"Into the Mystic"
"And It Stoned Me"
Today there is a new Legacy Edition version out featuring the remastered original album; a bonus disc of unreleased songs, takes and single versions of tracks; and a third disc containing a previously unreleased Copenhagen concert dated November 4, 1969!
Thanks to the folks at the Rad Report, we have learned that an amazing interview by Aaron Axelson with famously battling bands Blur and Oasis in the same room at the same time here in San Francisco at Live 105 back in 1994 has just been unearthed, and thanks to the crazy technology of the web, is now available for all our listening pleasure!
Interestingly, Pulp was also in town at the same time, opening for Blur at the Fillmore, while Oasis was playing at...wait for it...Bottom of the Hill! Wowza! And their opening band? Ye olde Brian Jonestown Massacre! Take a trip back in time to the early Stateside days of Britpop and give the interview a listen right here! It's pretty silly. You can check out the full story via Axelson on the Live 105 blog.
Arcade Fire has partnered with Chris Milk to create an interactive film called The Wilderness Downtown, featuring "We Used to Wait" from their new album The Suburbs, which has been selling like hotcakes here at Amoeba!
The film takes you on a personalized journey based on your childhood address. Pretty cool stuff, and we'd expect nothing less from a band as clearly nostalgia-driven as Arcade Fire! Click here to try it for yourself.
Rich Good of the Psychedelic Furs waits for tacos after the Nevada City Film Festival.
Well, my little dreamlettes, I’ve returned from the Nevada City Film Festival. As vacations go, it was a pretty, exhausting one. (Note the comma after “pretty,” denoting two different adjectives, you little sex-kitten, you.)
It’s a funny thing when the boyfriend and I look forward to returning to Los Angeles for some peace and relaxation. Not that the scent of sun-warmed oak and sounds of a rushing mountain river stress us out (and, conversely, helicopter traffic jams overhead or the drunken homeless barfing taquitos ‘n’ semen on our precious parking spot is as a purification rite for our fourth chakras), it’s that, whenever we go to my tiny hometown, we jam-pack it with so many activities and loved ones that we barely have a moment to shop the boutiques for high-priced, cantaloupe-bubblegum scented soap!
My nephew, Orion, prepares for puberty.
If you’ve never been to Nevada City, you really ought to treat yourself, especially if you’re in some form of romantic relationship, because it’s a great place for all forms of cuddling. And if you’re a single, heterosexual man, you should visit Nevada City post-haste, because the ratio of gorgeous young ladies to males – high to low – is something frequently remarked upon (and because there’s such a shortage of handsome dudes, you don’t have to be a pretty boy to snag a “10”.). If you’re waiting for the punchline here, don’t – I’m being serious; it’s really like this.
While making the documentary My Mic Sounds Nice: A Truth About Women in Hip Hop, which premieres on BET tonight at 10pm, what surprised director Ava DuVernay most was "the vulnerability of the women," citing one in particular, the Lady of Rage. "You think of emcees as invincible on the mic and my view of Lady of Rage is always in "Afro Puffs" [video below] and she's got her leather jacket, and she's grabbing the mic, and she's killing it, and Snoop's to the right and Dre's to the left," said the LA based director, who herself started out as an emcee. "But then when you sit down with her [Lady of Rage] she's just, she's a woman. She's a sweet, kind of vulnerable artist who talks about her journey in a really transparent, beautiful way. And I found that again and again and again, whether it was Salt n Pepa or [MC] Lyte or YoYo or Rah Digga, that they are emcees but they are also women. So it was really just sitting down woman to woman and having some really great conversations and I think I was surprised by that. I was more prepared for the emcee side but I saw more of the sister side."
As a filmmaker, DuVernay came to critical acclaim with her 2008 feature debut, the documentary about the Good Life cafe in LA where coincidentally she began her own hip-hop career on the mic. Titled This is the Life, the excellent documentary won a slew of awards at various film festivals, was released theatrically, played on Showtime, and was one of the featured films in last year's Amoeba Music Monday Movies series at Space 15Twenty near the LA Amoeba store. The success of This is the Life led to many things for DuVernay, including her two-hour concert documentary on New Orleans' Essence Music Festival that aired on TV One over the weekend, and tonight's BET documentary, which includes interviews with such artists as Missy Elliott, MC Lyte, Trina, The Poetess, Roxanne Shante, Salt n Pepa, Eve, YoYo, Lady of Rage, Jean Grae, and Rah Digga.
The bromidic High Tension and a remake of The Hills Have Eyes didn't exactly warrant high expectations for a remake of Joe Dante's Piranha, which was itself a low-budget remake of Jaws using The Birds as a template. There's not much to Dante's film except that scenarist John Sayles deserves credit for writing a goofy riff on Hitchcock's classic 2 years before John Carpenter did it with The Fog. So why see a film with such a lackluster pedigree? Well, a friend promised me as much boobs and blood simulated in 3D tactility as an R rating could handle. And, for once, director Alexandre Aja doesn't disappoint. There's a beautifully choreographed underwater nude balletic lesbian make-out scene that surely points to the future in porn on high-def 3D TVs. And the full-scale attack of the piranha on the vacationing college kids is delivered like Saving Private Ryan's Normandy invasion
set in an MTV spring-break special, only with more carnage.
The central aspect to The Birds that neither Dante nor Carpenter got right was the Divine Vengeance angle where the mortal victims in their finitude couldn't come to grips with Judgement Day. At the end of Hitchcock's film, you're still asking why, whereas you're given a reason in the two derivations: In The Fog, the attack is payback for an act of theft on which the coastal town was founded; in Piranha, it's a matter of basic biological drive allowed to take its course due to a bureaucratic coverup so that a prime vacationing spot not be deprived of commerce (as was the case in Jaws). Piranha 3D doesn't achieve Hitchcock's metaphysical ambiguity, either, but it does provide for a more satisfying version of retribution.
I admit, even though I love Los Lobos now, it took me some time to get into them. When I wrote a blog about their album Los Angelenos - The Eastside Renaissance, I admitted that as a 15 year old, their music “was the kind of music that could be easily digested by the readers of Rolling Stone as being adventurous.” There was no way I could understand Los Lobos as a kid. They were adults. They were men who were married and had children. They had been part of the East Los music community for years by the time their records on Slash were released. Los Lobos isn’t one of those bands you grow up with. It’s a band you appreciate when you are older.
Sure enough, as I got older, I not only began to appreciate them, but I feel that now I fully understand them. Their lyrics had the same artistry as other Chicano visionaries such as writer Rudolfo Anaya or painter Patssi Valdez, coupled with their ability to make art that was both personal and universal. Hearing the song “La Pistola Y El Corazon” is like having a shot of tequila when heartbroken. "One Time One Night" makes me think of all the people I have lost. I saw my childhood in “Kiko And The Lavender Moon.” I saw my own past fly before my eyes in “Oh Yeah.”
