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Saturday, June 30, 2007

I don't know if this is accurate, but...

I just read on 2ch that It's Party Time only made it to (or is currently at, shall we say) #139.

Can anyone confirm this?

UPDATE

Yes. Sadly, unbelievably, it's true.

Thanks to amj.

Halcali on Myspace

You might have seen an old Halcali page on Myspace. It was obviously not made by them, so I never paid it any attention. Anyway, now Patrick lets us know that Halcali has an official Myspace page, complete with blog entries in English.

It's actually encouraged me to have another go at Myspace. Too many things put me off originally and I stopped, but I've just been back and uploaded a picture and tried to write something on my profile.

Anyone else on there?

Monday, June 25, 2007

It's Party Time on Music Japan

Here's Halcali performing the new single on NHK's Music Japan. I actually missed this myself (it's on in the middle of the night for some reason), so I'm glad someone else got it up. The quality of the footage is pretty bad, but you get the idea. Not sure about the munchkins though, and is that Halcali's regular DJ, DJ Non? I can't make his face out through all the pixels.



Which reminds me, YouTube canned my account. I guess it's two copyright infringements and you're out over there.

UPDATE

Risa ripped a superior copy, available right here.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Album three announced! (again)

I never really took to Drive My Dreams as an album title anyway, it reminded me too much of a Volkswagon advert.

Thankfully then, the real title of Halcali’s third album is サイボーグ俺達 (Cyborg Ore-tachi/We, the Cyborgs), due out July 18th. Anyone who knows a bit of Japanese will know that the word “ore”, meaning “me” is a slightly vulgar personal pronoun used only by men.


Tracklist:

1. Doo THE HAMMER! (Producer: Dr.kyOn)
2. It’s PARTY TIME! (Producer: Fantastic Plastic Machine)
3. 恋のブブブン (Koi No Bububun/The Vroom Vroom Vroom of Love. Producer: Unknown)
4. Twinkle Star (Producer: O.T.F)
5. endless lovers rain (Producer Natalie Wise)
6. LOOK (special edition) (Producer: Yusuke Tanaka)
7. サイボーグ俺達 (Cyborg Ore-tachi/We, The Cyborgs. Producer: Polysics)
8. ドライバーズ・ライセンス (Drivers Licence. Producer: Utamaru)
9. フェスでウィッス!(Fessu De Ouissu. Producer: Your Song Is Good)
10. 桃源郷 (Tougenkyo/Paradise. Producer: Honesty)
11. Tip Taps Tip (Producer: Yusuke Tanaka)
12. 春狩道~19の夜~(Harukarimichi 19 No Yoru/19 Nights on Halcali Road. Producer: Ramrider)

(These English translations are mine, perhaps the English half of the Halcali site will knock out something official soon. I'm still not sure about track 9. French?! A Google search for Ouissu came up with this Japanese Live Journal type site. フェス means "festival")


The limited edition version of the album will come with a DVD containing the following PV’s and Making Of clips:

1. Tip Taps Tip
2. Twinkle Star
3. LOOK
4. 桃源郷
5. It’s PARTY TIME!It’s PARTY TIME! MAKING

Press Release (taken from the official site) :



エピック移籍後待望のニューアルバムが遂に完成!!エピック移籍後、シングル5枚をリリースしてきたHALCALI。前作から2年7ヶ月ぶりとなる待望のアルバムが遂にリリースリリース!!アルバムプロデューサーには、O.T.F、宇多丸(RHYMESTER)、ナタリーワイズ、HONESTY、Fantastic Plastic Machineら彼女達の作品には欠かせないアーティストは勿論の事、Dr.kyOn(ex BO GUMBOS)、RAMRIDER、YOUR SONG IS
GOOD、POLYSICSらも参加!!更にはゲストミュージシャンとしてスカパラホーンズ(GAMO、NARGO、北原雅彦)、そしてそして、何とケンドーコバヤシまでもがアルバムに参加!!この夏のマストアイテムになる事間違いなし!!【初回生産限定盤】DVD付き2枚組(先行シングル5曲分のミュージックビデオを収録)。

The first album they’ve made since the move to Epic Records has finally been finished! We can’t wait for this one!
Halcali has released 5 singles since they changed labels to Epic Records. It’s been 2 years and 7 long months since their last album, and now at last the new one we have so many expectations for is finally here! Featuring production work from O.T.F, Utamaru (RHYMESTER), Natalie Wise, HONESTY, and Fantastic Plastic Machine, along with these other artists who the girls just couldn’t have done without- Dr.kyOn (ex Bo Gumbos), Ramrider, Your Song is Good, and Polysics!! On top of that the album features Skaparahorns as guest musicians, and on top of that it even has an appearance by Kendo Kobayashi! This truly is this summers must have album!!
(The limited edition CD comes with a DVD which has music videos for all 5 singles)


Thoughts:

O.T.F!!!!

