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Unsolved Mysteries: Hair Cut Valentine/Hanaco Principe

Here’s a reason I love doing this blog business – it leads to personal musical discoveries I never would have made if I weren’t constantly trying to learn more about Japanese music. Latest unearthing – Hair Cut Valentine. This artist (group?) doesn’t have much of an Internet presence, just a MySpace page with a few songs and a cute drawing of a cat. But the few tracks available are absolute indie-pop delights, cute guitar-centered songs similar to what Three Berry Ice Cream makes only with a slight samba influence. Or, in the case of “NICOLA,” a cheery party influence suitable for soundtracking a spring disco picnic.

The limited information about Hair Cut Valentine might add a kind-of-cool air of mystery, but it also makes learning anything else about this act near impossible. An all Japanese MySpace page doesn’t help, either. But there is one clue, in the “friends” section.

One of Hair Cut Valentine’s MySpace pals features a similar cute cat drawing as a profile pic, one Hanaco Principe. Listen to a few of this artist’s songs and notice how the voice sounds strangely familiar. I have no definitive proof of anything, so I’ll just leave it at hmmmmmmmm. A little Google Translating reveals Hanaco Principe works out of Paris, but has Japanese origins. Hanaco Principe’s music unfolds much more slowly than Hair Cut Valentine’s, trading in bright melodies for reserved guitars, lonely singing and occasional other flourishes (check “The Bright Song”).

Have any more information about these two acts? Know how to read Japanese? Comments are down this a-way.