As of this month, fans of Industrial Godfathers Skinny Puppy (without whom there would be no Marilyn Manson or Nine Inch Nails), will no longer have to shell out $200+ for the incredibly scarce vinyl edition of the band’s last (and arguably best) “classic-era” LP, Last Rights. This past August, the band polled their most rabid fans on Litany.net, asking which Puppy LP they’d most like to see reissued on vinyl. Last Rights won out as the fan favorite with nearly half of the vote, leading the band to strike a deal with their former label Nettwerk to reissue the album. The resultant release (out now) is lovingly repackaged with I, Braineater’s (AKA Jim Cummins) original artwork on a gatefold sleeve, while the audio itself has been mastered specifically for vinyl and spread across two LPs cut at 45rpm for maximum mental deranging. The package also includes a bonus CD of the entire album.
Our full December calendar is online!
Friday & Saturday November 27 & 28
The Best Years Of Our Lives
1946, USA, 172 minutes
dir. William Wyler, starring Fredric March, Myrna Loy, Dana Andrews, Teresa Wright, Virginia Mayo, Harold Russell
Fri: 8:00; Sat: 4:00 & 8:00, Watch The Trailer!
1) FELT FELT 3: A Tribute to Rosie Perez (Rhymesayers)
2) Rakim The Seventh Seal (Ra Records)
3) Gift of Gab Escape 2 Mars (Cornerstone/RAS)
4) Edan Echo Party (Traffic Entertainment)
5) Cellski Chef Boy Cellski: Culinary Arts Institutiion (Inner City 2k)
6) Messy Marv Draped Up and Chipped Out Vol 4 (Click Clack Records)
7) Sean Price Kimbo Price (Vision Mktg)
8) Fatgums X Bambu ...A Peaceful Riot (Gamma Gums Music/Beat Rock)
9) Wale Attention Deficit (Interscope Records/Allido Records)
10) OC & AG Oasis (Nature Sounds)
Thanks for this Thanksgiving week's Hip-Hop Top Ten chart go out to Luis at Amoeba Music San Francisco, where the number one new release is the highly recommended, Aesop Rock produced third release in the FELT series (featuring Slug of Atmosphere & Murs of Living Legends), FELT 3: A Tribute to Rosie Perez, which was written about here when it was number two on last week's hip-hop chart at Amoeba Berkeley. And this week's number two comes from perhaps the most influential and respected (particularly by other artists) hip-hop emcee of all time, Rakim, who has just released his latest solo album The Seventh Seal. As immediately proven by the album's Rakim as Grim Reaper cover art, The Seventh Seal takes its title from the dark 1957 classic film of the same name by Swedish director Ingmar Bergman. In the movie, a medieval knight confronts the meaning of life, death, and the existence of God as he plays chess with the personification of Death -- the Grim Reaper.
A food blog for food day. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a depiction of a traditional Thanksgiving feast, so this hodge podge will have to do.
Happy Thanksgiving, Amoeblog readers! Above is Gloria Gobbler's reinterpretation of "You Can't Hurry Love" from a turkey's perspective, with reworked lines such as, "You can't gobble me on Thanksgiving Day. Why not eat tofu? Feed yourself the vegan way." And if you enjoy Thanksgiving themed, turkey perspective song parodies done to animation, check out the reworking of MC Hammer's "U Can't Touch This" -- "U Can't Stuff This" or The Giblets' reinterpretation of Queen's "We Will Rock You" -- "We Will Eat You."
And don't forget that tomorrow, Friday, November 27th, is when Amoeba kicks off its annual Holiday Toy Drive at all three Amoeba Music stores. When you come in to Amoeba over the next few weeks (cut off dates vary from store to store) we strongly encourage you to spread the love to those not as well off this year by bringing in a new, unwrapped toy for some needy child in your community.
And to help you feel even better about donating a toy for some poor kid, as a thank you for your generosity, Amoeba will give you a $2 coupon valid for any item over $3.99! All toys collected will be distributed to a local charity: Amoeba Hollywood will donate to Five Acres, Amoeba San Francisco will collect toys for Compass Community Services, and Amoeba Berkeley will provide toys to A Safe Place. For full details on the Amoeba toy drive run dates and the charities involved, click here.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! It's early (just after six am) and I'm baking apple-cranberry-pecan pie while Thanksgiving's self-titled collection of home recordings emanates quietly from the little boom-box on the kitchen table. Good thing they thought to include a CD inside the oh-so-pretty triple gatefold packaging that houses the gorge three LP set on red, white and blue vinyl that is Thanksgiving's Thanksgiving; for this I give thanks. I can't imagine managing three records and a turntable while trimming pie crust and chopping nuts --- I can't go for that, no, no can do. Still, I count myself grateful for having made an impulse purchase of this gem of an album a few years back, for it has become precious to me.
I remember picking up my copy at Amoeba San Francisco on something of a whim and a whiff: obviously tangibly beautiful, it was in my hands and pricey but not too much so. The promise of lovely colored wax teased me into buying, along with the notion that I fancied the thing smelling of Elverum, for I was enjoying an all things Phil Elverum boom at the time (it's never really gone away, it ebbs and flows...). I would be a fool to pass it up, or so I thought. Though this crazed logic that plays the feeble minds of those swayed to swooning for pretty records and limited pressings once again held me rapt, I brook no regrets regarding this purchase because the songs are as excellent as the artwork they come packaged with. For this, again, I give thanks.
NEUROTRANSMITTING CLOUDS... 12"
Smallville's compilation series And Suddenly It's Morning (SMALL 002CD) begins and ends with these two tracks on this 12" split-release. On the A-side, STL brings back the magical moments to the dancefloor with a contemporary sound-design that meets funkiness at its best. Smallville owner Julius Steinhoff presents his first solo track "Something Like Wonderful" -- deeply-driving real house music.
KIKI - Immortal 12"
EROL ALKAN & BOYS NOIZE - Waves Rework 10"
PAUL KALKBRENNER - Berlin Calling Vol. 2 12”
VA - Mikado 12"
Hard To Find 12"
Peter Kruder presents two tracks from his arsenal of techno and house dancefloor bombs with Hard To Find. The title track is influenced by Detroit techno circa the age of UR to North African hooks. The filter sweep, which serves as the drop/break, is a master-class in restrained modulation. "25 West 38th St." opens with the sound of ocean air, swiftly diving into a bass-driven groove, lush strings and a piano-led top-line -- rhythmic and atmospheric.
OLIVER TON - Hasta El Fin 12”
DONNACHA COSTELLO - Ten Thousand Hours 12"
GAISER - Flashed 12"
MARCEL KNOPF (FEAT. CAMARA) - Crazy About Skinny Bitches 12”
Today in London, Christie's auction house sold a rare first edition of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species as part of the celebration of the 150th anniversary of its first publication. The book, one of only 1,250 copies first printed in 1859, was found on a shelf in a family's guest bathroom in Oxford. Christie's said they thought the book would likely sell for around $100,000, but an anonymous telephone bidder won the green bound, gilt-decorated tome for about $171,000. Darwin's Origin of Species outlined his theory of natural selection and is the foundation for the modern understanding of evolution.
More than any other popular musical form, hip-hop is perhaps the most consistently (and often apologetically) misogynistic and homophobic genre in all contemporary pop music. This is something that Lady Gaga speaks about in the video clip above, taken from an interview with host Touré from on On The Record, that will broadcast later tonight (Monday, Nov 23rd at 9pm) on Fuse TV. Of course, this is not exactly breaking news to anyone who listens to popular rap, but it is nonetheless refreshing to hear a high profile person address homophobia in popular rap music. This is something that encompasses recurring anti-gay lyrics in songs and also the whole "No Homo" obsession, popular within hip-hop circles for several years now, whereby the words "NO HOMO" are instantly said aloud by a person right after they utter something that might possibly be construed as "gay sounding." This two word statement absolves them from the ultimate crime (of being perceived as "homo"). This "No Homo" subcultural movement even spawned its own fashion line that includes the "No Homo" baseball cap (pictured).
