When future music historians look back at the history of the genre the English-speaking world, for lack of a better term, generally refers to as “Alternative Idol”, the decade of 2010 to 2020 will be seen as foundational. Underground idol in Japan has been around since at least the late 90s, hard rock composers were penning songs for idol units in the mid 2000s, and indie idol has probably existed since the birth of the idol genre itself. However, it was the year 2010 when the momentum of disparate events would begin to coalesce and eventually define the broad genre we know and love today. That year’s creation and subsequent seismic success of BiS and BABYMETAL would inspire the formation of hundreds of punk and metal idol units. At the same time, the zeitgeist of the early 2010s independently birthed several other less prominent but just as significant influences. Bellring Girls Heart, You’ll Melt More, Especia and others emerged to embrace an edgier and more avant-garde approach to idol, crafting the sounds and sensibilities of post- and pop-punk, new wave, techno and progressive rock into something entirely new. These early groups inspired both creative composers and adventurous music fans to embrace independent and underground idol as an effective medium for expressing almost every subgenre of rock, hip hop and electronica. Over the past decade, alternative Japanese idol has grown into a world class laboratory for the creation of some of the most innovative music on the planet. Continue reading
Man, this is a tough one. For you newer folks, this may be the kind of unique treat that makes you rue the vicissitudes of idol, the way that many of us from 2014-15 felt about the original BiS (only without the same level of makes-the-scene-happen influence, natch). Veterans may recall Hauptharmonie, though; veterans of Ye Olde Website may recall them as one of Maniac’s most heart-stopping idol projects, an almost impossible synergy of jazz and blues and big-band swing and ska and … well, and idol.
This is what the world misses without Hauptharmonie in it:
That was the lead from their second EP and second full album, the delicious Herz ueber Kopf, which felt at the time like a genuine breakthrough recording. Much as I had with Avandoned, I was a little bit reluctant to cover Hauptharmonie — celebrate personally, yes, but cover? — given that they were never really a rock unit per se. But listen to that song. Watch that video. Tell me that the attitude and approach weren’t there, even in limited quantities. That’s the kind of music that made old biddies back in the day declaim jazz as the devil’s music. It’s totally wonderful. Continue reading
Good morning, lovely aces. You know what I did yesterday and last night? Put in a new floor in one of the rooms in Maniac Mansion. It was a lot of work, and I wasn’t very happy about it! I did, though, have a lot of time to daydream and do some mental checks back to old news, and actually go through all of my Twitter notifications to see what was up.
So, working back to front, here’s a whole set of Hauptharmonie that’ll get your pre-weekend started right:
Which brings me to: Continue reading
Here, take a quick listen to the jazz & blues idol project’s album trailer, seeing as how it’s the last record that they’re going to do:
I can’t even make jokes about the Tokyo grim reaper, I’m so sad
Because idol is the worst goddamn thing in the world sometimes, Hauptharmonie is being disbanded. Continue reading
Man, am I a lucky Maniac or what? Just a few minutes after waking up and surveying a Saturday landscape that doesn’t look all that appetizing, Hauptharmonie tweeted out the kind of track that, among idols at least, nobody else even tries to pull off:
This was a fun bit of news from yesterday that I wanted to save, and also because I had no idea what the original tweet was definitely saying until after the fact. But! It could have been predicted that Hauptharmonie would have a new release coming along at basically any moment, seeing as how they tend to put out something of substance at a rate that would even make Billie Idle blush, and it’d been … wow, many months since the release of the (very good) Herz ueber Kopf. So this, by itself, wasn’t tremendously shocking:
04/04/2017 Hauptharmonie und Tapferkind Band
— Hauptharmonie (@Hauptharmonie) February 24, 2017
Presuming of course that the completely contextless tweet would be eventually be accompanied by some details in the form of news, that is! Good think that happened. Continue reading
This is a cool little video.
Back in 2015, when they were still pretty new and dressing like my mom did in the 70s, Hauptharmonie participated in this … idol battle? something at Tower Records under the auspices of the company’s own T-Palette label. As the video shows, Juno went on a roll in the arm wrestling.
Kaede from Negicco had like 10 years on her at the time and lost in seconds. Brutal
Until her terrible, humiliating defeat. Continue reading
I’m not sure why they took down the video from the last time I got to post them, but here’s a great big chunk of the singularly, chaotically gorgeous Hauptharmonie from their tour final a couple of weeks ago:
That’s great. But it’s not the best thing to come from idol’s we-do-whatever-the-hell-we-feel-like-and-you’re-going-to-like-it darlings in the (very) new year. Continue reading
I feel a little bit badly that the world’s coolest jazz & swing & whatever they want idols only managed to get a single spot into the Best of 2016 finals, but the truth is that they narrowly missed on the album, video and song finals, and I reckon that they’ll be all up in our business next year.
Perhaps sensing that we, their loyal fans, needed to be placated and/or bribed, they dropped this nice little chunk of live video on us, including the tasty breakout “Kidnapper Blues”:
A lot of really cool and exciting stuff has happened this week, but I’ll completely own the fact that I may have been the most pleased as punch by this little bit of news:
Freut mich! Wir sind Hauptharmonie.
芹奈莉温・銀 りん・一花 寿・寺田珠乃・茅ヶ崎りこ・倉木七海・相沢光梨
ファイナルはsora tob sakanaさんFullfull☆Pocketさんを迎えて。ごきげんよう。 pic.twitter.com/WRvGvej9nS
— Hauptharmonie (@Hauptharmonie) October 26, 2016
At first glance, hey cool, new members and a headliner tour for Hauptharmonie! With sora tob sakana and Fullfull Pocket at the final! Neato!
Wait, something about loosening a motor? And that one member … Continue reading