This past week's event was Los Lobos’ third in-store appearance in nine years at Amoeba Hollywood. They started with “Burn It Down,” a song from their excellent new album, Tin Can Trust. The song has lots of Alt-Country flavoring with a blistering David Hidalgo guitar solo that was part Richard Thompson, part Thurston Moore. They followed it up with “Don’t Worry Baby” from Will The Wolf Survive? That song is an instant jump-up number that can get any crowd going. But it was the new songs, such as the title track, "Tin Can Trust," and the standout “Jupiter And The Moon,” a song with shades of Traffic’s “Low Spark of the High-Heeled Boys” that shined the most. Those two songs easily fit with the other Lobos classics they played that night, such as “Will The Wolf Survive” and “Shakin' Shakin' Shakes.” They played two of Cesar Rosas' signature Cumbias, “Yo Canto” from the new album and “Cumbia De La Raza” from the album This Time. Both had many people dancing in the aisles to their East L.A. Cumbia rhythm.
It's probably happening amongst other Austronesians, too, and if anyone wants to buy me a plane ticket to see first hand, I will be there as soon as possible.
Covering a vast area of the Earth, the Austronesians never established a large, centralized authority. Unlike the Mongols, Turks, English or Russians, the Austronesians didn't conquer and assert their sovereignty. Rather, they explored and spread, intermingling when they encountered natives, trading with neighbors and populating previously uninhabited islands. What they left is a vast cultural and linguistic umbrella, on par with the Bantu, Indo-Europeans, Afroasiatics and Uralics.
Madagascar's Austronesian President Andry Rajoelina
Meanwhile, BOMB HIp-Hop's Dave Paul, who has been throwing his Prince vs Michael Jackson parties for over seven years now, will travel all the way to Chicago tonight for his MJ birthday themed Prince vs MJ party. Booked at the Windy City's Beauty Bar, Paul will be getting busy mixing album cuts, remixes, rare tracks and classics from his extensive Prince and Michael Jackson music collection. The party starts at 9pm tonight at the Beauty Bar. Click here for more info.
1) Messy Marv and Berner Blow (Blocks and Boat Docks) (Bern One Entertainment)
2) Exile Am/Fm (Traffic)
3) Camu Tao King of Hearts. (Fat Possum/Def Jux)
4) Cut Chemist Sound of the Police (A Stable Sound/Soul Kitchen)
5) Tha Dogg Pound 100 Wayz (Gangsta Advisory Recordingz Inc)
I would not be surprised if you were to look up the word prolific in the dictionary -- at least in the Bay Area rap dictionary -- and a picture of Messy Marv popped up beside the definition. The longtime Bay Area rapper has been consistently releasing new material at such an astonishing rate that it would appear that he never sleeps, never leaves the studio. If you recall just two short weeks ago the new Messy Marv overseen SF collection Thizz City was on the Amoeba Top Five chart. Now this week Marv is back with another new collaborative release, Blow (Blocks and Boat Docks), which shot straight to number one at the San Francisco Amoeba. Released on Bern One Entertainment, this collaboration with Berner features Messy Marv on every track, and is a sequel to their joint project Blow, released late '09. As the title and album cover above implies, this more of that drug slanging school of rap music.
Our full upcoming schedule is available online:
Thursday, August 26
Director Bill Fishman and star Clu Gulager will appear IN PERSON, schedules permitting, for a post film Q&A.
1988, USA, 93 minutes
dir. Bill Fishman, starring John Cusack, Tim Robbins, Mary Crosby, Clu Gulager, Katy Boyer
Ignored both at the cinema and on tape, this is a gem that is as happy sending up the music video world as it is poking fun at politics. - Film 4
It has been a couple of slow weeks for music new releases. Arcade Fire week was amazing a couple of weeks ago but it was all sort of downhill after that. Now things are getting exciting again this week! The great end of summer albums are coming out and there are some fantastic albums right around the corner to get us through the end of the year. Additionally, there are some exciting new EPs and singles and 7"s out this week. No Age put out a new single called "Glitter" on 12" and 7". They have a new album, Everything in Between, out on September 28th. Blonde Redhead released "Not Getting There" as a 12" this week. They are one of my absolute favorites who never let me down and I can't get enough of them! They have a new album out on September 14th called Penny Sparkle. I still remember the first time I heard Blonde Redhead. That girl has one of those amazing voices and I have never heard anyone like her. Glad to have them back in my life! I assume by now that everyone has heard them but if you haven't, check out A Melody of Certain Damaged Lemons and In an Expression of the Inexpressible first.
Yolanda Be Cool & DCUP vs. Backstreet Boys vs. more "Everybody Speaks No Americano" (2010)
The mash-up of the week, "Everybody Speaks No Americano," comes care of Mashup Germany and was uploaded a week ago by YouTuber Ben Stiller. The irresistible audio/video concoction cleverly incorporates several sources, including the Backstreet Boys, but draws primarily from the current quirky-but-infectious surprise international pop hit by Yolanda Be Cool & DCUP, "We No Speak Americano."
The new mash-up takes the regular radio single version plus two remix versions (including the Chaos Club mix) of the summer novelty hit and then melds them with the Backstreet Boys' 1998 hit "Everybody (Backstreet's Back)" plus the overture from Phantom of the Opera and segments from both Bob Sinclar Feat. Dollarman and Big Ali & Makedah's "Rock This Party (Everybody Dance Now)," and Benny Benassi's sexually charged 2009 club hit "Satisfaction."
The end result is a catchy-as-hell, sugary pop confection that packs a similar appeal to that of the main source the mash-up draws from, "We Speak No Americano." That electro pop record, a studio collaboration between Australians Yolanda Be Cool and DCUP, originally quietly surfaced back in February of this year when it was released on the Australian label Sweat It Out. The single is constructed around an old sample from the 1956 Italian recording of the song "Tu vuo fa l'Americano" by Italian singer Renato Carosone which was a satire piece about an Italian imitating the American lifestyle. The dance/pop song has topped charts all over and this week is #1 in such countries as Germany, Argentina, & Belgium.
Undoubtedly you have heard by now that a man jumped to his death in front of both band and audience at last week's Swell Season show in Saratoga. If you were in the audience and want to talk to someone about what happened, the band has arranged for grief counseling via Kara, a Bay Area organization. Please see Swell Season's website for more info.
Just further proof of what lovely and generous people Glen and Marketa are, offering people solace in light of this tragic event.
