Check out our selection of Cash Money Records titles on Amoeba.com!
By now, anyone that reads this blog and is a fan of the many, great New Orleans labels that sprouted in the fertile hip-hop delta back in the '90s may've wondered why no Cash Money thusfar. Well, I've been working on it but the greatest of labels required a lot of work. Hope you enjoy... wodie.
Back in the 1980s, the New Orleans Rap scene began to take root with early rappers like Tim Smooth, Warren Mayes, Ninja Crew and New York Incorporated all making noise. The latter act featured Mia X, Denny D, DJ Wop and Mannie Fresh and was probably the first rap group in the city. After their dissolution, Fresh hooked up with former Ninja Crew member Gregory D and they released a handful of influential, if not very widely promoted records.
Check out our selection of Cash Money Records titles on Amoeba.com!
Amoeblog interview with SF Mime Troupe's Pat Moran
A little earlier this afternoon (Friday July 31st), as the SF Mime Troupe was setting up for this evening's performance in Berkeley's Frances Willard/Ho Chi Minh Park (Derby & HIllegass), I conducted a brief but informative chat (video above) with musical director Pat Moran. The SF Mime Troupe is celebrating its 50th victorious year of putting on socially & politically charged plays for Bay Area summer audiences. This summer they are touring Bay Area parks with Too Big To Fail, which, in the form of a simple tale of an African villager, cleverly tackles the complex current global economic crisis.
Directed by Wilma Bonet, written by Michael Gene Sullivan, and with music by Pat Moran, this evening's entertainment kicks off at 6pm with music, and the play begins at 6:30pm. Tomorrow at 1:30pm/2pm at the same location and on Sunday afternoon (2pm/2:30pm) the Troupe will trek over to Mesa Park in Bolinas, in West Marin County. Admission to all all Bay Area park plays by the SF Mime Troupe is free but a donation (of any size) is requested for these always edutaining events. For more info on the remaining summer 2009 schedule visit the troupe's website.
Amoeba Music Hollywood Hip-Hop Top Five: 07:17:09
1) Fabolous Loso's Way (Desert Storm/Def Jam)
2) Mos Def The Ecstatic (Downtown)
3) Dudley Perkins Holy Smokes (1 AM APPROACH)
4) Psycho Realm A War Story: Book 1 (Sick Symphonies)
5) Chali 2na Fish Outta Water (Decon)
Brooklyn, New York rapper Fabolous is back with a bang. His fifth and latest album, Loso's Way on Desert Storm/Def Jam, is this week's number one new hip-hop album at the Hollywood Amoeba Music store this week. Like Jay-Z [who, incidentally, appears here on the track "Money Goes, Honey Stay" (When the Money Goes Remix)] and his American Gangster record, the new Fab album also comes complete with a gangster movie inspired theme. Loso's Way is based on Carlito's Way. And the "Deluxe Edition" of Loso's Way comes complete with a DVD of the half-hour plus movie of the same name that is reportedly a semi-autobiographical film. The film also draws many parallels with the original movie character Al Pacino plays in Carlito's Way.
Our August calendar is now online!
August 5 - 13 Dante's Inferno!
Joe Dante returns to the New Beverly for a week-long screening series of classic films and special guests plus brand new prints of some of his own movies... PLUS an encore performance of the expanded version of his nearly six hour Movie Orgy!
July 31 & August 1
An Irene Dunne double bill!
Beautiful, rarely-screened 35mm archive prints
The Awful Truth (1937)
dir. Leo McCarey, starring Irene Dunne, Cary Grant, Ralph Bellamy, Alexander D'Arcy, Cecil Cunningham
Fri: 7:30; Sat: 3:45 & 7:30
Academy Award Winner for Best Director, Leo McCarey
Nominated for 5 other Oscars including Best Actress
Although the chart above shows the existence of many real life asteroids, the entertainment industry almost always portrays fictional or just un-named space rocks.
ASTEROIDS IN COMPUTER & VIDEO GAMES
Amoeba Music Co-Hosts & Sponsors the East Bay Express Best of the East Bay Party!
The Oakland Museum of California
Friday, August 7th.
Free & Open to All Ages!
|See 20 bands on six stages, including the Amoeba-sponsored Main Stage (with late-night Mistress of Ceremonies Odessa Lil and DJ stage hosted by the Oakland Faders.)|
50 years ago today, one of the most ass kicking songs ever laid down on wax, the classic, seminal “Shout” was recorded by the Isley Brothers for RCA Records. Written by the brothers themselves, the lead vocals were handled by Ronald Isley with brothers O’Kelly and Rudolph singing back up. Even though the song never reached any higher than #47 on the Billboard Hot 100 and never did much on the R&B charts, “Shout” eventually became their first gold single simply on the basis of its lingering popularity. In 1999 “Shout” was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.
In July 1969 David Bowie released "Space Oddity" (see original video below) and now, forty years later, anyone can remix the song on their iPhone or iPod Touch with the Remix David Bowie Space Oddity Application powered by iKlax which was very recently made available for purchase. This marketing launch, of course, strategically ties in with the 40th anniversary of Man's first steps on the moon. According to the marketers,"'Space Oddity' has become cult material, marking David Bowie's career forever. Moreover, the track was broadcasted along with the live images from the moon landing by the BBC as Apollo 11 and Neil Armstrong made history. By choosing the iKlax multitrack iPhone application for "Space Oddity"'s own 40th anniversary, David Bowie provides a unique experience to his fans.
The remix application contains the original soundtracks for each and every instrument used in the song, letting users vary the volumes of the voice, the 12 string guitar, drum & bass, mellotron, organ, violin and orchestra, as well as save each new remix. Oh yeah, and it also has a fun feature whereby you can shake the iPhone to get new sounds, as shown above.
Artists' music being used in commercials was once a touchy subject. And it is still is, but to a lesser degree nowadays than in bygone decades, it seems. It also depends on what context the music is used and what exact song by which artist is being utilized. Some commercially popular music is just geared to be a jingle. But traditionally the typical "serious" artist felt lending their art in exchange for cash as the soundtrack to some shallow TV commercial geared to sell (the word "pimp" would often be used) cars or washing detergent was the ultimate sellling of your soul to "the man."
And of course, if said artist's music is reactionary, revolutionary, anti-authoritarian, protest type music, it really is contradictory to have it included in a cheesy TV ad -- hence the reason Jello Biafra fought so hard against his litigating former friends/bandmates who he insisted were trying hard to make a quick buck by selling the rights of the Dead Kennedys' song "Holiday In Cambodia" to be used in a Levi's commercial.
But even less politically overt artists than Biafra are against their music being used in commericals. Still, there are exceptions to every rule. A good example is Jack White, who has long been opposed to the White Stripes' music being sold for use in a commercial. Reportedly over the years he and his bandmate have been approached many times and turned down the offers to use the Stripes' music in commercials. But he wasn't opposed to composing a whole new song for a TV commercial a few years ago; he penned the sixties Brit psychedelic inflected tune called "Love Is The Truth" (reminiscent of the Small Faces' hit "Itchycoo Park") with the repeated lyrics "Love is the truth/ It's the right thing to do," to be used in a Coca Cola ad.
The world of the instructional record is really quite fascinating. From sincere DIY teachings to crass bandwagoning & fad jumping, the instructional record was a force unto itself in the 60's & 70's. The endless barrage of salesman related "you can do it" LPs from that era rival the male enhancement ad fads of today and reveal a similar, sinister undercurrent of predatory schemes that feed on the insecurity of many a male ego. It's entertainment all the way around! You'd be hard pressed to find more timely LPs than Strategy At the Bridge Table or either of the dance related records below.
I always find it funny that the three most important classes I took in High School were one semester electives-- guitar, speech and typing. Guitar was the beginning of the dymistification process between music and I. It also gave me much needed entertainment as I watched the jock meatheads fumble through "Lovesong" by the Cure in preparation for a lame attempt at buttering up some ditz over at the girls school. Speech was SO important, as it gave me an opportunity to get over performance anxiety by forcing me to give contrarian speeches to the same hamfisted types I mentioned in the guitar bit, within the safety net of the classroom. The teacher always wore suits and had a small mustache, traits that may have settled into my subconcious. He was asked to leave by the end of the semester because his affair with a jr. over at the girls school had been discovered, a trait I don't think I've picked up. The third class prepared me for the internet age. Not that I 'm a great typist, but whenever I watch a two fingered wonder pecking away, I'm always glad I took the class. Anyhow, this rant was brought on by the plethora of typing related LPs that I've seen over the years, a few of which are featured below.
I have a recollection, probably faulty, of some TV character, dressed as a beatnik, on a mid seventies sitcom reciting a beat poem. And the poem went something like, “little puppy with your nose pressed up against the pet store window, there is no puppy food for you today ... only death.” I found it hysterical.
Composed by John Cage in 1947 for prepared piano, Music For Marcel Duchamp was originally created for Duchamp’s segment in Hans Richter's surrealist film Dreams that money can buy. Other collaborators in Richter's movie included Max Ernst, Man Ray, Alexander Calder, Darius Milhaud and Fernand Léger. The film, with a budget of $25,000, won the Award for the Best Original Contribution to the Progress of Cinematography at the 1947 Venice Film Festival. Duchamps' segment is entitled "Discs" and consists mostly of his rotoreliefs; flat cardboard circles with painted designs spinning on a turntable. Later, in 1999, Music For Marcel Duchamp was choreographed by the late, great Merce Cunningham.
Los Angeles, CA hard rock band The Iron Maidens are, as they fairly claim, "the world's only female tribute band to Iron Maiden." But they are also most proficient and accomplished musicians, who not only do justice to their heavy metal heroes, but also add a new lease on life to the veteran UK metal band whose music they've been avidly honoring since they formed eight years ago.
They've even recently recorded and released a kick-ass CD/DVD set of Iron Maiden songs. titled Route 666 (a nod to Flight 666). The original Iron Maiden-esque cover art of a female monster is done by Derek Riggs, creator of Iron Maiden’s mascot, Eddie, and numerous signature Iron Maiden album covers familiar to any Maiden fan.
The five member group, comprised of women with diversified musical backgrounds ranging from orchestral and musical theater to blues and rock, is comprised of Linda “Nikki McBURRain” McDonald on drums, Sara “MiniMurray” Marsh and Courtney “Adriana Smith” Cox on guitars, Kirsten “Bruce Chickinson” Rosenberg on vocals, and Wanda "Steph Harris" Ortiz on bass.
Hard rocking and hard working, the band's busy upcoming schedule includes playing an all ages show at the Trevi Entertainment Center in Lake Elsinore, CA tomorrow, Second Wind in Santee, CA on Thursday, The Key Club in Hollywood on August 12th, the The VooDoo Lounge in San Jose on August 14th, and Annie's Social Club on Folsom in SF on August 15th. Fresh back from a Saturday night gig in Kansas, I caught up with the band yesterday to talk about, among other things, Iron Maiden's music, the difference between a tribute and a cover band, and being women in a male dominated field. The interview, which the band members collectively answered in true democratic fashion as a unit, follows below the video clip of the band performing "Revelations" at Cane's in San Diego last month. For more info on the Iron Maidens visit their official website or their MySpace.
July 25 to 31 is National Salad Week. And don’t forget the salad dressing. According to a recent consumer survey conducted by Synovate, 95 percent of Americans consume salads, or at least lettuce, at least three times per week. Not only do most Americans eat salads regularly, but they perceive other salad eaters as healthier, happier and, according to the Atlanta-based Association for Dressings and Sauces (ADS, a national trade association representing the manufacturers of salad dressings and condiment sauces), salad lovers are thought to be sexier. In other words, if you want to impress, eat a salad, though you might want to avoid the onions...
Wesley Eisold has garnered cult status among many young malcontents for his work in hardcore/noise-punk groups like Give Up The Ghost and Some Girls. So to some it came as bit of a shock when Eisold unveiled his latest project: Cold Cave, a synth-heavy Pop-Industrial group also featuring the likes of Caralee McElroy of Indie-Pop-Noise Experimentalists Xiu Xiu and Noise/Power Electronics Guru Dominick Fernow, aka Prurient.