That was my first thought, anyway. It’s so good to see them back! I thought they had left Halcali’s company entirely, but now that it’s clear that they hadn’t, why didn’t we see them helm more singles than that one early commercially disastrous one? At any rate, I wonder which song is theirs? I’m guessing they took the title track We, The Cyborgs, but whatever it is I can’t wait to hear it.

We knew about Utamaru and FPM being back already of course, but it brings another smile to my face to see old Halcali collaborators Natalie Wise back too, who wrote the sweet Hello Hello Alone on Halcali’s debut album. Those guys, and Polysics of course do help to counter the other worries I have about the album somewhat, number one of which is that nearly half of the new album is made up of old singles.

This is common practice of course, and like I’m sure you were too I was expecting it, but after practically a 3 year wait, part of me was still hoping that those singles that are knocking on for a year old now (Tip Taps and Twinkle Star, specifically) would have been left off. They seem to have rerecorded LOOK at least, and hopefully this will knock some of the mediocrity out of it.
Thinking about it, some of those singles did so poorly in the charts that this could well be the first time many people get to hear them anyway. With the additional carrot of the limited edition DVD, let’s hope for stronger sales for this one.

Most importantly though, it is a new Halcali release and it is new Halcali material. And what with O.T.F., Natalie Wise, Utamaru and cyborgs, you can put me down as ‘very excited’.

Thanks to sora kara!

UPDATE:

Looks like I got ahead of myself concerning O.T.F.'s involvement. Reading their name on the producers list, I assumed that they were handling a new song. According to this information from JBook though, that sadly does not seem to be the case now. I added the information to the tracklist above, so take a look for yourself. No mention of Vroom Vroom Vroom though.
The song Fessu De Ouissu, which I couldn't figure out the translation for, could indeed be a self referential nod to that song's producers Your Song Is Good, who have a song called Ouissu themselves (thanks to Patrick for that information!). If that's true, it strikes me as terrible self promotion. The O.T.F news is a much bigger shame though. Are they really gone for good?

Thanks to Risa for the information!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Seeing Halcali tomorrow (?!) (Now with added picture)

A friend e-mailed me to say that Halcali will be appearing as guests on Zip FM's Lachic Century Session in Sakae, Nagoya.
Which might not sound like much (and still might not after I've told you), except that the studio is on street level, designed so that people can crowd round and see in.

So, it's not a show, and I'm not even sure what they'll be doing (if anything), but getting to see them in person for the first time is more than enough reason to charge my digital camera up and go down!

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

I just got back.




This was as far as I got with the camera before I was met with a slightly too angry "no photos!" bark from one of their guys.
I actually arrived 30 minutes too early, thinking it started at 5 instead of 5:30, so I wonder around the Lachic department store in the vague, vain hope that I might bump into them in the book or coffee shop. I don't, of course. They were probably sipping milkshakes somewhere air conditioned at that point.

Anyway, 5:15 rolls around so I wander back outside, thinking that maybe a crowd might be forming. The problem is, Japan is heading into it's season of heavy rainfall, and it's been pouring down all day. I don't know whether it's this, poor advertising (it wasn't even listed on their website), a combination of both or something else, but there's no one there. I don't particularly mind, but it would have been nice to have had a little crowd milling about at least. But then it's 5:30, and out they come.

Seeing them in person for the first time was as strange as I was expecting, but in that great heart-jumps-into-mouth-for-a-second way. The interview itself was fairly short, but the two things that stuck out were first how funny they were without trying too hard to be, and how they're obviously both great friends. With so many bands putting a face on for the media, I really like (and have always liked) how Halcali seem so honest, slightly humble and (for want of a better hackneyed phrase) down to earth.

The DJ tries to pry some new album information out of them, but all we get is "there's a lot of different people working on it, and we think it's great". They played Tougenkyo as they came out, It's Party Time and also its b-side Clutch. Not to add a downer to this, but it certainly didn't grab me much on first listen. It's very Tip Taps Tip esque (they said they asked for the lights in the studio to be dimmed and sat down during recording), but the sound wasn't coming from the best quality speakers at the time, and with the noise of the traffic and people in general it was hard to tell. That'll be one to mull over when the single is released.