Seven years later, listening back to Oakland (aka The Town) hip-hop artist Prozack Turner's funky-infectious, Oakland party rap anthem "Feelin' My Steelo" (DreamWorks, 2003), it would seem that the mic-wrecker turned bar-owner clearly envisioned himself one day running a popular music themed bar in Oakland -- something he does today at The Layover, which opened earlier this year.
"Make some noise! Let me know where The Town at. Hold up your drink now. Let me see you pound that. Home of the Silver and Black, killin' the track," enthusiastically rapped the talented East Bay emcee on the single (from the album Death, Taxes, and Prozack). He was "possessed by the ghost of Bukowski" as if penning the later soundtrack for his popular new downtown Oakland music bar which earlier this month got honored by the East Bay Express when it won the Best of the East Bay Awards for Best New Bar.
Born Zachary Turner, Prozack has been a familiar figure for many years on both the local and international underground hip-hop scenes. A successful solo artist (producing as well as emceeing), he is perhaps best known as a member of the super-talented but way underrated Bay Area hip-hop crew Foreign Legion along with his partner-in-rhyme Marc Stretch. Originally a trio, Foreign Legion formed back in the nineties along with DJ/producer DJ Design. Their impassioned ode to hip-hop, "Full Time B-Boy," released as a single by ABB Records, was also the opening track on the first Amoeba Music Compilation series, with their lyrics "All That Glitters Isn't Platinum" even lending the various artists Amoeba collection its title.
There may be many preshy "dream-girl" bands performing nightly under the radar out there, but perhaps none of them so bewitchingly swoon-worthy yet so storybook-ready to bear both fang and claw as Agent Ribbons. Tonight the trio, who have rightly been equated to sounding like Girls in the Garage doing the Three Penny Opera, will be appearing at Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco (along with Girl In A Coma and Gringo Star) as they tour in support of their sophomore effort entitled Chateau Crone, slated for release on Antenna Farm Records this October 12th.
Since starting out as a duo in 2007, singer and guitarist Natalie Ribbons and drummer Lauren Hess have toured the U.S. tirelessly, playing with such noteworthy acts as Camera Obscura at the Fillmore Auditorium last year as well as sharing stages with bands like Cake and the Detroit Cobras. Their debut full-length release On Time Travel and Romance first hit the shelves at Amoeba Music in the form of custom-crafted CDs housed in handmade sleeves that showcased a tangible penchant for bygone aesthetics held together by found feathers, bells, lace, ribbons, glitter, glue and more than a little bit of stitch-witchery. Said debut has since been re-released on Broken Carousel and the ladies have collaborated with visual artist Dame Darcy on their limited edition candy-apple green vinyl release for Seven Inch Project as well as delivering a second 7", Your Love Is the Smallest Doll, released on Acuarela Discos in Europe and Japan, which marked the first appearance of Naomi Cherie on violin and cello. Originally from Sacramento, Agent Ribbons uprooted to Austin, Texas, which may or may not have something to do with their being banned in the U.K. in 2008.
At first listen Chateau Crone comes across as an album spurred by a strange arrangement of influences and genres, both musical and visual, yet every minute of it sounds threaded like baroque pop gems beaded concertedly in a triumph of heirloom costume jewelry. From the opening track "I'm Alright," which plays like a sunny Breeders/Elastica-esque summer beach jam complete with three-part harmonies and hazy, post-feminist allure; to songs like "Dada Girlfriend," what conjures up heady visions of languid, balletic graces akin to women as "green fairies" in Art Nouveau absinthe advertisements; to the plaster-cracking rocker-track "Wood, Lead, Rubber," that comes very close to capturing the shock of the missus Ribbons' live performance sound, the record seems to suggest gypsies canvasing the limitless expanse of a tannin-stained teapot (see track four, "I'll Let You Be My Baby"), or getting down in the Winchester mansion via a rabbit hole guest starring the Shaggs (see track seven, "Your Hands, My Hands"), or a possibility-ridden attic of functionally aged wardrobes (see track six, "Wallpaper of Skin"), or a displaced estate where one might escape to meet the Beales of Grey Gardens (see "Grey Gardens," track two) for sweet tea with Golden Girls on their banana-leaf steeped lanai (see track eight, "Oh, La La!"). It is, frankly, all that and then some, yet, nothing quite beats seeing these girls pound out their otherworldly girl-next-door compositions in the bare-footed flesh, as they truly give 200% of themselves on stage, balancing honest minimalism with theatrical rawness given what they have previously referred to as their "limited means" of musical outfitting (of course, that was said before Miss Naomi joined the band). I would say that with the kind of gumption these girls pack into a stage show, instruments other than their very presence are almost unnecessary!
A nite of dark, minimal electroniks in San Francisco.
Thursday August 26th
SECRET SOCIETY OF THE SONIC SIX (LOS ANGELES)
JOSH CHEON (DARK ENTRIES)
Secret Society of the Sonic SIx @ Taix, July 2010
The most old-fashioned of the bunch is The Expendables (if the 80s is considered old), not just due to the waxy countenances of its stars or to Stallone's preference for building sets and then destroying them with real-life explosives, but because women in his film are not to be hit. This rule isn't so much a moral one, but an effect of the way the women characters are used. Since we're dealing with a group of mercenaries, and killing for money isn't exactly a sympathetic endeavor, the script provides women for the star members -- Stallone, Jason Statham and Jet Li -- to care about. Although we never get to see Li's wife and kids, we're made aware that he kills in order to support them. Statham has a girlfriend (played by my favorite ex-Buffy cast member, Charisma Carpenter) who's shacked up with a new boyfriend due to the former's tendency to mysteriously vanish for months at a time. Her new beau is a yuppie who beats on her. In the scene that received the most cheers from the audience, Statham exacts punishment on the yuppie and his bros on a basketball court while the girlfriend watches in admiration. His comment to her is something like, "you should've waited for me." Using Rambo's moral calculus, bruising one woman's eye is far more evil than murdering a bunch of anonymous individuals for cash. As former Expendable turned tattoo artist cum team guru Mickey Rourke explains, if he had just saved one woman's life, his soul could've been saved. Thus, Stallone finds redemption in rescuing a Third World dictator's daughter (Giselle Itié) from being tortured by Eric Roberts' rogue CIA agent and his henchman, Stonecold Steve Austin. In order to do this, the Expendables have to lay waste to the imaginary Latin American country's capital, which will probably have disastrous effects on the country's infrastructure for years to come. But what's possible mass starvation and the death of who knows how many innocents when it comes to a man's soul? Perhaps if you feel bad about killing, you just shouldn't kill.
