My prediction for 2008, well … I have many, but just for the sport of celebrity gawking I’ll throw in this prediction:
A couple of years down the line Iowa will pass a referendum establishing itself as the independent Sovereign Nation of Iowa. By 2009, Mike Huckabee, having only ever won in Iowa, will run for President of Iowa and win. Meanwhile Britney’s sister, Jamie Lynn, will disappear from public view only to resurface in 2012, when she signs with Blue Note Records as a jazz singer. Her new approach will emulate her idol Anita O’Day. Jamie Lynn then will write her own parenting book titled It’s Never Too Early to Start Good Parenting.
She’ll eventually marry the California Highway Patrol officer who pulled her over for driving under the influence, though he’ll tear up the ticket once he recognizes her from her Playboy spread.
- Whitmore ("the thing of a thing of a thing..." Hollywood AMOEBLOGGER, member of the band Listing Ship)
BABY EATING ON FEAR FACTOR & PERSONAL MEMORIES ON NETFLIX
The cross cultural fusions happening in popular music will grow so varied that Frankenstein-esque new genres will have to be sewn together in order to describe the newest music like: gothic indie folk, or post-grunge screamo tech, or neuvo-retro contemporary psychobilly Christian, acappella death electro, braille, sunshine blues and every CD will have either a string quartet tribute or a downtempo remix. Someone in everyone of these band will either have the chin-beard/dreads combo, extreme bedhead/facial grimace combo or will wear a necktie incorrectly.
I predict Clinton will win the presidency and immediately win a hefty boob job. She'll then dye her hair red and sport a hip cyber-dominatrix uniform while cracking a whip madly. Bill is on all fours on a leash in a pink muzzle by her side cranking Warm Leatherette by Grace Jones from a giant 80's boombox on his back at her second State Of The Union Address.
- Tim Ranow (Amoeba Music Hollywood )
USC, LAKERS, AND GOOGLE ALL GOOD BETS FOR 2008:
USC win Rose Bowl: In addition to being the Pac-10 champions, USC will beat Illinois in the Rose Bowl on New Year's day.
Google Shares cross $800: In 2007 Google's stock was as low as $437 per share and as high as $747 per share. 2008 will see Google's stock soaring past $800. Don't sleep on the big G.
Lakers in '08: Bold prediction -- the Lakers will be the Western Conference champions only to lose in the NBA Finals. Can't say who they will lose to.
- Rameen Mansour, Amoeba.Com Web Office
This is part one in a series that will run over the next few days (up to and including New Years Day) featuring predictions for 2008 by folks somehow connected with Amoeba Music -- staff, owners, and Amoebloggers (including The Bay Area Crew, Whitmore, Gomez Comes Alive!, and Eric Brightwell), plus other individuals who are either fans of the Amoeblog (such as DJ ALF) or have been featured in some way in past Amoeblogs such as hip-hop author/journalist Michael A. Gonzales (interviewed months back in a report about the book Bronx Biannual).
Each contributor was asked to make a prediction for 2008 on any topic -- music, film, technology, politics, sports, social trends, etc. Their prediction could be real or imagined (i.e., wished for) and they could be done in all seriousness or in jest or in half-jest. And the responses could be anywhere from a few words to a paragraph or longer in length. Very special thanks to those who took the time to share their predictions for 2008 including today's contributors: Eric Brightwell, Amoeba Marc, The Insomniac (Bay Area Crew), and DJ ALF -- all below:
INCREASING OUTSIDE PRESSURE ON THE USA TO CHANGE ITS WAYS:
I predict that the biggest criminals in the history of humankind, literally having stolen the entire contents of the US Treasury several times over in the last decade, not to mention all the lives ruined or lost along the way, will continue their thieving virtually unabated in 2008.
The legendary saint Cab Calloway, brought into existence on Christmas, was never off the cob, he was the heppest cat, the gasser on the scene, and scribe to the Dictionary of Hepology, not just any book of lingo like some hincty gate-mouth might cop to, emphatically no! This man’s a poet! Hey, Calloway was solid, a ready cat with serious chops, never capped, I mean never capped. Cabell Calloway III licks hit all the armstrongs every time with those "hi-de-hi's," and "ho-de ho's, singing in that blip beat key, swinging overcoats growling some hip and hot gammin’ grooves. Be it a gutbucket blues, the ready racket on the main kick or just some clambake where he’s got this cat riffing on the doghouse - hitting all the basso notes, cool Gabriel wigging on a boogie-woogie and some Jack on skins mugging heavy, Cab always crept out like the shadow, stylish threads togged to the bricks, walking hand made, custom to the thread mezz ground grippers … on each arm, a fine righteous queen he dug the last black, each dicty dutchess fresh off the dreamers and lily whites.
At one point Cab was collaring 200 g’s a year, that’s one foxy stack of fins. Platter gravy coming on like a test pilot, cuts like "Minnie the Moocher", “Reefer Man” and "St. James Infirmary Blues" were everywhere man, chicks breakin’ it up, dropping a nickel or a dime note just to latch onto the hippest cat who could send the coolest riff riding high. Cab the man was the man; kids come again to the Cotton Club in the Apple, rug cutters Trucking, Pecking, or bugging to the Susie-Q, never no fraughty issue here. That’s the Bible baby! Cab and the cats digging a mess, one riff after another, and every hot killer jam taking off, that combo was always bustin’ conk, breaking up the joint like gangbusters. Zazu-zazu-zazu-zay! No room here for icky squares who can't collar the jive. The jitterbuggers at the Cotton Club always had a hummer of a ball. Yeah! Whipped up! Jumpin’ and mitt pounding till the chimes say its way past early bright. Ow!
Doing terrible things in an organized and systematic way rests on "normalization." This is the process whereby ugly, degrading, murderous, and unspeakable acts become routine and are accepted as "the way things are done." There is usually a division of labor in doing and rationalizing the unthinkable, with the direct brutalizing and killing done by one set of individuals; others keeping the machinery of death (sanitation, food supply) in order; still others producing the implements of killing, or working on improving technology (a better crematory gas, a longer burning and more adhesive napalm, bomb fragments that penetrate flesh in hard-to-trace patterns). It is the function of defense intellectuals and other experts, and the mainstream media, to normalize the unthinkable for the general public. -- Edward S. Herman
Sympathy is much easier to come by than empathy. Funny that, since it would seem easier to disinterestedly understand the conditions leading to another's feelings and reasons behind his or her actions than to actually share those feelings and agree with those reasons, particularly when the other is so different from oneself. I suspect the dominance of the word 'sympathy' is largely due to not enough people appreciating the need for 'empathy,' or even understanding what the word means, as if the two terms were synonyms. Thus, when the more ethnographically inclined among us suggest America needs to understand the environs or rational structures of a foreign entity perpetrating some act that we deem immoral, they get called traitors, or sympathizers. HUAC in the 50s springs readily to mind, as well as the right-wing media's reaction to the intellectual Left's take on 9-11. Classical liberalism, which serves as the bellwether for America's moralizing, defines the human as a self-regulating rational individual, and thus any action taken by an entity (our state, another state, or some hodge-podge collection of disagreeing radicals) that violates the rights of the human so defined is, ipso facto, inhumane. Thus, any attempt at humanizing, eliciting empathy for, the ad hoc devil will be received about as judiciously as Hannah Arendt's "banality of evil" in 60s Israel -- which is to say, not very to downright hostilely. This negative reaction is always despite any potential moral agreement that the devil should still be hanged.
Andy Cabic you know from his band Vetiver.
Zach Cowie is a member of the LA-based DJ crew Small Town Talk and he is also single handedly responsible for turning me on to so many crazy tunes I never would have heard otherwise.
In other words, their DJ set is gonna be flawless-- these guys are highly skilled pro-fessionals-- so if you are around, come and listen. They'll be spinning vinyl from 7-9 pm.
The good news is the music he created is fantastic.
He was a part of the folk music scene in the early/mid 60s. He only released one full length album in 1965, which is self titled and beautiful. It's a melancholy collection of songs, but it's one of my favorite records. Frank's voice is strong and deep. I feel like it brings a lot of emotion to the songs he sings. I like the fact also that the songs sound a little faraway, like the equipment they were recorded on was old and on the brink of death. Oh yeah, and it was produced with said eloquence by Paul Simon-- yeah, the Paul Simon.
Although he was American, Frank was thick in the scene of musicians in London in the mid 60s, and that's also where Paul Simon happened to be. Frank was also friends with Sandy Denny, even dated her for a while, Bert Jansch, who covered "Blues Run the Game," Al Stewart and more. Nick Drake also covered several of his songs and Roy Harper is said to have written a song about him.
Aritst Ron English, recently interviewed here on the Amoeblog about his new books and interviewed again here for this report, has just returned to the US after a most interesting visit immediately before Christmas to Palestine where he was a part of the unique Santa's Ghetto Bethlehem 2007 art project. He joined several other "street artists" from around the world, including renowned British artist Banksy (the project's mastermind).
While in Bethlehem Ron posted his art on the controversial Palestine wall and fence as well as in places nearby the wall. The unique ongoing annual art exhibition was held in Bethlehem this year by Banksy reportedly in the hope that it would focus attention on the poverty of the West Bank and draw tourists back to the traditional birthplace of Christianity.
To the left and down below are some of the pieces by Banksy. Immediately above and below are two of the pieces by Ron English. All of these pieces along with many others were posted on the website SantasGhetto which, note, in the days before posting this blog, had just been been "closed" but may be open again. Meantime, check out both Ron English's Popaganda site where on the first page is a segment titled "This Christmas in Bethlehem" and also Banksy's main website.
Banksy created the Santa's Ghetto project six years ago when he felt that the spirit of Christmas was being lost. "It was becoming increasingly uncommercialized and more and more to do with religion, so we decided to open our own shop and sell pointless stuff you didn't need," said the artist in a statement at the time.
A Place To Bury Strangers-
A Place To Bury Strangers
Explosions in the Sky-
All Of a Sudden I Miss Everybody
Night Falls Over Kortedala
One morning earlier this year, according to Royal de Luxe, The Little Girl Giant (above) woke up at Horse Guards Parade in London, took a shower from the time-traveling Sultan's elephant and wandered off to play in the park, and then sat down in her giant deck chair.
This art/performance piece, as well as the video of it above, is one of those simple yet beautiful images of this past year that stayed with me ever since I first saw it. Not everyone finds it beautiful, however; many little kids as well some adults, find the Girl Giant model creepy or scary.
What do you think: beautiful or scary?
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
SAN ANTONIO (AP)
Lydia Mendoza, a Tejano music pioneer known as the Lark of the Border, died here on Thursday. She was 91. She had lived in the nursing home portion of the Chandler Estate, a retirement community. Her death was confirmed by her daughter Yolanda Hernandez.
Ms. Mendoza, who scored her first big hit, "Mal Hombre," in the 1930s, became one of the first Mexican-American superstars by singing to the poor and downtrodden. Her memorable musical style earned her a National Medal of Arts and a National Heritage Award fellowship. She was also asked to sing at Jimmy
Carter's inauguration in 1977.
Ms. Mendoza recorded more than 200 songs on more than 50 albums, including boleros, rancheras, cumbias and tangos, for labels including RCA, Columbia, Azteca, Peerless, El Zarape and Discos Falcon. In addition to pursuing a solo career, she also enjoyed performing with her family.
"Mal Hombre" (Evil Man), released in 1934 on the Bluebird label, became a hit on both sides of the border and was her signature song. Other hits included "La Valentina" and "Angel de Mis Anhelos."
She set the trend for others: Las Hermanas Cantu, Chelo Silva, Las Rancheritas and other women who followed Mendoza's lead in the world of Spanish music, said Lupe Saenz, executive director of the South Texas Conjunto Association. Mendoza will be remembered for her unique style of the 12-string guitar
and unique voice and style of singing.