So what else? There were a few phone in questions, one which asked "is there an activity that you do without fail everyday?" (Yukari drinks soy milk, Haruka wants to say "exercise" but admits it would be a lie) and so on. There was another phone in question from Bonnie Pink (who was yesterday's guest apparently), but I've completely forgotten what it was. The whole thing was about as lightweight as you'd expect, but they were lively and funny, and the half hour passed by pretty quick.

Then that was it. They jumped into a taxi, and were gone, ending one of the most rain soaked, interesting and oddest 30 minutes I've spent this year.

Come. Back. Soon!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

It's Party Time PV

Here it is.

First time listeners might want to sit down, get comfortable, and perhaps pour yourself a nice cup of tea as you'll probably want to give this a few listens before making up your mind about it.

Let's just get right into it- I don't know about you, but those recent 2ch comments had me worried, especially since I was expecting a lot from this new song. It was another FPM collaboration after all, a guy whose come up with the Halcali goods in the past, and after a few mediocre singles I really wanted Halcali to get back on track with this.

I was actually really enjoying it until the sha-na-na sample from The Hi Lows Sunday Messenger came in. It was a rap, it was certainly upbeat (if not the floor stomper the press release had us believe) and it had a cute rolling loop in the background.

The first time I heard it though, a hated the sample. Unlike O.T.F's rip of the Magnificant Seven theme tune in Twinkle Star, which integrated itself smoothly and effortlessly, FPM's sample in this song just seemed a bit jarring, a bit too out of place and forced in.

A few listens later and it's growing on me a bit more though. It isn't the big let down I was fearing, but at the same time it still doesn't have that special something that made their better singles so much fun. So although it's not an instant classic, I can easily imagine myself liking it a lot more after I've spent a bit more time listening to it.

As cynical as this sounds, including a sample of such a popular song might work to turn a few heads and hopefully hopefully hopefully get this a bit further up the charts than their other recent, dismal showings. How much longer will a record label tolerate putting money into a band that gives them nothing back?

Anyway, I like the video. The looks on their faces when they knock the cake over are just too cute.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Halcali At French Japan Expo 2007

Halcali will play at the Japan Expo in France (July 6th-8th).

Sadly though my French is awful. Can anyone with some French skills help us out? There's some talk on the sites forum about them too.

This should work out great for them- if enough buzz is generated, could we finally see some distribution for them outside of Japan?

OK, an anoymous tip let us know that they'll be playing on July 8th after Yoshiki (from X-Japan). If you're going, take a camera!

Commentator andy left us a lot of useful information.

The festival is taking place from 11am-8pm on july 6th-8th (you can get in at 10am with advance tickets). Tickets are available through FNAC stores and via www.fnac.com. It's 12 Euros for 1 day, 24 for two, and 28 for all 3 days.

Halcali is performing at around 5 pm on Sunday the 8th of July, right after Yoshiki finishes.

It's at the Parc d'Expositions, which is a 20-minute train ride from central Paris -- it's not far from Charles de Gaulle Airport. If you buy your tickets there, they're not taking bills above 50 euros, and you must have ID if you're paying by check.

The other musical acts include: Nana Kitade, Ichiro Mizuki, Gari, Dio, and Yoshiki.

The festival seems to be heavy on manga/anime culture, although there will also be martial arts and cultural demonstrations, and trivia games. There's not much else besides Halcali I'm personally interested in, although they haven't posted the full program yet (including the schedule of musical acts).

The Halcali page on the site is basically a rewritten version of the official Sony bio (which should be obvious). No real concert info.

On the forum page, most people are basically writing that they haven't heard of Halcali, but they sound cool. A few people have seen their videos and claim to be big fans.

Album Three Announced! 'Drive My Dreams'

HALCALI / Drive My Dreams(仮)【DVD付初回限定盤】 (CD)

商品番号 ESCL-2984_7/18発売
通常価格3,360円 (税込) 送料別

2007/7/18 発売


Information.

The kanji next the Drive My Dreams (仮) means 'tentative'. I'm not sure if this literary means that they haven't decided on a title yet, or if it's actually part of the title in the same way that the Halcali DVD was called Halcali DVD (仮).

I'd be surprised to see them use such a fairly weak pun again (仮 of course, is read as kari, as in Haru Kari), but why release information for an album you still haven't decided the title of yet?

The other information states that there will be a limited edition DVD with the early pressings, and that it goes on sale July 18th. As in next month! Too early? It's also a bit suspicious that I can't find any other information or even a reference to the album anywhere else on Google. But let's just take this as is for now.

A new single this month followed by the far too long awaited new album next month (with DVD!) would be incredible though. Lets hope this information is legit!