Amoeba Music will be one of the many vendors at today's big record collector's swap meet in Culver City, CA. The West Side Record Show, produced by Record Collectors News, happens from 10am sharp this morning until 3:30pm this afternoon. According to the organizers, the show typically promises a lot of rare vinyl finds. Jim Kaplan, who runs the Record Collectors News website that tracks all of the vinyl swap meets across the country, told me that typically vendors "have some very rare collectors items of all genres. There are guys that usually have funk and hip-hop, and a lot of Northern Soul too; usually some very rare stuff." He added that Amoeba Music Hollywood actually plays a major role in the SoCal vinyl collecting world. "Amoeba is such a positive part of the scene here and I don't think Amoeba gets enough credit for the amount of interest and dedication they have generated towards record collecting!"
As both an Amoeba employee and an Amoeba shopper I totally agree. But then, I love digging for vinyl anywhere and everywhere, from record shops to swap meets, and from yard sales to old thrift stores. I also love just visiting fellow vinyl fiends' homes to thumb through their lovingly compiled collections and talking music and record collecting. Interestingly, every record collector has their own way of filing and storing their music depending on what the focus of their collection is or whether they actively use their records to play on the radio or out in clubs. Not everyone files strictly alphabetically. I divide mine by sub-genres of hip-hop such as Bay Area hip-hop, turntablism (including battle records), Miami bass, old school, etc. Some collectors divide by years or decades of release while others divide theirs into genres and subgenres, but everyone has their own unique take.
1) Eminem Recovery (Aftermath, Interscope, Shady)
2) Big Boi Sir Lucious Left Foot... The Son of Chico Dusty (Def Jam)
3) Rick Ross Teflon Don (Def Jam)
4) The Roots How I Got Over (Def Jam)
5) Drake Thank Me Later (Cash Money Records)
Thanks to Marques at the Hollywood Amoeba Music for this week's hip-hop top five chart which, as he notes, "has a lot of the same releases from the past few weeks" still holding it down, including Drake, Eminem, The Roots, Big Boi, and Rick Ross. But by next week expect some changes when, no doubt, the just released and already much hyped Camu Tao debut album King of Hearts takes over.
The album is already one of Amoeba SF's Luis' hot picks. The posthumously released album is the debut from this talented Brooklyn-via-Ohio emcee, singer, & producer, who died two years ago after a protracted battle with lung cancer. The late artist's CD, which could as easily be filed under rock as rap, is an effective blend of hip-hop sensibilities with melodic pop/rock & electropunk and may even remind some of a grittier version of B.O.B. and (longtime fan) Kid Cudi. Had King of Hearts been released when it was first recorded it would have been ahead of the curve. Knowing that these recordings, which executive producer El-P deliberately kept in their raw original form, date back many years only adds to their greatness.
Our full upcoming schedule is available online:
Friday & Saturday, August 20 & 21
Two by Nagisa Oshima
In the Realm of the Senses
1976, Japan / France, 102 minutes
written & directed by Nagisa Ôshima
starring Tatsuya Fuji, Eiko Matsuda
Fri: 7:30; Sat: 3:15 & 7:30, Watch The Trailer!
It’s been an unusually chilly and ridiculously gloomy summer in San Francisco but the lo-fi, garage, surf punks in Wavves ushered in a bonafide sunny summer day when they played an instore at Amoeba SF yesterday. The band’s youth-addled fans cascaded from the outer reaches of the world music section all the way to shore break at the front of the stage, staring with mouths agape when they weren’t singing along to their new summer anthems.
The San Diego-based band is touring behind their new release King of the Beach, which is the third Wavves album but the first featuring the current lineup of o.g. creator and front man Nathan Williams (guitar/vox), Stephen Pope (bass), and Billy Hayes (drums). Williams has slightly refined the slacker self-loathing he imperfectly trumpeted on Wavves’s previous bedroom productions by entering an actual studio and enlisting the help of Dennis Herring who has produced albums by the likes of Throwing Muses, Camper Van Beethoven and Modest Mouse. Pope and Hays (formerly the late Jay Reatard’s rhythm section) match and ratchet up Williams’s stoner thrash both in the studio, where they share a few song-writing credits, and on the stage, where they flail on flying V’s and bang kits in a mess of hair and crushed beer cans.
Constantly touring the world, it is not often that Public Enemy gets to play back on their home ground. "We only play New York City about every five years-- like an eclipse," noted Chuck D, adding that PE have nothing but major love for NYC. And clearly from the enthusiastic reaction of the all ages but mostly mature hip-hop audience that had packed into Central Park's SummerStage, everyone else felt similarly about the political hip-hop group from Long Island. 23 years ago they released their landmark debut Yo! Bum Rush the Show and in the years since the Chuck D led group has never stopped demonstrating their love of hip-hop or their commitment to always being outspoken against social & political ills.
Breaking Bad's Emmy nominated star Aaron Paul recently visited our Hollywood store and took TV Guide Channel on a little tour, showing off his picks and encouraging the world to get record players! We're rooting for you on Emmy night, Mr. Paul!
With the recent SB 1070 debacle in Arizona, many musicians have come out in support of the immigrant movement. Whether it is boycotting concerts in Arizona, or being part of the pro-immigrant marches going on across the U.S., I am proud to see that many have been behind the movement. However, there have been a number of well-intentioned artists who are writing and releasing songs in support of the Anti-Immigrant movement that are sub-par at best. The songs may come from the heart but most of them are full of clichés and slogans, mostly from those who have not gone through the immigration experience themselves. I don’t want to insinuate that these artists are opportunists, but if you haven’t been writing about immigrant issues since before all this madness in Arizona, you are probably a little late to the party. Besides, would you really want to rally a pro-immigrant song written by the likes of Taboo, probably the least talented member of the pop group The Black Eyed Peas?
Los Tigres Del Norte have been singing about immigration issues for the last forty-something odd years. They themselves immigrated into the U.S. in the late sixties, relocating to San Jose, Ca to try to make a living as musicians. In 1972, Los Tigres scored their first hit, "Contrabando y Traicion," a song that made them a household name in Mexico as well as among Mexicans living in the U.S. The song was considered the first Narcocorrido to become a hit and thus started the Narcocorrido boom that continues to thrive today. Over the years they have written many tunes, including some great songs critical of both the Mexican and U.S. government. But it’s their ability to write about the immigrant experience in the U.S. that sets them apart from most groups. As each immigrant experience is different, so is each song. Below are some of my favorites that Los Tigres Del Norte have recorded featuring different spectrums of the immigration experience:
“Vivan Los Mojados” (Long Live The Wetbacks) from the album Vivan Los Mojados
On paper it may not seem like it would work, but in reality (on audio and video) the melding of Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" with Michael Jackson's hit version of the Bobby Day popular single "Rockin Robin" works like a charm. The unlikely mashup mix was recently done by the UK's Mark Vidler for Go Home Productions.
Rumors are swirling here in San Francisco that Bob Dylan will be performing a "special show" at the Warfield on August 25.