Early Cold Cave recordings (collected on the CD compilation Creamations, released earlier this year) feature Eisold, mostly solo, building the skeleton for the group. Those tracks lean more towards the noisy and atonal side of things. However, on two now-out-of-print 12" vinyl singles released in late 2008 (The Trees Grew Emotions and Died ) and May 2009 (Etsel & Ruby) the project slowly began to lift its more oppressive atmospheres and mine and expand its dark retro/futurist pop-scope as more members fell into its ranks.
My personal goal for about a year now has been to watch all the Harry Potter movies. I had resisted for a while and since I missed the first couple in the theater, I felt like I could never catch up in time. But when the Half-Blood Prince got delayed, I figured I finally had a chance to watch the first 5 so I could see the sixth one in the theater. Of course, the months went by and all of a sudden it was July and I only had a couple of weeks to watch them all -- still, I knew I could do it. I was not sure if I was going to become obsessed with the movies like everyone else had, but I figured I would at least enjoy them. I did probably have time to read all the books as well, but I have been reading about 5 books the last couple of months all at the same time, so I didn't think I could both read the books and see the movies. I also thought I might enjoy the movies more without reading the books. It has been very rare to actually end up liking a movie version of one of my favorite books. I get really attached to the characters in the book and how I feel they should be portrayed. And turning a long book into a 2 hour movie is always hard. You always have to cut stuff out, it is just impossible not to. So I ended up having the benefit of going into the films not really knowing much about them or having any interest in how the books or characters were portrayed. I knew Harry Potter was some sort of magical British wizard that went to some boarding school type school for young wizards. Other than that I really didn't know what to expect. I sort of have a weird dislike for British children in movies, and I wasn't really excited to see them flying around with capes and wands, which is part of the reason I had stayed away from the series...But I couldn't resist any longer. It was too big a piece of pop culture for me to miss out on.
So I finally sat down and watched all 5 movies in about 7 days and ended the run by seeing the sixth movie in the theater last week. I watched them with a big fan of the books and the movies and I tried to find out what happened in the movies before it actually happened but he wouldn't tell me and left me in suspense. It was nice to have someone there to fill in the blanks when I tried to figure out what had just happened after the movies ended. The last couple of movies were my favorites. I like when they started to get darker and I loved the introduction of Helena Bonham Carter's character, Bellatrix. Almost every British actor seems to pop up in one of the movies, and there are a lot of my favorites. I love Gary Oldman, who plays Sirius Black, and Emma Thompson, who plays Sybil Trelawney. Miranda Richardson is also brilliant as always, as Rita Skeeter. And of course, Maggie Smith is perfect as Minerva McGonagall. The best thing about these movies is really the cast. It really is a perfect cast in all the movies. Two of my favorites of the younger cast are Evanna Lynch, who plays Luna Lovegood, and Shirley Henderson, who plays Moaning Myrtle. I wouldn't say that I am now an obsessive Harry Potter fan, but I am for sure a fan. The movies are really fun for people of all ages. I wouldn't mind going back and reading all the books at some point. I have heard they are really fun to read. Maybe my goal can be to read all the books before the last 2 movies come out in 2010 and 2011. I think I can find the time.
This includes 5 of the most hypnotizing, enchanting songs from the full length CD of the same name. Icey, minimal IDM with a certain glitched out beauty, the tracks included are "ATARAXIA," "CLEAR YOUR MIND," "ROVOR," "NOTHING MAKES ANY SENSE," and "CHAOSMOS."
SHHH REMIX EP 12"
Ultra rare 6 track EP of six previously unreleased remixes of MR OIZO, RJD2, NELLY FURTADO, MADVILLIAN, and J DILLA. Groove
dis says "He flips these tracks 360 degrees and creates something totally new and unrecognizable."
America's Next Top Model
Hello, everybody. Today is my second full day without Vicodin, and my first full week without my bottom two wisdom teeth. (The surgeon decided, after slicing my upper gums, that the teeth there could and should stay put, leading me to ask, what did he see in there that wasn't on the x-ray that changed his mind? Did my upper teeth have protection from the Insane Popes?)
As my legions of readers know, I was excited to realize my life-long dream of being put under general anesthesia; I’m happy to report that I was not disappointed.
I was led into the operating room – a tiny, square space, entirely colored in the lightest shade of grey and almost exactly what I picture when I contemplate what Hell might look like, though without the constant re-looping of “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay” piped in, which I have decided will be the soundtrack to my eternal damnation.
The legendary American choreographer Merce Cunningham, who was highly instrumental in helping make dance a major art form and a major form of theater, died last night (July 26) in New York. He was 90. Read the full story here care of the New York Times, which accurately notes that, "With his collaborator and life partner John Cage, Mr. Cunningham’s most celebrated achievement was to have dance and music composed independent of each other." Truly committed to his art, he was active up til close to the end, as witnessed by the video above -- Mondays With Merce from just earlier this year. Below, in an older clip, is an excerpt of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company members performing Beach Birds. For more information on the late artist's influential dance company visit www.merce.org.
Color Humano-"Larga Vida Al Sol"/"Coto De caza"/"Cosas Rústica"
Pescado Rabioso-"Nena" (one of Luis Alberto Spinetta's great bands)
Billy Bond Y Las Pesadas Del Rock-"Tonto"
Arco Iris (with a very young and future Oscar winner Gustavo Santaolalla on guitar) -"Zapada"
Top 10 World Music Sales for the week of July 20th-26th
1. V/A – Analog Africa No. 5: Legends Of Benin
2. Mahssa - Vol.1-Oyun Havasi
3. V/A - Sound Of Wonder!
4. V/A - Panama 2!
5. Amadou & Mariam - Welcome To Mali
6. V/A - Rudo Y Cursi Soundtrack
7. Goran Bregovic - Welcome To Bregovic
8. Joyce - Visions of Dawn
9. Selda - S/T
10. 11 albums tied at 10
Top 10 World Music Sales for July (so far)
1. Mahssa - Vol.1-Oyun Havasi
2. V/A – Analog Africa No. 5: Legends Of Benin
3. V/A - Panama! 2
4. Bebe -Y.
5. Chico Sonido - S/T
6. V/A - Black Rio 2 : Original Samba Soul 1971-1980
7. Eydie Gorme - Cantan En Español
8. V/A - Sound Of Wonder
9. Goran Bregovic - Welcome To Bregovic
10. 4 albums tied at 10
Do to an unforeseen glitch in the Amoeba Hollywood database, the mix CD by Amoeba Hollywood’s very own Mahssa was accidentally omitted from all the World Music charts up til now. A thousand apologies go out Mahssa and all those who have been deprived of her Middle Eastern Psychedelic mix CD, Oyun Havasi Vol.1. Released by B-Music in May, this tasty treat of Turkish, Persian and Arabic Psyche rockers could serve as a guide to explore the many gems hidden in Amoeba Hollywood’s Middle Eastern section. Only drawback to the mix CD is there is no track list. So if you love the sound of Turkish Rock and Iranian Psychedelic Folk, one has to dig, just like Mahssa has. No cheating allowed!
Speaking of B-Music, the latest installment in their Finders Keepers series is Sound Of Wonder!, focusing on Pakistan's little known-to-westerners “Lollywood” sound. What is Lollywood, you say? Lollywood was a tongue in cheek term made up in the late 80’s by Glamour Magazine gossip columnist Saleem Nasir because the Pakistani films that rivaled the Bollywood films were all filmed in the city of Lahore…get it? The Pakistani film industry thrived, much like India’s film industry, but had little success outside of Pakistan’s borders. The music on this compilation sounds like a low-fi, spaced out version of Bollywood music with more edge and Urdu lyrics. Most of the tracks on this compilation are done by composer M. Ashraf and singer Nahid Akhtar, with one track containing the legendary Noor Jehan, the legendary Pakistani singer who recorded over 10,000 songs in her lifetime and was the first female Pakistani film director. Of all the Finder Keepers releases, I feel this one is their strongest to date. Also available on LP.
When Casper the Friendly Ghost received the CGI treatment, he became a true monstrosity, a virtually embodied horror, the mishapen spectral remant of a literalized infanticide. Yet, it was in a movie aimed at kids and no one seemed to mind. If he'd been covered in blood, I suspect it would've been a different story. In The Philosophy of Horror, Noël Carroll suggests two major defining features of the monster proper: that (1) the creature be threatening and (2) it be impure. Now, it's probably not much of an overgeneralization to suggest few feel threatened by Casper, not even by his 3D deformity. But he's clearly impure in two ways: First, obviously, he's undead, kind of like a zombie, but one who's rational and apparently takes showers. That is, he violates the cognitive categories we have for what living and dead bodies are supposed to behave like -- mixes the contents. Second, and perhaps less obviously, in the 3D version, he is a violation of the formal abstraction that was part of his 2D cartoon body. This formal impurity wouldn't have existed had the animators decided to go with a realistic form for their adaptation, something like the ghosts in Peter Jackson's The Frighteners.
This blog entry is a look back at one of New Orleans's more obscure hip-hip labels, Tombstone. Tombstone Records was a notable New Orleans Rap label in the 1990s that released a handful of high caliber releases that sold over 100,000 albums around the South in three years before abruptly ceasing operations after a series of cataclysmic misfortunes.
It was founded by Elton “June” Wicker Jr. Most of the production was done by Merrill “Real Roc” Robinson, who also worked for Mobo. Other production was done by Ice Mike and the one-and-only Mannie Fresh. The label's biggest commercial success was the uncontested "Queen of Bounce," Cheeky Blakk, whose 1996 album Let Me Get That Outcha was a massive local hit for Tombstone before she jumped ship for Total Respect. Tombstone apparently operated on a shoestring budget with pleasingly dinky synths, cheap album covers and no music videos -- but unlike many local New Orleans labels of the 1990s, Tombstone seems to have been more fully committed to the compact disc format than most of their peers, forsaking the cassette for almost every artist.
Above is a quick, one-minute hand-held video clip of the graffiti on the outside wall of Amoeba Music San Francisco on Haight Street with music by my man OCDJ out of Baltimore. So popular has this wall become that most times when I stop by to gaze at its vibrant, colorful beauty I run into other graf fans who have traveled from as far away as Japan to take pictures or video of the graffiti. But just how good is this Amoeba wall graffiti? Apparently it is so good that photos of it are being sold. One photographer named Lee, who I ran into at the outdoor Friday market down by the Embarcadero across from the Ferry Building, was selling prints of the Amoeba wall graffiti image with the male characters (at about the 40 second mark in video above) for $40. And they are very popular, I was informed, especially with visitors to San Francisco.
As seems to be the case in many a household, the boyfriend and I are constantly at odds when it comes to the tv remote. I seem to have developed a not-so-controllable Bravo obsession, while for him, any time a broad shouldered man with a military-esque haircut, abnormally sparkling teeth and a mic headset spouts off sports stats of any nature behind a desk, he's hooked. And then there's NBA finals...for months and months it seems...but I digress...
However, my friends, all is not lost for our tv addicted heroes!
The cure, we have found, is Entourage. It equally and simultaneously satisfies his need for male-driven, bro-ing-down, fast paced drama (a la the sporting world), and my enjoyment of entertainment insider business jargon plus relationship drama between friends, lovers and coworkers.
In fact, I once postulated that Entourage is the new, straight male oriented Sex and the City.
We are currently in the midst of Season 5 at my home, which just came out on DVD. While the show has taken a bit of a hit with the critics, the boyfriend and I still can agree that it is one of the only shows we both can't get enough of. While this season meanders some and perhaps isn't as sharp as others, I am willing to give Vince & Co the benefit of the doubt and am hopeful for a strong, Travolta-style comeback for Season 6, which is currently airing on HBO.