In her interview, Lady Gaga, as always, is very supportive and defensive of her large gay following. When pressed by Toure as to which high profile homophobic hip-hopper she is referring to, she won't say. Truth is that it could be a great many rappers out there. But more than likely it is 50 Cent who she is referring to, since recently on the Angie Martinez radio show Fitty in a mocking derogatory tone referred to the scheduled Lady Gaga and Kanye West Fame Kills tour as the "gay tour." (the tour got cancelled due to Kayne's VMA outburst combined with lackluster advance ticket sales). This is the same rapper who in Spin magazine a few years back opined, "In hip-hop, there’s certain standards of things you can’t do. Being gay isn't cool -- it's not what the music is based on." Of course, many, including anyone within the so-called "homo-hop" subgenre of hip-hop, would argue that such a notion is nonsense. But, despite the growing numbers of queer rap artists, this hip-hop subgenre remains mostly a totally separate (and underground) world, and one that does not generally crossover into popular rap. Simply put, while most of the rest of popular culture has at least superficially embraced gays, it looks like it is still a ways off before popular hip-hop will accept its first openly gay rap star.
When I heard that Bomba Estereo would be doing an instore performance at Amoeba, I didn’t know what to think. A few years ago, I heard their song “Huepajé” on a Nacional Records compilation and I dug it. Almost every time I played that song in the clubs, someone asked me about the song. I was anticipating their album Blow Up when it came out, only to be slightly disappointed by the somewhat sterile sound of it. I felt it was an adequate album, but not the one I was expecting. Perhaps their Electro-Tropical hybrid worked better as a single than a whole album. Soon after the album was released, I was getting reports from wherever Bomba Estereo played, from folks in Texas to a good friend in Tokyo, that this band live was not to be missed. It was only now that they got to make their way to Los Angeles. I hoped my friends were right.
The audience waiting for the show was small before the band went on. It was mostly your Latin Alternative enthusiasts and curious NPR types. Later, just before Bomba Estereo went on and during their set, the late-arriving Colombian nationals started trickling in, some decked out in yellow, blue and red, the colors of the Colombian flag. I saw a few gentlemen sporting the traditional Sombrero Vueltiao, the traditional hat of Colombia commonly worn by Cumbia and Vallenato musicians. I even saw a woman that was a complete Shakira knock-off in the front row, I kid you not! So when Bomba Estereo hit the stage and started the first song with the thud of conga synonymous with Cumbia, the audience was up and dancing.
Two noir masterpieces on the big screen in L.A!
Armored Car Robbery, despite its rather dull title, is a tight little caper masterfully led by William Talman, aka D.A. Hamilton Burger from Perry Mason. Filmed a few years before Perry started, Mr. Talman is at his finest as a cold blooded yet charming creep. His performance is my wife and I's favorite from any movie that we've seen this year, far superior to his better known role in Ida Lupino's classic Hitch-Hiker. Add in Charles McGraw, L.A. location shots, a great support cast, tight editing (67 minute running time) and you have essential B cinema!
The much more high profile Asphalt Jungle is THE heist film. I can't believe how many times it comes up in coversation with other noir fans. The archetypes created by the cast still color modern crime fiction and film. In my opinion, all of that is owed to the ensemble cast of character actors. Highlights include Jean Hagen, in a role second only to her masterful Hariette Sinton in Side Street, and the criminally underated Sam Jaffe at his most weasely. Most other top shelf caper films borrow from this John Huston masterpiece, so whether you're a fan of Resevoir Dogs or Rafifi, you need to see this film.
Monday and Tuesday (November 23rd & 24th)
Armored Car Robbery & the Asphalt Jungle
New Beverly Cinema
7165 W. Beverly Blvd.
L.A., CA 90036
It seems timely to think about the history of Native Americans with less than a week to go before Thanksgiving. And if you already dislike the US Government, prepare to be impressed, even astounded by the lows it has sunk to...It'll make you want to deface that cool, snide Andrew Jackson staring at you from your twenty dollar bills. You will see that the arrogant United States of America has its own history of genocide, one that has been going on for hundreds of years.
I watched the entire series We Shall Remain, a set of PBS documentaries about Native Americans' history once the settlers hit the continent's shores. The films cover brutal, unsettling material that unfolds in a deft, direct manner. It covers histories of the Cherokee, Shawnee, Apache, and others in episodes entitled "After the Mayflower," "Tecumseh's Vision," "Trail of Tears," "Geronimo," and "Wounded Knee." There are definitely some major tribes missing from the series, but hopefully their stories will also accessibly be told with such care in the future. There's still about 8+ hours worth of straightforward viewing here, and the films are made from careful, studied recreations, truly haunting photos, interviews and even found footage.
The most interesting and vital part of the films though, I found, is definitely the interviews conducted with Native people living today. This is particularly moving during "Geronimo," when ancestors of Geronimo, Cochise and others are interviewed. Their words and stories are intense, and the gravity of what their families have experienced is devastating. It is also particularly moving during the final film of the series, "Wounded Knee," which focuses on growing Native American activism in the 70s and the 1973 occupation of Wounded Knee by the radical American Indian Movement (AIM). The interviewees' memories are so fresh, and their hope and passion for The Movement is so strong. If you think things will have gotten better for Native people after making it through the first 4 portions of this series, think again! Just because the final film covers the post- hippie 1970s doesn't mean the government is any sweeter to Native Americans.
To vote for other LA County communities, vote here. To vote for Los Angeles neighborhoods, vote here. To vote for Orange County neighborhoods, vote here.
William R. Rowland Adobe Redwood Ranch House
Our full November / December calendar is online!
Friday & Saturday November 20 & 21
Two by Krzysztof Kieslowski
Three Colors: White
1994, France / Poland / Switzerland, 91 minutes
dir. Krzysztof Kieslowski, starring Julie Delpy, Zbigniew Zamachowski, Janusz Gajos, Jerzy Stuhr
Fri: 7:30; Sat: 3:40 & 7:30, Watch The Trailer!
1) Wale Attention Deficit (Interscope Records/Allido Records)
2) FELT FELT 3: A Tribute to Rosie Perez (Rhymesayers)
3) Wu-Tang Meet the Indie Culture, Vol. 2: Enter The Dubstep... (Ihiphop Distribution)
4) Gift of Gab Escape 2 Mars (Cornerstone/RAS)
5) Wyclef Jean From The Hut, To The Projects To The Mansion (R.E.D. Distribution)
It may seem like Washington DC rapper Wale has been around for quite a while already and that he should be up to his third or at least second album by now, but in actuality the justifiably hyped emcee is only just now releasing his debut, Attention Deficit on Allido via Interscope. The album has been much anticipated and has numerous big name collaborators (particularly production), including Mark Ronson, Cool & Dre, The Neptunes, 9th Wonder, and Green Lantern, and Lady Gaga, who lends her MIA inflected vocals to the single "Chillin" (already out many months and a big hit -- see video below), which seems to be everyone's favorite new hip-hop release. Since it dropped last week, Attention Deficit has been selling really well everywhere, including at the Berkeley Amoeba Music store, where it shot to number one with a bullet on the latest Weekly Hip-Hop chart. The album, which distinctly packs much crossover appeal, features Wale tackling many topics, including feelings of insecurity ("Contemplate"), the trials & tribulations of the everyday grind for a hard working rapper ("World Tour" featuring Jazmine Sullivan -- another already released single, one that revisits A Tribe Called Quest's song of the same name), and the reality of reality shows ("TV in the Radio").