UPDATE: The Warfield website now has confirmed the show and has details about when tickets will go on sale -- just three hours before showtime.
One of San Francisco's most wonderfully...San Franciscan acts is Carletta Sue Kay! She's been blowing up the underground scene here in SF, recently opening for Kinky Friedman at the Great American and kicking off Pride at the Eagle this year. CSK is a flouncy, dramatic gal who loves to sing gripping stories about her adoration for lads and her various heartbreaks. This is one talented gal who can sing her guts out! She has a brand new video for "Just Another Beautiful Boy" that you can check out right here; just try to get this song out of your head:
The GRAMMY Museum is proud to present The Drop: Ryan Bingham and the Dead Horses in the museum's Sound Stage, September 1 at 8pm.
The band will perform selections from their new release, Junky Star, (produced by the legendary T Bone Burnett), which will be released on August 31 through Lost Highway Records, discuss the recording of the record, take questions from the audience, and participate in a meet and greet after the event. Click here for more info!
As the saying goes in my country, “Goody, goody gum-drops!” Tomorrow, the boyfriend and I are escaping the hum-drum, laid back sleepiness of Los Angeles for the glitz and glamor of Nevada City, California, my hometown.
This week is the 10th Annual Nevada City Film Festival, and it promises to be the biggest and most exciting yet.
Ten years ago, a group of local ne’er-do-wells (counting me amongst them) decided to throw a film festival at our tiny, beloved art-film theatre, The Magic Theatre. Originally we showed only submissions from the surrounding communities. Times have changed, and now the N.C.F.F. showcases films from around the world.
I am especially excited to meet and hear from this year's special guests, Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim, best known for their disgusting, whimsical and lovable TV show, Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! (A lot of people don’t know this, but the last word in the title rhymes with “robe” and is a dedication to me.)
Lizards are a large, diverse group of reptiles. Around 3800 species live on land and in sea, on every continent except Antarctica. They range in size from geckos and chameleons (as small as a few centimeters) to komodo dragons (nearly three meters). Their used to be mosasaurs, which reached 17 meters! They proved to be too large and dangerous for Noah and his crew and so, went extinct.
The "once" mighty mosasaur
Although lizards give a lot of people the willies, most pose no threat. Gila Monsters and Beaded Lizards are poisonous but not likely to kill you, just give you a lot of pain. Komodo Dragons, on the other hand, are nothing to mess with. They sometimes stalk and attack humans and as recently as 2007, one killed an Indonesian kid. Nonetheless, in 2001, Sharon Stone's idiot husband bribed a zookeeper to let him see one up close and ended up in the hospital as a result. She divorced him three years later.
Please don't feed the dragon -- your toe
Numerous less dangerous species of lizard are kept as pets. Their owners often walk around with them on their shoulders and are the types to have weird goatees and other features designed to hammer home their eccentricity. Don't be one of those people.
I have been a TV addict for most of my life. It is not really something that I am embarrassed or ashamed about -- it is just the way things are. I try to balance out my life with other activities, and I make sure that I still devote some good time to outdoor activities like hiking and exploring. I also make sure I actually read a real book every couple months or so. But TV is really something that I love very much and I proudly admit it! I can't really imagine my life without it! These days I actually spend most of my TV hours watching movies on TV or TV on DVD but I did spend many hours in the 80's and early 90's watching a lot of actual television. I didn't have cable growing up so I spent most of my time watching the regular network shows and I was also fascinated by infomercials and weird talk shows. These were often the only things on late at night. I could easily watch an hour of a weird religious televangelist show. I had no problem watching an hour-long show about a food dehydrator or steam cleaner. I also loved watching public access shows that you could only get locally, and then there were always some amazing moments on local news stations -- those moments that you could not believe just happened. I always worried these moments would be forgotten forever. How could I ever catch these amazing bits of late night talk shows and public access shows again? Luckily the amazingly brilliant Pinky Carnage has put these moments on some great DVD collections. He has answered my prayers! TV Carnage has been putting out DVDs for a couple of years now. This is one of those times where I feel like something was put out on DVD just for me! I really could not have wished for anything better. I have collected them all and really could not wait to get a hold of this newest collection. Volume 6 has just been released and it is devoted to work out videos. It is called "Let's Work It Out!!!
Ever wanted to have one of Betty Draper's opulent dresses for yourself? Or perhaps you've drooled over the flawless mid-century furniture that populates the set of the best show currently on television, Mad Men.
Well, now here's your shot to own a little piece of the show! Select items used in episodes of Mad Men, including clothing, chairs, paintings (the one pictured above!) -- even Pete's turntable, and Joan's green dress from the infamous lawn-mower episode of Season 3, plus much more, are up on eBay, with the proceeds going to City of Hope, a life threatening illness center. The frenzy ends on August 22nd, so hurry and check all the items out here!
The Suburbs is #1 on the charts and Arcade Fire is bound to tour the heck outta it! They've announced new tour dates that include something special -- check out that 10.5 date in Big Sur! That's gonna be the ticket to get for all us West Coasters!
8/14 Toronto, ON – Olympic Island
8/27 Leeds, UK – Leeds Festival
8/28 Reading, UK – Reading Festival
8/29 Saint Cloud, France – Rock En Seine
9/2 Bologna, Italy – I-Day Festival
9/22 St. Paul, MN Roy Wilkins Arena
9/23 Winnipeg, MB MTS Centre
9/25 Saskatoon, SK Credit Union Centre
9/26 Calgary, AB Stampede Corral
9/28 Vancouver, BC Pacific Coliseum
9/29 Seattle, WA Key Arena
9/30 Portland, OR Memorial Coliseum
10/2 Berkeley, CA Greek Theatre
10/5 Big Sur, CA Henry Miller Library
10/7 Los Angeles, CA Shrine Auditorium
10/8 Los Angeles, CA Shrine Auditorium
10/10 Mexico City (MX) Palacio de los Deportes
10/12 Monterrey (MX) Banamex Theater
As a child growing up in Bluegrass Country, Kentucky, left-handedness was viewed with suspicion at best, and associated with Natural Evil at worst. Course, they call fiddles "devil's boxes" too. To paraphrase Bobby Boucher, they think everything is the devil!
However, hillbillies aren't alone in their distrust of the left hand. The word "sinister" comes from the Latin word sinestra, or "left." And yet, Chris McManus of University College London argues in his book, Right-Hand, Left-Hand, that the proportion of left-handers is increasing and left-handed people as a group have historically produced an above-average quota of high achievers. In other words, they're taking over...
