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Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: The Bay Area's Dangerous Dame

Posted by Billyjam, March 31, 2015 02:00pm | Post a Comment

This week's Hip-Hop History Tuesdays Amoeblog celebrates veteran Oakland rapper Dangerous Dame. The East Bay hip-hop, born Damon Edwards, ranks up there amidst the select early Bay Area hip-hop era artists to make it in terms of putting out records in the 80's, getting commercial radio airplay, and landing a major label record deal - and all while still a teenager! However, as is often the case in the ever-fickle music biz, that success was relatively short-lived despite affiliations throughout his career with such high profile artists as Too $hort, Master P, and Mac Dre. Nonetheless Dangerous Dame is a very important figure in the history of Bay Area hip-hop whose career was most notable from the late 80's through the late 90's with the first few years being the most significant. He was also an artist that grabbed rap fans attention with his unique flow and penchant for forever shouting out his hometown of Oakland, CA  born and proud rapper.

Dangerous Dame got into rap early in life, kick-starting his career while barely into his teens. At the young age of thirteen he was writing his own rhymes and within two years was onstage performing them at local talent shows.  Not long after that the talented teen was teaching himself how to make beats and produce his own music; thanks to his always supportive father James who purchased him his first drum machine along with some other basic recording equipment, and who would later fund and personally release his son's debut "Jumpin" (featuring DJ Dopecut on the scratches). Hence why the label name incorporated his pops' name; James Edwards Sr. Enterprise.  Released at the beginning of 1989 this underground, cassette-only release was truly a homegrown, low-budget affair. It's cover art,  a low-grade photo of Dame and his DJ posing by an Oakland city sign with their two names scribbled on with a sharpie and the album title oddly appearing in quotes, looked like it was sloppily slapped together as an afterthought.  Regardless the tape inside offered seven powerful tracks that showcased both the young Dame's solid writing skills and his unique delivery; a rough & rugged but shrill vocal style that was distinctly Oakland and somewhat derivative of Too $hort but never duplicating him in either flow or content.

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Win Tickets to a Police Documentary Screening in LA or SF + Signed Andy Summers Memoir

Posted by Amoebite, March 31, 2015 12:11pm | Post a Comment

Win Tickets to a Police Documentary Screening + Signed Andy Summers Memoir

We are giving away three pairs of tickets each to San Francisco and Los Angeles screenings of Can't Stand Losing You: Surviving The Police as well as a signed copy of the Police guitarist Andy Summers’ memoir, One Train Later, and three posters signed by Summers. 

San Francisco contest:

One grand prize winner will win a signed copy of Andy Summers’ memoir, two tickets for any screening of the film at San Francisco’s AMC Metreon 16 after it opens April 10 and a signed movie poster. Two runners up will win a signed poster and two tickets each to the any screening of the film at San Francisco’s AMC Metreon 16. Contest ends 4/7/15. Enter here for the San Francisco contest.

Los Angeles contest:

One grand prize winner will win a signed copy of Andy Summers’ memoir, two tickets to the April 4 screening of Can’t Stand Losing You at the Laemmle Royal (time TBD) with a Q&A with Summers to follow, plus a signed movie poster. Two runners up will win a signed poster and two tickets each to the April 4 screening. Contest ends 4/2/15. Enter here for the Los Angeles contest.
 

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Album Picks: Sufjan Stevens, Lower Dens, Death Grips, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, The Soft Moon, Male Gaze

Posted by Billy Gil, March 31, 2015 11:30am | Post a Comment

Sufjan Stevens - Carrie & Lowell

sufjan stevens carrie lowell lp“Death With Dignity” opens Carrie & Lowell as a touching elegy to Sufjan Stevens’ mother, yet it also could describe his relationship to his own music. “I don’t know where to begin,” he sings, and “I’ve got nothing to prove” over a familiar bed of bluegrass-inspired folk. Stevens was like the A-plus student of indie pop, turning out album after album of perfectly manicured orchestral folk-pop, but I felt like he lost his way a bit with The BQE, an album and project that felt unwieldy, as well the hectic electro-folk of The Age of Adz. Carrie & Lowell, by comparison, is one of his most stripped-down albums to date. That’s not to say it doesn’t have his trademark fixation on detail— songs shift halfway through, like “Should Have Known Better’s” turn into stuttering, laptoppy acoustics and choral touches, or “Drawn to the Blood’s” extended string finale; “you checked your text while I masturbated,” he sings casually, telling a girl she looks like Poseidon in the sexually turbulent “All of Me Wants All of You.” Lyrically and musically, Stevens remains a curious tinkerer, but Carrie & Lowell never feels busy in the slightest. It’s an intensely focused work, one that places Stevens’ voice and songcraft over bells and whistles. Whereas locations and history seemed to hold Stevens’ interest in the past, here he’s death-obsessed (and still spiritual as ever). “Fourth of July” feels romantically morbid and carries the happy refrain “we’re all gonna die,” and on “The Only Thing,” he sounds stricken with grief to the point of barely being able to keep going on. Stevens’ way with language, drawing on mythology and Christian imagery, and ascendant voice keeps the songs from wallowing too deeply, even as they describe an immense sense of loss, allowing those moments when he does break—“No Shade in the Shadow of the Cross’” “Fuck me, I’m falling apart”—to land all the more effectively. Without the filter of a state’s history or the heavy religiosity of Seven Swans, Carrie & Lowell finds Stevens turning his studious eye inward to fully explore his own grief, and the results are never short of breathtaking.

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An Interview with Alissa Walker for Women's History Month

Posted by Eric Brightwell, March 30, 2015 08:06pm | Post a Comment
In the past most of my posts for Women's History Month have focused on historical figures. This year I decided to instead focus on living breathing women who're actively contributing to the vibrant cultural landscape of Los Angeles. This week's subject is Alissa Walker. Walker maintains the website, A Walker in LA; has written about design, architecture, cities, and transportation for the Los Angeles Times, Fast Company, Dwell, Slate, Wired, Los Angeles Magazine, Details, GOOD, the LA Weekly (and probably others); and is the urbanism editor at Gizmodo. She also co-created design east of La Brea, an organization that produces events that take place east of La Brea; is an associate produce for the KCRW public radio show DnA: Design and Architecture; is on the steering committee of Los Angeles Walks; and she just had a baby.

Alissa Walker (image source: Zaki Mustafa)
Alissa Walker (image source: Zaki Mustafa)

I first met Alissa at a tour of Dodger Stadium organized by design east of La Brea (deLaB) to which I walked  -- a decision which produced the unexpected result of my being escorted by security. Walker rode her bike. I didn't realize at the time that I'd heard her interviewed on Notebook on Cities and Culture, which had made me want to talk to her about Los Angeles, which I'm only getting around to now. 

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The Dragonfly Collector Reviewed

Posted by Eric Brightwell, March 30, 2015 11:19am | Post a Comment
Clementine Castro recently released his solo debut under the name Dragonfly Collector. Castro also was the leader of the popular bands, Orange and Lemons and The Camerawalls


Dragonfly Collector

Orange and Lemons released three albums in the 2000s (Love in the Land of Rubber Shoes and Dirty Ice Cream (2003), Strike whilst the Iron Is Hot (2005), Moonlane Gardens (2007)) which married 1960s pop psych to 1980s jangle pop. Though hailing from Bulacan, their sound had more in common with bands from the England’s north like Care, The Beautiful SouthLightning Seeds, Pale Fountains, The Smiths, and The Beatles than they apparently did with most of their Filipino peers. After their indie debut, Orange and Lemons signed with Universal but disbanded after their second major label release. 

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