Thirtysomething was just released on DVD and as a My So-Called Life fan (it has the same producers), as well as someone who has a passing interest in late 80s fashion, I decided to check out the show.
It's been more than 20 years since this show first aired, and watching at first I found the couples difficult to relate to and the emotions overwrought. As I watched more episodes, I kept waiting to like the show...and I just continued to try through 3 discs worth of episodes, until I finally straight up gave up! I really, really gave it a shot though. It is definitely dated, and I plainly did not like the male characters on the show at all, with their cheating thoughts and penchant for suspenders.
My other major issue with the show: it's so boomer it hurts. Really, it hurt me when they used and badly cropped Joni Mitchell songs not once but twice just in the first few episodes! Ouch.
I also feel, as someone who is currently technically thirtysomething and living in this ol' world of ours, that our lives now, at least in my scene anyway, are so completely different from these portrayed back in 1987 it's kind of a bit shocking. These people own their own businesses, homes, can afford children, have perfect hair and functional, stylish vintage cars...it's just not real to me, in my world, and that's a big part of why the show fell flat for me personally.
Retitled The Chronic Re-Lit & From The Vaults and released by Wideawake/Death Row, the new reissue offers much more music -- over twice as much as the original! The new two disc set includes all of The Chronic’s original sixteen tracks remastered, plus liner notes from producer Quincy Jones III. More importantly, the new reissue includes a DVD entitled From The Vault, which features music videos for singles from The Chronic, a half hour Dr. Dre interview, plus various promotional pieces. The new package also includes seven unreleased songs featuring Snoop Dogg, CPO, Jewell, and Kurupt.
The Chronic, released in late '92, forever changed the direction of popular hip-hop and made Snoop Doggy Dogg (as he was then known) a star. It also propelled the careers of Daz Dillinger, Nate Dogg, Kurupt, and (Dre's step-brother) Warren G. And its singles, including "Nuthin' but a 'G' Thang" (see video below), "Fuck wit Dre Day (and Everybody's Celebratin'),” and "Let Me Ride," were hits and ruled the airwaves for quite some time.
It must be good being Yoshimi P-We. It seems to me that she's had a pretty great year, what with her Boredoms gig at All Tomorrow's Parties in New York, her ambitious sounding project aboard a Russian ferry, soundtracking this past summer's solar eclipse off the southern coast of Japan, two releases on the side: Bar-Cozmik (as Yoshimio) and Tingaruda (as OLAibi), not to mention the big fat recent new release from my favorite branch of the Yoshimi tree -- the all-girl, always exciting OOIOO. Amidst all this artistic activity, Yoshimi also gave birth to her second child this year. No wonder Wayne Coyne named a record after her.
When OOIOO released Taiga a few years back I fancied that listening to it was a lot like journeying into an hour long, aural tour de la nature -- a sonogram for one of those excellent macrocosmic David Attenborough documentaries where frozen, aurora-enshrouded forests of the North exist minutes from warmer climes where glacier-fueled rivers rush chuckling over rock and mud towards temperate seas. What stellar programming like Planet Earth does for your eyes in the comfort of your home, extraordinary sounds like that of OOIOO do for your ears within the infinite expanse of your mind. This may come across as cheesy (only the easiest cheese, please), but it reminds me of something Obi-Wan Kenobi explained to Luke as he struggled to find his bearings with the Force: "your eyes can deceive you; don't trust them...stretch out with your feelings." Listening to OOIOO, for me, is like letting the Force flow through you, no blast shield required.
Austrian apocalyptic-industrial collective Der Blutharsch have just released their follow-up to last year’s The Philosopher’s Stone. The appropriately titled, Flying High!, reaches a peak in the bad-trip psychedelic heights the group began maneuvering towards on 2005’s When Did Wonderland End? (which remains the group’s most accessible album to-date). High’s CD slipcover uncharacteristically features a tongue-in-cheek photo of a presumably hallucinogenic, heart-shaped cake with the album’s title written in blue icing - preemptively answering the question one might ask upon first listen of this disc: “What kind of drugs are these people on?!?”
Der Blutharsch began as a one-man project featuring only Vienna-based Albin Julius just prior to leaving the medieval/ritual duo, The Moon Lay Hidden Beneath A Cloud, in 1999. Over the last decade, Der Blutharsch sojourned through phases of dark-ambient, post-Industrial, martial-industrial, and neo-folk collaborations with Death In June’s Douglas P. before settling into the gloomy apocalyptic-rock the now-expanded-to-a-4 member group plays. Julius has caught a lot of flack over the years for his various aesthetic and stylistic choices, from the Laibach-like controversy caused by critiques over military-related artwork and samples to angering fans over his apparent all-together abandonment of martial-industrial, a genre he is often credited with helping found. Julius, seemingly unfazed by any of this, has delivered one of the strongest albums in his discography. This means the band will end on a “high” note, now that Julius has announced that this will be the last Der Blutharsch album of new material as he plans to retire the name and move on to other projects.
ROBAG WRUHME: Lampetee 12"
Movida is Spanish and is the English word for 'moving.' With this first release we have moved something -- nobody else than Mr. Robag Wruhme (Wighnomy Brothers) has produced this first one. This track is really untypical for any production which Gabor ever did, but we liked that 'dubby' track so much that we really wanted to release it. Maybe the one or other will think back to good old Maurizio tracks. 'Lampetee' is a very old Greek 'song' with a pretty nice song-text which Gabor packed in that track with so many emotions. We were also happy as we get the 'o.k.' from nobody else than Nick Curly to do a remix for us. It has taken a long time, but finally the remix is so lovely, deep and groovy that we think it was good choice to wait so long. Support: Ricardo Villalobos, Onur Özer, Shinedoe, Thomas Melchior, Brendon Moeller, Matt Star, Daniel Mehlhart, Nick Curly, Frank Leicher.
BETKE: The Road/Loose And Blowsy Plumage 12”
DUSTY KID: Moto Perpetuo 12" (BOXER 075EP)
AGF/DELAY: Connection Remixes 12" (BPC 203EP)
DUB TRACTOR: Sorry LP (CCO 045LP)
KZA: Z 12" (EF 019EP)
MIDNITE EP 12"
"A SPECIAL KIND" is classically constructed with filtered ASHFORD & SIMPSON samples ("STAY FREE") over a fat Detroit kick drum. "DEE'S GRUV" is on the atmospheric tip, "EXPLANATION" hits harder and faster, and deep house jam "TRUTH" wraps it all in one tight package. Don't sleep!
For this third installment in the ongoing Hip-Hop Behind Bars: A First Person Account Amoeblog series by longtime incarcerated Sacramento rap artist Anerae “X-Raided” Brown, the artist writes about his early days in hip-hip, joining the Crips, what got him sent to prison, the meaning behind the recurring "Unforgiven" theme, his new label and recent signees and his recent releases, which are available at Amoeba Music.
There is also a breakdown of his career timeline that includes the songs he wrote for C-Bo and his own extensive discography, which is all the more impressive considering that he has done most of it somehow from behind bars.
by Anerae “X-Raided” Brown
I was born in Sacramento, California, on the Southside. When I'd get in trouble my mom would send me to Prichard, Alabama, with my father, out near Mobile. I've been all up in Happy Hill. Other times I'd be out in East Waco, TX, from Trendwood to the Sherman Mannors. I lived in the Village for a while too. I got back from one of those trips down south around the time I was 15. I joined the 24th Street Garden Blocc Crips that summer. The homies Big J-Dogg and Slim put me on. In hindsight, I coulda done something better with my life, but at the time I wasn't tryina hear that. All I cared about was the Blocc.