Hands down, Nels Cline's guitar solo on Wilco’s “Impossible Germany.” I heard the song several times before I knew who the band was, but I recognized Nels’ sound instantly. The solo ranks up there with Richard Thompson’s solo on “The Border” and Television’s “Marquee Moon.”
Favorite Amoeba Hollywood Instore Performances:
Vieux Farka Toure: Best son of a famous father to perform at Amoeba this year.
Paul McCartney: For the sheer madness of it all.
Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings: The best instore of the year.
Ollin: The Chicano and Irish group performed Pogues covers for St. Patrick’s Day. They were so good The Pogues took them on tour.
Money Mark: Money Mark’s back-up singers that night were Petra Haden and Cava. Are you kidding me? It made all his sweet pop songs sweeter.
We can all only wish that we will maintain the same sense of humor that an elderly Oregon man had right up to the time of his death two months ago.
88 year old Oregonian Chet Fitch, who was well known by family and friends for his sense of humor right up to his death in October, pulled one final prank on loved ones from the grave when 34 Christmas cards, all hand-written by him and with a return address of “Heaven” on the envelope, started arriving in mail-boxes in the week leading up to this Christmas.
As it turned out, the mailing prank was a plan that the late Fitch had been hatching for two decades in cahoots with his barber, Patty Dean, who told the Ashland Daily Tidings this week that the late prankster kept updating the mailing list and giving her extra money when postal rates went up. This fall, she said, Fitch looked up to her from the barber chair and said smiling, “You must be getting tired of waiting to mail those cards. I think you’ll probably be able to mail them this year.” He died a week later.
The cards, which were met with varying degrees of shock and amusement, all contained the same greeting that read as follows:
I asked Big Guy if I could sneak back and send some cards.
At first he said no; but at my insistence he finally said,
’Oh well, what the heaven, go ahead but don’t (tarry) there.’
Wish I could tell you about things here but words cannot explain.
Better get back, as Big Guy said he stretched a point to let me in the first time,
so I had better not press my luck.
I’ll probably be seeing you (some sooner than you think).
Wishing you a very Merry Christmas.
Legendary jazz pianist Oscar Peterson, whose influential career spanned seven decades, died at his home outside Toronto, Canada on Sunday as a result of kidney failure. He was 82.
Greatly admired by his fans and peers, Duke Ellington once referred to him as the "Maharajah of the Keyboard," while Count Basie said, "Oscar Peterson plays the best ivory box I've ever heard."
"Oscar Peterson redefined swing for modern jazz pianists for the latter half of the 20th century up until today," once said Herbie Hancock of Peterson's influence on music.
Peterson's long and illustrious career included playing with such legendary jazz figures as Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald, and Billie Holiday. He is also remembered for the trio he led with bassist Ray Brown and guitarist Herb Ellis in the 1950s and the live concert clip below is that same Oscar Peterson Trio performing "A Gal In Gallico" in 1958.
Since his death on Sunday there have been tributes pouring in from near and far. In Canada, where he has always been revered as a national treasure, there have already been many tributes to the jazz great. There have also been tributes arriving from all over the world, including from French President Nicolas Sarkozy who said in a statement about Peterson: "One of the bright lights of jazz has gone out. He was a regular on the French stage, where the public adored his luminous style...It is a great loss for us."
And what have you done
Another year over
A new one just begun
And so this is Christmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear ones
The old and the young
A merry merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear
And so happy Christmas (War is Over, if you want it)
For weak and for strong
The rich and the poor ones
The road is so long
So happy Christmas
For black and for white
For yellow and red ones
Let's stop all the fight
A merry merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear
And so this is Christmas (War is over, if you want it)
And what have we done
Another year over
And a new one just begun
And so this is Christmas
We hope you have fun
The near and the dear ones
The old and the young
A merry merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear
War is over, if you want it
War is over now
- John Lennon
This quiet, early morning meditation brought to you in hopes that we can all band together in 2008 and shake off our passivity, and start the change our world desperately needs. The change doesn't start by marching in the streets, writing big checks to politicians, posting blog after blog, angry rants in dark bars ... the change starts in our hearts, in our minds.
God bless every one of us: the newborn baby, the man with a shopping cart on the street, Dick Cheney, a woman giving birth somewhere, the murderer in prison, a person who lays dying. The word God means so many things to so many people - and nothing at all to others, so let us let it be just that: let blessings rain down on everyone, because we all need it. Whatever it is, whatever this godlike state is, this state of love without judgment, I hope it for every human: maybe then we can start to heal this world. One heart at a time.
Today, December 25th, means different things to different people. To many, including myself, it will now forever be the anniversary of the passing of one of music's greatest artist's ever: James Brown, aka The Godfather of Soul, aka The Hardest Working Man in Show Business. Exactly one year ago today, Dec 25 2006, James Brown died at age 73 from congestive heart failure resulting from complications of pneumonia. And that shocking news, which spread fast and kept getting retold over that whole holiday week last year, put a damper on the festivities for many of us.
So this December 25th I say spill a lil on the curb for James Brown in his honor or drink a toast to the man's memory. And be sure to listen to some of the incredible legacy he left behind. What is amazing about the music of James Brown, and of course the stellar JB band (as witnessed in concert footage below from '71), is that it never ages or loses its edge or uplifting vibrancy. And I for one can literally listen to James Brown all day long and never get tired of it.
R.I.P. James Brown. We will never forget you!
Mac bought daddy a Rolling Stones album back in 1983...It had kind of a naughty cover... Daddy stored some Stones clippings along with the original shrink and xmas tag...
Quite an amazing piece, possibly Wladziu is sitting up waiting for his brother George to call to spread a little holiday cheer???
1978 cheapo release on the Mistletoe label- a subsidiary of Springboard. A complete Springboard post is in the works...
Above is your very own holiday yule log -- one of many kindly posted on YouTube for those without a fireplace or a TV to watch it on a local channel. This one comes with its own soundtrack which you can replace with your own music. It is from a station in New York and runs for about ten minutes, longer than most others posted, but you can loop it to keep it going. And if you cannot enlarge it to fit your whole computer screen from above, then just click directly on the YouTube site stream and enlarge by clicking in the lower right corner.
Peace for the holidays!
The passing, or rather retiring, of both Ali G and Borat was announced in a British newspaper interview with Baron Cohen a couple of days ago. "When I was being Ali G and Borat I was in character sometimes 14 hours a day and I came to love them, so admitting I am never going to play them again is quite a sad thing," the 36-year-old actor-comedian said in Friday's Daily Telegraph.
The good news is that Ali G and Borat are survived by Bruno, Baron Cohen's slightly lesser known but no less over-the-top creation -- the flamboyantly gay Austrian fashion reporter character (with a knack for making people contradict themselves and look foolish), who is reported to be the star of Baron Cohen's in-the-works, next movie, the sequel to his 2006 surprise hit Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.
In the meantime Baron Cohen has been spending more and more of his time on his acting career. He plays the singing barber Signor Adolfo Pirelli in Tim Burton's just opened Sweeny Todd (starring Johnny Depp) and in last year's Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby he played Will Ferrell's arch rival, the French Formula 1 speed demon Jean Girard. Additionally, he guest-starred in the finale of the fifth season Curb Your Enthusiasm. And more importantly, in perhaps the most challenging part as an actor, he plays the role of Abbie Hoffman in the upcoming biopic on the sixties satirist being directed by Steven Spielberg.
Christmas Trivia: Which creatures in this picture traditionally ended up being sacrificed?
(See the answer at the bottom)
Merry Christmas, Dear Reader!
…Unless of course, you’re Jewish, in which case...
Or maybe you’re an African-American who’s reconnecting with what Ron Karenga characterized as their African cultural and historical heritage by uniting in meditation and study around principles that have their putative origins in what Karenga asserts are "African traditions" and "common humanist principles", in which case...
Oh! And my friend Giggles is a pagan.
Did I forget anyone? In a world of such rich and diverse cultural and religious/spiritual… uh… things, I’m sure it’s impossible to include everyone, except to say:
…Oh… Unless your beliefs prohibit being happy. I suppose my blanket statement wouldn’t include you. Sorry! Okay, so, let’s try this again…
Whew! I think I nailed it that time. I must admit, though, I’m glad most of you readers just celebrate it as Christmas and Chanukah, because that’s much easier to say. ...And to write in hot glue on a stocking.
War Is Over...if you want it
The answer, I believe, lies in John Lennon's lyrics to this timeless anti-war song: war is over if you want it and I strongly believe that the reason we still have wars is because voters (especially in the USA) don't care enough to keep fighting for peace and not allowing administration after administration to trick us into thinking mass murder is justified because it is done in the name of fighting for our freedom. If we really, really wanted the war to be over, it could be.
The above video collage set to John Lennon and Yoko Ono/The Plastic Ono Band's classic Happy Xmas (War Is Over) is put together by YouTuber Sakitamasao. The song itself was recorded 36 years ago at the Record Plant Studios in New York City with the help of producer Phil Spector. The children singing in the background, who really add to the overall beauty and power of this song and who were fully credited on the single's sleeve and even pictured on its cover (above), were from the Harlem Community Choir and would all be in their forties now, having lived through many more US wars since the Vietnam War -- which was what the song was recorded in protest of at its recording back in November, 1971.
Veterans Sounding Like New
Caetano Veloso- Cê
Bad Brains- Build a Nation
Os Mutantes- Live at the Barbican Theatre 2006
Dios Mio! Finally a New Release By These Artists!
Manu Chao-La Radiolina
Tinariwen- Aman Iman: Water is Life
Hip Hop From Around The World
Calle 13- Residente o Visitante (Puerto Rico)
Mala Rodriguez –Malamarismo (Spain)
Tego Calderon –Contraataca (Puerto Rico)
Orishas –Antidiotico (Cuba)
Mokobe -Mon Afrique (France/Senegal)
Marcelo D2-Perfil (Brazil)
Bocafloja- El Manual De La Otredad (Mexico)
Best of the Re-Issues
Johnny Ray (Johnny Zamot) -Las Estrellas De Nueva York: Camino De Fama (Walk Of Fame)
Héctor Lavoe -A Man And His Music - La Voz
Orlando Julius -Super Afro Soul
Bobby Valentin- Soy Boricua
Fania All-Stars- Latin Soul Rock
Tipica 73- Orquesta
Bembeya Jazz National -The Syliphone Years
Jorge Ben - Força Bruta
Starting off with a couple of soulful street signs from duos McFadden & Whitehead as well as Ashford & Simpson...
Now a couple of very similar highway signs from fairly dissimilar acts...
This Ramones sticker is actually kinda rare and it fits into a couple of other categories which I'm working on right now...movie tie-ins and collectible stickers....
La Vie En Rose, a recent film about her life, is kind of tough to watch in parts. Edith lived with so much pain! The woman who plays her, Marion Cotillard, truly becomes Edith and is likely to garner an Oscar nomination for her acting skills. I liked how the film flashes between Edith's life at all different stages and ages-- it's not a linear narrative and that makes it all the more compelling. In rapid succession we see both what Edith becomes and why she became that way, where she has come from.
Piaf's childhood alone is riddled with more drama than most people experience in an entire lifetime: Edith was born in Paris, ditched by her mom and then her dad. The film shows how she lived for a time in a brothel and was cared for by the prostitutes there. She goes through a period of being blind due to ill health. One day her father comes back for her and takes her off on the road with (of course!) the circus, where he is a contortionist. When pops quits the circus, he is forced to perform in the streets for change, and one day he pushes Edith out and tells her to "Do something", so she opens her mouth and sings. With her warbley voice and energetic charisma, she's a hit from the get-go.
From there Edith's life takes off in many different directions and she eventually became the singer we have all enjoyed. She's got such a dramatic and intense personality and it bleeds right into her performances! Before watching this film I really had no idea about her back story, other than (of course) that she was French and called "The Sparrow." Her life was full of roughness and not much love, except when she was on stage performing. The film does a good job of showing how Edith becomes addicted to many things, but especially to performing on stage. It's the one place she can feel flawless. Her life shifts quickly and often between the highest highs and the lowest lows. It's both compelling and painful to watch.
