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Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas, guys

As much as I try, I still can't really put Christmas and Japan together in way that fits right. OK, so it's got Wham in nearly every shop you go in, but no Wizzard (and no sign of Labyrinth in the TV listings either). Still, after you've finished unwrapping your copies of American Hardcore and Scritti Polliti's White Bread, Black Beer (that's what I got anyway), you can take a look at this handhand video of a couple of tunes (Wakakusa Dance and Giri Giri) from Halcali's gig at the Ebisu Liquid Room. The sound quality is OK, and Halcali become harder and harder to make out as the video progresses, but it looks like it was a lot of fun (certainly more than their scared MTV show).

It's a shame it cuts out right before Twinkle Star starts though.

In case that wasn't enough, heres a picture of the Christmas tree Halcali designed for Mediage.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Lights, Camera, Action (?)

Is it possible we could get a new Halcali single as early as next month?

Seems unlikely doesn't it? But Halcali are going straight out of the frying pan and into the fire as a new song, called Lights, Camera, Action, will feature as the opening theme song to a new Fuji TV “late night” animation series 月面兎兵器ミーナ (Getsumen To Heiki Mina). The first of which will be broadcast on the 13th of January.

Predictably, the official site offers no information of any kind. Scroll down to the bottom of this page though, to see some other official confirmation.

The question is, will this song be pressed onto some shiny new CD's or not? Two singles in as many months would certainly be a change of pace for the notoriously unprolific group.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

the do-nuts (3)

I'd almost forgotten about these guys (again). Originally signed to, and then ignored by, media darlings Orange Range's Spice label, Halcali photocopies the do-nuts have found a nice new home with avexnet.

And with a new label comes a new single, よろしくDOぞ (an awful, Oksukare SUMMER type pun on "Yoroshiku Dozu"). Unlike their last effort, the quite charming Nagisa No Go-Go Girl!, this one grates like three pairs of nails down a chalkboard. I challenge you to get through the whole thing in one sitting.

I couldn't quite bring myself to embed the video in the blog, but here it is.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Reviews (7) LOOK

The last scraps of hope I had for this song were resting on the possibility that if I had the actual disc in my hand, and gave it a few spins on the stereo, something I was overlooking before would hit me, and suddenly I'd start to like it.

Or at the very least, I'd start to hate it less.

Four listens later though, I realised that just wasn't going to happen. Simply put, it's a bad song. It's flat, charmless, and forgettable- the sound of two session musicians idly passing time in the studio. If I ever listen to this song again, it certainly won't be for a while. There's no doubt that It'll turn up on album three of course, and thinking about it, it will probably fit in fairly well next to producer Yusuke Tanaka's other anime tie-in Tip Taps Tip. I really hope this is the last time Sony will use Halcali to plug a TV show in this way, but the chances are Tanaka's planning the next forgettable installment already.

Or, could just be that the A and B sides just got mixed up in the pressing plant?
i-dep's Hiroshi Nakamura's fourth Halcali song, Sister Ship, is the real draw here- it's a big, catchy, addictive pop song that has the good sense to actually have a chorus that can, and will, be stuck in your head like bubblegum for weeks to come. It's exactly the type of song that Halcali are best at and sound most comfortable doing, but sadly it's also the type of thing that a lot of producers have been mysteriously reluctant to let them loose on recently. At just over 5 minutes, it's probably a bit too long, and vocoder effects in songs have now totally worn out their welcome, but it's still everything that LOOK isn't. It's certainly good enough to warrent the price of the single alone, making this much more than the 'loyalty purchase' I thought it was going to be. See if you can figure out what "fisher hip" means, too.

So continues Nakamura's winning streak. The quality of all of his songs up to now have been more than enough that I would've been happy to have any of them as tracks on the third album. It's tragic to think that a song as good as check!! check!! it!! ended up on the back of Twinkle Star, a single no one heard. Tips Taps Tip sold better, but aren't both Halcali 'n' Bass and Peace Dream wasted as b-sides?

If OTF really have parted ways with Halcali, I'd be happy to see Nakamura come in and fill in that big brother gap. Let's have him all over the next album, please.

About the DVD: It's worth getting the limited edition version of the single for the DVD (if only to own it), but it's no great shakes. It just contains the Gatochou song from Tanaka Teacher (it's been on YouTube for a while and I don't think it's been removed yet). It's sadly missing the great video for LOOK, and they couldn't even be bothered to come up with a menu screen. Considering the price is 200-odd yen more, it's disappointing.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Halcali at Oricon

LOOK is at number 4 in Oricon's popularity charts (although look at the difference in the 'expectancy ratings' between positions one and two).

With the new single release just a few days away, this bodes pretty well for LOOK to outdo TS in the charts. At the very least, it probably can't do any worse.

Thanks to amj!