I started writing rhymes seriously when I was 15 or 16. I'd go to juvenile hall for getting caught with a sack of dope, or riding in a stolen car with a gun. It was always something. My mom would come pick me up. We never had to do more than a few months; sometimes we'd go home the next day. During those times in juvy I'd write rhymes to pass the time. I learned how to format my rhymes by listening to other rappers and feeling it out. My cousin Nicole knew Sicx, Sicx introduced me to (Brotha) Lynch and we got to work. I ended up signing with Black Market Records and the rest is history.
Bookstores can be magical places for the young and old alike, but pack one wall-to-wall with They Might Be Giants fans of all ages and you have yourself a full-fledged party! At 4:00pm on Thursday, November 12, 2009, John Flansburgh and John Linnell – better known for the past 25 years as They Might Be Giants – hit Amoeba San Francisco’s neighborhood bookstore The Booksmith for a free mini-show and signing in support of their latest children’s book/DVD, Kids Go! and CD/DVD Here Comes Science.
Back in 1986, the two Johns became the quirky accordion-slinging kings of college radio with the release of their self-titled debut album. However, their intergenerational appeal was cemented in 2002 with their first children’s album, No!, which presumably enjoyed the good timing of their original fan base’s own baby boom. No! was followed by 2005’s Here Come The ABCs and then 2008’s Here Come The 123s, which won the 2009 Grammy Award for Best Musical Album for Children. Here Comes Science is TMBG’s 14th studio album and fourth album for kids. Their first foray into children’s books began in 2003 with the book-and-CD combo Bed, Bed, Bed. Kids Go!, a sing-along story book illustrated by Pascal Campion, is just their second book, but given the Johns’ unstoppable energy, prolificacy, and apparent popularity, this is probably just the beginning of their publishing career.
Not all classical music is classical music. Classical music, in its true sense, conforms to a particular style and time period – not an exact time, but roughly from 1750 to 1825. Even so, much of what we casually call “classical music” was written before and after that chunk o’ time. So what gives?
Think of it this way: We call a lot of music “rock music” even when it doesn’t conform to the chord progressions and beats of rock & roll. There’s a huge difference between Ike Turner’s "Rocket 88" and The Cardigans’ "Lovefool," yet they both get played on so-called rock music stations.
So, classical music can either refer to the above mentioned period of Western music, or it can be a generic, blanket term for all that stuff you hear on the classical music station, or find when shopping the Classical Music Section at Amoeba Music.
The reason it’s good to know a little about the periods and sub-genres of classical music is it will help you find what you like. For instance, I’m a huge fan of what’s known as the Impressionist style of classical music, so if I find an album of some composer I’ve never heard of – like say, Sir Pooppants McNaughtybits – and he’s described as an Impressionist, there’s a very good chance that I will enjoy his music. In addition, if I see that the compositions on the album are concertos for clarinet (an instrument I love), I know it’s highly likely I’ll love it. (You know what a concerto is because you read my last blog entry.)
The principle of free speech requires that we do not use police force to forbid the Communists the expression of their ideas -- which means that we do not pass laws forbidding them to speak. But the principle of free speech does not require that we furnish the Communists with the means to preach their ideas, and does not imply that we owe them jobs and support to advocate our own destruction at our own expense.
Our full November / December calendar is online!
Sunday & Monday November 15 & 16
A Sidney Poitier double bill
In the Heat of the Night
1967, USA, 109 minutes
dir. Norman Jewison, starring Sidney Poitier, Rod Steiger, Warren Oates, Lee Grant, Larry Gates, James Patterson
Sun: 3:20 & 7:30; Mon: 7:30, Watch The Trailer!
I recently discoved the fantastic Mary Onettes. I find it hard to believe that I had never heard of them until now. Their new album Islands is out November 3rd, but I was suprised to find out that this is their second full length album. I quickly fell in love with this new album before I even knew anything about them-- I only knew they were on Labrador Records and were probably from Sweden. So I decided to do some investigating and found out this was not their first album. I felt kind of embarrassed that I had never heard of them before. How could this band have passed me by? They are exactly the kind of band that I fall in love with. Their first self titled album came out 2 years ago on my birthday, May 1st, 2007. I guess I was too busy listening to the Magic Position by Patrick Wolf and the deluxe reissue of the Dirty Dancing Soundtrack, which also came out on the same day. I am also a bit mad at my friends -- how could they have not told me about this band? Maybe they just assumed I knew all about them already. Or maybe they had not heard about them either! I typically love all things from Sweden. Especially if you are a band still musically living in the late 80's and early 90's. Espcially if you are influenced by The Smiths, The Cure, New Order, and Echo and the Bunnymen. This band was sort of made for me. I know I just recently discussed this, but I will discuss it again. I am, of course, in love with this new album, and it was the first time that I heard the Mary Onettes, so it will most likely remain the album with that special place in my heart. I went back last week and discovered their first album for the first time but I didn't like it as much as the new one. I did like it though, and am actually liking it more and more as I listen to it more and more. I know those Mary Onettes fans that have liked them since their first album will probably find this new one not as good but that is just becuase they are hearing this new album years after already falling in love with that first record. It all really depends on when you were introduced to the band.
There is a type of customer at Amoeba Music that remains one of my favorites. Those brave souls who sheepishly make their way to the deepest, most remote area of the store: The Classical Section. They look vulnerable but hopeful, curious but intimidated. They come, knowing they want Classical music, but unsure how to find something they’ll like.
IF YOU LOVE: THEN CHECK OUT:
Amp Live feat. Trackademicks & Mr. Micro - Gary is a Robot (OM Records)
Above is the brand new video for the latest release from super-talented Bay Area producer Amp Live, equally known these days for both his membership with Zion I and for his acclaimed Radiohead remix project Rainydayz from last year when he masterfully reworked Thom Yorke & company's In Rainbows LP. The video above is for the single "Gary Is A Robot" (which comes in four other remixed versions) on which Amp is joined by Trackademicks and Mr. Micro. The track is a taste of what is to come on Amp Live's forthcoming solo album project, Murder at the Discotek, which is scheduled to drop on Child's Play/OM in the first quarter of 2010. Stay tuned for details.
Speaking of Bay Area hip-hop talent, hard-working, versatile SF emcee and self-described "make something happen-aire" Sellassie, who last night (Thursday) put it down at the In House Bay Area Talent Showcase at Element, is tonight (Friday 13th) opening for Raekwon at the Independent. Queen YoNasDa and DJ Raw B are also on the bill tonight. 9:00 PM show. Click here for tickets and info.
Well somebody out there has money to burn ... shit, crisis what financial crisis? The pathetic and mostly lifeless contemporary art market was suddenly re-animated on Wednesday at Sotheby's New York when a silk-screen painting by Andy Warhol, produced in 1962, sold for a $43.8 million, the second highest price ever for a Warhol piece. (In 2007 his painting, Green car Crash (Green Burning Car 1), sold for a mind blowing $71.7 million.) The amazing thing about all this is that the pre-auction estimate of for the silk-screen was expected to pull in only about $8 - $12 million.
Alessandra Celletti and Hans-Joachim Roedelius (of Cluster -- formerly Kluster fame), who in recent times met on MySpace and began working on a collaborative piece titled Sustanza di Cose Sperata [Substance of Things Hoped For] -- which they have so far only performed at a few large European festivals and also recorded for the label Transparency -- will perform together for three exclusive US shows (LA, SF, NYC) next month.
