This year really flew by. I mean that 2008 really flew by. You might be thinking...it is already 2009, but I am still sort of living in 2008. I am now almost ready for the new year to start. I figure I will be ready by about March. I just moved back to Los Angeles last January and it has already been a year! I was barely done uppacking and settling down when we decided to move again. But I really did sort of fall back in love with Los Angeles this year, so we are still here for a while I think. It was just time to move again. Now that 2009 is officially underway to the rest of the world, the music is starting to come out again. I worry every once in a while about the state of the music industry. But I do get some faith back in it every time I fall in love with a new album. I just get excited thinking about all the new albums that are going to come out this year -- all the bands that might not even be bands yet that will put out fantastic little albums in the next couple of years. The albums are out there. You just have to look for them. The year might be getting off to a slow start but those new albums are coming. Just in case you don't have it already, please go buy the new Antony & the Johnsons. It is called The Crying Light and it is magical! I have also been obsessed with the debut album from Empire of the Sun. They are from Australia and sort of sound like MGMT. It is just an import right now but I am sure it will come out domestic soon.
There is something coming up for everybody, don't you worry. All you Kelly Clarkson fans out there don't have to wait too much longer, I swear. I don't really know how that Doolittle lady from american idol managed to get an album out, but it is true-- Melinda Doolittle has an album out this week. I try to avoid american idol as much as I can. I don't even think it deserves to be capitalized in this blog. But it does have an amazingly powerful hold over the country. They manage to find some of the most unattractive and worst musicians in the country and some how make people obsessed with them. Seriously, those are some magicians over there producing that show! But that Kelly Clarkson, there is just something about her. Maybe I have given into American Idol just a little bit. I never watched a single episode that she was on but somehow she got some power over me. I told you -- those producers have some crazy magical powers. Somehow those catchy pop songs get a hold of me sometimes. I do love listening to the radio though. Maybe that is my problem. So the new Kelly Clarkson is out March 17th and that is all I am going to say about it. Enough with my super guilty pleasure! But I feel like I have to give in to popular music every once in a while or I will explode or something. Some pop culture is good for you in moderation. To balance that out a bit I have been listening to this Grouper record a bunch lately. It came out last year, but my coworker Chris recommended it to me and I finally bought it and am now a bit obsessed. If you want some weird folky dark lady music than I highly recommend it. The album is called Dragging a Dead Deer Up A Hill. It is worth it alone for the amazing album cover. I seriously can't stop staring at it. I dare you to try and stop staring at it. I still can't figure out if it is a doll or an actuall girl.
Last week was the week of Bruce Springsteen and Franz Ferdinand. Two completely different generations but I imagine that I am not the only one that was interested in both albums. I have loved the Franz Ferdinand ever since I first heard "Take Me Out" about 6 years ago. I will admit that I am probably one of their older fans. Seems like their fans just keep getting younger. We went and saw them at Bill Graham Civic for the last album and the crowd was mostly 18 year olds. But they just did an instore at Amoeba last week and the crowd did mostly seem to be more like 13 and 15 year olds. But it made me happy -- not all 13 year olds just listen to the Jonas Brothers and Miley Cyrus. I don't think I will be turning into a musical grandpa quite yet this year. But it might be getting close to that time. I still love Franz and that show was great and super high energy. Bruce was too busy performing at inaguration parties and super bowls to stop by Amoeba, but maybe someday he will stop by for a little instore. Also out last week was a new album from Andrew Bird and Amoeba's Secret by Paul McCartney finally came out on CD.