Consider our leftie (not necessarily in the normal political sense) presidents. OK, maybe Gerald Ford did little to dispel the connotations of clumsy that give us the expression "two left feet." The '90s were totally cack-handed; both Bush and Clinton were goofy. In times of economic turmoil, we turn to lefties like Hoover and Obama, and then blame them for the conditions they inherited.
1) Exile Am/Fm (Traffic)
2) Bun B Trill O.G. (Rap A Lot)
3) Slum Village Villa Manifesto (E1 Entertainment)
4) Trek Life Everything Changed Nothing (Mello Music)
5) Messy Marv Thizz City (SMC)
In continuing the theme of his wonderful solo release from last year, Radio, Exile delivers this week's number one album at Amoeba, the brand new AM/FM, which is actually culled from that 2009 release. By reworking and remixing elements of Radio the talented Los Angeles producer born Aleksander Manfredi, who many came to know as one half of the emcee/producer duo of Blu & Exile, has crafted a whole new twenty one track album. In fact some of the tracks on AM/FM sound completely new with nary a trace of the earlier album's sound to them. And while Radio was more of an instrumental album (with the occasional vocal sample off the radio) showcasing Exile's studio chops with little other distraction, AM/FM shines more light on the mic wreckers. These include many of his compadres such as Blu (check out a track featuring Blu, "Love Line," below), Alchemist, The Grouch & Eligh, Evidence, and Aloe Blacc (with whom he formed his first group, Emanon). Standout tracks include the the Shafiq Husayn remix of "It's Coming Down," "Mega Mix" featuring Fashawn, Big Tone, and ADaD, and the DJ Day remix of "In Love." In addition to AM/FM, I would recommend tracking down both Radio and Exile's 2006 album Dirty Science.
Check out "Apply" here:
This weekend Amoeba Music will be among those at the outdoor Unique OC fashion/design festival which takes place at the LAB Anti-Mall in Costa Mesa, Orange County on both Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 6pm.
Billed as the largest independent design show in the country, at the event, which will be centered in a giant outdoor marketplace set up in the OC space for the weekend, over eighty LA area designers and artists will show their wares in what the organizers promise will be a local, homegrown SoCal presentation of "fresh, fun and eclectic" designs.
In addition to fashion and accessories there will also be handmade jewelry, screenprints, artwork, housewares, and more.
Among those representing over the weekend will be such independent vendors as Hips and Hair, Paper Pastries, Handmade Store On A Bike, I Wish I Had a Penguin Friend from the Los Angeles Craft Mafia and Maiden Voyage, whose designs include their "Bears in Tandem" tee pictured above.
On Saturday only The Box Gallery at 765 Saint Clair in Costa Mesa will be hosting about twenty additional craft vendors In conjunction with The LAB, including Whodini Handmade and Le Modern Trinket, at their Box Shop Indie Craft & Art Fair from 11am-6pm. Meanwhile, at the LAB location there will also be gourmet food and drink plus such attractions as DIY workshops.
Santa Ana is the county seat and most populous city in Orange County. To vote for other Orange County communities to be covered here on the blog, click here. To vote for Los Angeles County communities, click here. To vote for LA neighborhoods, click here.
Pendersleigh & Sons' Official Maps of Santa Ana
Santa Ana is surrounded by Garden Grove to the northwest, Anaheim to the north, Orange to the northeast, Tustin to the east, Irvine to the southeast, Costa Mesa to the south, Fountain Valley to the southwest and Westminster to the west. For this blogventure, I was accompanied by Orange County's Emily Ryan.
Although technically only around for the past six years, the UK based record label Finders Keepers has been, according to its owners, in the making for the past 40 years! The rich, diverse and offbeat music in the Finders Keepers catalog (a melange of psychedelic, funk, folk, jazz, avant-garde and "whacked-out movie musak to a lost world of undiscovered vinyl artifacts from the annals of alternative pop history") spans recordings from the last 40 (and more) years, and from all over the globe. For example two, of its recent impressive releases are the CD/2LP Pomegranates compilation of 60's & 70's Persian funk, folk, psych and other pop quirkiness; and the avant-pop meets funk-rock soundtrack to the movie Stone, the 1974 Australian biker psych cult classic that, complete with a glowing Quentin Tarantino endorsement, is being relaunched with a big screening at Lincoln Center in NYC this Friday.
Both the label's founder, Andy Votel, and Finders Keepers' US rep (and Amoeba Hollywood employee) Mahssa will be at the NY screening event. I recently caught up with Mahssa at the SoCal Amoeba to talk about Finders Keepers and how she got involved with the eclectic and most unique UK label that accurately describes itself as an "accidental world music label with a punk aesthetic and DJ friendly ethos."
Albert Hammond Jr (The Strokes)
Albert Hammond Jr performed at Amoeba Hollywood on March 7, 2007.
Devil Makes Three
The Devil Makes Three combine ragtime, country, folk & rockabilly (without a drummer!). They performed at Amoeba Hollywood on October 13, 2009. Get an exclusive free download of "For Good Again" by Devil Makes Three recorded live at Amoeba!
Here at Amoeba, we have always shown love for the cassette tape and its rabid fans -- stocking a huge variety of genres and artists, all on cassette, and all hella cheap at that! If you are ready to get back into the wide world of tapes, or if you've never lost your jones for the format, you can get in on the action by coming on in to any Amoeba and picking up bunches of em -- we've got tons o' tapes in country, soul, metal, rock, hip hop, jazz, etc!
To learn further about the possible and probable causes of this return to the cassette tape, we picked the brain of one of our own who is particularly active in the cassette scene: Amoeba employee Jason Pearl. His popular cassette only label Living Tapes' fine releases are all available at Amoeba Hollywood! Our discussion regarding the return of the cassette follows:
Us: How long have you had Living Tapes?
Southern California DJ EtRoNiK took the 2010 US DMC DJ Championship title Saturday night in New York at an entertaining DJ event that included not just scratching, beat-juggling, body-tricks and mixing, but also nunchucks & handcuffs, plus laughter & booing. By becoming the new US DMC Champion, DJ EtRoNiK, who hails from Pico Rivera in Southeastern Los Angeles County, is the first DJ in the US to represent the World in all 3 DMC World Battle Categories. The skilled and seasoned DJ was the DMC US Supremacy Champion 2006, DMC US Team co-Champion (The Angry Exs) 2008, and DMC West Coast Champion 2010. The runner up in Saturday's US Finals was Lakewood NJ DJ Steel, who is part of the Brick Bandits Crew and whose battle titles include the 2009 DMC New Orleans Champion, and the 2010 DMC San Antonio TX Champion. In third place was tireless veteran battle DJ Grandmaster Supreme, who back in 1991 took the NMS (New Music Seminar) DJ champion title (the year before Mixmaster Mike won the title in the legendary & long defunct NYC based annual NMS battles) and whose impressive battle routine Saturday night included a lot of dramatics and body tricks, including flipping a pair of nunchucks as he simultaneously worked the turntables.