Amoeba Music San Francisco Hip-Hop Weekly Top Six: 07:24:09 by Luis
1) Eyedea & Abilities By The Throat (Rhymesayers Entertainment)
2) Awol One & Factor Owl Hours (Fake Four Inc)
3) Twista Category F5 (GMG/Get Money Gang/EMI)
4) Yukmouth The West Coast Don (Smoke-A-Lot/RBC Records)
5) Biz Markie Ultimate Diabolical (Traffic Entertainment)
6) MHZ Table Scraps (Man Bites Dog Records)
Classic Hip-Hop Album Reissue:
The Beastie Boys Ill Communication (Capitol) (originally released in '94 -- extra tracks)
Super-duper thanks to Luis -- the hip-hop buyer at Amoeba Music San Francisco -- for providing this week's Top Six chart of the new hip-hop sellers at the Haight Street store, in both text and video formats. In the number one slot with a bullet is the new By The Throat album from Eyedea & Abilities, on which Michael "Eyedea" Larsen (aka Oliver Hart) demonstrates the mad mic skills that won him his rep as a killer freestyle battle rapper. Meanwhile, his partner, DMC champ DJ Abilities (Gregory Keltgen), has truly come into his own as a powerful producer with turntable skills to match. Fans of the duo should note that they are on the Rock The Bells tour, which will be stopping in SoCal at the San Manuel Amphitheatre in San Bernardino on August 8th and in the Bay Area the next day, August 9th, at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View.
Our August calendar is now online!
Friday & Saturday July 24 & 25
As the economic downturn persists and exotic travel seems more and more unaffordable, your best chance for a getaway this summer may very well be this weekend at the New Beverly.
- Tim Grierson, LA Weekly; Read the full spotlight here.
dir. Michel Gondry, Leos Carax & Joon-ho Bong
Fri: 7:30; Sat: 3:00 & 7:30, Watch The Trailer!
MORITZ VON OSWALD TRIO
Vertical Ascent CD
This is the highly-anticipated debut full-length release by The Moritz von Oswald Trio, comprised of members Moritz von Oswald (Basic Channel, Rhythm & Sound), Max Loderbauer (NSI, Sun Electric), and Vladislav Delay (Luomo). Through Basic Channel and Rhythm And Sound -- his collaborations with Mark Ernestus -- Moritz von Oswald first of all conjured from thin air, then comprehensively mapped out the grounds of a deep exchange between real-deal Jamaican dub and classic, Detroit-style techno. The duo's accomplishment and influence are immense. The repercussions of their work within electronic dance music have been incalculable. Though a departure, Vertical Ascent retraces various signatures of the earlier styles -- the fastidious density of sound, the massive bass and detailed upper registers ("a frequency massage," Ricardo Villalobos has called the album), the stripped, stepping repetitiousness, the seriousness. The striking differences stem from the qualities of live performance (the driving, clattering percussion in particular, and the loose, improvisatory approach), the exploded palette of sounds, including a trace of steel drums, something like a cuica -- and of course, most of all -- the fresh line-up. Vladislav Delay is a drummer and electronic musician from Finland -- like von Oswald, trained in classical percussion (while the third member studied classical piano for 20 years) -- who released a landmark album on Basic Channel's Chain Reaction imprint, before working with a diversity of artists (under pseudonyms like Luomo and Sistol), from Massive Attack to the Scissor Sisters. On Vertical Ascent, he plays home-made metal percussion. From Munich, Max Loderbauer was a partner in the ambient duo Sun Electric. Behind the scenes, his work has ranged between Tresor and Can's Spoon Records. In 2004 he teamed up with Tobias Freund to form NSI (Non Standard Institut). On Vertical Ascent, he plays synthesizers, alongside von Oswald, who also contributes Fender Rhodes and additional percussion. At the heart of Vertical Ascent is a dream crossing of Basic Channel, Larry Heard and Can -- as at home with calypso as it is Stravinsky.
San Francisco avant garde guitarist The Genie, who plays tonight at 111 Minna as part of a must-see, multi-artist show featuring the Lions of Kush from St. Croix, has long been connected to Amoeba Music in some form or fashion. Like many local independent artists, he has had all of his independent releases for sale at Amoeba Music. Beyond that, The Genie, who pioneered the 'scratch guitar" and who over the years has collaborated with numerous artists including Talvin Singh, who invited him to Europe earlier this year to perform, has also performed onstage at the San Francisco Amoeba Music. That was on July 16, 2004, for an instore performance to promote the release of The Genie's debut CD Rebel Music. Also that same year the artist appeared on the Amoeba Music Compilation Vol. V with the track "Before The World Goes." In the time since then, The Genie has never strayed too far from Amoeba, it seems. Two years ago he was featured here on the Amoeblog and he is frequently spotted both inside Amoeba SF (usually digging for hard to find music) as well as right outside the Haight Street store, where he is known to have inspired impromptu performances. Check out the videos above and below, filmed recently outside the SF Amoeba when the artist pulled up in his ride right outside the store, popped some quarters in the parking meter, and proceeded to have an engaging sidewalk show ("Amoeba out-store," I guess you could call it, as opposed to an "in-store"), much to the delight of the small crowd that stopped, gathered and applauded loudly. I hadn't seen or talked with The Genie in a couple of years, so I was anxious to catch up with the always innovative artist to ask him about his music and also about tonight's show at 111 Minna.
This week, California’s prodigal dark queen, Jessie Evans, returns for shows in San Francisco and Los Angeles to promote her debut solo LP, Is It Fire? (Fantomette Records). Jessie spent nearly a decade in the California Punk and Death-Rock scenes honing her chops singing and wailing James Chance-style on her trusty saxophone (as well as a few other instruments!) in bands like The Vanishing and the now rather legendary Subtonix.
The Vanishing relocated from San Francisco to Berlin in 2004 but split up soon after, leaving Jessie free for new ventures. Autonervous, initially a solo project, blossomed into a collaborative project between Evans and Bettina Koster (of the '80s German band MALARIA!). The duo released an LP and toured in 2006. Autonervous marked a heavy shift in direction for Ms. Evans -- her songwriting became more sultry and less incendiary, her lyrics more minimal and focused. Also bubbling under the dancey beats was a new sense of joy. Egads! Her grimace was turning into a smile!
On Is It Fire? that smile has turned into full-on laughter, and audibly so! It’s not an evil-kind of laughter either, on the interlude track “Micheladas,” Evans can be heard clinking glasses and laughing joyously. The album is indeed a celebration of dark glamour, love and sexuality, from the daring come-on of "Scientist of Love" and the House-y statement of intent, “Let Me On,” on to the horn-y swing of the Autonervous re-take “Golden Snake” and the dark and dreamy sway of “Black Sand” with its chant of “It’s time to get into your body.”
Evans didn’t party completely alone though; in fact, she brought in some heavy-hitters, literally. Both Toby Dammit (Swans, Iggy Pop), and Budgie (Siouxsie & The Banshees) share time behind the drum-kit on the album. Evans’ arrangements focus heavily on beat and rhythm, which adds greatly to the primal and sexual mood of the album, whilst Budgie ‘s presence definitely lends to some Creatures-esque moments. Also under Evans' employ is horn-blower Martin Wenk (Calexico), and an International Children’s choir. This lady throws one crazy shindig!
Half of Is It Fire? was recorded at home in Berlin while the other half was recorded in Jessie’s newest beloved city, Tijuana (Evans pays tribute en Español on 3 tracks). Evans’ ridiculously long list of credible contributors gets longer with production and mixing duties handled by Thomas Stern (Einstürzende Neubauten, Crime and The City Solution) in Berlin and Pepe Mogt (Nortec Collective) in Tijuana.
Amoeba Music and Phil Blankenship are proud to present some of our film favorites at Los Angeles’ last full-time revival movie theater. See movies the way they're meant to be seen - on the big screen and with an audience!
Saturday July 25
John S. Rad's
New Beverly Cinema
7165 W Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036
11:59pm, All Tickets $7
August 1 The Dungeonmaster (1985)
He is the overlord of strange beasts & stolen souls... Empire Pictures mini-classic that is Not On DVD!
August 8 Gremlins (1984)
25th Anniversary! Don't get him wet, keep him out of bright light, and never feed him after midnight.
August 15 Halloween II (1981)
The Nightmare Isn't Over - First screening of a BRAND NEW 35mm print!
Two years ago when Blonde Redhead performed on the Amoeba stage in San Francisco, they graciously agreed to sit down with me and submit to a few questions. I remember the experience as one of the most awkwardly delicious moments I've ever winced my way through, however giddily. From the first listen I've loved Blonde Redhead's melancholy music in all its precious, tragic beauty; to me they are the snow white choking on the poison apple of "indie" rock. And so there I was, sitting across from this trio of "damaged lemons," three persons whose music had so phenomenally impacted my life in ways I could barely discuss without donning a veil of embarassment (nerd alert!), trying to be cool, calm and collected. The silence in the room was uncomfortably palpable, until drummer Simone Pace cracked a joke.
I have adopted from a friend a habit of cataloguing my music according to the weather or the seasons of the year. For example, a band like the Descendents, with their anything goes punk rock songs about life, love and fishing ("and stuff") could only be categorized as summer music, whereas something like Blue by Joni Mitchell would be played habitually during the winter and/or on brisk, rainy days. I asked Blonde Redhead where they thought they'd place their music within the confines of such a classification system and, after Kazu explained her way to the conclusion that perhaps winter favored their "cold" sound for all its detatchment and sadness (anyone could agree with that, I feel), Simone offered with a sigh, "c'mon guys, we've been trying for that summer hit for years!" The moments that followed flowed free of tension, with a good amount of laughter. That interview, however clumsily conducted on my part, was a pleasure that I'm as likely to never forget, as Blonde Redhead is capable of ever cranking out a number one summer jam, but I could be wrong.
Or I could be right. Last week the Bicycle Film Festival sponsored a show at the Independent where Blonde Redhead played nothing but sullen, sober "winter" jams from their latest two albums (plus two hits from their fifth record, Melody of Certain Damaged Lemons) without packing anything like a heat wave inducing rocker or hippy hippy shaking big bopper of a punch. Local band Thee Oh Sees, on the other hand, who opened the show for Blonde Redhead, totally slam dunked a summer-sweat dripping set of fuzzy, fuck-off rock rattlers --- nothin' but net! Having listened to their new record Help to the point of fatigue, I found it hard not to get excited about their live performance. Their stage presence is perhaps best described as geeks pogo-ing the border between self-destruction and pro-active party crashing; or, what you get when you pay whatever you think a 100% f-u-n rock n' roll show is worth. Plus they "rode their bikes" to the venue that night --- way to be supportive ya'll, A+. And Blonde Redhead, on their part, designed one of a kind Bicycle Film Festival t-shirts especially for the occasion, A++.
So, in conclusion, Bicycle Film Festival: they put together killer events (thanks guys)! Thee Oh Sees: absolutely fantastic live rock show; see them soon or whenever you possibly can because why? It is so worth it. Blonde Redhead: I've said it repeatedly in the past and I'll say it again, I can't wait to see them again when they come round next time. I'm still holding out for a slice of their possible summer sounds even if the pursuit is fruitless, and I'll champion them 'til the end regardless. Hopefully when they return they'll have a new album beneath their wings and a penchant for playing some of their older songs which, sadly, I have to say, have been absent from their live set lists for more than long enough. Suimasen.
Audio Visual remix masters Eclectic Method will be in town tomorrow performing in San Francisco at the Mezzanine along with the screening of RIP: A Remix Manifesto by Brett Gaylor. SInce forming seven years ago, the group, featuring London natives Jonny Wilson, Ian Edgar and Geoff Gamlen, has been developing its style of audio-visual mash-ups in the Coldcut tradition and has caught the attention of many artists, including U2, who have asked the band to remix their audio.visual material. They've also been commissioned by such companies as Motown to remix music videos, and hired by such tech companies as Apple.
Thanks to my DJ buddy Frank O"Toole for forwarding me the "Jimi Hendrix goes for a job interview" comic clip on the left, which got me thinking about the late guitarist and how influential his music continues to be to this day. It also got me thinking about how both Hendrix's music and his image seem to consistantly remain at the forefront of popular culture, even all these years later-- close to four full decades since his tragic death at age 27.
The 1967 album Are You Experienced was the debut by the Jimi Hendrix Experience, the power trio rounded out by bassist Noel Redding and drummer Mitch Mitchell. Offering up a frenzied feast of feedback and distorted guitar, the album delivered rock music unheard of up until that point -- music that managed to be both experimental and accessible at the same time.