In case you didn't know. Paul McCartney did an instore at Amoeba a couple of years back and we made a recording of it and released it as a 12". This was before I moved back to Hollywood. It somehow got nominated for two Grammys! We are up against Bruce Springsteen, John Mayer, The Eagles, Eddie Vedder, and Neil Young for best solo rock vocal performance, so that category might be harder to win. But the cd is also up for best male pop vocal performance. This category is way more random and hard to understand. I can't even imagine what Kid Rock, Ne-Yo, Jason Mraz, John Mayer, James Taylor, and Paul McCartney have to do with one another. But they are in the same category! Seriously, you have got to love the Grammys. I think that we simply have to win this one....right?? I don't really think the Grammys are the best judge of the music of last year, but I do still watch them every year. Only at the grammys can Wayne Brady be a best traditional R&B Nominee and Gnarls Barkley be a best alternative nominee and Jonas Brothers be a best new artist. But still, it is an honor just to be nominated. I absolutely love the random categories of the Grammys. Did you know that Tony Shalhoub is up for best spoken word album for children and Sidney Poitier is up for best spoken word album? I still don't really understand why the Grammy's seem so outdated when they finally have the ceremony. It always seems like the are giving the awards for albums and songs that are two years old. I mean does Juno really need to still be nominated 2 years later? But the cut off period is October of 2007 through September of 2008. They really do need to do something about giving them out sooner. They should do the ceremony in the November of the year that the nominees are announced, so then it will only seem like the awards are for albums a year old and not two years old. I do also love the random performances that they put together. Where else can you see Dave Grohl performing with Paul McCartney? And Kenny G playing with Kirk Hammett and Cyndi Lauper? The Dave Grohl thing is really happening, but I would seriously not be surprised do see something as crazy as Enya performing with Tony Shaloub and Liza Minnelli. It gets weird for real. The Grammys are on this Sunday if you want to catch the craziness. Keep your fingers crossed that there will be a shout out for Amoeba if Paul McCartney wins.
There is really nothing out this week in the world of music -- at least that I am interested in. There is a new Babyland album called Cavecraft which I for sure be listening to very soon, but this is not for everybody. The big news this week is really the release of Yentl on DVD. I have actually never seen this movie but I have been sort of obsessed with it my whole life. Or at least since 1983. I have caught glimpses of it on TV over the years but have never actually seen the whole thing. I am a big fan of any movie where men dress up like women or women dress up like men. I especially love when actresses play men dressing up like women or when men play women dressing up like men. Tootsie, The Crying Game and Psycho are some of my favorite films. I am gonna put Yentl right up there with those even though I have not rightly seen it yet. I don't know what it is, but I think I just like when films and actors play around with gender roles and identity issues. Barbra Streisand simply plays a woman dressing up like a man in Yentl. But you still have to love it. It is all in the name of practicing her religion and she ends up identifying as a man and living like a man the rest of here life. It is way more complicated than this and I might discuss it more after I actually sit down and watch it. By the way, don't you think Kelly Clarkson would be perfect in the remake of Yentl? Rihanna could play the role originally played by Amy Irving. Just check out the picture at the beginning of the blog if you don't think Kelly can pull of male drag.
Yentl does have a well known sort of rabid fan base. They have been waiting for this film to be on DVD forever. It did win Barbra a Golden Globe for best picture and director, but only managed to win for best score at the Oscars. The DVD includes all sorts of extras including a commentary by Barbra herself. I will always be amazed at the turn out of a screening of Yentl in San Francisco a couple of years ago. I was going to see The Legend of Billie Jean which was playing on a double bill with Yentl. I had long been obsessed with LoBJ and was certain it would sell out the Castro theater. But Yentl, which screened right before it, was actually the movie with the crazy huge crowd. The theater was packed and almost everybody left before LoBJ started. I think there were only like 50 of us there for the Billie Jean screening. I was shocked a bit but I guess I really should not have been that surprised. Barbra has that power that those American Idol producers have somehow harnessed. She gets those fans that become fans for life and loyal to the end. So go watch yourself some Yentl and get ready for the music to start coming your way very soon. Here are some of the abums to look forward to in the next couple of months. There will be many more, I promise. Thes are just some of them...
2/10 Lily Allen
2/17 Morrissey!!!!!! and M. Ward and Beirut
3/2 Neko Case
4/21 Depeche Mode!!!