but doesn't it kind of sound like the b-side to the single we were all waiting so anxiously for?

The PV though, now this is something else. What on earth it's doing attached to Tip Taps Tip is beyond me, it's almost the opposite of the song it's promoting. This is thoughtful, different, imaginative, y'know all those words that you wanted to use to describe Tip Taps Tip but couldn't? It doesn't make the song suddenly good, naturally, but it does kick your mind back to that off kilter Halcali you fell in love with last year.

I've never really brought up H and Y's appearance before, but after that horror slap job their make up artist did on Yukari in that new promo shot, it's another relief to see how great they look here.


The old link expired, but I have the PV and i'm happy to share it. So if you'd like to see it, just leave a comment.

Also thanks to rachael for the alert about the cover being up.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Still no news from Tokyo

H and Y's previously quite enjoyable Buzz Room diary hasn't been updated since Yukari's bit of trouble three weeks ago. So what's going on?

UPDATE- It's back up. Does this mean we're getting two diaries, Buzz Room and OS?

Sunday, November 13, 2005

(early) Translations (2) Tip Taps Tip

Why not? Rattled off this morning while watching the show, which means that i'll probably come back and clean it up a bit later. For now though...


Na na na why so why? 想像してみてよ
Just you like スキなコト
一つだけじゃない 君が開くトビラ

答えはそこにあるの?ないの? I don’t know 今もわかないよ
大人は言う “just a child…”
みんな果てない はてな
あきらめない 解けるまでは
失敗してもね、 “alright!!!” と言ってちょうだい

Na na na why so why? 想像してみてよ
Just you like スキなコト
一つだけじゃない 君しか知らないアシタ
Tip taps tip taps tip taps...etc.

Na na na why so why? Try to imagine it
Just you like, what you like
There isn’t only one door for you to open

Is the answer there? Isn’t it? I don’t know, I don’t even know now
So we kids could lose our way someday
An adult says “just a child...”
But it was fun trying to figure it all out
Maybe you won’t do it right away
But it doesn’t end, everyone, don’t give up
Don’t give up until you find the solution
Even if I fail, tell me “Alright!!!”
Imagine swimming in a sea made up of all the effort you’ve put in

Na na na why so why? Try to imagine it
Just you like, what you like
There isn’t only one ‘tomorrow’ for you...
Tip taps tip taps tip taps...etc.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

O.T.F. & TF6

I noticed yesterday that Tommy February 6th is releasing a new single this month, and it came as a relief to know that she’s putting her Avril Lavigne B-Side Covers Project on hold, if only temporarily. I think that Tommy February 6th is a good example of a band doing what Halcali couldn't- knocking out two albums that had both a sense of development in the songwriting and a strong sense of stylistic continuity. When Tomoko Kawase made album two, it still sounded like Tommy February 6th at the same time as sounding like the second album.

It doesn't take much to get to the root of why that was, either. The same songwriting team (Malibu Convertible) was kept across both records. Although Bacon had multiple producers and songwriters behind the scenes, it also had an overall feeling of O.T.F. pulling the reins tight enough to ensure that nothing deviated too far from the template. I'd like to know what made O.T.F. ditch that idea and effectively let Halcali go for Ongaku No Susume. While I still enjoy listening to a few individual tracks on that album, it seemed as though O.T.F. had suddenly decided to loan Halcali out to the biggest names they could get to spend a spare Sunday or two knocking out a song. Like the upcoming debut by the Teriyaki Boyz, it was sold partially on whatever the music had to offer, but mostly through association with all the impressive names attached to the sticker on the front cover. OK, so superstar DJ Fantastic Plastic Machine was on Bacon, but the chief difference between that album and this one was that here, Halcali were largely shoved aside by the ego the songwriters, essentially becoming guests on their own album. Yuki's contribution sounds exactly like a Yuki song that just happens to have Halcali singing over the top. There’s often a shocking lack of effort on O.T.F.'s part to retain any of what originally made Halcali into Halcali. So we get ballads clumsily wedged in with anthems, Supercar writing a song that comes off like one of their old discarded album outtakes, a one year old single, and finally an O.T.F. song that just sounds like something left over from the first album.

The band was a mess, a rabble of odds and ends looking for attention in all the wrong places. I mean, what the hell was this band anyway? The cool j-pop act it's OK for indie kids to say they like? A real, pure, chart-troubling pop group? Serious balladeers? Something urban/street/hip-hop? All of the above?

Here's something that Kawase had figured from day one. She knew what Tommy February 6th was. Cute, retro, slightly tongue in cheek 80's pop. O.T.F. never knew what the hell they had. Now I can't help but feel that it's gone. Or was Tip Taps Tip just a blip, a written-for-anime bland bump in the road? Let's hope so. I just get the feeling that what's in Halcali's place now is something so far removed from the Bacon days that it seems like another band altogether. Unlike O.T.F. though, who effectively set-up and then ruined Halcali's chance at greatness, Sony knows what it wants. All the creases, all the weird side steps and quirks, all the Otsukare Summer's and the Strawberry Chips' are going to be ironed out, and what we're going to see is a band with a new coat of make-up that look like they're ready to make money. After all, isn't that the sole purpose of all manufactured pop bands?

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Spot the difference

Image hosted by Photobucket.comImage hosted by Photobucket.com

Here are pictures of Halcali and heavily MTV rotated hip-hop flumps The Heartsdales. Halcali's picture is the one on the (??????).

Friday, November 04, 2005

The Officials finally catch up

It seems that Sony have finally recognised Halcali's existence. Better 1 month late than never, hey fellas? Anyway, they've released the tracklisting for Tip Taps Tip. Thankfully, it's a maxi-single, which means there's only one guranteed nothing track (an instrumental). I'm kind of heartened by this news actually. Halcali's old b-sides were often the place where they shone. Labels, thinking no-one listens to them anyway, tend to let bands off the hook a little bit for the b-sides. Your average run of the mill type will probably put out some album outtake or throwaway studio experiment on there, but for Halcali it meant giving a few of the smaller, skilled producers and songwriters a bash. I'm thinking specifically of Halfby's Queen of the Slopes (Strawberry Chips) here, but what about 2 Lucky Stars (" "), or Highway to the Beach (Marching March)? Song 2's title is great (there's a Yukari Fresh song called Yukari'n' Bass. Perhaps it's too much to hope that it's a reference). On the other hand, parts of this press release made me shudder.

Anyway, here's the tracklisting, and the blurb from Sony (fairly similar to Tower's press release from a while back.)

1. Tip Taps Tip

2. halcali'n'bass

3.ピスドリ (Pisudori)

4. Tip Taps Tip (instrumental)

10/23~'06 1/下)初回仕様:「交響詩篇エウレカセブン」初のキャラクターファイル封入/デカラベルステッカー

Here’s Halcali’s first release for Epic, a huge melodic tie-up
track! Hip hop unit Halcali, who put out their debut under Rip Slyme production team O.T.F., have moved to Epic Records! Their first release will be this surprising tie-up, melodic hip-hop! Made by one of the writers behind Yuki’s Joy, Tanaka Yusuke, this is Halcali expressing a more melodious side for this killer tune than you’ve ever heard! In a tie-up for 28 episodes of the net animation Eureka 7, watch out for this new, grown-up Halcali! They’re gearing up for a big attack! We can’t wait for this one! Halcali will feature on the nationwide broadcast Eureka 7 ending theme for 28 episodes (’05 10/23~’06 1) and the first pressings will come with character files and stickers.
There's also a new promo picture on the page, where they (Yukari especially) do indeed look grown-up.

Thanks a million to sora-kara for the heads up.