My Weirdest Record: Score Yourself…Sexual I.Q. Test

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In the late-60s and early-70s there was a brief fad of sex manuals. No doubt born out of the attention from sex researchers like Masters and Johnson, these books were made with the mass market in mind, designed as educational materials for couples looking for advice on how to get down and dirty. The Joy of Sex and Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Sex* (But Were Afraid To Ask) are the all-stars of the genre to this day I think.

Sex records were also a thing around this time, although to a much lesser extent. I occasionally see these record stores. They often that feature dirty stories, “documentary” style interviews about sex, or just straight-up recordings of people doing it. Due to the fact that many of these records were mail-order only (and illegal) when they first came out, they’re pretty hard to find these days.

This LP, however, is the only one I’ve ever seen that combines both the sex record and the instructional sex book into one handy combo. Score Yourself…The Sexual I.Q. Test is exactly what it sounds like, an interactive test designed to gauge the listener’s carnal knowledge.

It’s really stupid. Continue reading

The Biggest Guide to Tokyo Record Stores on the Internet

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This all started because my boyfriend gave me his old MiniDisc player.

We were watching Techmoan on YouTube, some video about an obsolete tape format, and I mentioned how I wished he would do an episode on MiniDiscs, because they always interested me. Then, my boyfriend told me that he actually had a MiniDisc player (that he never used) and would give to me. It was a wonderful gift from my wonderful little man, but unfortunately he didn’t have any discs for it.

I went to my regular record store haunts scoping the back shelves for used MiniDiscs, but to no avail. After that, I decided to branch out and search some lesser known shops. Still turning up empty-handed, I reached out even further, doing research online to dig up as many record stores as possible, figuring that at least one would have used MiniDiscs somewhere.

It was at this point I realized that I had probably been to at least half of the record stores in and around Tokyo so I figured what would be the harm in hunting down the other half.

So if you find this useful and want to thank someone, thank my boyfriend. It’s all his fault.

And in case you’re wondering, no, I never did find a damn MiniDisc. Continue reading

Game Music Revue: Ghost In The Shell Megatech Body Co. Ltd (Playstation Game Soundtrack)

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For all its acclaim as an anime action epic, the original Ghost In The Shell film is actually a pretty quiet affair, peppered with only a scant few minutes of solid action. The majority of the film is a drama, that alternates between police procedural and meditative discussions on technology and what it means to be alive in a world where humanity and machine seem to be one in the same. The whole thing climaxes not with a giant battle, but with a conversation between a robot and a cyborg, discussing if life has a point without mortality.

Accompanying all of this is a legendary score by Kenji Kawai, which combines modern technology and traditional Japanese instrumentation with an end result that resembles something that Philip Glass or Dead Can Dance might compose. Just like the film itself, the score to Ghost In The Shell is haunting and beautiful, a work of art that is nearly unrivaled.

Got all that? Good. Because the Ghost In The Shell game that appeared on the PS1 is a third-person shooter where you take control of a tank and blow shit up real good. And the soundtrack is non-stop pulse-pounding techno, all of which has the subtlety and nuance of a jackhammer. Continue reading

Trials Of The Blood Dragon Review (And Narrative Analysis)

 

When a game is announced at the giant gaming convention known as E3, its release date is usually months, if not years away. But Ubisoft bucked the trend this year with Trials Of The Blood Dragon, which was announced at the press conference last week and then immediately released following its conclusion.

An odd release strategy for sure, but it is by far not the oddest thing about the game, a strange amalgamation of the Far Cry: Blood Dragon franchise and the long-running and extremely popular Trials motorbike game series. By taking the VHS B-movie aesthetic of the Blood Dragon universe and combining it with the always off-kilter Trials sense of humor and style, the creators of Trials Of The Blood Dragon have made an interesting thing, even if it whole doesn’t match the sum of its parts.

Oh, and also the game might just be a stark social commentary and allegory for America’s war on terror, criticizing how the media twists the will of the people to fit the machinations of an evil and uncaring military-industrial complex.

