Akumaizer 3: Tokusatsu Friends Forever

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, September 18, 2016 06:17pm | Post a Comment

Akumaizer 3

- By Kai Wada Roath
Ambassador of Confusion Hill and host of the Super Shangri-La Show

"The world is far, the world is wide, the man needs someone by his side..."
-- Eden Ahbez, "The Wanderer"

Akumaizer 3One must ponder if the nature boy Eden Ahbez wrote the lyrics to "The Wanderer" while sitting in lotus position in the famous cave at Leo Carrillo beach in Malibu back in 1960 and astral-projecting his spirit out into the pacific ocean, past the waves and into the future. Fifteen years into the future to be exact, to the floating kingdom of Japan, for it would be there in 1975 that Toei Studios would release the tokusatsu tv series Akumaizer 3, about a half human/half demon hero named Xavitan, who needed someone by his defeat the evil Akuma "Devil" Clan that is!

Those two by his side would soon be none other that his super-demon goofy buddies turned good, Iburu, a yellow-dressed fancy-pants who like to blast bad guys with his famous Jo Gun, and Gabura, a blubbery water demon who seems to always spring leaks and can transform into a huge dorky ostrich-type monster. (Gabura also looks like a giant chocolate soft-serve from a Sizzler dessert station.) At the climax of every battle scene, the three heroes combine forces and use their fencing swords together (cue three musketeers theme) against the Akuma Clan.

New "What's in My Bag?" Episode with Gerd Janson

Posted by Amoebite, August 9, 2016 01:20pm | Post a Comment

Gerd Janson Amoeba Music What's In My Bag?

You can be sure that when German DJ, label founder, and record store owner Gerd Janson takes you record shopping he'll have some very informative bits of insight. "It's a promo," he says holding up a 12" single of The Quick's "One Night In A Blackout." "I think you can only find the long-mix on the promo release," Janson informs us before going on to state, "it says mid-tempo disco, but I would say it's a proper slow jam because it's even below 100 BPM." Janson had a lot to say about his record picks when he visited Amoeba Hollywood recently, and we were grateful to be able to listen.

Gerd Janson Fabric 89In 1998, after years spent in disco, house, and jungle clubs, Gerd Janson landed his first DJ residency at Cafe Kesselhaus in Darmstadt. These days he spins house and disco at Frankfurt club Robert Johnson's Liquid nights and travels the international DJ circuit. When he's not DJing, Janson can be found manning the record counter at his hometown store, Pentagon Recordstore, working at the Red Bull Music Academy or writing about music news for Spex or Groove magazine. He is co-owner of the Running Back record label.

This summer, Gerd Janson is DJing at parties from London to Ibiza before playing select dates in the U.S. He's a scheduled performer at this year's FYF Festival in Los Angeles. His latest release is a mix for the Fabric series, Fabric 89, due out August 19, 2016.

Janson holds up a 12" of "Visions Of China" by the UK band Japan. Were they prog rock, new wave or somewhere in between? Either way, he points out that at the time "they were kind of treated as wannabe intellectuals." Being a fan of "drums and sound effects," Janson grabbed Drums of the Caribbean: A Study in High Fidelity Sound, a collection of West Indies percussion. Also in his bag is Dept. of Sunshine's "Rude Boy/Space Tropics" single. "No one actually knows anything about them and this is the only record I've ever came across."

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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


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. 

A look at Tsukioka Yoshitoshi on his 175th birthday

Posted by Eric Brightwell, April 30, 2014 12:32pm | Post a Comment
Portrait of Yoshitoshi
Kanaki Toshikage portrait of Yoshitoshi

One of Japan's greatest artists, Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, was born on this day in 1839, which I reckon makes it as good a time as any to blog about him. For those unfamiliar, Yoshitoshi is widely regarded as one of ukiyo-e's greatest innovators, as well as its last major practitioner. He produced an enormous body of work (about 10,000 pieces by some estimates) although he's best known for his bloody pieces -- which comprise a large chunk of his oeuvre. After falling out of fashion amongst Japanese art collectors, he was "rediscovered" in the 1970s and is now rightfully placed amongst the ukiyo-e greats.


Yoshitoshi was born Owariya Yonejiro (米次郎), in the Shimbashi district of Edo (now Tokyo), in 1839. His Photographic portrait of Yoshitoshifather, Owariya Kinzaburō, was a wealthy merchant and samurai. The identity of his mother is unknown, although Kinzaburō's mistress, apparently not wanting the share their home with the child, sent him off to live with an otherwise childless relative, Kyōya Orizaburō, when Yonejiro was about three. At the age of five, after showing interest in art, the pharmacist uncle (or cousin by other accounts) began offering the young boy art instruction.

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Piko Piko - A look at Picopop on the 34th birthday of Yellow Magic Orchestra's debut

Posted by Eric Brightwell, November 25, 2012 12:44pm | Post a Comment
Yellow Magic Orchestra (1978)

Back in 1978, on 25 November, pioneering Japanese group, Yellow Magic Orchestra released their influential, eponymous, debut full-length. The album and group are widely credited with being very influential on the development of several music genres, including ambient, chiptune, electrohip hop, house, J-pop, synthpop, and techno, to name a few. 

The band (also known as YMO) were also on influence on another Japanese scene that emerged around the dawn of the 21st Century, picopop (or ピコポップ). Bands and performers such as EeL, Hi-Posi, Motocompo, Plus-tech Squeeze Box, Sonic Coaster Pop, and Strawberry Machine updated the shibuya-kei (渋谷系) style popularized in the 1990s by Cibo MattoCorneliusFlipper's Guitar, Pizzicato Five, and Original Love by adding some good, old fashioned, electro elements with a sensibility that often recalls YMO.

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