And as you may already be aware, Amoeba Music is the only outlet for tickets to both the San Francisco show (12/3 at Theater 39) and the Los Angeles show (12/5 at Zipper Hall). In advance of these two highly anticipated concerts, the Amoeblog this week caught up with both the Italian based Celletti and the Austrian based Roedelius to talk music. The interview with Celletti, which was published yesterday, can be seen by clicking here. Meanwhile, immediately below the video of the artist in concert at the Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts in Ojai, CA, is the Amoeblog conversation with the ever-active 75 year old Roedelius, who has long been considered the father of German electronic music as well as one of its most prolific artists, with approximately 150 albums to his credit.
THE HOUSE SECTION AT AMOEBA HOLLYWOOD HAS BEEN SWITCHED OUT WITH FRESH PRODUCT! GET SOME!
Join They Might Be Giants and The Booksmith for a mini-concert, reading, and signing in celebration of KIDS GO!, a sing-along book/DVD with illustrations by Pascal Campion. Other TMBG CD titles will also be available, provided by Amoeba. Free event! All ages welcome! Thursday, November 12th at 4pm at The Booksmith in San Francisco.
MIss Ess: So you grew up here in San Francisco? How did you start playing music? Who helped you get going and what artists influenced you as a kid?
Sonny Smith: I learned when I was a kid. I was given a guitar. Van Halen.
Above is an Italian TV news report from earlier this year on the musical pair with an excerpt from a performance from last year's Primitivo Festival. And below is a clip of Celletti solo interpreting Philip Glass' Metamorphosis in concert last year. Also below is the video for the song "100 Dreams" from Way Out which again showcases Celletti's vocal talents. And immediately below that is the Amoeblog interview with Celletti in which she talks about her inspiration, her music being adapted for film soundtracks, her new hardcover book/DVD set that is being released in tandem with the U.S. concerts, and the colors that will be brought to life at next month's anticipated US concert dates.
Exene Cervenka, the legendary singer of X, performed at Amoeba Berkeley this past Saturday in support of her new solo record Somewhere Gone (out now on Bloodshot Records)! While the instrumentation of her latest LP is closer to that of her other X side project, The Knitters, the melodies and darker lyrical content still shine through on the new folksy record. Somewhere Gone features the late Amy Farris on strings as well as Cindy Wasserman and David Carpenter, from the band Dead Rock West on backing vocals and bass, respectively. The album also features a cameo from Flat Duo Jets' Dexter Romwebber, though Wasserman and Carpenter were only transfers from the record to the live performance.
Exene and her band played a 45 minute set of songs, mainly from the new album, though they did sprinkle in some unrecorded material throughout. Unlike solo sets from Frank Black or Paul McCartney, there were no rearranged X songs. Rather, the in-store focused on the material Exene had written over the past 4 years while living in rural Missouri.
Also while in Missouri, Exene has focused on her visual art, which has been showcased recently in galleries in Southern California, where she now resides. The album cover for Somewhere Gone is one example of the collage style art that Exene produces.
Up to that point there had been many types/brands of MP3 players around (I knew a lot of folks who favored using their MiniDiscs as MP3 players) but no company had streamlined and made an MP3 player as user friendly as Apple did with the iPod. In 2001 it came with a 5GB hard drive, coupled with the first scrolling wheel and interface on an MP3 player.
Of course, in retrospect, compared to the variety of models of iPods and other MP3 players available to us today, this prototype iPod seems both bulky and pricey in contrast. Such is the way in this fast paced, ever-changing digital age. But what is most significant about the iPod is that in eight short years, it has not only changed the fortunes of the company that manufactures it (just as Apple's next big hit, the iPhone -- almost at 45 million in unit sales -- has similarly done), but it also has altered how the world listens to and consumes music.
Immediately before its commercial release back in late 2001, the iPod was being billed as the coming "Next Generation Player" and boy, that could not have been closer to the truth, since it literally signaled the generation of music consumers to come. The iPod was largely instrumental in changing everything to do with music; from listening to it, to buying or acquiring it, to selling, sharing, & storing music, etc, from that point on. In fact, in the music business that date, November 10th, 2001, could well be considered the watershed moment that divides two eras: BiP/AiP (Before iPod and After iPod).
When Los Angelenos - The Eastside Renaissance originally came out in 1983, I was not aware of all the Chicano bands that were popping up all over my back yard. Sure, I knew about the groups that came out in the seventies such as Tierra, El Chicano and Malo because oldies radio had been playing them for years. The only thing that I listened to at the time that was similar to The Eastside Renaissance was Los Lobos’ now classic …And A Time To Dance. Although groundbreaking in many ways, Los Lobos’ music was rooted in Traditional Mexican music and Americana. It was the kind of music that could be easily digested by the readers of Rolling Stone as being adventurous. However, to a fifteen-year getting into punk…not so much.
A few years later, thanks to the Alex Cox’ underground classic film Repo Man, a whole new world was opened to me. The soundtrack to Repo Man contained punk groups I dug at the time such as Fear, Black Flag, Suicidal Tendencies and The Circle Jerks, not to mention Iggy Pop performing the theme song. However it was The Plugz on the soundtrack that really knocked me out. It was Punk En Español and it had a sound all of its own. The songs “El Clavo En La Cruz” and their Spanish version of "Secret Agent Man (Hombre Secreto)" made it in every mix tape that I made during those years. Most of my friends that were into punk rock at the time didn’t get my fascination with The Plugz. They could never understand how excited I was that there was this band that were Mexicanos that sang in both Spanish and English.
Thinking? At last I have discovered it -- thought; this alone is inseparable from me. I am, I exist -- that is certain. But for how long? For as long as I am thinking. For it could be that were I totally to cease from thinking, I should totally cease to exist. -- René Descartes' res cogitans from "Second Meditation" of Meditations on First Philosophy
In hindsight, who could've been more perfect to play the bought face in John Frankenheimer's Seconds than the most infamous of closeted actors, Rock Hudson? Irrespective of his own intrinsic make-up, Rock's bread-and-butter came from being sold as the perfect masculine physiognomy to wannabe-Doris Day housewives everywhere. As such, this film might be considered the actor's ontological biography. Here he plays the new body bought by an aging businessman who's tired of his family and life. Along with the new body comes a new social identity, that of an artist. Sounds pretty good, right? Unfortunately, Rock can't forget who he was/is, and when he discovers that the community he now lives in is a group of commodified identities like himself, the horror is manifested. He's the Cartesian cogito lost in a world of pure doubt, where everything is mere appearance and nothing is real, but (here's the clincher) he still has his memories. Not being able to forget the past keeps him from being able to commit to the manufactured fantasy. Consider the way such a realization can screw up sex:
This 'imagined part' becomes visible in an unpleasant experience known to most of us: in the middle of the most intense sexual act, it is possible for us all of a sudden to 'disconnect' -- all of a sudden, a question can emerge: 'What am I doing here, sweating and repeating these stupid gestures?'; pleasure can shift into disgust or into a strange feeling of distance. The key point is that, in this violent upheaval, nothing changed in reality: what caused the shift was merely the change in the other's position with regard to our phantasmic frame. -- Slavoj Žižek, "Love Thy Neighbor? No, Thanks!"
Hiroshi Teshigahara's Face of Another is even more explicit in the horror that comes when a grounding fantasy is realized as such. In a spin on Plato's invisible man fable, Mr. Okuyama (Tatsuya Nakadai) is given a realistic mask after having his face melted in a chemical explosion. The mask is modeled on another man's face, behaves like a regular face, but can be removed. The doctor who invented the mask warns Okuyama that its continued use might distance him from his self, diminishing the sense of moral responsibility (just like invisibility). His "true" face remains hidden under bandages until he applies the new one. The real misery begins when Okuyama tests his wife's fidelity to that old adage of loving one for what's on the inside. As you might expect, grotesque disfigurement wasn't doing much for his sex life, particularly given his constant depressing whine. His wife tries to be supportive, but he's not having it. Instead, he puts on the mask and seduces her as "another man." When he confronts her, she claims to have known it was him all along. But even if she's telling the truth, does it make his realization any less horrific? It suggests (going with Žižek) that she's always been making love to a fantasy based on appearances (his old face was a mask, too), rather than the internal qualities he believes to constitute his core being. He feels (quite rightly, it seems) reduced to another's "phantasmic frame." Clearly, something needs to be violently repressed; what or who will it be? To misquote Sartre, hell is intersubjectivity.