The album would be instrumental in propeling the Seattle born Hendrix, who had relocated to the UK, to international stardom. Besides the title track, among the other great eleven tracks on the debut LP (which can be found readily in CD and vinyl format at Amoeba Music) were "Foxy Lady," "Red House," "Fire," and "3rd Stone from the Sun." The album, which was released with different cover art on each side of the Atlantic, was hugely successful all over, including in the UK, where it premiered. There the album reached #2 on the best selling charts, right behind The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.
Graphic designer Heinz Edelmann, best known for his work as the art director of the classic animated Beatles film Yellow Submarine, has died; he was 75. Edelmann died in a Stuttgart, Germany hospital not far from Stuttgart Academy of Fine Arts where he taught design for many years. No cause of death was announced.
Freedy Johnston came out of Kansas and played around New York until he got signed by Bar/None Records, who released his debut, Trouble Tree in 1990. Trouble Tree was well received, but it was 1992's Can You Fly that got Johnston's name and songs bouncing all around college radio.
I've always thought of Freedy Johnston as the lost member of the Db's. He has a pristine pop quality to his voice and the stories he writes have the same almost-too-clever and slightly melancholic take on relationships that made the Db's' Amplifier the deservedly huge college rock classic that it became.
In 1994 I was working at SF's Reckless Records of London, an arguably cool and decidedly tiny record store on upper Haight St. As always, I was listening to anything I could get my hands on. Johnston's This Perfect World happened across the counter and stopped me in my tracks just by the power of its sheer completeness.
Produced by Butch Vig (Garbage) and featuring contributions from Graham Maby (Joe Jackson Band), Kevin Salem (Dumptruck), Marshall Crenshaw, Marc Ribot, Mark Spencer (Blood Oranges) and David Schramm, who worked repeatedly with the Db's' Chris Stamey and Peter Holsapple, This Perfect World is a perfect pop record. Most of it is deeply written, deeply produced and played rock-pop, though in places ("Gone Like the Water") it reveals Johnston's beloved folk-country roots. I've heard the criticism that Butch Vig sucked the edge out of it in the production, but I wasn't noticing that in 1994 and don't really notice it today, 15 years later, listening to it (still) from beginning to end.
New Electro/Techno 12"s Coming this Weekend:
2010 EP 12"
2010 is a deep techno journey into space. Synths swarm, distant sounds weave in and out of the tracks. "WHITE" sounds a bit more housey, but using clever edits and textures to keep it REDSHAPE style. EP closes with the cut "VIOLET," a warm electro/techno track.
MIYAMAE EP 12"
Three track EP from the hotly tipped GOLD PANDA, who takes a break from remixing LITTLE BOOTS, SMD, and BLOC PARTY to drop his debut artist EP on VARIOUS PRODUCTIONS. A mix of Japanese sounding techno with dubstep rhythms and house influenced basslines.
It's the 40th anniversary of the first manned moon landing, and looking back at that achievement it's obvious that one of the many repercussions was evinced in the music of the era. In addition to the space rock of bands like Pink Floyd and Hawkwind and sci-fi minded funk acts like Funkadelic, the glam rock scene, which exploded around the same time, is one of the most obvious manifestations. For a couple of years, glam rock was massively popular in several countries and it spawned hordes of mylar-and-make-up-wearing rockers singing about extraterrestrial love and lonely planet boys. On December 7, 1972, the Apollo 17 was the last manned mission to the moon and the space age, shortly after, seems to have drawn quietly to a close. Glam rock seemed to fizzle shortly afterward, but maybe it just went underground, seeking out new frontiers in a different set of clothes.
540 South Commonwealth Ave. (6th Street)
Los Angeles, CA
As officially (and good-humoredly) announced in the above YouTube clip via the group's website posting from earlier this morning, the Beastie Boys' Adam Yauch has been diagnosed with gland cancer and will soon have to undergo treatment. Consequently, the Beastie Boys have had to cancel and postpone upcoming concert dates and also move back their next album, Hot Sauce's, release date. Joining Adam "MCA" Yauch in the surprise video announcement today was fellow Beastie Boy Adam "Ad-Rock" Horovitz. Upcoming Beastie Boys scheduled dates had included playing Outside Lands, August 30th in the Bay Area and the Hollywood Bowl on September 24th. If you had already bought tix for these or other shows, contact the place of purchase to determine officially whether or not the band is no longer playing.
The recent issue of The Wire caught up with one of the fathers of sampling, musique concrète maestro Pierre Henry. He's been down on the contemporary state of electronic music for awhile. The article begins with a quote from a 1997 interview:
And he's not any more positive now:
Suggesting by implication that the sound collages of El-P, the world creation of Tod Dockstader, Matmos' technological music, or even Björk's omnivorous use of the sounds she finds do not involve a high level of craft just seems wrong-headed to me. The "problem" was better stated in the older interview: codification. When a revolution takes place, there will then follow a prolonged period in which people work under the new order. Not everyone can be Chairman Mao (nothing's more ironic and true in this regard than Maoism -- the revolutionary figure par excellence was used as the ultimate criterion by which the subsequent potential equality of all others was to be judged). Thanks to the revolution of Mssrs. Henry, Stockhausen, Varese and Schaeffer, electronic music has now become a genre, whether Henry likes it or not. Why? Consider Thomas Kuhn's distinction between normal and revolutionary science as they pertain to working within what he called a paradigm:
Brett Gaylor's most engaging documentary, RiP: A Remix Manifesto, screens at the Mezzanine (444 Jessie Street at Mint) in San Francisco at 7pm this Thursday (July 23) as part of the San Francisco Film Society's (SFFS) SF360 Film+Club series. It will be a fun evening that will also include a live video mashup by London's notorious audio visual remix masters Eclectic Method, plus a DJ set by Adrian and Mysterious D from the popular locally based mashup party Bootie SF. Tickets are $12/SFFS year-round members, and $17/general, available here.
In the new documentary, filmmaker/web-activist Gaylor, who will also be present at Thursday's Mezzanine screening, examines the ever-evolving subject of copyright in this digital age; a hot button topic if ever there were one, and one that has been at the center of many recent high profile lawsuits. For RIP: A Remix Manifesto, which was six years in the making, Gaylor interivews many informed sources from near and far who are all affected somehow by the film's subject matter. Included are Creative Commons founder Lawrence Lessig, Brazil's Minister of Culture Gilberto Gil, and pop culture critic Cory Doctorow. But he turns his cameras' main focus to reigning mash-up and sample-king Girl Talk (or Greg Gillis, as they call him at home) to help get to the heart of the issue of sampling without permission, and the changing status of copyright law in this digital/information age.
The Grateful Dead- "Space/Morning Dew"
David Bowie- "Space Oddity" (OG Version)
Hawkwind-"Space Is Deep"
Helios Creed- "Your Spaceman"
Deep Purple-"Space Truckin'"
A Flock Of Seagulls- "Space Age Love Song"
8 Ball & MJG -"Space Age Pimpin"
Dear 45 Records room,
Yours truly, smiling as big as possible.
(Note the janky wisdom tooth on the bottom right!)
It’s kinda Christmas Eve-y to me today. Why? Because tomorrow I get to go to the oral surgeon and have all four of my wisdom teeth pulled out!
Granted, most people don’t get excited by this prospect, but tomorrow will see me living out a life-long dream of mine: to be put under general anesthesia.
Ever since I was a kid, I thought it was so cool and mysterious that one could be knocked completely unconscious, and longed for the experience. Sadly, and to my continual chagrin, I have lived my life with no real medical emergencies whatsoever. I got my first cavity this year, I’ve never broken a bone – nothing. I did once get appendicitis, but – and to the astonishment of my physician – I somehow “got better” before I got a chance to be cut open.
(I did once cut into my thigh with a chainsaw, but I just put a bandage on it and popped some dog tranquilizers my brother-in-law had on hand.)
So, while I am a little nervous about spending the money to have this procedure done, the actual operation itself is pretty thrilling. Just think – tomorrow, at a little after ten o’clock, my consciousness will be disappeared, and then, about an hour later, I will return, like Lazarus from the grave; a grave with cheap wallpaper, fluorescent lighting and awful smooth jazz piped in, but a resurrection nonetheless!
Paramount Home Video 12564
Walter Cronkite, the iconic anchorman, is dead at age 92. Above is one of the former CBS newsman's most famous announcements, breaking news of the shooting death of JFK in November 1963.
Recently ran into Mista B at Amoeba Music San Francisco (as pictured left) as the famed turntablist and member of SF's 4OneFunk crew (with Teeko, B.Cause, Max Kane) was dropping off copies of his tight new independently released CD SonicSoulSpace.
This latest production by Mista B comes hot on the heels of his collaborative mix CD with fellow 4OneFunk'er B.Cause titled Record Haterz. That ol skool Bay Area rap mix dug deep in the vinyl crates to deliver a flawless mix punctuated by forgotten gems by such bygone Bay rap greats as Totally Insane, 415 (feat. RIchie RIch), and 11/5.
Mista B will be flying out to New York in a couple of weeks to represent the Bay Area in the 2009 DMC US Finals Battle - the legendary DJ battle where skilled turntablists from all over, usually with endless hours upon hours of practice, converge in a heated battle that only last minutes but whose results go down in the history books forever. This will be Mista B's fifth time to enter a DMC battle. "I have mixed feelings upon competing again. Usually, DJs compete just once and [then] they're done. For me, it's not just about the competition but it's about sharing this so called art of turntabilism," he told me. "I feel that DJ battles are one of very few platforms to showcase the art. So with me, I still practice because I like to work on my craft, my skill if you will. Specifically beat juggling for me. I don't do it to be better than the next guy, but to be better than what I was yesterday and to show how graceful sounding this art is" Always pushing himself to improve and to innovate the SF who has been honing his diligently DJ'ng since 1993, told me that. "I took a class in college and a professor came up with the concept, "sound art." That concept stuck with me since so I like to consider what I do "turntable sound art." So now I just look for a medium to showcase the art. So here I am again, competing on a high level versus the country's best DJs, The DMC USA Finals again."
Agent Orange "Voices In The Night" live
Legendary longtime SoCal punk outfit Agent Orange play Blakes on Telegraph -- a couple of blocks down from Amoeba Music Berkeley -- tonight, Friday July 17th. This highly recommended surf-punk, skate-rock show, put together by longtime Bay Area underground music ambassador/music promoter Peps of All The Rebels Productions, also features the two tight Bay Area bands Jack Killed Jill and Gutwrench.
Tonight's show, which is being co-promoted by Amoeba (look for the Amoeba banner near the stage area tonight), promises to be a rockin', hella fun night for all, with all three bands perfectly complimenting one another's sound. Oakland's Jack Killed Jill effortessly mine that classic Cali punk sound with power-punk guitar progressions and infectious choruses that beg to sung along with. Meantime, San Francisco's Gutwrench, not to be confused with the New Jersey metal band of the same name, also serve up a classic punk sound, albeit a little more on the heavier guitar sound, that pays homage to both classic Cali punk and classic UK punk rock.
And to top it all off is veteran Orange County act Agent Orange, who decades ago pioneered melding punk rock with their regional traditional surf guitar music (reinterpreting classic surf songs like "Miserlou") and who consequently have been hugely influential within the skate-punk/skate-core scene. And somehow the band have managed to maintain their sharp edge even 30 years since first forming -- as witnessed by the recent live video footage both above and below of the band.
Our August calendar is now online!
Friday & Saturday July 17 & 18
A George Cukor/Katharine Hepburn double bill!
The Philadelphia Story (1940)
dir. George Cukor, starring Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, James Stewart, Ruth Hussey, John Howard
Fri: 7:30; Sat: 3:15 & 7:30, Watch The Trailer!
Winner of 2 Academy Awards: James Stewart for Best Actor and Donald Ogden Stewart for Best Screenplay. Nominated for 4 other Oscars including Best Actress, Director & Picture!