5 Disc Player (fancy!):
1. Lena Willemark and Ale Moller - Nordan
3. Mastodon - LEVIATHAN
4. earth - hibernaculum
5. cocteau twins - blue bell knoll
Lorne Green’s greatest claim to fame is starring in the long running western Bonanza, playing the role of the family patriarch Ben Cartwright and being the first man most people ever saw in color on television. But Green’s oddest credit is that he had a number one single in the middle of the English Invasion in 1964: his talking ballad “Ringo”, (which ironically is not about the Beatle, but a Western gunslinger: Johnny Ringo).
This 7 inch record, “Must be Santa,” is his contribution to the subgenre of “annoying kids singing Christmas songs”, (of which I have somehow become a leading collector!?!), featuring some fine shrill warbling of the Jimmy Joyce Children’s Choir. Oddly enough the flip side, “One Solitary Life”, is the polar opposite; a morose, bleak, 2000 year old tale of loneliness, social deprivation and the ultimate execution of a doomed unnamed man (hint, hint) which is probably a more telling song of Christmas than we’d like to acknowledge. Loren Green really plays the fate card well. Then again, years before Bonanza, Lorne Green was known to his fellow Canadian citizens as "The Voice of Doom", a nickname he earned as a radio announcer for CBC radio from 1939 to 1942, where his distinctive baritone painted the grim news of World War II in deep somber tones. Listening to such a desolate voice, especially on a Christmas record, is just a plain and simple holiday cheer killer … that miserable tingling in your soul, its not unlike that vacant stare when you’re trying to find parking at the Glendale Galleria the weekend before Christmas, and you have an exhausted, yet frantic, raging, sugar-doped child in the back seat screaming that he wants to see Santa -NOW!- meanwhile babbling on a badly deteriorating cell phone connection is your employer going on about something trivial and asinine, and while looking at that pink parking ticket still stuck under the windshield wiper blades from the last failed attempt at shopping, you rear-end a new Lexus ...
It would make sense that as time progresses, use of the language we share would likewise progress. But not so. The opposite, in fact, appears to be the case in our current culture. As time marches on, despite all of the new technologies directly linked to the language, the use (nay, abuse) of simple English, especially in the written form, seems to be regressing at a rapid rate.
Quiz any English high school teacher on the general current state of students' penmanship, spelling, grammar, etc. and odds are they will squeeze their face into a painful look and tug on their hair as they proceed to launch into a list of the many ills of today's abuse of the English language. And it is the written word, especially the typed or texted word, that tends to be the biggest victim of this current decline of the language.
These days, with typos and overuse of CAPS being the norm in the majority of Emails, IMs, and text messages, it is as if we are all granted a poetic license to type and spell however we feel fit. And of course this is all fine so long as the person on the other end of the two way communication can understand what the hell is been said or written. And this is where the problems and fun begin. In fact, many amused bloggers have dedicated websites to the numerous abuses of the English language.
One of my favorites is one that focuses on the misuse of quotation marks. The blog of unnecessary quotation marks is a fun site to visit to check out sent-in photos of signs that have been printed up with quotation marks used when they did not need to be used such as the "live" reindeer in the poster above. But take a moment to check out the blog of unnecessary quotation marks for many more abuses of the quotation mark and feel free to add to COMMENTS below your pet peeve when it comes to the current abuse of the English language -- be it spelling errors or overused terms like LOL.
That homosexuality might be taught, or that it could lure someone in, remains a controversial idea among gay rights advocates. Essentialism qua naturalism tends to be a more comforting thought, and not without some good reason. Religious demagogues work up the fear of right-wing parents by suggesting that their children might catch the immoral queer “meme.” Thus, the possibility that homosexuality is as natural as heterosexuality becomes a way of assuaging these bigoted fears, or at least as a scientistic defense. But this has always been a fallacious debate. Just because something’s natural doesn’t give it moral propriety. If a murder-gene were found, society wouldn’t suddenly start calling murder moral. And so it goes with homosexuality: regardless of whether Steve Burns starts off as latently gay, or begins to become more gay as he goes undercover in the gay S&M outre-mer to investigate a string of murders is unimportant, the moral questions raised by the film shouldn’t be any different. Homosexuality is no more nor less moral for being biologically natural than heterosexuality.
Celebrities, actors, politicians, actually any one with an ounce of fame and without an ounce of shame seem to always want to get into the glamorous record business. That is as true today as it has been for many, many a decade. And one of the simplest ways to back into a recording career is to release a Christmas record, either novelty or a heartfelt, weepy ditty. But I have to say it’s very odd when a cultural icon steps into these murky waters.
When Cary Grant recorded “Christmas Lullaby” in 1967 it was just a year after he retired from the movie industry, leaving as one of the most popular and respected actors of all time. Obviously, Grant learned a few things from his occasional, and unintentionally amusing, stabs at singing on screen. Check-out his performance as the Mock Turtle in the 1933 Alice in Wonderland, or his attempt with a ballad in Kiss and Make Up, because in 1967 Grant mostly recites “Christmas Lullaby” in that perfectly invented accent of his. He gently whispers to his sleeping daughter the joys she’ll find on Christmas morning, about the time Grant promises that angels will always be there to watch over and bless her he breaks into song … well sort of … I guess it was easier for the former Archie Leach to invent the actor we know as Cary Grant then it is for Cary Grant to invent a singer. But who cares, it’s still Cary Grant! Like Audrey Hepburn’s line in Charade whenshe asks and purrs, "Do you know what's wrong with you? Nothing."
THE ROOTS OF CHICHA: Psychedelic Cumbias from Peru
Colombia!: The Golden Years of Disco Fuentes - The Powerhouse of Colombian Music 1960-1976
Si, Para Usted: The Funky Beats of Revolutionary Cuba, Vol. 1
Bachata Roja: Acoustic Bachata From The Cabaret Era
Latin Influenced Electronica
Up, Bustle and Out- Mexican Sessions
Nickodemus -Endangered Species Remixed (2007)
Geko Turner- Chandalismo Ilustrado
It's a simple but complicated film about two people who meet in Dublin and begin writing songs together. There's not terribly much plot to it, but I thought it was fantastic. Nothing seems contrived in this movie, it all feels completely real. It truly captured a tone, a beautiful feeling of not only melancholy but also joy and inspiration. There's not much dialogue and most of the communicating actually goes on through the music, which really makes this film different and intriguing.
We had an instore here at Amoeba SF with the film's stars, Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova back in August and I had the chance to meet them (without ever having seen the movie) and discover how fantastic and genuine they truly are. Watching the film last night reminded me of the feeling I had when we met: Once, like Glen and Marketa themselves (and their equally tremendous road manager Howard), kinda grabbed me right away and I could tell everything was going to be great from just a few minutes in.
There's a lot of integrity to the characters in the film. It's a movie about people who are flawed but good hearted, which felt...different from most movies these days. It was a pleasure to watch this film. There aren't a bunch of jump cuts and flashy sets. I enjoyed the fact that the minimal dialogue allowed the viewer to put pieces together and create the story by paying attention. There's no pandering to the audience in this movie, and that's one of its most refreshing details. There's also a hell of a lot of chemistry between the two main characters and it's compelling to watch and become absorbed in. When I finished the movie, I wanted to watch it again right away, which is an unusual feeling!
Eh? What? Oh, you don’t know what ‘stlit’ means? Well, before you go racing to consult the Great Oracle that is Wikipedia, let me save you the trouble; you won’t find any definition of the word there (although you may find this). Stlit is a word I coined.
You’re familiar with the phrase “blows my mind”? Well, stlit is like a smaller version of that. Imagine for a second that your brain is made out of bubble-wrap. Now, if something “blows your mind”, it’s as if you took the entire sheet of bubble-wrap and twisted it hard, bursting hundreds of the bubbles and creating that sound reminiscent of a chiropractor adjusting your neck.
A stlit is when just one of those bubbles in your mind pops.
When your dad comes home and sits you down in the living room and tells you that he’s not your real dad after all, rather, he’s a robot – a killer robot from outer space sent to assassinate escape Martian criminals – and then he removes his face to reveal his inner mechanical controllers and then your baby sister walks in on you and he zeros in on her new party dress, causing it to burst into flames and she runs off the top of the skyscraper to her death (don’t ask me why the living room is on top of a skyscraper – it’s your weird family we’re talking about, not mine) because your sister was actually one of the escape Martians (which explains why she wouldn’t eat corn – aliens hate, hate, HATE corn) and then your dad turns to you and says “I hope this is…” but you don’t hear the end of the sentence because he flies away into the atmosphere, THAT’S your mind being blown.
Today is a quick homage to .... A Regular Everyday Normal Guy (Motherfucker)
You know who I think is great? The everyday, normal guy. (MF) -The Insomniac
But that was far from the case, hence the hefty phone bill. Apparently he was online a lot, all the while thinking that he was on his $10 a month unlimited plan, as he downloaded movies and other high-resolution files oblivious to the later per-minute charges they would incur. "He's working in the field sometimes, alone, in the shack. What to do? Drink vodka or go on the Internet?" Staniaszek senior said, in defense of his son. "Now it's C$85,000 and nobody told him," he said.
According to the invoice, his son rang up about $59,000 in charges in November, and they have since climbed to around $84,000. But then, after he protested and it got a lot of media attention, first in Canada and then beyond, the Bell company reduced it considerably out of "goodwill" -- making it now the much lower and affordable amount of $3,365. But even that is too high says the 22 year old, who still feels like $10 a month is what he should be charged, so long as he doesn't do it again.
A Bell spokesman said the plan is not intended for downloading files to a computer, and that's clear in his contract. Meanwhile, Poppa Staniaszek said his son did not want to talk to the press after the interest his story has received and that he is afraid to use his cell phone and incur more long-distance charges.
4 years employment
ME: What was the first thing (band/song/moment) that got you into music-- like, really into music?
KL: The Beatles and The Beach Boys are my earliest music memories. Actually, I still have a Shirley Temple record that was the one record I would beg my dad to play for me. “The Good Ship Lollipop” was my song!
ME: Seeing as you are one of the biggest Beatles fans currently working here, I think this is a really important question for you: Who is your favorite Beatle and why?
KL: George. I wept the day he died. I think I always identified with him. John was wonderful, but in a more outspoken way, whereas George was always thoughtful and understated. He lived his live quietly and peacefully. I once cut a quote out of a magazine where George tells what he said to the intruder who stabbed him at home: “I just shouted 'Hare krishna, hare krishna!'” Oh, George.
ME: Yeah he really was the Dark Horse. Which Beatles track is your favorite?
KL: Well, there is a different answer every day, but “For You Blue” on Let It Be is one of my favorite George tracks. “Cry Baby Cry” on the White Album. “I’m Only Sleeping” on Revolver-- I dig the backwards guitar.
Yesterday I had one of those moments of uncanny coincidence -- one that makes you go 'wow' because the exact person or thing that you happen to be thinking about appears right there in front of you. Only in my case it was the thing that I was just reading about that hit my nose.
I was sitting on the bus, lost in this great article in the latest (Dec 07) issue of Arthur magazine (the one with the Amoeba Records ad on p27) about the dangers of household chemicals when this strong chemical odor hit my nose. The source of this overpowering toxic stank was the fresh nail varnish that the young mother directly behind me was applying with precision to her long fingernails. Meanwhile, the article in Arthur titled "Kick Out The Chemicals" that I had just started reading tackles this exact same topic: the toxicity dangers of everyday household products such as nail polish, hair dye, air freshener, window-glass cleaner, etc.
Equally important, this wonderful article, written by regular magazine columnist Molly Frances, also offers many safe non-toxic alternatives to these dangerous products that so many of us use daily or are exposed to daily. This list's cheaper and a million times safer alternative cleaning tools include white vinegar, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, borax, tea tree oil, cheap vodka, lavender oil (for scent), cut up rags (to avoid wasting paper towels), and an empty spray bottle.