You... shook me aaaallll night long!
Far more people want to shop the Classical Music section than do. This is because many customers, while having heard classical music and enjoyed it, do not know how to differentiate one album from another. No one wants to look like an ignorant buffoon (except your best friend in 7th grade who you’ve long since lost contact with anyhow), so the idea of browsing aisles of classical music without knowing the difference between a chamber piece or a chamber pot (which is a good thing to know, FYI) is enough to send you scurrying back to the latest post-punk, freak-folk, R&B roots-influenced release from [insert hot young band here].
Well, my fragile little reader, relax. I am here to help. I’m going to teach you some basics – enough to allow you to shop without feeling like you’re Sissy Spacek in the opening shower scene of Carrie.
"I don't know what counterpoint means!!!"
Incidentally, if you’re already educated in classical music, this blog entry isn’t for you. This is for the layman, the curious, the uninitiated. I’m going to be simplifying things and skipping stuff. My main goal is to get people started, and I don’t need you freaking them out with long-winded diatribes about how Stokowski’s transcriptions of Mussorgsky’s works are a bastardization that perverts their core, ethnic vitality in lieu of Westernized concepts of melodic accessibility. [And here’s where I snap my fingers and weave my head back ‘n’ forth like Jackée on 227.]
The comically inept magician known as The Amazing Ballantine or The Great Ballantine or the perfectly over the top moniker, Ballantine: The World's Greatest Magician, has died. The truly amazing Carl Ballantine, the comedian and character actor who is perhaps best known for his role of Lester Gruber, the confident con artist in McHale's Navy, was 92.
He died in his sleep this past week at his home in the Hollywood. I used to see him around the neighborhood all the time, usually at the post office or the grocery store. In a town jammed with celebrity sightings, it was only a Carl Ballantine sighting that would elicit an email or a phone call from several friends of mine.
Born Meyer Kessler in Chicago on September 27, 1917, he started performing magic tricks as a 9 year old, tricks learned from a local barber. By the time he was a teenager he was successful enough as a magician that he supported his family. When he felt a slight change in his magic career was needed, he renamed himself; 'Ballantine' came from an advertisement he saw for Ballantine whisky. One night when a magic trick failed miserably and he threw out a couple of one-liners to cover the error, the Amazing Ballantine was born. His career spanned vaudeville, film, television, Vegas and Broadway. Since the early 1940s, Ballantine always performed in a top hat, white tie and tails, his reason: “If the act dies, I'm dressed for it.”
In 1956 Ballantine was the first magician to play Las Vegas, appearing on a bill at the El Rancho Vegas Casino with Harry James, Betty Grable and Sammy Davis Jr. To promote the show, he rode a horse down the Las Vegas strip.
Ballantine appeared in a number of films, including The Shakiest Gun in the West, (1968), The World’s Greatest Lover (1977), Mr. Saturday Night (1992), and Speedway (1968) starring Elvis Presley, who offered Ballantine a Cadillac. His wife, comedian Ceil Cabot (who died in 2000 after 45 years of marriage), wouldn’t allow him to accept it. His most recent film appearance was in the biopic, Aimee Semple McPherson (2006).
While at Zanzibar in Santa Monica for Afro Funke’ last night I overheard a partygoer compliment the host of the evening for his mic swag: “He’s got the gift of gab!” What a genius way to describe someone's oratory skills. Coincidently enough, just a few hours earlier, Blackalicious rapper and Quannum Projects member Gift of Gab performed on The Amoeba Hollywood stage. Blackalicious, a duo comprised of Gab and DJ/Producer Cheif Xcel, found a nice comfy position in the heart of underground hip-hop and has remained there since its inception in 1992. Quannum Projects is a hip-hop collective/ independent record label out of the San Francisco Bay Area comprised of DJs and Mcs. Ever heard of DJ Shadow or Lyrics Born? They’re some of the more notable members of the small unified group. Gift of Gab, although very much still a part of the duo, has been doing solo projects and collaborations with other hip-hop heavies like Lateef The Truth Speaker and Grouch and Eligh since 2004. Last night's zealous show was mind-blowing yet short lived, and nonetheless enjoyable.
12 Years Employment
Miss Ess: How did you end up at Amoeba?
Tom Lynch: I was working at Car City Records in Detroit, my co-worker, Geoff Walker, had just come back from his vacation to the Bay Area and told me about Amoeba opening in SF and looking for used LP buyers. Geoff had applied on a whim, got interviewed, and offered the job. Geoff came back , decided to go to grad school, declined the offer, and told me that I should give it a go. I was up for a change, not to mention I had just been in a wreck and had no more van and had no money to buy another one. So fate really forced my hand. I've always felt that they never really got over Geoff turning them down.
ME: What is the best live show you have ever seen?
TL: Being one of three people in the audience as The Replacements ripped through their set at St. Andrews Hall in Detroit, July 1983. Everyone else was in the bar below the club watching Siouxsie & the Banshees videos. My pal John Maxwell & I and this weird short guy were the only people watching them -- they were opening for R.E.M. -- and this short guy was wearing a cowboy hat and cowboy boots, doing these sliding dance moves and was yelling at the 'Mat's to get off the stage. They were blazing hot; when nobody was looking they would crush you with their ferocity. They just laughed at him, threw lit cigarettes at him.
This is the debut full-length album from Germany's Marek Hemmann, as well as the first CD long-player from the house of Freude-Am-Tanzen. Hemmann has long been one-half of the duo Hemmann & Kaden, who for years have been the pillars of the new house & techno scene, both as producers and as a live act. Hemmann has also been responsible for innumerable remixes, from Dirt Novitzky to Chopstick & Johnjon to Dusty Kid. In Between is pure technoid material in an eclectic house-world, which offers a new discovery at every turn. From classic deep-droning dub epos over frizzy house with shots of bossa nova and demanding horn-action, up to highly complex sample tone-art, this is a long, rewarding trip through techno-land. With a round of wholly comprehensive melancholy and hypnotic bass lines, the tracks bathe you in a type of beauty that will come over you like a sunrise.
Like hardly any other contemporary DJ, Berlin-based Catherine Britton, aka Cassy, is living at the interfaces between reduction and soul, jazzy deep house and geometrically-structured techno. In Berlin, she quickly gained a residency at the Panorama Bar, worked as a producer with such renowned musicians as Ricardo Villalobos, Luciano, Mathew Jonson and Swayzak, and has released her music on labels such as Perlon and Ostgut Ton as well as on her own imprint, Cassy. Simply Devotion is Cassy's second mix CD after the highly-acclaimed Panorama Bar 01 (OSTGUT 002CD) compilation, and it is proof of her love for deep house of a different kind, which has -- despite occasional flashes of soul vocals -- nothing to do with garage house. With unhurried charm and a secure sense of the seductive power of house music, Cassy enchants us with more than 70 minutes of sensual sound hypnosis and she starts with an exclamation mark: together with his Ifach buddy Ian Loveday, aka Minimal Man, Baby Ford beguiles the listener with mantra house with hints of Italo-pop. Anton Zaprecalls, with his purified form of percussive dub house, the best days of Chez Damier, and Danny Howells makes you speechless with "September," a breathtaking stringed furioso in the best tradition of Detroit trance, remixed by Future Beat Alliance. Cassy's own unreleased track, "Magnificent Cat Won't Do," is powered by the kind of electrically-charged minimal dub soul that is so typical for her. The final track comes from Miami's house institution and Murk legend Ralph Falcon, with his house mix of "Whateva," which sits somewhere in between R'n'B vocals and acid reminiscences. Other artists include: Trus'me, Jitterbug, DJ Qu, Kai Alce, Azulu Phantom, STL, Taho, Quince, Kassem Mosse, Linkwood, Inland Knights, Kezym, Pierre LX, and Alan T and Alex K.