Running from 5pm to 10pm at Santos Party House (the downtown Manhattan club co-owned by Andrew WK), the fun-packed five hour event included, in addition to the actual DJ battle, several impressive showcases. One was a jaw-dropping opening set by Rockin Rob. This old school hip-hop DJ, who plays 45s exclusively and all rare funk and breaks seven inches, is a sight to see as he effortlessly cuts and juggles (lots of quick mixes) without ever missing a beat. Everyone in the house loved his set, including the host (and unofficial star) of the night, the ever entertaining Kool DJ Red Alert. The pioneering hip-hop DJ, who used to host the DJ battles way back in the day and thankfully is back doing it again, is the perfect fit as host of the big DJ battle. He is both funny-as-hell and knowledgeable in the art of hip-hop battle DJ'ing, but more importantly, he's well able to good-humoredly deal with the contestants and the audience if and when either need to be kept in check.
Just a few of the artists are below. See the full lineup here.
Yesterday saw the death of one of my favorite actresses, Patricia Neal, from lung cancer. A belief in Heaven might be comforting at this point, but for myself, I can’t help but think this planet got a little less awesome.
Neal’s performances have always struck me as profoundly internalized. The women she portrayed often seemed unwilling to betray their true feelings, and it was Neal’s ability to stay true to this, while at the same time radiating their deeper passions, that make her an endlessly rewarding study. I find I always want to see how she would play a role, given the chance.
Neal’s most famous roles were as the female lead, Helen, in the 1951 production of The Day the Earth Stood Still, and her performance as Alma in Hud, for which she won the 1963 Academy Award for Best Actress.
Kim Novak tended to specialize in the objectified woman role, where the character's arc was more about mirroring the leading man's desires than any self-determination. This is true of at least 4 films featured in The Kim Novak Collection: Picnic (1955) has her casting off the constraints of being the hometown beauty queen to live a life of vagrancy with William Holden's former star athlete turned shiftless loser. In Bell, Book and Candle (1958), she's a witch who's willing to lose her supernatural powers for the love of a good man played by Jimmy Stewart. Having been cruelly mistreated in a former marriage, she falls for the much older Fredric March as a substitute father figure in Middle of the Night (1959). And although Frank Sinatra's philanderer makes no promises in Pal Joey (1957), she's just sure that he'll get used to the idea of fidelity. The one exception here is as the titular character and real-life actress in Jeanne Eagels (1957), who's willing to use anyone to become a star. Eagels castrates the men in her life as she rises to the top, but because her narcissism is so thoroughly rebuked (showing her drug addiction, alcoholism, malaise and early demise), the film reassures Novak's other characters that they made the right choice. For a proper critique of the beautiful feminine spectacle, of course, we have Vertigo (1958).
[W]ith her head of writhing snakes, huge mouth, lolling tongue and boar’s tusks, the Medusa is also regarded by historians of myth as a particularly nasty version of the vagina dentata.
More to the point of this post, Alfred Hitchcock demonstrated along with Creed's Medusa that hair can be really frightening, and nowhere is this more evident than in the coiffures forced upon Novak. Her stylists had one of two choices: go with the short hair she wore outside of the movies, or give her attachments. These mudflaps made for the worst hairstyles seen on a woman in film since Jean Harlow. And, as was the case with Harlow, we're supposed to think of glamor, rather than trailer park. Hitchcock played the shorter, urbane style against the terrifying mullet (Madelaine the ideal versus Judy the something to work with), but in Picnic we're supposed to think of the above as luxurious. As Novak explains in an extra, she doesn't have thick hair, so she tended to trim the add-ons to fit her hair better. That plan didn't work so well when her extensions were supposed to be cascading out of the window. On the other hand, the styled version wasn't much better:
It's too close to this monstrosity. And was Jeanne Eagels' knotted mullet really a style back in 1910?
I like the cut in Bell, Book and Candle; it goes well with capri pants. But someone decided to give her a brown wash, which looks like she spent too long in the swimming pool:
Which thankfully doesn't so much matter in black and white:
And, finally, she was given a faux-hawk for Pal Joey:
Photos by Kaitlin Layher and Lori Katz
On Friday August 6th, Amoeba transformed a vacant storefront into a one-night only MINI-AMOEBA for The East Bay Express' BEST OF THE EAST BAY PARTY, which this year took over the entirety of Oakland's Jack London Square!
Amoeba Berkeley brought down a taste of each section of the store: selling LPs, CDs, and DVDs from each of our eclectic sections. We also sold all sorts of other accessories like T-Shirts, buttons, guitar picks too!
In addition to selling product, Amoeba also curated an East Bay Poster Artist show, gathering 4 stellar artists from Oakland and Berkeley who brought with them some legit Rock and Roll street cred with them.
Our pop-up store didn't stop there! Also at the party, we kicked of a raffle to benefit The Bay Area Girls Rock Camp where you can donate one dollar to the music camp for future Riot Grrrls and get entered into a drawing to win a custom Amoeba Guitar (here being shown off by Amoeba owner Marc Weinstein).
Just an hour and a half from now (4pm until 10pm EST) this year's DMC US Finals - National DJ Battle competition will take place at Santos Party House in New York City. DJs from all over the country will be competing for the prestigious title and a grand prize that includes flying them over to London in October to compete in the DMC World DJ Battle. Last year US DJ Shiftee won the title and went on to the UK for the World Finals and won, becoming the reigning DMC World Champion DJ. With that title his life has changed dramatically. "My life as a DJ has been catapulted into overdrive since winning the 2009 DMC World Championship. I have way more gig offers, way more press, way more props/respect, and a much bigger platform to put forth my projects and personality," the talented and quick-witted DJ told me recently, adding, "I also now have probably the best coffee table in the world. All in all, I think it's a good thing I won."
Today's DMC DJ battle will determine who will be the 2010 DMC US Champion and the 2010 DMC US Vice Champion (runner up). Contestants include Florida's DJ Concept; Denver, Colorado's DJ Notch; California's DJ Etronik; Colorado DJ Cysko Rokwel; Steel from New Jersey; South Carolina's DJ Swift; Colorado DJs Skip Ripkin, B'Money, & Jeff C; Cali DJs Juyadek & DJ Image; and self-described "Center of the Universe" DJ, Grandmaster Supreme. And for this battle each DJ has put in ridiculous amounts of time practicing for their few moments at a chance to take the title. "I practice six hours a day," DJ Swift told me yesterday during a WFMU pre-DMC Finals radio special.