Cukor and Donald Ogden Stewart's evergreen version of Philip Barry's romantic farce, centreing on a socialite wedding threatened by scandal, is a delight from start to finish, with everyone involved working on peak form. - Time Out Film Guide
So last night I finally got to see the much hyped new Sacha Baron Cohen box-office hit Bruno, which, as a diehard Baron Cohen/Ali G/Borat/Bruno fan from ever since Da Ali G Show first premiered on Channel 4, I was really looking forward to seeing. But, boy, was I let down. To paraphrase Baron Cohen's flamboyantly gay Austrian TV fashionista character, this new movie "ist aus," as in, opposite of "in." And it wasn't that I was shocked in any way, or that I found it offensive to gays, or to redneck Americans, for that matter. I just found it offensive to my sense of humor. I expected a lot more from the great Baron Cohen.
Where was the quick witted Bruno from Da Ali G Show? The one whose hilarious skits included brilliantly manipulating fashion tastemakers into totally contradicting themselves without realizing how ridiculous they looked? Replacing genuine wit and biting satire, post Borat Bruno was merely a barrage of slapstick penis jokes with no real substance or humor to back them up. Even Bruno's encounter with Ron Paul, which could have been the screen magic of such past Ali G interviews with Newt Gingrinch, Andy Rooney, and Pat Buchanan, fell totally flat in comparision.
Of course, the new Bruno isn't a total waste. The movie offered occasional belly laugh moments such as the Paula Abdul encounter. But my advice is don't rush out to theaters to see it. Wait until it comes out on DVD. And speaking of DVDs you should get at Amoeba, I would recommend going back and checking out Da Ali G Show for the far superior Bruno appearances from that missed TV series. Also go back to check out the totally slept on (especially Stateside) pre-Borat 2002 Ali G Indahouse: The Movie about the unlikely rise to fame and political power by the jungle/hip-hop goon from the suburb of Staines that Baron Cohen plays so brilliantly.
The song that's freaking me out the most these days is "Sea Song" by Robert Wyatt. Its chords and progressions have lumbered along slowly inside of me and utterly taken over my brain. They are unrelentingly existing in there, like waves crashing over and over...
"Sea Song"'s moodiness conjures a dark, star filled night, and sitting by the stormy sea. The otherworldly production and vocals carry the studio version of what could be a rather simple tune into the sublime, and as it unfolds the song sounds as though it is its own creature entirely, unhurriedly lifting out of the ocean, just as the lyrics suggest.
I think it's a perfect song. Please listen to this fairly different live version of "Sea Song" as performed by Wyatt and Friends live in 1974. It's super rockin'. Then, if you don't have Rock Bottom yet, grab it and hear the studio version, which is the best. And if you wanna get really nerdy about it, there's also this fabulous solo performance of "Sea Song" that is highly enjoyable.
This newly released record, The Two Sides of Tim Cohen, however, is the first to bear his name. Written and recorded by Tim at his home during the interim between the unfortunate end of Black Fiction and the birth of The Fresh & Onlys, The Two Sides of Tim Cohen is perhaps his most personal work to date. An immensely creative psych-folk opus, it is full of heartfelt love songs, amazing visions, and musings on death and worms. Tim's songs are reminiscent of the catchy, self-produced pop songs of RAM-era Paul McCartney crossed with the skewed baritone bellows of Skip Spence and Michael Yonkers. The new album is recommended for fans of Ariel Pink, Panda Bear and Mayo Thompson. It has been released on Secret Seven/Empty Cellar Records.
The Two Sides of Tim Cohen is available at Amoeba now, on vinyl only, and includes an mp3 downloadable version with seven, yes, SEVEN bonus tracks! The release is limited to 250 copies, 100 of which are on white vinyl.
New Beverly Cinema
7165 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036-2548
Ryan Rotten and Phil Blankenship present MIDNIGHT SHOCK! www.shocktillyoudrop.com
Friday July 17
New Beverly Cinema
7165 W Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036
11:59pm, All Tickets $7
Amoeba Music and Phil Blankenship are proud to present some of our film favorites at Los Angeles’ last full-time revival movie theater. See movies the way they're meant to be seen - on the big screen and with an audience!
Saturday July 18
To Live And Die In L.A.
New Beverly Cinema
7165 W Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036
11:59pm, All Tickets $7
Actress Darlanne Fluegel will appear IN PERSON, schedule permitting, to discuss the film.
I think Ian Curtis, the late, great lead singer of Joy Division, would have approved of this Caribbean steel band cover of Joy Division's classic song "Transmission." It's by Steel Harmony and was part of Jeremy Deller's Procession from a couple of Sunday afternoons ago in Ian Curtis' hometown of Manchester England. Although, judging by the reaction, or lack thereof, by most of the crowd, I would say that this inspired cover went mostly underappreciated.
To compare this instrumental steel band version with the original version, below is the band performing it live 33 years ago in Salford, Greater Manchester. "Transmission" was played onstage in the film 24 Hour Party People (available on DVD at Amoeba) in a scene where Curtis suffers an epileptic fit. Orginally a single, the studio version of the song can be found at Amoeba on several Joy Division releases, including the JD collections Substance and The Best of Joy Division. There are also several live versions out there, including one on Joy Division: The Peel Sessions, recorded in 1979. Over the years numerous other artists have covered the song, including UK electropop stars Hot Chip, the Minnesota slowcore group Low, and of course, most recently Steel Harmony.
Today, July 14th, is Bastille Day 2009; the day that marked the storming of the oppressive Bastille prison and the beginning of the French Revolution 220 years ago. Over in France this morning there were parades and tonight they are having firework displays in recognition of the holiday. Actually, this has already taken place since they in France are 9 hours ahead of us here in Cali -- see video above of tonight's fireworks in Paris by the Eiffel Tower.
Over here in the States many folks are also celebrating -- some using it as a good excuse to get their swerve on and sip some French themed drinks. In San Francisco there are quite a few events scheduled. Click this link from the French Consulate for a listing of SF Bastille Day events.
But nothing Stateside comes close to the big event over in Paris, as witnessed from the videos above and also below of last year's Bastille Day, courtesy of the Associated Press, when thousands of people thronged the Champs-Elysee to watch a military parade and celebrate Bastille Day. French President Nicholas Sarkozy is among the many present.
I think it's safe to say that many, if not most, people seem to assume that music videos began with the initial broadcast of MTV on August 1, 1981. That first video, the Buggles' excruciating "Video Killed the Radio Star," came out in 1979, so what were they singing about? Were the Buggles prophets or were there videos before MTV?
For a long time, there have been musical numbers both in film and on TV. And hundreds of people have probably seen the PBS documentary about Soundies, where Michael Feinstein suggests that "an amazing forty years before MTV made its debut came a revolution in sight and sound." Hacktually, the marriage of music, advertisement and visuals within discrete shorts is almost as old as film itself and this, part one of The evolution of the music video, actually ends with Soundies.
*cue the Ken Burns music*
1890s - The Kinetoscope
William K.L. Dickson, one of the most important pioneers of early film, was working on the Kinetoscope, which played short films matched sound recorded on wax cylinder to film. In what to me is the first music video (filmed around 1894), Dickson plays "Song of the Cabin Boy" on the fiddle whilst two dudes grind suggestively.
Over the weekend California got into classic thrash metal mode with Slayer, who played the big Mayhem Festival which opened on Friday in Marysville (Sacramento area), set up stage at the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View (Bay Area) on Saturday and played in San Bernardino at the San Manuel Amphitheater last night. Above and below is some fan video footage of the SoCal metal legends, who formed 28 years ago, performing on the opening night of the tour, doing the songs "Jihad" (above) and "War Ensemble" (below).
This second year of the traveling Mayhem festival also includes Marilyn Manson, Killswitch Engage, Bullet For My Valentine (BFMV) and, for a few select upcoming dates in place of BFMV, Mushroomhead. Also on the tour are the bands Cannibal Corpse, Behemoth, Job For A Cowboy, The Black Dahlia Murder, Whitechapel, Trivium, All That Remains, and God Forbid. On each date of the tour a different band that won the Jägermeister Battle of the Bands contest performs, including Skinlab, who played the first night, Corrupt Absolute, who played Shoreline, and Madlife, who played SoCal last night.
New Electro/Techno 12"s Coming this Weekend:
Legendary techno head LORY D drops "BANK ROBBERY," an interpretation of the track from "ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK" that is brooding and otherwordly. Flip it for "DISSO BASS," made for the dancefloor with exploding synths and archetypal bass lines. Mastered by REDSHAPE.
LE MASSACRE DU TYMPAN 12"
Autokratz ALWAYS MORE 12" KITSUNE091
Little Jimmy looking big
Uh, did I mention that, a couple weeks ago, Little Jimmy Scott came into the jazz room at Amoeba Music Hollywood? I used up a whole box of tissue, my mind was so blown – and I’m not easily star-struck. Most of the people I’d like to meet are dead (a quality I admire in a person). Never have I been as giddy and star-struck as I was at meeting Jimmy Scott. I cried. I actually cried! Like I was a seventeen-year-old girl at a Beatles concert in ’64. Okay, I didn’t grab the sides of my face and scream – not externally, anyway.
He was sweet like an angel descending on the city for a day to offer a glimpse of light unsoiled by our planet’s spiritual smog. His voice was unmistakable, his smile generous, and he patiently listened to all our gushing with the grace you’d expect from your favorite Kindergarten teacher. The fact that he was wheelchair-bound only enhanced the sense that he was visiting royalty, forever receiving people at his throne.
Poor health has made his already diminutive body more frail, and the stiffness in his hands made for an other-worldly contrast to his skin, which was soft and warm like a newborn infant.
He was flanked by a small film crew from Germany who were shooting a documentary on the making of his next album which, they reported, would be of the blues genre. They were excited that, in the employees of Amoeba, they finally found some young people who not only knew who Jimmy Scott was, but were fans. One of them bullied my fellow co-worker, Lucas, and I into being interviewed for their documentary, despite my emphatic explanation that I was too shy for interviews and anyway, English was my sixteenth language. (I acquiesced after they called my bluff and offered to allow me to answer questions in my native Ket.)
Everything But The Girl- Love Not Money
Donna Summer- She Works Hard For The Money
The Dream- Love vs. Money
Dire Straits - Money For Nothing
Dennis Brown- Money In My Pocket
Delroy Wilson- Money
Conflict- Turning Rebellion Into Money
Eric Clapton - Money And Cigarettes
1. Aventura- The Last
2. Los Amigos Invisible- Commercial
3. V/A- Panama! Vol. 2
4. Manu Chao- Clandestino
5. V/A- Nigeria Special: Modern Highlife, Afro-Sounds and Nigerian Blues
6. Federico Aubele- Amatoria
7. V/A- Nigeria Disco Funk Special
8. V/A – Rudo Y Cursi Soundtrack
9. Oumou Sangare- Seya
10. Wisin & Yandel- La Revolucion
The Amoeba World Music charts for July 1st- 12th shows that if it isn’t Latino, it’s Africano. With the exception of Manu Chao, the rest of the releases come from either Latin America or the continent of Africa. Coming in at #1, as expected, was Aventura’s The Last, which has slowed down just a tad since its initial release. Los Amigos Invisibles comes in at number two, followed by yet another Soundway compilation, Panama! Vol. 2. In fact, the Soundway label not only has three releases in our top ten, but several releases in our top twenty-five. The Panama! Vol. 2 compilation ranks up there with the excellent Colombia & Nigeria Special Series. This comp focuses on the post-Panama Canal Caribbean, Afro-American and South American influences on Panama. At this point I have to say it’s better and a bit deeper than Vol.1.
The native Angelino, born in Sierra Madre in 1912, died this past week from congestive heart failure at Hancock Park Rehabilitation Center in Los Angeles.
In 1924 at the age of 12, Mitchell began playing organ at the old Strand Theater in Pasadena, improvising soundtracks to silent movies. But with the advent of talkies and The Jazz Singer in 1927, Mitchell's first career as a silent-film accompanist was about over by the time he was 16. 65 years later, in 1992, he once again sat at the organ accompanying films at LA’s Silent Movie Theatre on Fairfax Avenue. His last public performance was this past May when he opened the Last Remaining Seats film series at the Orpheum Theatre in downtown LA.