Our full November / December calendar is online!
Friday & Saturday November 6 & 7
The Restored Director's Cut Of
Betty Blue aka 37°2 le matin
1986, France, 185 minutes
dir. Jean-Jacques Beineix, starring Béatrice Dalle, Jean-Hugues Anglade, Gérard Darmon, Consuelo De Haviland
Fri: 8:00; Sat: 4:00 & 8:00, Watch The Trailer!
Amoeba Music San Francisco Hip-Hop Weekly Top Ten: 11:06:09
1) GIft of Gab Escape 2 Mars (Cornerstone Ras)
2) Masta Ace + Edo G Arts & Entertainment (Traffic Entertanment)
3) Mr. Chop For Pete's Sake (Now Again Records)
4) Sene & Blu A Day Late & A Dollar Short (Shaman Work)
5) R.A. the Rugged Man Legendary Classic Vol 1 (Green Street)
6) CunninLynguists Strange Journey Vol Two (Piece So Strange Music)
7) Jern Eye Vision (MYX)
8) Themselves CrownsDown (Anticon)
9) Killa Keise Yellow Tape Zone (Step It Up Entertainment)
10) Kam Moye (aka Supastition) Splitting Image (MYX)
Special thanks to Luis (pictured below) at the San Francisco Amoeba Music for this week's Amoeba Music Hip-Hop Top Ten Chart. The chart has a really nice, diverse mix of new releases, including several homegrown Bay Area albums such as the Haight Street store's top selling rap album this week, GIft of Gab's Escape 2 Mars. This is the second official solo album release, a follow up to 2004's 4th Dimensional Rocketships Going Up, from the talented Quannum emcee. Gab is also is one half of Blackalicious (with Chief Xcel) and a founding member of Bay Area rap-supergroup The Mighty Underdogs (with Lateef the Truth Speaker of Latyrx and producer Headnodic of the Crown City Rockers). To help celebrate this new release, which hit Amoeba shelves on Tuesday, the much loved Bay Area MC did an Amoeba SF instore on the release day. "It was really cool and he [Gift of Gab] was awesome on the mic," reported Luis of Tuesday evening's free concert. The artist was joined onstage by Dnae Beats who produced Escape 2 Mars, which was released by Cornerstone Ras.
When I was in fifth grade staying up late enough to catch Dave Letterman's Top Ten was a personal goal of mine every weeknight (on Saturday nights it was staying up late enough to make it through Saturday Night Live in its entirety, but I always conked out right about the time Dennis Miller wrapped up his Weekend Update). I like to think that I became a lover of lists and listing things because of that after-hours fixation of mine, but who cares? The fact is that I do love a list and this year's Halloween happenings were so fabulously choice that I've got to work it out herein, Late Night Top Ten style:
10: Students of San Francisco State University protesting budget cuts on Monday by turning the quad into a graveyard for courses felled by a lack of state education funds. The many headstones featured names of "dead" classes and mourners honored them dutifully in Dios de los Muertos style with candles, flowers and gorgeous little treats. A very clever and seasonally satisfying display of discontent!
9: Rammstein's timely release of their new album Liebe Ist Für Alle Da. Now, I count myself as an accidental Rammstein fan (and there's a good lengthy yarn I could spin about the who, what and why-fors about it), but a fan I am nonetheless ---especially as their machismo-soaked yet obviously Depeche Mode influenced electro-opera-industrial rock always seems to find a place on my annual Halloween mixtape! Not to mention that these German rockers consistently crank out quality music videos that remind us that there once was a time when the medium was viewed as an elevated art-form. Their video for the 1995 single Du Riechst So Gut is perhaps their most romantic (despite the fact that the imagery delves into bestiality, transvestitism and baroque dance routines) and very Halloween appropriate (despite the fact that nearly all their videos could be specified as "Halloween appropriate"). Oh Rammstein, why must thy art be so misunderstood? Maybe it's a European thing...
Time seems to be flying by so fast as we get close to the end of the year. I really do love this time of year and hate that it goes by so fast. As soon as October begins it seems to end. Halloween has come and gone and Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Year's Eve will be here and gone before we know it. The music releases will start to slow down in November and December but there are still some great albums coming out. We have a new fantastically great reissue from the fantastically great band Pylon. I can't believe it has already been two years since their last reissue, but it's true! I was about to do a whole blog about Pylon but it was sounding a bit familiar as I was thinking about it in my head. That is because I already did a whole blog about them two years ago. Pylon's first album, Gyrate, was reissued by DFA two years ago on October 16, 2007. You can go back and read my blog here if you want. I just went back and read it myself. I was amazed what I had forgotten over the last couple of years and actually learned something myself. Pylon was great. You may not know that. I sure didn't know anything about them until 2 years ago when that first reissue came out. DFA has now reissued their second album, called Chomp. It is equally as great as the first one. And I love how they recreate the LP artwork for the CD reissue along with the worn in imprint from the vinyl. Pylon was a new wave band from Athens, Georgia, but they have a darker sound than fellow Athens groups the B-52's and R.E.M. They remind me of Siouxsie & the Banshees at times, mixed with the Motels and Romeo Void. Basically, you can just think of any fantastic female led new wave band and mix them all up together and you get Pylon. The band toured a bit with Gang Of Four and also sound like them at times. This second album is at times dark and gothy and at times just a dark sort of punk. I like to think of them as Athens Goth. Seriously. These songs would not be out of place at a death rock night at any club. Good stuff. I really did love that first reissue but had sort of forgotten about Pylon until now. I was so excited when I heard that their second album was also getting reissued. I went and listened to that first reissue again to get myself ready. The second reissue does not disappoint.
Since the release last week of Jason Bitner's engaging new book Cassette From My Ex: Stories and Soundtracks of Lost Loves, the St Martin's Griffin published, 212-page anthology of 60 short stories, has been striking a nerve with readership of a certain age who can directly relate to and recall its pre-iPod subject matter: the bygone era of the homemade mixtape -- specifically mixtapes made to woo new crushes or love objects.
An image that pops into many minds would be the Rob Gordon character played by John Cusack in the Stephen Frears directed film adapatation of Nick Hornby's novel High Fidelity and his obsession with making the perfect mixtape, regardless of how long it took. Or as Shirley Manson of the group Garbage wrote for Cassette From My Ex's jacket cover, "Anyone who understands the obsessive attention to detail, the time it took to collate, select, and edit the content of a perfectly executed mix tape, or just someone who appreciated the rhythms and nuances of such extraordinary artifacts will treasure this collection of stories, comfortable and secure in the knowledge that such exquisite efforts were not made in vain and indeed there was a time when a humble cassette tape was perhaps the greatest gift of all."
For Cassette From My Ex: Stories and Soundtracks of Lost Loves, Bitner, who is best known as a co-founder of the wonderful Found magazine series, compiled first-person essays about mixtapes fueled by crushes or love (some tragic, some hilarious, many in-between) written by sixty different writers, many of them journalists & musicians. Contributors include author Rick Moody, This American Life's Starlee Kine, The New Yorker's Ben Greenman, The Magnetic Fields’ Claudia Gonson, Improv Everywhere's Charlie Todd, Mortified's David Nadelberg, and former Rolling Stone writer and MTV2 veejay Jancee Dunn.
