If you’ve ever watched Mitsuo Yanagimachi’s awesome 1976 documentary ‘God Speed You! Black Emperor,’ depicting one of the least scary biker gangs ever committed to documentary (I didn’t spot any drug use at all and there’s little more than verbal conflict), you may have marveled at the soundtrack. The Bōsōzoku evidently knew a good tune. Shinsuke Takizawa and team Neighborhood were evidently taking notes (note the swastikas in the film too, probably worn as a throwback to US bikers trying to piss everyone else off rather than a sign of outright Nazism).
I’d recommend it as a double bill with the bleak early BBC ’80s Brit gang documentary depiction. ‘The Outcasts’ or full effect — both are available online at time-of-blogging. I’ve been trying to work out what the track is when our young rebel picks up his bike and goes riding with a friend is — it’s an infectious fuzzy stomping record with an almost traditional vocal performance between choruses.
There’s no soundtrack to the film and even arch unearthers of oddities like Andy Votel had to resort to taping the songs from the VHS. The language barrier doesn’t make the quest any easier, especially when I’ve used Google Translator to discover that even Japanese fans are having problems identifying songs. It doesn’t sound like a Flower Travellin’ Band record and the vocals don’t seem to fit with the Anzen Band either. I’ve revisited Julien Cope’s ‘Japanrocksampler’ numerous times for a solution, but I’m still stuck. Anyway, the audio of the mystery record’s below and it’s here because I’ve been humming it all day and it’s somehow familiar yet utterly otherworldy at the same time.
I doubt I’ll revisit the majority of my 1993 tapes or CDs, just because most of them were filler-tastic, they replaced too many an “s” with a “z” and because they were — in the perceived era of orginality — very, very generic. Rasps and iggety-wiggety wordplay-aplenty. I still break out Yall So Stupid’s ‘Van Full of Pakistans’ — an album we had to whisper about at school, lest we were misinterpreted and beaten to a pulp from time to time — because it was a pretty consistent record and because the crew sounded dusted without being New Kingdom or Justin Warfield. Dallas Austin made some strange signings. These guys? Illegal? Da King & I? Fair play Mr. Austin, fair play. Well, maybe not on Da King & I.
These Atlanta residents wore Vans and early ’90s skatewear, plus they had Glen E. Friedman doing their photography. By all rights, today’s hipsters should have had a seizure over this one. Except they hadn’t been born yet. And there weren’t blogs yet. My tape had these idiots on the A-side of the tape until I bought the real deal, making it a pretty schizophrenic TDK. Merge Yall So Stupid with Gangsta Nip and you’ve got Odd Future. Kind of. After getting dropped, the group made some noise (Massinfluence were interesting) but Wikipedia claims a follow up to ‘Van Full of Pakistans’ is coming. Really? After 18 years? I imagine they could fill a stadium in Japan or some such madness.
Once upon a time, only the Pharcyde and Yall So Stupid seemed to wear Vans. Then Lil B and his Pack buddies turned up and swagged it out.
Speaking to the homie Sofarok the other day, we both seemed to find ourselves gawping at the same website on the same weekend – Mystery Ranch. Dana Gleason’s backpack brand was born in 2000, but he’s got 30 years in the game, and his site’s excellent. US-made (they’re based in Bozeman, MT), rigorously tested and guaranteed for life, the range is extensive, there’s enough optional extras to keep equipment geeks happy and military and fire personnel safe. I love well-designed, functional, aesthetically pleasing gear like this. It’s far from rustic or folksy. Now THIS is what a fucking video lookbook should look like…
My respect for BNTL (Better Never Than Late) is substantial. They do the socialising so I don’t have to. Who would have thought it? Bloggers that actually have lives beyond the monitor. In terms of content creation and plenty of opinion, they bring it. They’ve been putting it down for a while too.
I was skeptical when I heard about the Silas store opening in London yesterday. I loved Holmes and Silas. They hark back to a time when Zoo York, Supreme, Silas and Shorty’s seemed to be on the same level in terms of my obsession. Silas did great graphics, non-tokenistic womenswear and focused on shirting and knitwear before every fucker was a self-proclaimed expert. Then Silas pissed off to Japan. Tonite, Slam City, Pointer and latterly, Palace kept the old school Silas feel alive. Slam and Palace even seemed to be using the same tee and sweat suppliers that they used to.
I was concerned that the relaunch would be estranged from the Slam family origins, but this image (FROM BNTL’S COVERAGE OF THE OPENING) shows a nifty little collaboration trade on the Slam City and Silas logos. Looking forward to seeing it in the flesh…