Subway Art -- the legendary graffiti art book by Henry Chalfant and Martha Cooper -- has just recently been republished in a nice big coffee table hard cover version appropriately titled Subway Art: 25th Anniversary Edition. The book has never been out of print since its initial 1984 publication but this new anniversary edition is just jaw-droppingly amazing and a must-have for any graffiti fan.
Its much larger scale and new dimensions of 17" by 13" full-color spreads allow the crispy clear photos to fully come to life in their bright, beautiful colors and hence make them so much easier to fully appreciate.
The new edition of Subway Art also offers numerous never-before-seen photos from that late 70's / early 80's era of New York City when Cooper and Chalfant were documenting this vibrant and rampant illegal public transit art form; one that would be gone by the end of the decade in which the book was first published. But over the years Subway Art has taken on life of its own and the influential book has gone on to sell a staggering half a million copies.
I recently had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Henry Chalfant about this influential art book. A Stanford graduate who was first a sculptor, Chalfant has lived in New York City for many years and is now nearing 70. He is equally known in graffiti circles for his documentation of the art form via the book Spraycan Art which he co-authored with James Prigoff, and for Style Wars, the historic PBS documentary on New York graffiti that he co-produced with Tony Silver. Chalfant's work can be found in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. A few years ago he directed the excellent Latin and hip-hop themed documentary about the South Bronx, From Mambo to Hip Hop: A South Bronx Tale, that aired on PBS stations in 2006.
The art of the 12" company sleeve can really be quite entertaining. The middle sleeve above is not a Big Beat sleeve-- does anyone out there know what company made these? The Alicia Bridges and Travolta sleeves below are not company sleeves, but are good examples of the disco die cut promotional sleeve popular in the early years of the 12". Experiments with the 12" single format began in 1974 and by 1975 a decent amount of promo 12"s had been released. Within a couple of years the 12" single would become the format of choice for promoting dance oriented tunes. By the 80's, 12" records were pressed for most every mainstream hit, dance oriented or not. Springsteen w/ "dub version" b-sides, etc.
Above we have a couple of die cut sleeves used to market LPs, not 12"s. Below there's a Russian example. This sleeve may have been used for either LPs or 12"s, but this particular release is a disco-ish LP.
Compete Calendar here.
6712 Hollywood Blvd. (@ Las Palmas)
Amoeba Music San Francisco Hip-Hop Top Five: 07:10:09 (by Luis, hip-hop buyer)
1) Cage Depart From Me (Def Jux)
2) Alchemist Chemical Warfare (KOCH)
3) J-Dilla Dillanthology 2: Dilla's Remixes for Various Artists Remixes (Rapster)
4) Chali 2na Fish Outta Water (Decon)
5) Notes To Self A Shot In The Dark (BBE)
Single of the week:
Kid Cudi "Make Her Say" (Universal/Motown)
Thanks to Luis (as seen in YouTube clip above), the hip-hop buyer at Amoeba Music, San Francisco, for this week's top five best selling new hip-hop CDs, plus the single of the week. Cage, this week's number one, even surpasses his last innovative outing Hell's Winter from four years ago. This new Def Jux album is bound to break the gifted New York progressive rap artist onto the mainstream. Just check out the video below for the new Cage album track "I Never Knew You." The song and accompanying video (directed by Shia Labeouf) have the same power and engaging urgency that Nirvana's breakout single/video "Smells Like Teen Spirit" did back in the early nineties. Coincidentally, Cage's notoriously troubled past, including mental health problems and drug abuse, draw some parallels to Kurt Cobain. Although thankfully it seems that Cage has gotten his shit together as far as the hard drugs are concerned, so hopefully he can stay mentally healthy & focused on his art and continue to make great albums like Depart From Me.
Despite the effortless and seemingly endless dissemination of information via all the new tools of this digital age (Twitter, text messages, Facebook, blogs, emails, etc.), I still value learning about stuff via such old school ways as simply reading about it in the paper. That's how I found out about the screening of the classic monster movie Creature From The Black Lagoon at the Paramount Theater in Oakland tonight. An ad for the 3-D screening was on the back page of this week's Bay Guardian immediately below an ad for Amoeba Music.
Paramount Movie Classics' screening of Creature From The Black Lagoon is at the Paramount Theater @ 2025 Broadway, downtown Oakland at 8pm tonight, Friday July 10th, with doors opening at 7pm. Box office opens at 6pm.
Grindhouse Tribute to Don Edmonds, Fellini's La Dolce Vita & a trip to Oz with Michael Jackson in The Wiz & Fairuza Balk in Return To Oz!
The July calendar is online!
Friday & Saturday July 10 & 11
Brian Quinn and Eric Caidin with Grindhouse Releasing present
The Grindhouse Film Festival
ILSA Fest and Don Edmonds Memorial
Triple Feature! All Tickets $10
One tickets admits you to all three films.
Though Greenland has been home-ruled since 1979, on June 21, 2009, the Danish government made steps toward granting Greenland full independence. In a 2008 referendum, 76% of the 58,000 residents of the sparsely populated island voted for self-rule and the Danish government has been handing over control of services to the local government and making symbolic changes, like changing the official language to Kalaallisut (the Inuit language of most Greenlanders) and renaming the country Naalakkersuisut.
Every schoolchild has at least a vague awareness of Greenland, that conspicuously white island (decidedly not green) near the top of most globes. According to Eiríks saga rauða (the saga of Eric the Red) and Íslendingabók (the book of Icelanders), the name was chosen to attract settlement by promoting Greenland as an attractive place to live.
Although part of the North American Tectonic plate, Eurocentric models of North American discovery either credit Columbus or Bjarni Herjólfsson with discovering the New World when they sighted the Caribbean and Canada, respectively. As Wikipedia's entry on the Norwegian explorer states, "Bjarni is believed to be the first European to see North America," which he did in the summer of 986 on the way to visit his parents in Greenland, and island which is itself part of North America. So Europeans (including Herjólfsson’s parents) had already "discovered" Greenland, although many before have quite reasonably questioned one's ability to discover something already known for thousands of years to many people.
How was it?
It was good; sad, but it was great. I cried a lot. A LOT a lot. But it was great.
That's about all I can say when people ask how the Michael Jackson memorial went. I can't find the right words. I can't do it justice. All I can say is that I was very fortunate, I miss MJ, and I wish I could return the favor to the Jackson family.
Being at the Staples Center Tuesday morning during the Michael Jackson memorial was unreal. My heart was consistently inconsistent -- skipping beats, then beating too fast in an attempt to catch up. I repeatedly caught myself staring at the people around me. Such an eclectic group of people, with only one common denominator: Michael Jackson. The same man responsible for my constant dancing, the same man that made me want to create things that weren't real, the same man that made me want to care about the world and people just a little bit more, and make it a better place as much as I can. Every single person there saw something in the same man. It truly is amazing, and he really is the greatest entertainer that ever lived, in the words of Berry Gordy. Music is THAT powerful, and when someone as passionate as Michael Jackson performs, it's unparalleled, and that is immediately recognized.
Tuesday morning started off as a chilly, cloudy, dark Los Angeles morning. The line of Michael fans wrapped through downtown and all had one common interest: paying respect. Thousands of fans gathered to honor their idol, hundreds of police officers gathered to maintain the crowds, hundreds of Staples Center employees got together to ensure everyone got the chance to participate in the tribute, news anchors and camera crews converged to document it, and dozens of his friends and family united in one place. Within an hour and a half of receiving Michael Jackson memorial 'programs', the ceremony began with the amazing Smokey Robinson followed by a very awkward 8 minutes of silence. It was during that time that I looked at the stage that I had been staring at for the past hour and finally realized that the white rug lined with brilliant flowers was for none other than the casket, and within seconds of figuring it out, it became real, and Michael Jackson's casket was in front of my eyes, in front of the world's eyes. I lost it. I obviously knew going in that it was a memorial, but I didn't expect to lose it like I did. It was a different sorrow than what I had been feeling for the 12 days prior; it was real. This truly was it, there was no middle man, no media to tell me that MJ isn't here. I could see it, and that was a huge truth to wrap my head around.
Sometimes I think that I might throw the word love around too much... I do tend to fall in love with music and sometimes don't know how else to describe it. But I worry that it might take away some of the value of the word. How do I describe an album that I love more than any other if I have already claimed to love dozens of albums this year already? I might need to just start describing albums as pretty good. I do seem to use this phrase a lot when describing my feelings of certain situations, but I really actually mean pretty great when I say pretty good. So when I say love or great, I really do mean it. When an album like this new album by The Gossip comes around I really wish I had a new word to describe it. I do love it...but I really, really love it. I was a bit worried that I might just sort of like it. How could they follow up the brilliance of the last album Standing in the Way of Control? There was just no way. Their albums have been getting better and better but I was worried they had just gotten as good as they were going to get. This new album also marks their debut on a major label. They have gotten to be huge stars in England with the last album and were signed. I was worried they were maybe too busy playing big festival shows and doing big fancy photo shoots, too busy to concentrate on making another brilliant album. But I really had no reason to be worried. I had heard rumours that the new album was going to be great, and it most certainly is. Music for Men was released last week digitally and as an import. We will have to wait for the domestic CD and LP until later in the year, but I could not wait for this one. I had to pick up the import. I had to hold something in my hands. I wanted to look through the liner notes as I listened to the album for the first time. I wanted to own the album! You know, like we all used to do.
And today, the day after the heavily publicized Michael Jackson funeral/memorial in LA, which drew a reported 31 million viewers in real time, stopping by the Amoeba Music San Francisco store further proved that the intense public absorption with all things Michael (especially his music) will likely last a good while longer.
Luis at the San Francisco Amoeba took time out to show me the MJ CDs that have been hot sellers at the store, including Thriller, Bad, Michael Jackson Number Ones, Vol. 1-Greatest Hits History, and Off The Wall. See below a video clip of Luis at Amoeba SF earlier this afternoon. Also this afternoon in San Francisco I caught up (by phone) with Dave Paul, who for the past few years has been throwing the popular Prince vs. Michael parties in SF and other West Coast cities where both he and fellow DJ Jeff Harris spin regularly. Paul has a pretty extensive Michael Jackson collection so I asked him to draw up for the Amoeblog a list of his party's Top Five Michael Jackson dance floor burners -- MJ songs that always get the dance floor going. His list, including a brief description of each song, is below, along with info on the next SF Prince vs Michael party, which should be pretty wild since it will be the first since MJ's passing. The video for "Don't Stop TIl You Get Enough" is also below.
Confession is a crime drama anthology that originally aired on NBC from July 5 to September 14 in 1953, Sunday nights at 9:30. Each episode featured Paul Frees as Richard McGee -- then the director of California Department of Corrections. John Wald was the announcer.
I am obsessed with two very different albums the last couple of weeks. There might be those of you out there obessed with the new Little Boots. And I know there are those of you obsessed with Mars Volta...But there might not be many people into both these groups. I assume most people who like The Mars Volta are probably not big fans of pop music, and most fans of pop music are not big fans of The Mars Volta. They are sort of extreme opposites -- but I love them both. It keeps my life interesting. I have never been into just one specific genre of music. I am sure you have all heard of Lady Gaga by now. She sort of took over the world this year. It was hard to stay away from "Just Dance" or "Poker Face." There was obviously a big hole before she came along. We obvioulsy needed her. Love her or hate her, she made an impressively catchy dance pop album. I don't know where we would be without her. However, she has been overplayed just a bit. I guess DJs just don't know what else to play. Every time I turn on the radio I can always find a Lady Gaga song. And I am not just talking about a couple of months ago -- this is still the case. Every time you go into a bar and most certainly a gay bar, you are bound to hear some Lady Gaga. Pop music needs stars like her. It would be nothing without her. I still sort of appreciate that she exists but I am done. I have had enough! So I was happy to first hear about Little Boots. She couldn't come to us at a better time. Her debut album Hands is out now as an import. It might not come out domestically until 2010, so you might have a couple of months to get into her before the rest of America does. I am sure she will take over the world quickly. If she could even get a fourth of the airtime that Lady Gaga got, I am sure she could become a star out here.