That's all you need to clean the bathroom or kitchen floor. More than you need, in fact. Frances suggests for natural, non-toxic floor mopping to get a bucket of hot water and simply add vinegar and a drop of Bronner's (vegetable-based) soap."
Now, I'm no musical encyclopedia, but I am good at guessing who's who on the radio, especially when its the same 12 songs that they play over, and over, and over. But this time, hmmm... No. I couldn't quite place it. The refrain was magical: "The girls in their summer clothes, in the cool of the evening sky; the girls in their summer clothes, pass me by." I'll get to the melody soon, but those lyrics really got me. I love songs that can be read two ways. For example, if you listen to Cat Stevens' "Wild World" closely, he's actually not sending off his love with, er, love. No, he is being extremely passive aggressive. "The girls in their summer clothes" could also be read two ways.
First, he is enjoying watching pretty girls walk by. And second, he is enjoying watching pretty girls walk by who are completely ignoring him because he's a loser. I love it. I listened a bit closer. Could it be? Nah... but maybe. It sort of sounded like an overproduced... Bruce Springsteen? His single from his latest album underwhelmed me, to say the least, so it couldn't be him.
Plus he never has songs that sound like that; a Phil Spector take on Big Star, in my best estimation. No, this had to be some cool indie band that was getting all Americana. I kept listening. The song told a story about a guy who gets up, puts on his jacket and heads out the door. OK, totally Springsteen.
It was straight out of a George Lopez comedy skit. It was Vatos with their ironed Pendletons and bushy moustaches, Rucas on their arms sporting painted eyebrows and short skirts, which some would say weren't "age appropriate." It was a tough looking crowd, to say the least. We waited in line outside The Montebello Inn to see the legendary Joe Bataan, The Afro-Filipino Latin King. In the 60's and 70's he released some of the best Boogaloo and Latin Soul albums on the infamous record labels Fania and Salsoul. Although Joe is from New York, he has been supplying the soundtrack to the slow and low culture of East L.A. since before I was an embryo.
The Montebello Inn is a straight-up dive, the kind of dive you only see on the outskirts of Los Angeles. All the cleaning in the world couldn't wash away the stains and memories this place has seen. My friends and I quickly got a table in the back. We didn't want to dish out the extra thirty bucks to sit in the V.I.P. area, located a mere 15 feet away from us. So, we ordered a round of the strongest margaritas I have ever had; in fact, it's a good thing smoking is banned in clubs, otherwise we would have been lit on fire every time we took a sip.
After a mediocre opening band, Joe Bataan quickly came onstage. A fifteen-piece band backed him up and I prayed they would retain that old school flavor. He and the band did not disappoint. They started off with "I Wish You Love Part 2" and launched into hit after hit. He played "Ordinary Guy," "Subway Joe," "Gypsy Women," "Latin Strut" and his version of "Shaft." Joe sounded pristine. He hasn't suffered any deterioration in his voice that usually comes with age.
Quite buzzed, I continued to yell out my request for a recent Joe Bataan song entitled "Call My Name." I don't think that the oldies crowd was familiar with this gem, released on the Vampisoul label in 2004. My guess is that they were thinking, "Why does this guy want Joe to call out his name?"
So we finally reached the end of the year. This is the last release date before Christmas. Christmas actually falls on a tuesday new release day this year. But since most music store are closed on Christmas there will not be anything coming out. The new Mary J. Blige album was originally scheduled to come out weeks ago. But it got pushed back until today. Today is the day for the world to hear the new Mary J. Blige. I have been going a bit crazy myself just waiting for it. I have really liked her for a long time since she first gave us her first album back in 1992. Ever since I heard "Real Love" for the first time, I have been under her spell. She is now releasing her eighth studio album titled "Growing Pains." It has been a couple of years since I really liked one of her albums. I became absolutely obsessed with "No More Drama" back in 2001. I really could not get enough of "Family Affair" and "No More Drama." The album seemed to be out forever and it sort of was. It got rereleased and repackaged in 2002 and it for sure became the album of 2002. I still have to play the song "No More Drama" anytime I find it on a jukebox. I had lost a little interest with her next album. She released "Love & Life" in 2003. But she was back again with a great album in 2005. "The Breakthrough" featured the great single "Be Without You." I may have not listened to it as much as "No More Drama" but it was still a great album.
The new album looks like it is going to be just as good as the last one. But more close to the level of "No More Drama." The first single off of "Growing Pains" is perfect. The song is "Just Fine" and I can't stop listening to it. The video is amazing. She changes her outfit about 20 times and looks amazing as she is reflected in mirrors and ends up singing duets with herself. I am sure the album will end up being one of the best of the year. Mary J. Blige is just one of those performers that somehow got under my skin. I just can't help loving her and her music over the years. She just makes me happy and I can't really explain it. But anybody who likes her understands what I am talking about. You just want to listen to Mary J. Blige because you know she is going to make you happy. This album is bound to do that again and remain a part of my memories for the rest of my life.
Singer, songwriter Dan Fogelberg, whose hits included "Leader of the Band" (inspired by his father -- see video below), "The Power of Gold" and "Same Old Lang Syne," died yesterday (12/16) at his home in Maine after battling prostate cancer for the past four years, according to several reports including CNN and the artist's official website. He was 56 years of age.
Fogelberg, whose career blossomed in the seventies and early eighties, epitomized the "soft-rock" sound that safe radio programmers loved but many rock fans disdained. In the latter days of his music career, Fogelberg wrote material that focused on the state of the environment, something that he felt very strongly about. His last album was Full Circle from 2003.
Yesterday on the singer's official website the following notice was posted:
"Dan left us this morning at 6:00am. He fought a brave battle with cancer and died peacefully at home in Maine with his wife Jean at his side. His strength, dignity, and grace in the face of the daunting challenges of this disease were an inspiration to all who knew him."
(*Sorry: Zoolander fan!)
They also happen to be doing a whole lot of good work down in Louisiana where people are still trying to rebuild their lives. The whole she-bang is called Lullalee Productions, and here is a quote from their mission statement:
"Lullalee Productions and Services (LPS) provides free books and "Magical Literacy Events/Car-Ni-Fairs" designed to enhance the lives and learning experiences of all children. LPS supports families, communities, facilities and local organizations serving children that are low-income or have special needs."
Now I know times are tough all over, but I can't stand the thought of a child being cold. So these folks are trying to get presents for all the kids this holiday season down in Terrebone Parish, and they are also collecting coats for kids. They are at 78% of their goal - maybe we can raise that percentage some with whoever out there reads this particular blog!
Amongst the Sami, midwinter was an occasion for honoring the goddess Beiwe, who was associated with the sun, fertility and sanity. She reportedly traversed the sky in a craft made of reindeer bones accompanied by her daughter, Beiwe-Neia. Beiwe's followers sacrificed white female animals and smeared their doorposts with butter for Beiwe to munch on during her journey.
Quit fighting, you! At least you'll be out of this blasted cold soon! Plus, I've still got to smear some butter.
Amongst the Germanic peoples to their south, Juletid referred to their take on midwinter festivities. By the late Viking Age the word "Yule" had come to refer to a pan-European bricolage of midwinter observances.
Yule logs were lit to honor Thor. The feasting would continue until the fires had burned out. Although
in 960, Norwegian King Håkon signed into law that Jul (Yule) was to be moved from the solstice to December 25, to align it with Jesus' birthday party; Icelanders continued to keep it real until the Reformation reached them and ended the fun.
All Music Guide describes Dave Gleason as 'heavy, outlaw-influenced sound with its origin in classic Nashville counterculture.' They sure talk prettier than I do!
If you aren't familiar with The Starry Plough in fine town of Berkeley, California, you are in for a treat. In fact, first let me say that this is a damn nice stretch of Shattuck Avenue close to Ashby. It's actually on the corner of Prince Street - and when I used to live half a block up from the Plough, I'd often wander down and grab my dinners and a fresh beer to see what live music I could bump into.
Dinner? Damn right, kitchen is open until 11pm, get your Burger, your Pizza (capitalized out of respect) or what have you and dance your blues away! Nicest beer selection and plenty of hot and cold liquids with no intoxicants at all for your designated driver home.
There was to be a great joke played out in the latest film incarnation of Richard Matheson’s novel of the last surviving man on Earth. The old racist movie cliché is that if a black man is one of the central cast, he’ll be the first to die. So casting a black man as the last surviving man in Matheson’s tale seemed like perfectly mad twist given how the book ends, a joke that would do Renny Harlin’s DEEP BLUE SEA, where LL Cool J is the lone survivor against smart shark attacks, one better. However, Hollywood’s commercial belief in soothing heroic endings turns the casting of Will Smith as Robert Neville into something of a sick hoax where the old cliché is given new life for the current generation.
In the book, Neville is described as a white scientist with blue eyes and blond hair, weighing in at 200 and some odd pounds. While having an English name, he’s also of Germanic origin. The Master Race parallel was obviously intentional, given that the story is about our species' one lone survivor indiscriminately killing off the now dominant competitors. 'Indiscriminately,' because although his rivals in this Darwinian competition look the same, have the same feeding patterns, similar totemic fears of garlic and religious icons, and the same nocturnal behavior patterns, they're of two types: a more bestial, lower order form and a mutant human-vamp hybrid capable of highly rational thought. Neville is a classic tragic figure, holding on to the last vestiges of our civilization’s rationality by pathologically trying to find a cure for vampirism even though he’s immune and more than willing to annihilate the Other through a more physical remedy while it sleeps. His success via the latter means has made him a fearsome legend in the hybrid community as the ravager of their race.
Above is the wonderful video that UK duo Dan le Sac VS Scroobius Pip produced of them performing their acapella interpretation of Snoop Dogg's (feat. Nate Dogg, Warren G, and Kurupt) "Ain't No Fun" juxtaposed (digitally) with footage of the X-Factor UK TV talent show. The video is to promote their new single "Letter from God to Man" which they are giving away for free in MP3 format from Xmas Day til New Year's Day. You can also hear the cool track on their MySpace right now along with three others, including their standout track "Thou Shalt Always Kill" (released back in February this year), which is so lyrically engaging that it merits its lyrics being reprinted below in addition to its equally great video for the song also (scroll all the way down).
THOU SHALT ALWAYS KILL
by dan le sac VS scroobius pip
Thou shalt not steal if there is direct victim.
Thou shalt not worship pop idols or follow lost prophets.
Thou shalt not take the names of Johnny Cash, Joe Strummer, Johnny Hartman, Desmond Decker, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix or Syd Barret in vain.
Thou shalt not think that any male over the age of 30 that plays with a child that is not their own is a peadophile… Some people are just nice.
Thou shalt not read NME.
Thall shalt not stop liking a band just because they’ve become popular.
Thou shalt not question Stephen Fry.
Thou shalt not judge a book by it’s cover.
Thou shalt not judge Lethal Weapon by Danny Glover.
Thall shalt not buy Coca-Cola products. Thou shalt not buy Nestle products.
Thou shalt not go into the woods with your boyfriend’s best friend, take drugs and cheat on him.
Thou shalt not fall in love so easily.
Thou shalt not use poetry, art or music to get into girls’ pants. Use it to get into their heads.
Thou shalt not watch Hollyokes.
Thou shalt not attend an open mic and leave before it’s done just because you’ve finished your shitty little poem or song you self-righteous prick.
Thou shalt not return to the same club or bar week in, week out just ’cause you once saw a girl there that you fancied but you’re never gonna fucking talk to.
Chuck Norris saves
Christmas, America, and YOU!
New Beverly Cinema
7165 W Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036
See, someone had just died. Here were all of her things, I'm trying to sort them out - and here was her Gram records. I had never known that Gram sang "Love Hurts," honest to God. I thought that was a Nazareth song. I know a lot about music, but sometimes I'm still that dumb kid who grew up in the 70's.
