Amoeblog

10 Spooky Musical Pieces for Halloween

Posted by Eric Brightwell, October 26, 2015 03:33pm | Post a Comment
Vintage Halloween Masks



At one of the several jobs at which I work we’ve started listening to a Halloween playlist from Spotify or Pandora and like all of those pre-fab playlists it sucks. There aren’t that many explicitly Halloween songs so whomever programed it resorted to tossing in things like Duran Duran’s “Hungry Like the Wolf" because what's scarier than a hungry Brummie? The Searchers’ “Love Potion No. 9” is not scary and although it's a bit mad, neither is Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’s “I Put a Spell on You” -- both apparently chosen because, you know, potions and spells and such. That sort of thinking is also why David Seville’s deeply annoying (but not scary) “Witch Doctor” now haunts every facet of my brain. Basically this playlist is 90% the kind of stuff collected by Dr. Retarded, novelty record collector and chief head of surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital.

I like spooky music and horror films (although they're sadly almost never scary) so this kind of lazy mix-making gets no “squeaks” from me. There is so much more appropriate music out there. The other night some friends and I went to the Million Dollar Theatre to see Dawn of the Dead and before the show former Amoebite Jimmy Hey DJed a set which drew from film scores by Goblin, naturally, and some more unlikely picks, such as Scott Walker’s “The Electrician.” Of course this inspired me to write the following listicle for your enjoyment.

Brightwell's Top 10: 1972

Posted by Eric Brightwell, October 19, 2015 10:50pm | Post a Comment
In 1857, Frenchman Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville patented his invention for recording sound, the phonautograph. Twenty years later, in 1877, someone first realized that his phonautograms could also play back recorded music. It was the same year, coincidentally, that Thomas Edison patented the phonograph and thus the age of recorded music began. In 2015, former Amoebite Matthew Messbarger posted an NME "Best of 1990" on my Facebook timeline and I decided to began reviewing the best songs of each year, from 1877 to the present, in random order.

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Introduction to Subcultural Anthropology: Kogal

Posted by Eric Brightwell, October 12, 2015 10:37am | Post a Comment
Even disregarding the sense having to do with bacteria, there are many definitions of "subculture." The longest that I've found is that of the The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition:

A group within a society that has its own shared set of customs, attitudes, and values, often accompanied by jargon or slang. A subculture can be organized around a common activity, occupation, age, status, ethnic background, race, religion, or any other unifying social condition, but the term is often used to describe deviant groups, such as thieves and drug users. ( See counterculture.)

No one will ever be able to document every subculture, or even agree upon what they are. With this series I will examine subcultures primarily organized around two things, music and clothing. That way I can largely avoid the can of worms which are gangs. For gangs, both music and clothing are of considerable importance but the engagement in of criminal activity is assumed to be their raison d'être. Also, I don't want to provoke a bunch of angry, misspelled comments written in all caps. 

This week's subculture: Kogal

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The kogal (コギャル) subculture arose in Japan in the 1980s and became widely known in the Japanese mainstream after the airing of a 1993 television special, ザ・. コギャル NIGHT ("the Kogal night"). The subculture were further featured in the fictional 1997 film バウンス ko GALS ("bounce Kogal") (1997) depicted Kogals turning to prostitution to fund their insatiable materialism. In reality, many Kogals were apparently engaged in "paid dating" although for the vast majority that means involves little more than accompanying a man to karaoke in exchange for money and drinks. 

One Album Wonders: V.A.N.

Posted by Eric Brightwell, October 5, 2015 11:07am | Post a Comment
V.A.N. - Out in the Rain (1992)

V.A.N. were a short-lived "melodic hard rock" band from Germany who released just one album in 1992, Out of the Rain. I have no idea what the acronym "V.A.N." stands for. It's not derived by the names of the band's members, who were guitaris Frank Elwart, keyboardist and guitarist Helge Engelke, vocalist Jens Reulecke, drummer Kalle Bosel, or bassist Ralf DittrickVereinigung Akustikus Neurinom? I've no idea.

V.A.N. - Out in the Rain


Anyway, of the members of V.A.N., Engelke appears to have had the most previous professional experience having played in the bands Letter X and Zeno. He was born in Hanover in 1961 and began playing guitar at thirteen. In interviews he's mentioned that bands he liked included Deep Purple, Genesis, Led Zeppelin, Mott the Hoople, T. Rex, Yes -- but that his favorite of all-time is, revealingly, Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow.

Ukrainian Block Party -- Huun-Huur Tu and DakhaBrakha at Royce Hall

Posted by Eric Brightwell, September 27, 2015 01:41pm | Post a Comment

We're spoiled for entertainment choices here in Los Angeles; sometimes I feel almost paralyzed by cultural options and end up in an almost catatonic state listening to old episodes of Dragnet. That almost happened the other day, when I was torn between whether to go to KDAY’s Fresh Fest or Center for the Art of Performance's Ukrainian Block Party. South Los Angeles's Westside or the Westside WestsideUCLA territory or USC? The 2 or the 92?

Royce Hall at Sunset
Royce Hall at Sunset by Karan Mehta

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