Back in the day—we’re talking the 70’s—there was disco, a little bit of hip-hop, some more disco, what was left of modern jazz, rock-n-roll, and a little more disco. The best thing about urban nightlife at that time was disco. And you didn’t hear none of that A.D.D. DJ we hear so frequently today, where the music selector changes songs every thirty seconds (thanks a lot DJ AM). No, none of that. The DJ’s at the discotheques usually played the long versions of songs, nearly in their entirety, to keep the feet on the dance floor all night long. Oh, how things have changed.
At that time, people weren’t up on hip-hop like that quite yet; it was still pretty underground. You had to know where to go to find a DJ spinning hip-hop. And chances are, if you knew about it, you knew it was the only spot in town where you could go to hear that type of music. Not to mention the fact that that one and only spot was probably members only. You had to be affiliated with a crew to gain access. If you weren’t a part of a tagging crew, a breaking crew, or one of the emcees or DJs, chances were you didn’t even know about it. But, back to disco. It started mainly on the east coast in the late 60’s. By the early 70’s disco had cross-pollinated and spread like wild fire all over the globe. Most popular soul and funk acts like Earth, Wind & Fire and The Bar-kays soon jumped ship and found themselves chin deep in the disco trend. Unfortunately, like most fads, disco was finished quicker than morning coffee and soon disappeared from the radar. For the most part, I think the public wanted it that way. Disco Demolition Night, a promotional event that took place on Thursday, July 12, 1979, at Comiskey Park in Chicago, Illinois, was in part to blame for the end of an era. However, industry folk and even many consumers talked about the decline of the genre long before this event took place.
The Sound of Young America
Bill Withers' songs are timeless, achingly beautiful and some of the very best out there, as far as I'm concerned. In the interview, among other things, he describes his involvement in the upcoming concert film Soul Power, documenting a 1974 Zaire music festival, where he got to hang out with the likes of James Brown, Muhammad Ali and Don King!
Withers' notable albums include Just As I Am (1971), Still Bill (1972), +Justments (1974), and several others.
There is something so simply powerful about his songs, particularly watching him play live -- an undeniably excellent, unique songwriter. Please check out "Grandma's Hands":
and here's another favorite, "Use Me":
Basically, Stevie Wonder's performance shredded me, with a combo of "I Never Dreamed You'd Leave In Summer"/"They Won't Go When I Go," one of his most powerful songs.
Watching the service made me think about nostalgia, and in spite of myself and my own feelings about the circus known as Michael Jackson, mainly reminded me of something I was surprised to have forgotten: the power of music to unite, to heal and to inspire. The service presented in some ways (and in some performances) portraits from a different time not only culturally, but also in the music industry, when music had that power to unite, to surprise and delight us on a grand scale.
I hadn't listened to Jackson that much, really, since the early 90s. I wouldn't call myself a huge fan of his music, but like everyone the world over, his music was nonetheless the soundtrack to my life. In my case, it was Thriller, then Bad and Dangerous, but his work stretched all the way back to "ABC," and though he had been much maligned over the last few decades, his music and its influence have both been undeniable and inescapable.
All photos from the event by Kaitlin Layher
Juba Kalamka was recently part of the Amoeba Music San Francisco in-store Pride '09 Celebration, which was also a DVD release party for the seminal "homohop" documentary Pick Up The Mic. Juba, along with fellow Bay Area queer rap artists JenRO and Dutchboy, who also performed that day at the Haight Street store (view all the pictures here), is one of the many talented stars of the must-see, Alex Hinton directed film. Although the film first screened a few years ago, it is only very recently available on DVD.
In early 2000 Juba Kalamka (aka Pointfivefag), along with Tim'm T. West (aka 25percenter) and Phillip Atiba Goff (aka Lightskindid) formed Deep Dickollective (D/DC), which also featured member Ralowe Ampu (G-Minus). The seeds for D/DC were sown a year earlier after Kalamka and West met at Stanford following a 1999 screening of black gay filmmaker and scholar Marlon Riggs' film Tongues Untied. I personally first heard of and met the guys from D/DC about a year into their career, and, most impressed with their hip-hop skills in combination with their refreshing take on a genre traditionally drenched in homophobia, I invited them to be included on one of the Amoeba Music Compilations.
The music world lost yet another star recently when Fayette Pinkney of the Three Degrees died last weekend in Lansdale, PA, a result of acute respiratory failure according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. She was only 61 years of age. Pinkney, who was an original member of the Philly soul trio, lent her powerful voice to the 1970s soul hits “When Will I See You Again?” (see video below) and “T.S.O.P. (The Sound of Philadelphia)” (aka the theme song of the TV show Soul Train).
The video clip above was recorded for the BBC in 1975 for a special that aired on the UK channel in July of that year. The above excerpt from that special includes the group performing the aforementioned Soul Train anthem, "TSOP," and also their first big UK hit, "Year of Decision."
When the Three Degrees first formed in the early 1960s Pinkney was still a student at Overbrook High School in Philadelphia. As a part of the Three Degrees she contributed to helping define "the Philadelphia sound." In their time the Three Degrees were considered by many to be a Philly version of the Supremes.
The Three Degrees "When Will I See You Again"
That's my Ma, milking the cow. (The cow is the one with horns.)
This past week my dear, sweet Ma came for a visit. Her time here flew by quickly; we entertained ourselves with long walks, stories from her youth, and cooking-related reality TV. I also introduced her to one of my best friends in the whole world: absinthe.
She has a new iPhone, but her fear of technology had limited her use of it to – get this – making phone calls! I mean, what’s the point of a phone if all you do with it is call people? That’s so 1990’s! So I introduced her to all the things her new phone could do: map out directions, take photos, slay red dragons, make chocolate sprinkles, cure melanoma and make other kinds of chocolate sprinkles. She was quick to learn and I expect she will soon be filling my email inbox with pictures of my nephews, her tomato plants, and chocolate sprinkles.
In honor of her visit, I have assembled the following short list of things she loves, in hopes that you, too, may find some joy in them. If you’re not interested, don’t worry – she’s very easy-going and non-judgmental, and won’t take offense. I, however, will hunt you down like a dog and slay you. With my iPhone.
New Electro/Techno 12"s Coming this Weekend:
WAG050 MUS (light blue colored vinyl)
MATHEW JONSON's new 12" sees him unearthing more quirky, haunting melodies over floor friendly percussion. It's chilling and cinematic. "WHEN LOVE FEELS LIKE CRYING" includes harmonic fragments with punchy bass tones playing the central hook.
COME TO ME 12"
1st release in PERMANENT VACATIONS's new EVER GREEN. This new wave/electro cut comes with an exclusive instrumental version on the flip.
Ancient Astronauts CLASSIC 12" ESL155
Miss Dica FREAK EP 12" 3EEP103
Baker Bros FAMILY TREE 12" FSR072
Depeche Mode BEHIND THE WHEEL RMX 12" DAI02
Diplo & Blaqstarr GET OFF 12" MAD093
Headman DREAMPIECES (ZONGAMIN REMIX) 12" RR034
Moby PALE HORSES REMIX (GER IMPORT) 12" MOSMOBY1
Savage Skulls BUMPS EP 12" DSD023
New House/Disco 12"s Coming this Weekend:
1) Deathspell Omega Veritas Diaboli Manet in Aeternum: Chaining The Katechon (Norma Evangelium Diaboli)
2) Horna Sanojesi Aarelle (Debemur Morti)
3) Old Wainds Death Nord Kult (Debemur Morti)
4) Darkthrone Dark Thrones & Black Flags (Peaceville)
5) Ofermod Tiamtu (Norma Evangelium Diaboli)
6) Bahimiron Southern Nihilizm (Moribund Records)
7) Satyricon Age Of Nero (Koch Records)
8) Taake Taake (Century Media)
9) Cattle Decapitation The Harvest Floor (Metal Blade)
10) Khold Hundre ar gammal (Candlelight Records)
11) Capricorns River, Bear Your Bones (Rise Above Records)
12) Enslaved Vertabrae (Nuclear Blast)
13) Cannibal Corpse Evisceration Plague (Metal Blade)
14) Cynic Traced in Air (Season Of Mist)
The above list of fourteen metal/black metal releases (not in any particular order) popular with Amoeba folks is culled from the current Spring/Summer 2009 Music We Like booklet regularly published by Amoeba Music and available for free at each Amoeba Music store. The first listed release, Veritas Diaboli Manet in Aeternum: Chaining the Katechon, is a split EP by French bands released December 2008. The title Veritas Diabolo Manet in Aeternum is a work of two French black metal bands: Deathspell Omega (Chaining the Katechon) and S.V.E.S.T. (Le Diable est ma Raison).
seven. eight. nine. next wednesday marks one year of growth nurtured by beautiful people, beautiful music, and beautiful connections. what better way to celebrate then spending an easy wednesday night affirming friendship and growth while grooving to some of the best live roots music in los angeles... in the intimate setting that is Footsie's. love and festivity will be in the air, along with other things that blow in the wind... so please allow us to engage your senses as we celebrate this moment to the fullest! if you are free to join us for this truly special occasion, your presence would bring us that much closer...
- SOUL IN THE PARK turns ONE - Wednesday 07.08.09 with special friends:
BUYEPONGO (live cumbia rhythms)
Vestron Video VA 2018
The Plot. Two things struck me about the celebrated elliptical opening sequence of UP, where the young version of Carl, the protagonist, is shown to age and fall in love with Ellie, who remains dead for most the picture: (1) Despite Pixar's raison d'etre, overloaded digital spectacle, what the company excels at is character portraiture. This tends to be done in the first third of their stories, after which the plot kicks in, and I get bored. Unlike Wall-E, however, UP is mostly about Carl just hanging out in his floating house, talking to this chubby little cub scout stowaway, and befriending some linguistically enhanced canines. All of which makes it the best Pixar film to date. (2) Seijun Suzuki and Pixar know something about generic expectations that Steven Spielberg doesn't. Like all moviegoers, my emotions are mechanized, habituated responses to the levers, pulleys and cables of traditional storytelling. Thus, in abstracto, I'll feel elation on cue when the hero risks it all to save those more unfortunate than he, even if the particularities involve an Aryan saving some Jews (a lesson that can be had from Star Wars' appropriation of Triumph of The Will). These 2 and 1/2 hour-long movies of Spielberg's could be cut down to a few, brief sequences leading to the big crescendo, and we'd all still have the same reaction. Much like Suzuki tends to jump cut over the dramatic cliches in his films, Carl meets Ellie, they share similar interests, yadda yadda yadda, she's dead, now her absence structures our understanding of Carl for the rest of UP. Less flippantly worded: poetic resonance isn't based on word count, nor are genre pleasures.
With another fourth of July behind us, I'd like to give big ups to fireworks, baseball, grilled meat, cold beer and David Lee Roth and his hit "Yankee Rose" for making this holiday weekend sparkle like, well, like the fourth of July, actually. Roth and rock 'n' roll guitar-mystic Steve Vai penned the song in 1986 for Roth's debut solo effort, entitled Eat 'Em And Smile. The song is credited as a dedication to the Statue of Liberty (which was undergoing renovation at that time and thus was a hot topic of sorts). It is interesting that the intro sequence for the video of "Yankee Rose" seems to attempt a showcase of immigrant stereotypes in a corner convenience store setting --- is the audience supposed to somehow relate to your friendly neighborhood bodega? I can't figure out if I find it appealingly appalling or appallingly appealing, but then this feeling is almost immediately washed away by the savage animal that is Roth's demand for, "a bottle of anything and a glazed donut, TO GO!" followed by a rigorous display of high impact aerobics and the flashiest array of spandex you'll ever see stretched across one's person, ass-less or off-the-shoulder. Hooray for the U.S.A.!
This is the kick-off post in a seven-week summer series of Graffiti Amoeblogs, focusing on the art of graffiti and running every Saturday from now, July 4th, until Saturday, August 15th, 2009 -- the date that will mark what would have been the 40th birthday of Mike DREAM Francisco, the legendary Bay Area graffiti artist who was tragically murdered nine years ago on the streets of Oakland. Rest in peace, DREAM. Your legacy will live forever.