I spent about 3 weeks in that apartment listening to those albums over and over, and I thought ... this is what miracles are. That something so beautiful, angelic and sorrowful could whisper in the background of your life as your friends were all hip to it ... but sometimes the music waits until exactly when you need it. Then it runs you over like a Mack truck. The kind of Mack truck that heals you while you fall in love with it.
I had to put aside Gram for years, because the pain was too great. See, it was my best friend's Mom who had just died. I'd never been in a situation to have an aging parent, and I certainly had never been around to take an older woman to her (frustrating) doctor appointments, carry grocery bags upstairs and talk about how Nevada Barr is no Faulkner, but sometimes you can go the prettiest places in a 1.99 soft cover from Moe's Books in Berkeley, when you can't afford to get on a plane. Or when you're dying, and you probably know that deep in your bones. I'd never watched someone I respected so much ... just waste away. Disappear.
I wish we'd talked about her music too, because that woman had some damn good records. (You bet a whole lot of Emmylou was in in there was well.) You never know someone it seems, until far too late. What would my life had been like if she'd hit play on "Love Hurts" back in the summer of 2003? Different, but in a way, I suppose this was better. I can't judge.
1) Too $hort Get Off The Stage (Jive)
2) edIT Certified Air Raid Material (Alpha Pup)
3) Zeph & Azeem Rise Up (OM)
4) Dopestyle The Little Happy/Fool's Pool (Daly City)
5) V/A Soul Jazz Singles 2006/2007 3 CD set (Soul Jazz)
6) Amir Sulaiman Like A Thief (Uprising)
7) Copperpot WYLA (EV Entertainment)
8) Prefuse 73 Preperations (Warp)
9) Ultimate Force I'm Not Playin' (Traffic)
10) MF Grimm The hunt for the gingerbread man (Class A Records)
11) El-P I'll sleep when you're dead (Def Jux)
12) Future Rapper Land of a Thousand Rappers Vol. 1 (Asthmatic Kitty Records)
13) DJ Muggs vs. Sick Jacken The Legend of the Mask and the Assassin (RMG)
14) Yea Big & Kid Static self titled CD (Jib Door)
15) KRS-One and Marley Marl Hip-Hop Lives (Koch)
16) OCDJ Hooray (Wildfire Wildfire Records)
17) Madlib Beat Konducta -Vols. 3,4: in India (Stones Throw)
18) V/A Eskimo Vol 5 (Eskimo)
19) DJ Kentaro Enter (Ninja Tune)
20) 40Love Advantage (40lovehiphop)
Above is this Amoeblogger's Top Twenty Releases of 2007 list which, of course, is subjective and, obviously, not fully inclusive of the many, many more great releases that dropped in the year of 2007, and probably including some of your favorite releases. So tell me: what are some of your favorite releases of 2007? Type them in the comments box below. Thanks!
Many, many questions … mostly about the space-time continuum. I imagine it doesn’t actually run in a straight line, but in a vertical spiral, spinning in several directions simultaneously and at undulating speeds, analogous to a surging elliptical orbit, gyrating and wobbling like a mountain of dradles as they lose momentum. Think of ‘time’ as one of those old turntables that change a stack of records by dropping the next platter, except this turntable twists unpredictably forward and backwards, erratically spiraling and switching speeds, coughs up the record done, spits out a new one. Better yet, think of ‘time’ as a turntablist who is sandwiched between two turntables stacked on top of each other spindle to spindle, and the DJ is simultaneously scratching, looping, cross fading, juggling beats, rubbing, bugging, juggling the thing of a thing of a thing, cutting and pasting, grinding and humping, downbeat sweeps, creeps, bumping and slamming, twiddle, diddle, tweak, zig zag, squirrel, scribble scrabble, kif lift, willy nilly, dada, nada, dodo, zoot horn rollo, zither zather zuzz, hepcat swinging over a Euclidian three ring circus gumbo, without a net, without a tent, without an answer, up shit creek, without a gift on xmas day hallelujah.… then the record changer drops another disc on the other turntable and the tone arm continues all over again.
This is also how one might explain paranormal phenomenon. If the ‘time’ spiral spin’s in conflicting and inconsistent directions, on occasion this spiral inter-splices momentarily into a singular part of the coil. In that collision, we could experience a virtual and distinctive time door, opening briefly, accounting for ghostly apparitions, UFO sightings, déjà vu and even disappearing socks.
Kant said that there was a secret mechanism in the soul which prepared direct intuitions in such a way that they could be fitted into the system of pure reason. But today that secret has been deciphered. While the mechanism is to all appearances planned by those who serve up the data of experience, that is, by the culture industry, it is in fact forced upon the latter by the power of society, which remains irrational, however we may try to rationalize it; and this inescapable force is processed by commercial agencies so that they give an artificial impression of being in command. There is nothing left for the consumer to classify. Producers have done it for him. – p. 124-5, Horkheimer and Adorno, Dialectic of EnlightenmentWhat got me ruminating on the star-spectacle was a double-feature of the star-studded quasi-biopic of Bob Dylan, I’M NOT THERE, and the quasi-star-studded BEOWULF. I’ll deal with the latter in my next entry. Contrary to the average Hollywood celebrity, Bob Dylan’s a star who largely created the stories surrounding him, sold his image based on those stories, but always resisted those stories once the media and his fans began to reflect him through them. In his film, Todd Haynes tries to walk the line between individualism (subjectivity defining itself) and his own radical semiotic belief that everything is just stories, signs signifying other signs. The problem here is that if there is no core Dylan that we can ever arrive at, only a series of stories that we compile, how can we understand or appreciate what was Dylan resisting against or why he was resisting it, since that rebel is nothing but another confabulation, no truer than the rest? As the title suggests, the movie tends to celebrate Dylan’s resistance to being defined, giving its subject what he wants, another story portraying him as he’s always portrayed himself, not responsible for anything he says about himself or others. It’s hardly surprising, then, that Dylan gave permission to use his music for the film. The irony here is that, despite its postmodernist structure of multiple narratives, the film divines a core Dylan-construct by giving into and clearly defending his side of the story, or stories.
Huh? I am not a bum. I'm a jerk. I once had wealth, power, and the love of a beautiful woman. Now I only have two things: my friends and... uh... my thermos. Huh? My story? Okay. It was never easy for me. I was born a poor black child. I remember the days, sittin' on the porch with my family, singin' and dancin' down in Mississippi. – Steve Martin as Navin R. Johnson in THE JERK
It was the only time I ever liked hearing Guns & Roses. It was the ninth inning in the spring of 2003 and Dodger Stadium was alive. The Dodgers were winning by one run with the two men on and one out over our hated rivals, The San Francisco Giants. Two of the Giants' best hitters were coming up; one was Jeff Kent, the good ol’boy from Texas, sporting his trademark porn stash under his nose. He looked, as it was said in the movie, Serpico, like “an asshole with dentures.” After him, the most feared hitter in baseball, Barry Bonds, was up. Bonds was all “juiced up” and ready to break fifty thousand screaming Dodgers fans' hearts with one swing of the bat.
“Welcome To The Jungle” blasted through the Dodger P.A. The bullpen doors swung open and out came our hero. Last year, Eric Gagne was an average pitcher at best. He would be lights out for about three innings and then it looked liked he either became tired, bored or both. At that point, Gagne's concentration would collapse and it became batting practice for the opposing team until they pulled Gagne out of the game. Anytime I checked the newspaper to see who would be the probable pitchers that night and Gagne was listed, I knew the Dodgers were in for a long night. Not anymore. Over the off-season Gagne morphed into a hulk-like relief pitcher with absolutely no fear. As Axel Rose started to scream, the video screen flashed a cartoon of Gagne’s face with the words flashing underneath: “GAME OVER.” Then the crowd went bananas! Gagne jogged slowly to the mound, almost intentionally, to start his warm-up tosses. He was the cleaner; he was the assassin that would be sent to clean up the mess when everything went awry. I sat in the cheap seats on the top of the stadium with my fellow Mexicanos, mixed in with the Koreans and Ronnie Barnett, laughing to myself. This couldn’t have been more Hollywood.
Don't miss our Holiday Edition of the Grindhouse Film Festival this Tuesday, December 18th, at the New Beverly Cinema in Los Angeles. This event will feature screenings of a beautiful brand new 35mm print of Bob Clark's classic BLACK CHRISTMAS (1974) along with fan favorite SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT (1984), and we'll have John Saxon and other guests to introduce the films. This is always our most popular event of the year and a night that shouldn't be missed. Get in the holiday mood, Grindhouse style!
Click Here To View Event Page & RSVP
BLACK CHRISTMAS director Bob Clark is well known for his holiday perennial A CHRISTMAS STORY, but years before that he crafted a very different holiday film. BLACK CHRISTMAS is one of the earliest and best of what later devolved into the 'slasher film' genre and is not to be missed. This is our third annual holiday screening of the film, which we intend to continue as an ongoing tribute to Bob Clark. The film will be introduced by star John Saxon.
Director Charles E. Sellier's SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT was faced with nationwide protests over it's "killer Santa" premise upon release in 1984, becoming one of the most controversial films of all time. While we don't expect angry parents picketing outside the theater this time around, we do expect that everyone will have a great time with this entertaining film from the man previously best known as the creator of the Grizzly Adams franchise.
The event starts at 7:30pm, and admission for the double feature plus a reel of rare exploitation trailers and a free raffle is only $8.00.
Although he's not really hiding, the idea of looking out your window on a rainy night and seeing Glen Campbell looking at you like this is very scary...
a couple of attempts at paradise that kinda of give me the creeps...
I know your every movement say Joe Walsh...
Now look, I'm no Raffi hater. I know from experience that kids love his music and he's a really great guy- it's just that guy Ken back there peering at you from behind the bushes has to go...
Amoeba Music, Hollywood
Kelly Watson works in the New & Used Rock CDs department of the Hollywood Amoeba Music store and, laughing, says that she is the "only person who only works at Amoeba," meaning that, unlike everyone else at the store (or so it seems) she is not a musician or artist in addition to being an Amoebite. Something else that distinguishes her is that she hails from down under, from Australia. Amoeblog recently pulled Kelly away from her work for a few minutes to ask her some questions about music, her life, and working at Amoeba.
AMOEBLOG: How did you end up working at Amoeba Music and how long have you worked at the store?
KELLY: I used to work at Tower Records and that, as you know, came to an end, so I got a job here at Amoeba Music where I started this April, 2007.
AMOEBLOG: What makes working at Amoeba unique compared to other jobs you've had?
KELLY: It's much more family here and much more fun here too. For the last fourteen years I've consistently done music retail and this is the best gig by far. Also the people that you run into here...you never know who it will be. Like Bjork was here last Tuesday and Johnny Marr was in here last Saturday. Oh and Benecio Del Toro was here the same day that Bjork was here, last Tuesday.
AMOEBLOG: What is one of the places nearby Amoeba Music Hollywood you would recommended to grab a bite to eat?
In the midst of all the holiday craziness it is also time for the Oscar season to begin. It should be an interesting time with the writers strike going on. Without Bruce Vilanch writing the jokes it might not be as funny. But it also might be more interesting with actors and presenters having to make up their own lines. The season already began with the announcement of the Independent Spirit Award nominees a couple of weeks ago. The Golden Globe nominations come out tomorrow. The actual date of the Golden Globes is January 13th. Ashley Judd was going to be the presenter of the nominees tomorrow. But for some reason the horribly unfunny Dane Cook will be copresenting the nominees. But at least Quentin Tarantino will be there to balance him out. I'm hoping both Planet Terror and Death Proof get nominated but I am sure they will not. Maybe Quentin will just skip over Enchanted and Hairspray and add the grindhouse genre to the comedy/musical section. So I wanted to give my own little favorites and predictions for the Oscars before tomorrow. It just becomes a bit easier to predict the Oscars after the Globe Nominations come out. I have seen every movie on this list with the exception of Juno and There Will Be Blood. I'm basing my love of these movies just based on the actors in them and the trailers. My list is pretty much what I think will be nominated for Oscars. But it is also pretty much who I would pick if I ever become a member of the Academy. They will probably let bloggers into the Academy at some point, right? The official Oscar nominations do not come out until January 22 at 5:30 AM. But here are my very own official nominations. Just in case you didn't know yet. John Stewart will be hosting again and they will be on February 24th.
