Tonight was a special press conference for idol groups Vanilla Beans and Negicco, held at Tower Records Shibuya's Stage One venue downstairs. It was in a way open to the public, you had to apply by email and the lucky ones got an invitation postcard the day before the event. I was one of them!
The big announcement was that Tower Records' president Minewaki Ikuo (he's only been president since March, but he first joined the company in 1988), who is an authentic idol otaku himself, has started a new label called T-Palette Records that will release CDs by various idol groups.
The event was MC'd by interviewer Yoshida Gō, who first talked with the president about the new label. They then proceeded to present the two units, with who they talked about their upcoming releases. Each girl was also offered a black Tower Records apron and name badge which they wore for a photo shoot.
Vanilla Beans showed up in brand new colorful dresses! They will have two releases, the first being a 4-song 500yen CD single, titled "tengoku e no kaidan" which translates to... "Stairway To Heaven"! That's right, there's a full 8-minute cover of the Led Zeppelin song on there, as well as a cover of Pizzicato Five's "Baby Portable Rock" (previously unreleased), and their own "Nicola" and "a little crying" for those who have yet to get to know the duo. This will be a limited release, out on June 29.
And the other release will be a 2nd full-length album of 15 tracks titled "Vanilla Beans II" (wait, is this another Led Zeppelin reference?!), to be released on July 20!
This event was the first time I heard of Negicco, but they said they have been together for 8 years! The trio comes from Niigata and promotes the "soft skin welsh onion" (negi) vegetable the region is famous for, and which they often sing about. On July 20 will be released a mini-album of 5 songs titled "Get It On!", containing two new songs and also 3 tracks previously released on an indies CD from 2006 that is now rare.
After some more modeling, it was time for a mini-show by each group, singing 3 songs each. Negicco was on first, and started with "neginegi Rock" and "Plastic Star". I liked their 3rd song best, a new one titled "gatta-! gatta-! gatta-!" that had orchestration reminding of Pizzicato Five's "Tokyo wa yoru no 7ji".
Then it was Vanilla Beans' turn. They entered the stage along with a new track that sang the letters "V-A-N-I-L-L-A B-E-A-N-S!" but quickly faded out. They then sang "Nicola", Pizzicato Five's "Baby Portable Rock". Their 3rd song was a brand new one called "älskar dig" which is an answer song to "Nicola", it's a beautiful pop tune with strings that will definitely please Shibuya-kei fans!
On the way out the idols stood in line to shake hands with everyone, and I was happy that Rena recognized me. "Oh! You've been to our shows before!" Yes! :)
Thanks a lot for this fun event! Now I can't wait for the releases!
There will also be a listening party of the new album with Vanilla Beans and friends at Asagaya Loft on July 10. Tickets on sale at Lawson Ticket from June 11 (L-code 31559).