Amoeblog

May the Fourth -- A Look at Star Bars and Deep Space Discos

Posted by Eric Brightwell, May 4, 2015 01:17pm | Post a Comment


The original Star Wars had a huge impact on pop culture. As a child, nothing in the film had more impact on me than the cantina scene -- and judging from the changes in dance music and imitations that followed I wasn't alone. What better occasion to reflect on the film's impact than May the Fourth, also celebrated as Star Wars Day.


***

Star Wars
was released on 25 May 1977. I was probably three years old when I saw it in the theater because my fourth birthday followed a couple of weeks later and there were Star Wars dolls* emerging from the middle of a birthday bundt cake. After The Empire Strikes Back, George Lucas would increasingly strain to appeal directly to children by introducing cuddly aliens and increasingly relying on cartoonish CGI but for me and many other children, Star Wars was already deeply appealing, dark and sometimes frightening as it was. 

For comparative mythologist Joseph Campbell, the cantina scene was the "threshold crossing" in the "hero's journey." For me it was a bit like viewing an ethnographic bestiary -- or a Halloween party (in the 1970s, Halloween hadn't yet been hijacked by adults and turned into streetwalker cosplay). One of the cheif appeals of Star Wars was its mystery and world building -- something which the expansion of the franchise would later explain away with banal backstories -- but on full display in the cantina. Of all the characters, 
only
Greedo was addressed by a name. The rest of the assembled wore no pageant sashes, name tags, or hash tags and aside from the viewers' understandings of evolution there were few clues as to the conditions of their home worlds. 

Music History Monday: May 4

Posted by Jeff Harris, May 4, 2015 07:25am | Post a Comment

To read more Behind The Grooves, go to http://behindthegrooves.tumblr.com.

On this day in music history: May 4, 1956 - "Be-Bop-A-Lula" by Gene Vincent And His Blue Caps is recorded. Written by Tex Davis and Gene Vincent, it is the debut release and biggest hit for the rock & roll band fronted by Vincent (born Vincent Eugene Craddock). The song is co-written by Vincent and his manager, radio DJ "Sheriff Tex" Davis, who will help the singer secure a record contract. Hollywood-based Capitol Records, in search of "the next Elvis Presley," will eagerly sign Vincent. His band The Blue Caps consists of Willie Williams (rhythm guitar), Jack Neal (upright bass), Dickie Harrell (drums), and Cliff Gallup (lead guitar). The band will record the track at famed country music producer Owen Bradley's Quonset Hut studio in Nashville, TN. Released a month later, "Be-Bop-A-Lula" will peak at #7 on the Billboard Best Sellers chart on July 28, 1956, #8 on the R&B chart, and #5 on the C&W chart, selling over two million copies. The band will also perform the song in classic rockfilm The Girl Can't Help It, released later in the year. The seminal recording will become one of the definitive examples of rockabilly music, and will go on to influence many musicians over the years including The Beatles, The Animals, and rockabilly revivalists Stray Cats. "Be-Bop-A-Lula" is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1999.
 

Continue reading...

R.I.P. Ben E. King

Posted by Billy Gil, May 1, 2015 12:45pm | Post a Comment

ben e. king obituaryBen E. King, legendary soul singer behind such hits as “Stand By Me,” has died at the age of 76.

The Telegraph reports he died of natural causes on Thursday. King hadn’t be publicly reported to be battling illness and was playing shows as recently as last year.

King was born Benjamin Earl Nelson in 1938 in North Carolina and grew up in Harlem. He originally sang for The Drifters, scoring numerous Top 10 hits such as “This Magic Moment” but left that band in 1960 over a contract dispute, changed his name to the more marketable Ben E. King and went on to have more than 20 hits chart on the Billboard Top 100 as a solo artist, including “Spanish Harlem,” co-written by Phil Spector, and “Stand By Me,” which King co-composed and was been named one of the RIAA’s top 25 songs of the century.

King is survived by his wife, Betty, three children and six grandchildren. Below is a selection of King’s hits:

Weekly Roundup: Chelsea Wolfe, De Lux, Cayucas, Crocodiles, Talk in Tongues, Foxygen

Posted by Billy Gil, May 1, 2015 11:59am | Post a Comment

Chelsea Wolfe – “Iron Moon”

chelsea wolfe amoebaChelsea Wolfe has talked of the influence of black metal on her music, but until now, that was more in spirit than in sound. “Iron Moon,” the first single from her new album, Abyss (due Aug. 7 on Sargent House), lives up to its metallic name with crushing chourses of heavy detuned guitar, while the song’s verses are sparely orchestrated and ethereal. As to those extreme dynamics, Wolfe told Rolling Stone the record is supposed to evoke “the feeling of when you're dreaming, and you briefly wake up, but then fall back asleep into the same dream, diving quickly into your own subconscious.” You can see live Amoeba videos with Wolfe here and read an interview I did with her here.

 

De Lux – “Someday Now”

Continue reading...

Hip-Hop Rap-Up: Hip Hop In The Park, Souls of Mischief in NYC, Top 5, E-Lit's New Releases, Amoeba Converse Exhibit + more

Posted by Billyjam, May 1, 2015 09:05am | Post a Comment

This weekend marks the nineteenth year of Hip Hop In The Park - Berkeley's annual free, all ages, all elements inclusive, hip-hop event in the park located behind Amoeba Berkeley - Peoples Park where since 1997 the Students For Hop Hop @ Cal have been presenting this always fun full afternoon celebration of hip-hop culture and this year will be no different with headliner Fashawn whose been winning over a whole wave of fans since connecting with Nas and the Queensbridge rapper's new label Mass Appeal on which he released the critically acclaimed The Ecology two months ago. And just in the past week the Fresno rapper unleashed the album's second single and accompanying video (see below) for "Higher."

The Souls of Mischief along with their childhood friend / director of the engaging documentary on the Hiero crew 'Til Infinity Shomari Smith are all in New York City right now for the screening of the film tonight at the Helen Mills Theater on West 26th Street as part of the New York City International Film Festival (NYCIFF 2015). So far the veteran Oakland hip-hop crew have included doing an interview with Birthplace magazine, and stopping by a hometown old friend's radio show.  "We were fortunate to pay a visit to the Sway in the Morning show to promote the film and spread the word about the New York screening," Shomari told the Amoeblog last night from New York, noting how. "Sway has been a huge supporter of the film since day one and he has a large amount of knowledge and respect regarding the journey of the Souls of Mischief and the Hieroglyphics crew." Shomari called tonight's NYCIFF screening in the birthplace of hip-hop,  "an opportunity to invite out the large amount of supporters in the industry that participated or helped out in creating 'Til Infinity such as Sophia Chang, Bobbito Garcia, DJ Stretch Armstrong, Dante Ross, Rob Reef Telow, Thembisa Mshaka, Amber & CC Sabathia, Sway, Kenny Parker, DJ Elcipse, Martha Diaz and many others."  Tonight's screening is at 8pm following a 6pm meet and greet at the same West 26th Street location. More info. Below is the Amoeblog interview from two years ago with Shomari Smith on his film - that had just screened for first time at the New Parkway in Oakland.

Continue reading...
<<  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  >>  NEXT