Multi-media man Larry Bob Roberts is one busy San Franciscan and has been for some years now. In addition to constantly updating his ten-year old, popular Queer things to do in the San Francisco Bay Area list on his SFQueer site, he is also often involved in some worthy community activity. Additionally Larry Bob is an active musician and member of the band Winsome Griffles about whom the London Observer Music Monthly wrote, "The gay politik is equally present in the swish Americana of the Winsome Griffles," and whose new debut CD Meet The Griffles (available at Amoeba SF) is just out. This week, on Thursday, Dec. 13th, the group will perform a release party at the Eagle SF.
AMOEBLOG: Long before your online list existed you used to do a zine. Can you talk a bit about it?
LARRY BOB: I started Holy Titclamps in 1989, inspired by queer punk zines like JDs and Homocore. I did the zine for 15 years and published writing and art by all sorts of people -- published novelists, prisoners, high school kids. Material from the earlier issues is on the website, and the later issues can be ordered from me.
AMOEBLOG: Can you describe your Queer Things to do in the San Francisco Bay Area list on your SFQueer.com website?
What impeccable song selection! Antony's voice is so moving and completely unlike anyone else's. He has an unmistakable style and this track is utter perfection. His rich, deep voice adds a completely different, absorbingly evocative element to the song, creating an almost hymn like sound, and I'm always most pleased with Antony's work when he just accompanies himself with an acoustic piano.
It might be my favorite track of the year.
Antony's next album is supposedly being released this spring. If you haven't heard his previous albums, please go get I Am A Bird Now!
Check out this performance of "You Are My Sister" on Letterman:
Ike will no doubt be remembered for his contributions to Rock n Roll in its infancy.
He will also no doubt be remembered for beating and abusing his one-time wife, Tina Turner.
As reported by the Daily Swarm, longtime entertainment figure and major player in the disco movement Mel Cheren, who co-founded West End Records and was the man behind launching the Paradise Garage club, recently died of complications to HIV/AIDS. According to reports Cheren learned suddenly and years too late that he had HIV and that it was too late to treat it.
Cheren leaves behind quite a legacy, as outlined in the following bio care of the Daily Swarm and other sources including West End Records' Mel's World website page. In 1959 he began his career in the music business at ABC-Paramount Records. As head of production for Scepter Records, Cheren forged new territory. He was instrumental in creating the first 12” single for DJs, in forming the first record pool (The New York Record Pool-- later to become For The Record Record Pool) and the first to release an instrumental mix on a 12” B-side (“We’re On The Right Track” by Ultra High Frequency). This innovation earned Cheren and Scepter a Billboard Trendsetter Award and soon set the standard for an industry-wide practice. In 1976, Mel co-founded West End Records and soon after signed Karen Young, whose single “Hot Shot” sold 800,000 copies, making it one of the biggest selling 12s” in history. And if you forgot what that song sounds like check out the video of Karen Young below in a live performance from 1978.
The celebrity, the spectacular representation of a living human being, embodies this banality [pseudo-individualism by way of what you want to buy – think of a hippie rebelling by driving a VW] by embodying the image of a possible role. Being a star means specializing in the seemingly lived; the star is the object of identification with the shallow seeming life that has to compensate for the fragmented productive specializations which are actually lived. Celebrities exist to act out various styles of living and viewing society unfettered, free to express themselves globally. They embody the inaccessible result of social labor by dramatizing its by-products magically projected above it as its goal: power and vacations, decision and consumption, which are the beginning and end of an undiscussed process. – Guy Debord, Society of the Spectacle #60
I’m always left slightly annoyed every time I hear some star kvetching about how he or she is stalked by the paparazzi. It’s as if a piston suddenly started to resent its function within the engine. More often than not, a star is designed, by luck of genetics, familial ties, or modern surgical techniques for fitness to Hollywood’s nature – pop culture's own form of eugenics. It’s rarely based on a meritocracy. Not that there’s no inherent talent, or craft, involved, but similar to choosing a good dentist on a friend’s recommendation or insurance coverage, some other beautiful guy would’ve been People’s most eligible bachelor had the astrological rules played out a bit differently. When stars start complaining about being photographed or gossiped about, it’s because they’ve bought into the myth of the spectacle (image as consumable reality), believing that their position in popular culture is one of true individualism, rather than a simulation of individualism. They’re assuming control of their image, rather than their image being a mediation between an individual and reality. It’s the fallacy of misplaced concreteness, confusing the map with the mapped. Their image is there to be consumed like every other product in the market; the shinier and newer it appears, the more likely it’ll be desired. The trick of the publicity machine is to perpetually churn out novel-seeming stories about stars that don’t fundamentally alter our desire for the star. Stardom isn’t sustained by the films in which the actor is in, but by our interest in the stories being told about that actor that keep us returning to his or her films, regardless of what kind of shit they’re getting paid to be in. The star represents who we’re supposed to want to be. And with exceeding frequency in our media-saturated culture, we do want to be that star. Hell, even the celebrities desire their star-images. As Debord pointed out, it’s a dream of pseudo-power, the ultimate ability to consume without any real control over what the caviling star mistakenly assumes is his or her image of selfhood. Ultimately, the star is nothing but the photograph to the culture industry’s camera, a postcard of a place where we’re all supposed to want to visit.
Bonnie Prince Billy's new little album is called "Wai Notes." It is basically the demo versions of songs that made up the "Letting Go" album. He sent songs back and forth with the lady from the Faun Fables to create what ended up being the last album. These are basically those raw songs before they were made all nice and album like. There is also a new album by The Wu-Tang Clan called "8 Diagrams" and a new album by Bow Wow and Omarion called "Face Off." I am not really sure what they are facing off about but I really hope it has something to do with that horrible movie starring Nicolas Cage and John Travolta. You know the one where one of them gets a face transplant of the other one to infiltrate his crime organization. I am glad that it is now 10 years after this movie and medical technology has still not gone as far as they thought it would in this movie. Maybe its not far off. But I don't really want anybody to be able to switch faces with each other. Even for the good of solving a crime. Maybe Bow Wow and Omarion are just going to be covering each others songs and seeing who can do them better. Or it might just be their secret tribute to the Barbra Streisand movie "The Mirror Has Two Faces." They just gave it a more tough sounding name so nobody would know that they were secret Streisand fans.
"Dancing helps you heal"
- Corey Action
In North Oakland's Rockridge district, on a stretch of College Avenue nearby Diesel Books, Pegasus Books, George & Walt's, not far from new hip clothing store Dapper and scores of other mom & pops; in the 5400 block sandwiched in between The Rockrigde Masonic Center and the new eclectic Atomic Garden is the vibrant New Style Motherlode Dance Studio where, for the past seven years, Corey Action and his stable of able dance instructors have been teaching various forms of hip-hop based dance (including a Bay Area Style class) along with a healthy, positive outlook on life.
"Time For Some Action" boldly reads one poster in the window at 5451 College Ave. Inside, on one recent early evening, the place was packed with many urging the call to take action: dancing bodies, brimming with energy, all vibing to the pulsating music's groove that fused it all together. Owner, instructor, and recording artist Corey Action recently took time out to talk to AMOEBLOG about his studio and his passion, dance.
AMOEBLOG: Seven years for any small business, especially a teaching facility located in an expensive high rent area like you are in, means you have beaten the odds. To what do you attribute your success?
Karlheinz Stockhausen has died at the age of 79 at his home in Kuerten-Kettenberg, Germany. Regarded as one of the greatest musical visionaries of the 20th-century, he earned a great deal of respect and admiration from a cult following for his original and influential compositions, as well as for his authorship of new musical systems. But he’ll mostly be remembered as being one of the pivotal voices in the development of electronic music following World War Two. Though esteemed by many, he also earned a great amount of scorn from those who found his work to be “monotonous” or “unnecessary, useless and uninteresting”. He didn’t help his cause with his own awe-inspiring megalomania and eccentricities.
But ultimately he was a man who influenced practically everyone from the Beatles (he’s pictured on the Sgt. Pepper album cover,) to the Kraut rock sounds of Can (Holger Czukay and Irmin Schmidt studied with him), to the psychedelic sounds of early Pink Floyd, to the unconventional rock worlds of Frank Zappa, Brian Eno, Sonic Youth, Coil and Björk to the world of jazz and beyond with the likes of Miles Davis, Charles Mingus, Anthony Braxton Herbie Hancock, Evan Parker, and to the newer breed of avant garde composers like Cornelius Cardew and Hugh Davies. Stockhausen is also generally regarded as one of the originators of techno, given his experimentation with electronics which included tape, oscillators and Ondes Martenot back in the fifties and his use of beats in the 1970’s.
More recently, he made news for his reaction to the attack on the World Trade Center. Not known outside the world of modern-music he became instantly infamous for calling the attack “the greatest work of art that is possible in the whole cosmos.” Needless to say, his comments drew outrage. He later apologized, saying that his allegorical remarks had been misunderstood and taken out of context. And just to get the story right, here is his statement.
"They'll never give us a room if we don't pretend we're married."
Welp… We’re about ready to finish off ol’ 2007. And what a year it’s been. For years to come, we’ll be remembered by history as the people who got to see… urr… hours of YouTube footage of Britney Spears trying to buy cappuccinos. Oh yeah, and something about a war?
Anyhoo, I thought I’d maybe talk a little about my favorite album of the year – only, there’s a problem. My favorite album of the year came out in November of 2006. Hey, it’s not my fault if I wasn’t as blown away by the latest release by [insert everyone who released an album this year].
It’s not that I’m cynical and it’s NOT that I didn’t enjoy anything new this year. It’s that nothing has replaced my favorite yet. So, I continue listening to it.
For those few of you who don’t know what you’re looking at here, it’s the album “Ys” by Joanna Newsom.
There’s very little praise I can say here that hasn’t been said before by critics the world over. When it hit the scene, the album secured Miss Newsom some serious accolades. For myself, it was a rare moment when popular culture and yours truly loved something at the same time. That’s a blue moon moment. I think the last time it happened was… Twin Peaks. And Jesus, there’s people working as cashiers at Amoeba Music that are too young to remember who Laura Palmer is.
The good old days.
My relationship with the album is personal and doesn’t easily translate for my whimsical blog. I don’t like to talk about it. Every time I try to explain how I feel about the music, I get all overwhelmed and vulnerable, like a quaking fawn on newborn legs, and then I wanna punch faces in. You know how it is.
Son Jarocho is traditional Mexican music that fuses indigenous, Spanish and African styles. It originated in the port towns of Vera Cruz, a region of Mexico located off the Gulf of Mexico. The instruments that are used for Son Jarocho are also used in other Mexican music with the addition of various percussion instruments with roots in African and Spanish/Moorish culture. It is music based on improvisation, both musically and lyrically. Imagine a rapper free styling verses while improvising on the guitar.
I had seen Los Cojolites earlier this year at Self-Help Graphics in East L.A. Their short set was absolutely jaw dropping. However, in the spirit of community, Los Cojolites relinquished the stage to other performers who were not up to par with the group and I ended up leaving early. Son De Madera was one of those groups I had always wanted to see but never got around to. Because of that, the battle of the dueling stages was won by the stage with Son De Madera on it. Son De Madera are traditionalists to a point. One of the Requintos (an acoustic guitar used for playing the lead guitar parts in Son Jarocho music) is put through an amp with effects pedals, which creates a washy, dream-like sound. Also included in the group is a stand-up baby bass, compliments of East L.A. native Juan Perez and Zapateado supplied by the beautiful Rubí del Carmen Oseguera. The minute they played their first note I was lost in their world of improvisations and melodies. It had the earthiness of the Mexican culture mixed with the seduction of the Moorish culture. None of that was lost, even with Son De Madera's modern take on their traditional sound.