Or maybe that’s just me seeing that. But we’ll get there. Continue reading

About Guns.

Last month, an up-and-coming Japanese pop idol, Mayu Tomita, was attacked by a stalker, who managed to stab her more than 20 times. She was rushed to the hospital with severe injuries, but apparently she will live.

Two weeks ago, singer Christina Grimmie was attacked by a stalker. He shot her in the head. She died.

Even before the horrifying mass shooting in Orlando just a few days after this terrible attack, I felt as if these two events perfectly illustrated the effectiveness of strict gun control laws.  Continue reading

Boom Boom Satellites Push Eject

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It’s August 31st, 1999, just hours before my 20th birthday and I’m in St. Andrews Hall in Detroit, waiting for Moby to take the stage. Play, his soon-to-be-defining album, had just been released earlier that year, and buzz was starting to build around him.

But before Moby would perform a set that would end up blowing my mind, another group would appear on stage, some weird Japanese act called Boom Boom Satellites, delivering a blistering set of uninterrupted insanity composed of electronic beats, frenetic drumming and a pair of hyper-intense frontmen who obviously knew how to shred on guitar. Continue reading

The Ghostbusters Trailer Is Horrible

Have you seen the trailer for Ghostbusters? It’s exceptionally bad in nearly every way imaginable. The jokes fall flat, the pacing is strange, and it feels like that it spoils large portions of the film all for the sake of fitting as many flashy things as possible into a two minute sizzle reel! It’s a real shitshow.

In case you haven’t seen it, here’s a look.

 

Yeah, I’m really clever, I know. Continue reading

The Wonders of Japanese Movie Programs

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There are a lot of differences between going to the movies in Japan and going in the United States. For starters, tickets cost a heck of a lot more, usually upwards of $20, and the seats are assigned. Many theaters also have deluxe seats that offer anything from increased leg room to full-on private suites. The theater near me even has a private waiting area for premium members where champagne and chocolate are served. It all combines to create a feeling that turns going to the movies into more of an event, much like going to a live stage show or a concert.

And just like a live event, in Japan, movies often get their own specially made programs.

And they’re dope. Continue reading

An S.O.S. from a Portishead fan

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Hey, did you hear there’s a new Portishead track out? It’s for that new flick High Rise and is a cover of Abba’s classic “S.O.S.” I bet you want to hear that, right? I bet you’re curious as to what a Portishead cover of an Abba song is like, considering it’s one of the strangest, most unlikely cover choices since Sonic Youth gave the world their take on The Carpenters. I bet you can’t wait to give it a listen on YouTube or even shell out the 99 cents to $1.29 on your favorite digital music storefront to buy it. Maybe you might even go to a physical location and hand a real person actual money in exchange for a physical good with the song on it either digitally or analog.

Well, too bad. You can’t. Continue reading

Gaming is a Garbage Fire

I’m a regular visitor of the gaming website Giant Bomb, and usually dedicate four plus hours a week of my time listening to their various gaming podcasts. Not only are they frequently some of the funniest podcasts on the internet, but they’re usually a great place to get information on new games. These days they’re more or less my exclusive source for gaming news.

A few weeks ago on the Giant Beastcast (the East Coast crew’s podcast) host Vinny Caravella went on a bit of an uptempo tangent, professing that this was the greatest time to be a gamer. Not only did we have new technology like VR coming down the pike, but the sheer girth of games, from big-budget AAA action spectacles to indie point-and-click adventure games, assured that everyone, no matter what their tastes, could find something they liked.

And to a certain extent, I definitely think he’s right. Games are better than ever! There’s more variety than ever before, and at more price points. Speaking strictly in terms of consumer value and customer choice, it’s the greatest time ever to be into video games.

Speaking from just about every other avenue imaginable though, it’s a complete disaster. From top to down, gaming is screwed. It’s so screwed that, to paraphrase Roseanne, the light from screwed would take a million years to reach it. And no matter where you look, from the fans to the developers to the games themselves, things are bleak. Continue reading

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