STEVE BUG Look Who's Stalking/Zero Balance 12" (COR 067EP)
Steve Bug follows up his Collaboratory mix with this superb 12" for Cocoon. While "Look Who's Stalking" uses the raw energy of Chicago/Detroit house with driving hand claps, percussions and nasty vocals, "Zero Balance" is an experiment in how far you can reduce tech-house to the essence of a bass line. Short vocal loops complete a sensibility that makes Bug's tracks such high quality music.
SIZE Yeah (Gregor Tresher Remix) 12" (PURE 055EP)
VA Snuggle & Slap 2x12" (CCS 041LP). 2x12
CONFORCE Cruising EP 12" (CURLE 021EP)
SIGUR ROS Gobbledigook 12" (KOM POP015EP)
ROBERT HOOD The Pace/Wandering Endlessly 12" (MPM 004EP)
ANDY STOTT Night Jewel 12" (LOVE 058EP)
PACO OSUNA Lemon Juice 12" (PLUS 8106EP)
JABBERJAW The Garden Of Eden 12" (SPC 078EP)
JOHN SELWAY Shake The Snow 12" (THRONE 003EP)
ROCHA/MUGWUMP Hands Of Love (Fingers Of Sand) 12" (IFEEL 001EP)
Beatconductor CARIBBEAN PATH 12"
DJ Koze MINIMAL ELVIS & MIXIMAL MJ 12" LTD001
Danton Eeprom SCORING ONLY TO BE.. 12" CNTX3637
PROXY Who Are You?/8000 12" (TURBO 071EP)
Super Value SPECIAL EDITS 07 12" SV07
Hell & Christian Prommer FREAK IT 12" 047BUZZ
Another spooky Amoeba San Francisco Halloween has come and gone...thank goodness we have photographs to help us always remember the good, the bad, and the ugly!
We kicked things off with mood-setting DJ sets by DJ Tay and Miz Margo, Taylor in some creepy garb and Margo a dead ringer for Abbey from NCIS!
Next came our costume contest, with our deliciously disgusting hostess, Miss Snatch Face!
Then came Annie as the cat burgler...
Emily as Coraline...
Grace as Grace Alice Cooper...
Tena as the Black Dahlia...
Erin as Robert Smith of The Cure...
Billy as Homer Simpson when he got fat to get disability...
It's the, uh, instrument they're focused on. Yeah.
New Amoeba Music customers sometimes ask if/when we have any sales. My patent answer is usually something along the lines of:
“Not officially, because we’re constantly lowering prices on our entire selection.”
…Unless, of course, the customer is holding a ferret and that ferret is looking like he might wanna sneak into my ear-hole and munch my juicy brains, in which case I will modify my answer to:
“Not officially, because we’re constantly calling the police to report illegal pets such as ferrets.”
This may seem like a very niche circumstance to you, dear reader. All I can say is that, until you work at a record store for over eight years like me, you shouldn’t assume the regularity of near-lethal ferret activity. Especially if you’re working the folk music section.
They mostly eat the eyes of our innocent young.
The above being mostly factual, it is something of a special event that Amoeba Music Hollywood has announced an upcoming sale.
November 14 and 15 (or, if you’re British: 14 and 15 November) we will be hosting our first ever Classical Music Sale. All music (tapes, CD's, vinyl, 8-track, etc.) from our Classical Music section will be 20% off for these two days only. What is perhaps most exciting (or dangerous, depending on how much of your rent check you end up spending) is that this sale will include wall-items.
This set is a collection of 20 flower labels named after the zempoalxochitl or cempazuchil ("twenty-flower") otherwise known as the orange marigold. Traditionally on El Dia de los Muertos, wreaths made from the marigold are placed on the graves of loved ones and offered to the dead. There was no way that I was going to find a collection of labels featuring only marigolds, so a post made up of various flowers will have to do.
They're also hosting a very special pre-show event, where you can learn FOR FREE beatmaking tips & tricks, including on the software Live, as well as receive free giveaways from Novation, Odyssey, Dubspot; and for those who will come early, PUMA will be giving out some very special limited edition Puma x Ableton tee's made for the event...without forgetting drinks on them!!! It's going to be some real fun, and for those who know about controllers, we will showcase the new Novation Launchpad, pretty ill actually.
Every year I look forward to building my altar for Dia De Los Muertos. It’s become more important to me than Christmas or New Year's, and most certainly more than Thanksgiving. It's time for me to take time out and think of those who have left this world and look forward to their spiritual return via memories, stories and offerings. Besides images of family and friends that have passed on, I like to include musicians and artists who have inspired me in some way. This year, many great musicians from Latin America and Spain have passed. So this is my ofrenda to them. Pan De Muerto, Chocolate and Tequila for all spirits who visit. I hope you can include the souls listed below in your altar or in your thoughts today.
Mercedes Sosa (Argentina)
Argentine folk sing and outspoken activist. Along with Silvio Rodriguez, Victor Jara, Violeta Parra and many others, was part of the Nueva Canción movement. Nueva Cancion was the mixture of Latin American folk music and rock with progressive and politicized lyrics. Mercedes Sosa is not only respected in her native country, but around the world. Her most recent album, Cantora, contains collaborations with the likes of Shakira, Caetano Veloso and Luis Alberto Spinetta.
Jorge Reyes (Mexico)
Jorge Reyes started one of Mexico’s first progressive rock bands, Choc Mool, in the late 70’s/early 80’s. He played both guitar and flute while incorporating many indigenous instruments of Mexico. In 1985, Jorge went solo and released a series of new age albums based upon indigenous Mexican culture. He performed legendary concerts at famous Mexican archeological sites such Teotihuacan and Chichen Itza and his music was used for movies and television shows around the world. Coincidentally, he had an annual Dia De Los Muertos show at The Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México in Mexico City that was widely popular.
We kicked things off with a little Misfits on the stereo (endorsing the patronage of Glenn Danzig, loyal Amoeba shopper) and the costumed Amoebites began arriving in full-on freak regalia! Scott showed up to staff the hip-hop section in the grey beard and American flag headband of the typical Vietnam veteran acid burnout, and got to work upstocking the J. Dilla section while mumbling something about Charlie and the Da Nang Bridge. Edythe and Saffron were resplendent as an old-time groom and bride, Jamie rocked a fabulous handmade Indian squaw shabooz and Annie made the scene in slinky Panther Pink. There was a sexy vestigial midget nerd (best description I can muster), a purple cosmic space witch, a putrefied but spirited zombie cheerleader, a fearsome Lucha Libre wrestler, and a va-voom Poison Ivy impersonator (the Cramps guitarette of course, not the Batman villain). Things got really wild & crazy when Kris and Javi showed up as Weekend At Bernie's, in board shorts and Hawaiian shirts with a very authentic-looking Bernie corpse. Melody's outfit was typically mind-blowing, a black vinyl recreation of Klaus Nomi! Juan was regal in Roman toga and Chuck Taylors, Scott was futuristic in a baby-blue flannel onesie as a Twitter post. And Melissa was magical as an alluring marionette. Not one but two serial killers stalked the mezzanine, Travis as Leatherface and Matt as Dinky Doodles, the smiley slasher. Joel further indulged his aeronautics obsession as the black box from the Air France plane crash, complete with French moustache and attitude. Did I miss anyone? I'm sure I did, but hopefully the pictures got 'em all. My own disguise was a bit tricky to identify but it was meant to be Peter Gabriel's sci-fi look on the cover of Genesis Live, as the Watcher of the Skies. (Or perhaps Xenu, the god of Scientology, as someone suggested.) Lucas improved on the general idea when he put it on and went around muttering to the staff his dead-on impression of my voice, doubling the horror and really freaking some folks out!