Amoeba Marc sent me the link to the must-see above video of a recent editorial (Special Comment) by MSNBC's Keith Olbermann on December 6th. Olbermann tells it like it is with no sugar coating. Everyone who is seriously concerned about the future of this nation and of the world and whether or not we all end up caught in the crossfire of an unwanted World War III needs to spend eight and a half minutes and view this direct and sobering commentary.
In England it is midnight, Monday, December 10, 2007. In a matter of mere hours, Led Zeppelin will be reunited on stage to play a tribute show. Playing at London's O2 Arena, it's a concert in aid of the Ahmet Ertegun Education Fund. Mr. Ertegun, who passed away last year, was co-founder of Atlantic Records and chairman of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame & museum. Led Zeppelin recorded with Atlantic Records until they released Physical Graffiti on their own Swan Song label in 1975.
DO YOU UNDERSTAND? LED ZEPPELIN!! LIVE!! TOMORROW!! Maybe it'll be something like this:
In case you live under a rock and don't know, Led Zeppelin is made up of 4 guys:
from left to right:
John Bonham plays drums
"In our Lowrider Section there are a lot of compilations series, new and old, like Thump Records' Old School series and their Latin Oldies series and East Side Records' East Side Story series," said Orion, who works in the Soul & Hip-Hop section of Amoeba Music Hollywood, where the demand for lowrider music is so great that it gets its own section.
Lowrider music includes classic soul, funk, oldies, rNb, and Latin oldies, plus other types of music too, like rap and hip-hop and including lots of Latin rap, which is generally filed in the hip-hop section. There too you'll find the rap flavored lowrider DVDs, said Orion, noting that there are additional lowrider DVDs to be found upstairs in the Hollywood store's impressive vast DVD department. There are DVDs galore on the subject of cars which is "a pretty big portion within the Sports and Special Interests section," said Maryann, who works in that section of Amoeba Hollywood. And of the topics included in the car section? "Street racing, monster trucks, drifting, racing (NASCAR, IndyCar races etc), customizing, classic/antique, and of course lowriding," she said. There are approximately 20 lowrider DVD titles currently in stock.
Lowriding, for the uninitiated, is when you take a car a or truck (often classic American cars from sixties or fifties but other decades too) and modify its suspension system (often with hydraulics) -- the ultimate goal being that the auto will ride as low to the ground as physically possible. These lowrider vehicles often have user controlled height adjustable suspension -- as witnessed by the videos above and below -- which allow them to pull off some amazing antics. And while it is cool to look at video footage, there is nothing like seeing these rides up close in action. The sites below usually have info on car shows but one site called OneBadPup specializes in SoCal car shows and has been posting pics of them for the past two years (that's one of their their great shots below).
Friday night, December 7th, 2007
Performing at the Montalvo Arts Center in the Carriage House
I know all of that is true not only because I looked it up on the net to verify my facts, but because I was there.
An intimate run of shows in this adorable town goes by the name Saratoga. Mind you, us Amoebas are in California, though I certainly would love to see Richard Thompson perform in an intimate venue in Saratoga, New York. I always loved that town. In Saratoga, California there are wineries and some really nice shops and no snow in December. (Unlike Saratoga, N.Y., though I haven't been to New York since this wacky global warming craze started, so for all I know it was colder in California last night.)
I grew up back East and I hate being cold about more than I hate anything except huge things like injustice, starving children and being stabbed. I do not mean to downplay how much I hate being cold, but luckily --although I have spent much of the last month freezing my damn ass off --the intimate theater that Richard Thompson played in this week was only a chilly place. Not freezing, not really even officially cold.
Richard playing at Amoeba Hollywood
One December, I went to see Charles Brown perform at Kimball's East also here in California and it was freezing in that damn venue. I am well aware of the massive tangent I am on right now, and I don't give a damn. I'd had my face smashed open by a car dashboard when I was about 16, and that night at Charles Brown, it was so damn cold, my face ached so, and I watched the whole show holding the right side of my face because, frankly, it was sheer agony. Now Friday night, December 7th, 2007, in Saratoga California, I was not holding my face at all. I will admit to occasionally rubbing my legs and wearing a few layers, long johns and all. But it's been a cold December here in Northern California. This all popped into my head because I was at the Charles Brown show with the same person that said, "Hey, I have an extra ticket to see Richard Thompson, drive on down here."
3 variations on the Tower tag...below is a tag given to me by our own Ronnie Barnett, former Infinite Records employee, a store out of Houston, Tx...
Anthony Bourdain sure has a high opinion of himself. I mean, I love watching his show No Reservations on the Travel Channel and I think he is a smart, open minded traveler for sure, but wow, he really loves himself and his image (see photo, right-- classic)! I find myself rolling my eyes at him but adoring the program just the same.
As someone who rarely has the opportunity to travel anywhere, much less to destinations like Namibia, Sicily, Iceland, Peru, New Zealand and, uh, New Jersey, I find myself swept away in the show's exotic locations, locals and of course, food. Bourdain was a chef for many years so a major focus of his show is indulging in local cuisine. I really appreciate the fact that he tries to get off of the beaten path and hang out with people who know their city/country like the back of their hand, and I think this is what plays a major part in making the show so addicting-- Samantha Brown, be damned! This show is no Tourist Board advertisement.
The Uzbekistan episode where Tony literally gets pummeled by a masseuse is a favorite.
Bourdain likes to present himself as someone dark and edgy, someone who's seen it all before, someone who is tough enough to scrap through any given situation and then light up a cigarette. [Although I recently heard he quit smoking when his daughter was born this April! That's a huge deal.] Some portions of the show are so self indulgent! I can forgive Bourdain's Ramones obsession, which seems, incredibly, to come up in about 50% of the episodes, but in Shanghai we got an entire segment of Bourdain swinging from wires in fighting style and edited into a fake movie. It got a little much. His Dante's Inferno fascination in the Tuscany episode quickly becomes grating. Where's the food??
hysteron proteron - n. inversion of natural order or sense, especially of words; fallacy of proving or explaining a proposition with one presupposing or dependent on it.
It’s been a couple of months since I photographed any of our arty 7 inch boxes, so here are some more examples of post outsider art-damaged modern adverts faux iconography from Amoeba Hollywood 45 Room brain trust.
Hysteron Proteron literally means “the latter before”, and the purpose is to call attention to the more important idea by placing it first. You might say it’s the rhetorical equivalent to "the last shall be first and the first, last". (Sort of reminds me of my old Catholic School Catechism lessons, which no matter how hard I try to obliterate, remains intact in my skull, an example once again of the inverse natural order of things. But the rewards last a lifetime … I mean eternal! The vague and twisted challenges of a post Irish Catholic childhood are the dented theological reflections or simple colorful profanities, available at a drop of a hat … and are never more than just a couple of pints away.)
Dallas was one of the definitive shows of the 80s and I have to say, if nothing else, it's worth watching just for the styling and the cars. Everything is completely over the top-- from the wood paneling to the exposed chest hair, the whole show is one long nostalgic trip through the fashions of the 80s and I love it! Pammy's hair (see photos, left and right) alone makes the show! It goes from rat's nest to sleek to curly to shagged-- every which way.
Maybe I should provide a little more background here: Dallas is about the trials and tribulations of the Ewing Family. The Ewings are rich as all get out from their oil business and they live on a ranch in Texas. The family is large, with matriarch Miss Ellie, patriarch Jock Ewing (left) and their sons, meddler JR and do-gooder Bobby. They have another son, Gary, who lives in California and returns from time to time. His young adult daughter, Lucy, lives on the ranch with her grandparents. Sue Ellen is JR's long suffering alcoholic wife and Pam is Bobby's young, fresh wife. With this much family living in one house and all that wealth around, trouble just comes right to the Ewings!
Before I met Stan the bird man of California (my name for him) I had no idea that there were so many different breeds of raptors (birds of prey). Neither did I realize that there were dedicated individuals like Stan, who lives in Sonoma, CA, and whose spare time is consumed with these beautiful creatures that most of us just never notice or take time to discover.
So I had a lot to ask Stan about raptors and banding them and I had a lot to learn from him. Here is the AMOEBLOG interview -- followed by links if you want to learn more about raptors.
AMOEBLOG: What is your title and what specifically do you do?
STAN: I am a licensed raptor bander and I band birds of prey for research purposes, monitor banded raptors and their nests.
AMOEBLOG: How did raptors become your passion and have you always been interested in birds of prey or birds in general?
STAN: I think I can trace my fascination with raptors back to visits to the Texas Renaissance Faire as a teenager where I saw a falconry display where a falconer sent a trained hawk out over the audience and then called it back. I thought that seeing the bird land on the guy's glove was the coolest thing. Later I also became a falconer, but that is subsidiary to my research on wild birds of prey.
AMOEBLOG: How long does it take to capture a bird of prey? And what is the longest time you have spent in trying to do so?
STAN: If a bird of prey is motivated by hunger or some other motivation it can take just a few seconds or at most a few minutes to capture it. Usually if I do not capture an individual bird within ten or fifteen minutes, I move on and look for another. If a particular bird is a priority bird for some reason I may work all day to capture it, but that is rare. If a bird is not responsive pretty quickly, usually it is best to try to capture it at a different time.
Saturday • December 8th, 2007
NEW BEVERLY CINEMA
7165 Beverly Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Classic 1970's Adult Cinema at Midnight!!!!!!!
THE OPENING OF MISTY BEETHOVEN (1976)
Directed by Henry Paris (aka Radley Metzger)
Starring Constance Money, Jamie Gillis, Jacqueline Beaudant, Terri Hall, Ras Kean, Gloria Leonard & Casey Donovan.
We'll be showing this absolute classic from the golden age of adult films, along with an assortment of original 1970's XXX trailers. If we get a good response for this, we'll keep doing additional screenings of classic adult films as an occasional midnight special event.
Used to promote Robert Plant's
top 20 hit, this sticker furthers the classicmodern rock feel of the
album cover. Cool 80's pink lifted from the artful embellishments
found to the left of the photo...
up next, R&B top 20 hit from George Clinton...
Sticker gets a little lost
as cover is already quite busy
Up next, a foreign selection...
Nice gold foil sticker promoting the lovely Geula Gil's version of the "Jerusalem of Gold", which is a huge song in Israel...
Maneja Beto comes into town two or three times a year with little fanfare, and that’s too bad. They are the best Mexican rock band out on the scene right now that isn't actually from Mexico. Hailing from Austin, TX, Maneja Beto continues on a path that bands from Mexico no longer follow. Maneja incorporate traditional Mexican musical influences with their Anglo and Roc N' Español influences. At their performance at the Levitt Pavilion in Pasadena, Maneja Beto tore through an hour and half set that featured most of the songs from their brilliant release, Accidentes De Longitud Y Latitud. One of the things that makes Maneja unique is that two of the band members play multiple instruments. Bobby Garza doubles on percussion and keyboards and shares vocal duties with Alex Chavez. Chavez plays keys and a whole array of guitars (electric as well as traditional Mexican instruments such as the Jarana and the Requinto). Much like Café Tacvba, Maneja Beto has great songs and can mix all their influences together and still retain their own sound. But unlike Café Tacvba, Maneja does not have an engaging front person, which perhaps is the reason their rise to popularity has been much slower.
There is a Mexican saying, “Traen la cara de nopal,” which roughly translates to, “You have the face of a cactus." It is what some Mexicans say to each other when one forgets where he or she came from. It’s something one can’t shake, no matter how much you are educated, how much money you earn, where you move to or how much one assimilates into Anglo culture. In the end, you have to look in the mirror and see yourself, "la cara del nopal," the face of a Mexican.
The thing I like about Maneja Beto, with all their painted nails and their obvious love of bands like Joy Division and The Smiths, is that they never try to hide their “caras del nopal.” I think that many bands from Mexico right now could learn from them.