Included in the numerous blogs in this series will be an interview with DEMER of the longtime NYC Wallnuts crew, who decades later is still making graffiti art, and who currently runs the store Graffiti Comix in Belleville, New Jersey, where he combines his two life-long passions/hobbies -- graffiti and comic books. There will also be an interview with OB, who runs the graffiti supply (and record) store All City in Dublin, Ireland. That same Graffiti Amoeblog will also take a look at the Irish graffiti scene.
James & Karla Murray, the hard working and prolific graffiti photo-journalists (Broken Windows, Burning New York, Store Front, Miami Graffiti), will also be interviewed here and high-quality images of their best New York City and Miami graffiti shots will also be included. Future Amoeblogs will also focus on Cali graffiti and its makers, and of course there will be a whole blog dedicated to DREAM, who was an amazing artist.
The July calendar is now online!
Friday & Saturday July 3 & 4
Celebrate Independence Day At The New Beverly!
Two Starring The Legendary James Cagney
Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)
Get ready to Laugh, to Sing, to Shout! ...For here comes Uncle Sam's Star Spangled Yankee Doodle Dandy!
dir. Michael Curtiz, starring James Cagney, Joan Leslie, Walter Huston, Richard Whorf, Irene Manning
Fri: 7:30; Sat: 2:45 & 7:30, Watch The Trailer!
PLANETARY ASSAULT SYSTEMS
Planetary Assault Systems is the legendary, harder-edged techno project from the UK's Luke Slater, and this is his first full-length effort after more than 7 years. Temporary Suspension is released as a continuous mix of 10 tracks on CD, as well as 6 single tracks on a double 12", and defies any current sound trends. However, Slater himself states that it's "time to bring the funk and intensity back in a new way. Time to open the sound again." In addition to funk and intensity, Slater manages to create an industrial strength and energy that has evolved over the years -- ranging from aggressive techno to very deep and melancholy pieces that still retain an alien feeling. The first track "Open Up" sets the pace for things to come, already, with a driving groove and a thunderstorm of synths cutting through a confusing melody of chimes. Subsequently, the loud and fast "Whoodoo" dives deep into the primordial blend of techno, using an uncompromising, metallic percussion. "Om The Def" takes the foot off the gas pedal, marking one of the album's definite highlights by using an arrangement of bongos and a funky, distorted bass line oscillating between dense and airy aggregate states. "Hold It" is an unbelievably sexy Chicago house stomper reminiscent of a modern version of an Amando track. "Attack Of The Mutant Camels" fascinates with its noise and bleep fest, complete with a decelerated rhythm and a fierce bass line. On "Gateway To Minia" he loses the beat in favor of gloomy ambient synth chords culminating in a cacophony of noise. But the album does not end here, as he brings back the kick on "Sticker Men" one last time with the crowd firmly set in his sights. Luke Slater's sonic vision on Temporary Suspension as a rough and highly energetic sound hardly comes as a surprise, as he has continually tested and pushed his musical boundaries ever since releasing his first tracks in 1989. Planetary Assault Systems has always been Luke's pseudonym for hard and uncompromising techno, and almost all of his releases on Peacefrog have become classics of the genre. Luke has never been satisfied with exploring just one aspect of music, and is well-known for his eccentricity and rebelliousness, aspects that have held his audience captive in his extraterrestrial light-beam of past, present, and future. Heavy, grinding techno cuts that will most definitely rank as the best of 2009.
1) The Jacka Tear Gas (SMC)
2) Big Rich Heart of the City (3 Story Muzik)
3) Raashan Amhad Soul Power (Crown City Rockers)
4) Wu Tang Chamber Music (KR Urban/KOCH)
5) Dead Prez + DJ Green Lantern Pulse Of The People (Turn Off The Radio Vol. 3) (IMG)
Thanks to Luis at the San Francisco Amoeba Music for this week's Hip-Hop Top Five Chart, which is 60% homegrown Bay Area talent this week, including the number this week at the Haight Street store: The Jacka and his latest full-length, Tear Gas. The album from the Mob Figaz member is doing well on the Billboard charts too. It debuted at #4 on the music trade magazine's Rap Charts, #12 on the R&B Charts, #13 on the Indie Charts, and at #93 on the Top 200 albums chart,
With studio assistance from a dozen different producers, this follow up to The Jacka's popular 2008 mixtape, The Street Album, is the hard working Oakland-born/Pittsburg-raised rap artist's most diverse sounding release to date. Tear Gas features mic guests from far beyond the Bay, including Houston's Devin The Dude and Philly's Freeway. Of course, the Mob Figaz member is also joined by some of his Yay Area peeps such as Mistah F.A.B., Andre Nickatina, and Zion I. Converted to Islam, The Jacka lets his faith be known on the album via lyrics such as "in Allah we trust, I try to purify my heart, because I’m a slave to my thoughts. I’m a monster out here, because I change when it’s dark" in the song "They Don't Know," on which he is joined by Freeway, who is a fellow Muslim.
Saturday July 4
Patrick Swayze in
New Beverly Cinema
7165 W Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036
11:59pm, All Tickets $7
Actress Lea Thompson IN PERSON, schedule permitting, to discuss the movie!
Darleen Drapkin, director of the Temescal Telegraph Business District, who has been doing a stellar job of developing the North Oakland area in recent years, told the Amoeblog, "The concept behind the film festival is part of our overall concept of shopping locally and trying to be independent and local whenever possible. It's easy to run Shrek and movies like that, but we try to stay local and independent and we sincerely take pride in the community here and what it has to offer." Arne Johnson, the producer and co-director of Girls Rock, which screened at the premiere Temescal Street Cinema festival last year, is the curator for this year's festival and he has chosen some excellent local films, from shorts to full-length features.
I attended my first pride in 2007, in San Francisco, naturally. My ‘Gay Day’ began with the Dyke rally in Dolores Park and then moved out onto the streets for the annual Dyke march. I was happy to be there. I had just come out a year before, finally! But aside from the excitement, the real meaning of that first Pride hadn’t really ‘hit’ me until I came across this woman of color -- a Latina, wearing a traditional ‘male’ mariachi outfit and holding a sign that read “Orgullo” (Pride). Then I felt it. It shot right through me -- it was electric. I understood who I was: a woman, a single mother, chicana, Mexican…
In society I am considered a minority, but in that moment I was part of something bigger than me. I was part of a community-- a community that celebrates individuality, diversity, tolerance, and love.
This year my children experienced their first pride festival in Long Beach. I wanted them to feel what I had felt a couple of years prior. “Mom, this is so much fun! I’m proud you’re gay.” I cried when my son uttered those words to me. My daughter was so moved that for West Hollywood’s pride festival she designed a few signs of her own. They held their rainbow flags high and waved their signs proudly, signs with the word ‘PRIDE’ drawn and colored in the traditional rainbow flare.
Fast forward to this weekend, June 27/28, 2009: San Francisco’s Gay Pride Weekend sizzled. I should know -- I have the sunburn to prove it.
It's time once again for drag queen and performer Peaches Christ's wild and wondrous cult film screening series, the singular, epic entertainment fest known as Midnight Mass!
Though we have been informed that this is Midnight Mass' final summer season at the Bridge Theater, its home for the past 12 years, Midnight Mass has clearly left an indelible mark on both San Francisco's cult and its overall cultural scene, one that will reverberate through the city's history for all time. In the meantime, we'd all better get out there and catch our last chance to see Peaches in her native environs at the Bridge. Here I speak with Ms. Christ about what's to come at this final season of Midnight Mass, her future projects, plus her role in alter ego Joshua Grannell's upcoming feature film, which is sure to be a huge hit, All About Evil! Click here for more info on Midnight Mass, which starts July 10 and runs weekends through August 22. Tickets are on sale now! You can also click here to read a previous interview I conducted with PC. Read on right here for all the exciting news.
Miss Ess: So, what new shows will debut this year at Midnight Mass?
Peaches Christ: For our 12th and final season, I'm thrilled to say we have a bunch of stuff we're doing for the first time including Roller Boogie, The Exorcist, Heathers, and Elvira: Mistress Of The Dark. It gets harder every year to dig up new and exciting cult films we haven't programmed sometime in the past twelve years.
Today is Canada Day, a day no doubt celebrated in a manner designed not to attract too much attention. Canada is the home of the quiet revolution, after all. Most likely, their national day is marked by knowing glances. Such is the Canadian character that their national day is not marked with fireworks, guns in the air or vuvuzelas. Though Candians are stereotyped as quiet, harmless and polite pacifists who eat ketchup chips, how do we reconcile that peaceful image with the knowledge that their main export seems to be ice beer and that when they're not knocking each others teeth out in the hockey rink, they're clubbing baby seals with Neil Peart-like percussive overkill? Indeed, how much do we really know about our neighbors north of the border and the threat they pose? What harm is there in Canadians running Hollywood, you ask? They’re only doing the work Americans won’t, you say. In one three year stretch, the best actress category of the Oscars went to Canadians. Mary Pickford, Norma Shearer and Marie Dressler all took the Oscar back to Canada. That’s $1,500 of gold-plated britannium, or 1,303 loonies.
THE CANADIAN THREAT
If movies and TV series like Blade Runner, V, Alien Nation, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Battlestar Galactica and The Day the Earth Stood Still have taught us anything, it’s that when aliens are allowed to live in peace amongst us it’s never a good idea. Though they invariably claim to come in peace, the proper response is that they to go in pieces. Due to blissful American ignorance and our welcoming disposition toward immigrants, most of us are wholly unaware when and how many Canadians are among us. Although a phrenologist could see right through their smiling faces to their true nature, your average American when near a Canadian merely gets a tingling sensation and an inexplicable unease. With good reason too, when one becomes aware of how far reaching Canadian tentacles are in our society… *tingle* cos (Canadian over shoulder)…
When it comes to movies, a person can tell whether a flick is going to be of interest to them or not within the first couple of minutes or so. On several occasions, I pressed the eject button before I got past the opening credits. Then, on the flip side, some of the flicks were worth another watch, a tour through the special features, and a word with the director and/or cast members. Well, I’ve made a list of the ones that were most entertaining to watch and that forced me to take a second look. So, here (in no particular order) are my top 5 documentaries, for now:
Directed by Charlotte Zwerin
One reason to love this film other than Thelonious Monk is the exceptional footage quality.
Directed by Nanette Burstein and Brett Morgen
I don't know how much of this story is actually true, but Robert Evans is one heck of a story teller.
Anyone who's seen the recent Vanity Fair featuring a cover and interview/photo spread with Johnny Depp knows that his "celebrity boyfriend" cherishability index has increased exponentially with age. He is, however, a hopelessly taken family man, what with his kids, his mother-of-my-kids girlfriend, French chanteuse Vanessa Paradis, and his very own private Caribbean island escape. But the facts have never swayed my esteem for the Depp as a go-to example of male perfection. Indeed, given the average age in my stable of celebrity boyfriends, Johnny Depp has yet to fully bloom.
I remember my first celebrity boyfriend fondly. His name was Lance. He wore a blue turtleneck and brown suede jacket when he wasn't in uniform "defending the universe" by piloting the Red Lion as second in command of the team-comprised mega-robot Voltron. The commanding officer, Keith, a very anime-handsome, if not overly serious young lad who displayed attractively obvious affection for Princess Aurora, always tempted my gaze, but then Lance's witty remarks and penchant for daring maneuvers always won me back. I never cared that Lance was a mere sketch brought to cartoon life. Besides, the very peak of hotness at that time belonged to another animated hot guy, as A-Ha's hit music video for their single "Take On Me" dominated the rotation on MTV and VH1. I mean, who can deny the freaky-deaky rotoscope, "don't get too close to my fantasy" appeal of Norwegian lead singer Morten Harket, on or off paper?
Academy Award winning "everyman" actor Karl Malden died earlier today at his home in Los Angeles. He was 97 years of age. During his long acting career, Malden played roles in TV, movies, and theater, but is probably most often identified for his role as Lt. Mike Stone (opposite Michael Douglas) in the popular seventies TV series The Streets Of San Francisco (clip above) as well as for being the spokesperson for American Express travelers checks in a series of TV commercials in that same decade. Read the full obit here.