As you may know, we are big supporters of the ukelele here at Amoeba, and most of us are crazy about Those Beatles. This video and his amazing prowess on the instrument sure brightened up my day.
If you want to see more of Jake Shimabukuro, or others on Uke, you can hop over here to this website and uke your holidays away: http://www.ukuleledisco.com/jake
Basically drag racing is an auto acceleration contest from a standing start between two cars (or other type of vehicle) standing side by side, and over a measured distance -- usually a quarter-mile (1,320 feet). And while drag racing is thought of as a strictly American past time, it is celebrated all over the globe with avid drag car racers in such lands as Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Africa, and Northern Europe.
Above is one of my all time favorite drag racing compilations (check out that school bus doing a wheelie!) with the best music. It is "Burning Rubber (Remix)" by Big Stick, who shot the video footage and who, as a music outfit in the late eighties, churned out some of the greatest tunes ("Crack Attack," "Jesus Was Born on An Indian Reservation," etc) and a sound that carved its unique soundscape somewhere between industrial, rap, and manic rock.
But as dear to their hearts as music was, Big Stick's passion for auto and drag car racing, as witnessed via their side project the Drag Racing Underground, under which they have released several DVDs of this fascinating past time. Click here for the website.
Additionally there are also many other websites on the topic, including DragTimes.Com. Meanwhile, check the following video collection of drag cars doing a lot of wheel stands.
I know people still exchange gifts at least in parts of the Middle West. Fewer of us still stuff our shoes with carrots and hay for his white horse Amerigo (or in some places a donkey) with the expectation that tomorrow we'll find our initials in chocolate, chocolate coins or marzipan. Of course, if we've been bad there might be some salt or a bundle of sticks to get switched with.
In different parts of the world he's accompanied by different comrades.
Suspend your beliefs for a minute and imagine if gangsta rap never happened. Imagine if instead of a group doing a song called "Fuck Tha Police," like in the above UK comedy spoof on NWA's classic song, that the script was flipped into a sanitized good cop version entitled "Help Tha Police."
You’re too smug, too naïve! You think you have all the time in the world to deal with Christmas music. Or worse, maybe you haven’t even thought about acquiring any Christmas music at all!
It’s because I love you and want the best for you that I say I’m disappointed in you.
Don’t wait until the last second to figure out what you’re going to play for your Christmas party, Christmas Eve dinner, or Christmas morning, gift-giving orgy. (Incidentally, I found out what you’re getting this year, and frankly, most of it’s disappointing, but there’s at least one thing I think you’ll really like.)
Amoeba Music puts up their Christmas music section promptly after Thanksgiving. I understand if you’re too doped-up on tryptophan to shop it immediately (those vegetarians who opted for a Tofurky instead have an excuse – they’ll be suffering from indigestion until mid-February) but time is of the essence.
Learn from my mistake two years ago and buy USED Christmas albums early, before the hipsters pick-over the selection and leave only this:
"Eeeeeekkk...! Is it Halloween?!"
Here’s a few gems I recommend:
Swingle Singers “Noëls Sans Passeport”
Also released, in the States, under the title “Christmastime”, this album is jazzy and lighthearted, but the vocal harmonies are ornate and require deft singing. You may think you’ve never heard of these guys, but by now you’ve almost certainly heard their music; they are often featured on film and TV. And once your holiday guests have had a few cups of egg nog, they will inevitably try to sing along, sounding like stray cats in heat – and isn’t that what Christmas is all about?
But there are a couple DVD's worth talking about. The brilliant Superbad comes out as an unrated 2 disc DVD. The movie is no Heathers. But it is sort of more like a Fast Times At Ridgemont High. Or maybe more like Porky's or Meatballs. I really ended up liking it more than I thought I would. That Jud Apatow is really a brilliant man and creating some of the funniest movies out in the last couple of years. The most recent Pirates of the Caribbean movie also comes out. I really do love the ride at Disneyland more than anything. And these Pirates movies are for sure better than the Haunted Mansion movie with Eddie Murphy. But I was really fine with just one movie. It sort of lost me after that. But if they decide to put out a movie about Space Mountain, I will be the first in line. I really do love that ride. I can't really imagine what the movie would be about but I might just start working on that screenplay right now. The sountrack alone would be amazing. The Sigur Ros DVD also comes out today in the more regular format. The beautiful version with the book is out of print and will soon be gone. It really is awesome and I highly recommend it. The second season of Saturday Night Live also comes out on DVD today. I do really hate those best of Saturday Night Live DVD's that have been coming out. I guess the hardcore Dana Carvey and David Spade fans were probably excited that their favorite cast member had their very own DVD. But I really just prefer to watch the entire original episodes. This season covered 1976-1977 and was still way too early on for me to watch live. I have seen some of the skits over the years. But it will be fun to watch these old episodes that I have never really seen. There were some amazing guests on this season including Jodie Foster, Lily Tomlin, Ralph Nader, and Sissy Spacek. But most importantly, the brilliant Shelley Duvall shows up as a host for one of the episodes. Wallace & Gromit also gets released on DVD. "Three Amazing Adventures" includes the fantastic early short films that made them famous. "A Grand Day Out," "The Wrong Trousers," and "A Close Shave" are all included. The Rocky Saga also gets released again in a nice little box set. This time with the most recent film "Rocky Balboa." The old box was a bit ugly and simple. So it is nice to see some better treatment for a series that had such an affect on me. I was really excited about this for months. I was expecting an awesome deluxe box. But the only improved thing is really the packaging. I do like the new black box packaging. I just wish there was more for me to talk about other than the new packaging.
According to a report posted on the website Baller Status dot com, longtime Bay Area Rapper Spice 1 was shot earlier today (Monday, December 3rd) and is reportedly in critical condition. The legendary East Bay rapper is originally from Texas. He was discovered by Too $hort when he went by the name MC Spice and was part of The Dangerous Crew. Apparently he was shot in Hayward during the early hours of this morning but so far specific details of the exact attack are sketchy and incomplete.
According to the website, the rapper's manager, Six, confirmed the shooting but said that despite rumors, the rapper is still alive but in critical condition at an unspecified area hospital. According to the manager, two shots hit the rapper -- one in the chin and another in the chest, missing his heart by only inches. Ironically the attack on Spice-1, who refers to himself in lyrics as the "East Bay Gangsta," mirrors the lyrical content of many of his popular gangsta-themed tracks like the classic '93 "Trigga Gots No Heart" from the Menace II Society soundtrack.
AMOEBA MUSIC, BERKELEY:
AMOEBLOG: How did you end up working at Amoeba Music, Berkeley and what is your job there?
MARTY: I was working at a record store in Hawaii and wanting to move back to the Bay. My sister inquired as to if Amoeba or Rasputin were hiring. Turned out they both were. I never heard back from Rasputin, but Marc (Weinstein) said come on out for an interview. This was just as the San Francisco store was opening -- so some of the Berkeley buyers moved over there, and there was a spot for me.
AMOEBLOG: What makes working at Amoeba different from other jobs you've had?
MARTY: I've been in the 'industry' since 1980, but always wholesale -- one stops, rack jobbers. The store in Hawaii was the first retail job. Going from that little store front shop to Amoeba was quite an experience. Amoeba has become an institution!
AMOEBLOG: Best place to grab a bite nearby Amoeba Berkeley?
MARTY: Good luck. Where's the Japanese ramen?
AMOEBLOG: What's the best record of all time?
MARTY: (laughing) Obviously, that's a very difficult question. It depends on mood, genre, etc. But how about this: "Who's That Lady" (from '64) by the Isley Brothers -- a perfect single!
Michael Jackson's Thriller, celebrating its twenty fifth anniversary (see previous AMOEBLOG), has inspired many covers and interpretations but few come close to the "Indian Thriller" version above.
Some of the best rock bands in the last fifteen years have come from Latin America. Throughout those years, Café Tacvba has become one of the most important voices not only in Latin Rock but also in all of rock music today. At their show at the Gibson, Café Tacvba seamlessly flowed back and forth from their early Roc ñ Espanòl material into their recent cerebral songs without dating the older songs or trivializing the new ones. The songs they played from their brilliant new album, Si No, captivated the audience as much as the hits. Their show was part Beach Boys, part b-boy, part Electronica, part classic rock and part indie rock, all at its finest.
Café Tacvba mixed the older hits ("Ingrata," "Eres," "Las Flores," "Maria') with the best songs from the new album ("El Outsider," "53100," and the new wavy "Volver A Comenzar"). The band as a whole was entertaining and played flawlessly. Lead vocalist Ruben Albarran is everything you want from a front person. He charismatic, has a unique voice, and lots of energy, yet never takes the spotlight away from the rest of the group. The rest of the band is solid, mixing live instruments with sequenced beats. Bassist Enrique “Quique” Rangel is one of those bass players that can carry a band melodically, much like John Entwistle did for The Who or Mike Mills does with R.E.M.
Michael Jackson's album Thriller is celebrating its 25th year anniversary. The 1982 album was a follow up to 1979's Off The Wall, which was a big hit. Thriller would become an even bigger hit -- much, much bigger -- going on to become the biggest selling album of all time, with worldwide sales of over a hundred million to date!
Thriller was such a large scale hit that it stayed on the Billboard Top 10 Album chart for a solid year and produced a total of seven Billboard Top Ten singles -- and the album only had nine tracks!
When Thriller was relased in late 1982 it was a different world in many ways -- besides the fact that people still loved Michael Jackson. For one thing, it was a time when a pop star of that scale could exist. Nowadays the fame pie is divided many more times and there are now no artists such a broad cross-section of the population could all agree on liking.
But Thriller era Micheal Jackson appealed to all demographics. Quincy Jones' perfectly produced sound -- whose key instrument was Michael's voice -- somehow captured the best of everything in music at that time, and beyond too. Thriller had everything -- rock, dance, rhythm, soul, groove and strong melody. It advanced disco into a new space, and tapped into (and topped) the imported new wave sound that was gaining popularity then.
Thriller is available at Amoeba Music, both new and used, vinyl and CD. And note there are different versions/editions of it. In addition to the original 1982 version (see tracking below), there is also the 2001 Thriller Special Edition Release CD which has 21 tracks, including several Quincy Jones interview clips. But there is also the brand new 25th Anniversary edition of Thriller which comes as a CD/DVD bundle.
What makes the still popular US pastime of ghost riding the whip so adaptable is that it is the ultimate all-American type past time that everyone can do, or at least relate to; one that is based around the automobile. The auto, the car, the ride, the whip -- whatever you call it, since the 1950's when young rebellious Americans first started getting their own wheels and the automatic freedom that came with it, has gained its own subculture. And this auto subculture has been closely linked with music, sex, alcohol, drugs, and (of course) driving stunts.
And ghost riding the whip, which has been extremely popular the past two years, is the current offshoot of this ever-evolving auto American pop culture. Since last year it has gotten a lot of sensationalist mainstream coverage which has only fueled its popularity and as a result flooded YouTube with lots of "ghost riding the whip" video clips being posted daily.
How to ghost ride the whip: "the whip" is the car, the ride, and "ghost ride" is how it is driven -- by the ghost, meaning that the car drives itself and the driver hops out of the drivers seat to sit on the hood or run around the car and tries not to crash, and if s/he does, then tries to remember what type of auto insurance s/he (though predominantly a male past time) has. S/he may also need medical insurance.
The soundtrack to ghost riding is Bay Area hyphy rap, which directly helped fuel its current popularity, including such faves as Mista F.A.B.'s "Ghost Ride It" (video below) and, of course, E40 and the Federation as featured in the ebaum's world video clip below with the crashes (when ghost riders attack). These ghost-ridin' songs are the latest in a long tradition of Bay rap that celebrates illegal car activity and is rooted in the beloved but outlawed tradition of sideshows, long an ingrained part of underground urban Bay Area culture, with songs such as 415's single "Sideshow" (featuring Richie Rich and from the album 41Fiven), reflecting the illegal car activities back in the late eighties.
Rest in peace Evel.
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