Not in my house, anyway. I think we have all heard by now that Soundgarden has reformed to play Lollapalooza on Aug 8th -- but I am wondering if, with the announcement of a retrospective, Telephantasm, plus a DVD and a partnership with Guitar Hero all scheduled to be released September 28th, a real, honest to god tour from the long-defunct band is in the works? Seems like a strong possibility.
Check out the "lost track" being included on the best-of, from the Badmotorfinger sessions. It's called "Black Rain":
In the meantime, I'm gonna drag out my dusty copies of Louder Than Love, Badmotorfinger and Superunknown and prepare myself for the imminent return of one of the grunge era's greatest bands.
"Fell On Black Days"
"Jesus Christ Pose"
We all remember from Elijah Wood's appearances on The Osbournes way back when what a huge music fan this guy is! Now, years later, his passion for music is still just as strong and he even owns his own label, Simian Records! Here at Amoeba we are thrilled to announce that Frodo himself, Mr. Elijah Wood, will be spinning selections at the Hollywood store this Sunday, August 8, from 2-4pm! Show up and get down! For more on our Sunday Matinee Sound Series, click here!
2) Big Boi Sir Lucious Left Foot... The Son of Chico Dusty (Def Jam)
3) Madlib Medicine Show #7: High Jazz (Stones Throw)
4) Curren$y Pilot Talk (Blu Roc, Def Jam)
5) Eminem Recovery (Aftermath, Interscope, Shady)
Thanks to Inti at the Amoeba Music Berkeley store for this week's Hip-Hop Top Five countdown (see video below), with many of the same current releases from the past several weeks still holding strong in sales at the Telegraph Ave. store. A prime example is The Roots' widely acclaimed latest How I Got Over (Def Jam), which is number one again this week. A new entry on the top five is the latest installment from eclectic producer Madlib -- CD number seven for month number seven (July 2010) in this unique Stones Throw twelve month Medicine Show series from the prolific LA music man. High Jazz is the name of the CD and it has already sold out at Amoeba Berkeley. The album is described as a tribute to the landmark 1976 jazz-fusion album released by Stanton Davis’s Ghetto Mysticism and as such displays another impressive musical side to the ever eclectic and progressive Madlib. Noteworthy songs on this 15 track release include a collaborative piece with jazz/hip-hop drummer/producer Karriem Riggins, who, along with Madlib, is the group Jahari Masamba Unit. Note that there is also a limited edition 3-disc vinyl version of this Medicine Show installment from Stones Throw which offers an exclusive additional 30 minutes of music. Fans of the Madlib Medicine Show series can look out for release number 8 to drop on August 24th.
Four Tet & Mala
Nothing To See
First up is the glitchy, sparkling electronica of "NOTHING TO SEE" by FOUR TET, with a shuffling post-garage vibe to it. On the flip is "DON'T LET ME GO" by MALA, a thick stew of discordant beats and propulsive melodies. As the label says, "Future Bass!" Limited edition and available now!
Listen to "Nothing To See" here:
Keep It Cheap
Keep It Cheap
Eric 'Dr. Dunks' Duncan (COMBI / Still Going / Rub 'n' Tug etc) launches his new Keep It Cheap imprint, the winner here being the Dolly Parton edit that Harvey’s been caning for a while now. Hot!
Conrad Schnitzler's Zug is one of the most important and one of the first electronic minimalist works that was published in the 1970s. Almost simultaneously with Kraftwerk's groundbreaking Autobahn, "Zug" appeared on the legendary The Red Cassette (1973). Wire wrote about Zug: "Kraftwerk might have used similar methods to create rhythm, but three decades on, it still sounds like the future." As an original member of Tangerine Dream (1969-1970) and a founding member of Kluster, Conrad Schnitzler is a creator of milestones in the history of electronic popular music. This release is rounded off with remixes by Con (1978) fan Stefan Betke aka Pole and Borngräber & Strüver. Pole and Kassian Troyer (Radian) have mastered the record, so the best quality is guaranteed.
Our full August schedule is available online:
Amoeba at Unique OC! The largest independent design show in the country will set up shop at The Lab in Costa Mesa, August 14-15, from 11am-6pm! Shop this huge outdoor marketplace featuring 75 hand selected vendors from Unique LA, and discover some great local designers! Browse through the amazing wares including clothing and accessories, jewelry, artwork, books, toys, and much more. Stop by the Amoeba booth, say hello, and pick up some awesome finds in vinyl and CDs at great prices! Click here for more info.
A few short years ago, a man came to the buy counter at Amoeba Hollywood to sell a new release to the store. It was ZZK Sound Vol. 1 - Cumbia Digital. Just before that I had been reading about a club in Buenos Aires, Argentina called Zizek Club, where deejays/producers were playing mash-ups of Cumbia, Reggae, Hip-Hop and Electronic Music. It sounded cool and I wished I could be in BA so I could check it out. Turned out the guy was Grant C. Dull, a former Texan now living Buenos Aires and one of the co-founders of the night as well as the label. That day, the ZZK crew was in town for a show and Amoeba Hollywood turned out to be the first store in the U.S. to carry their product!
We kept in touch and he sent the store releases by Fauna, El Remolon and Chancha Via Circuito before the label had U.S. distribution. The ZZK label and its artists soon became known worldwide, performing in Europe, Mexico, Canada and all over the U.S. The latest tour has dates in San Francisco, Echo Park and Hollywood. I caught up with Grant (Aka El G) over the phone and asked him a few questions about the tour and what is up with ZZK in general.
So how is the tour so far?
Grant: It's going really well. We started in New York and have been making our way west for the last two weeks. The reception has been great and this has been our best tour yet.
It may not even have been open a full two months yet but already Oakland's Remedy Coffee at 4316 Telegraph Avenue (between 43rd St & 44th St) in the ever evolving Temescal district has the warm & comfortable feel of a local cafe that has been there a lot longer than just seven weeks. The friendly and attentive Todd Spitzer is the owner of Remedy and I instantly knew I liked the guy and his new business when I first went in and saw him proudly sporting a T-shirt that read Live in Oakland. Love in Oakland. Love Oakland, and, between preparing individual servings of fresh coffee, he was changing the record on the turntable (yes, a vinyl player!) behind the counter.
That was about four weeks ago and in the short time since, business has quadrupled for Remedy -- and for good reason. It's a welcoming, very spacious, well lit environment with a variety of seating options (high stool counter, sofa level, & standard cafe table inside and out), excellent coffee (they specialize in light coffee), free Wi-Fi (unblocked under Remedy Hearts You), great music selection and nice bass-y speakers well positioned up high, excellent art on the wall (artist Cathy Lo currently), plus numerous cool curiosities such as a Pacific Bell phone booth right when you walk in the main door. The back patio is still to open, but it will soon. The clientele (many of whom arrive by bike) is a nice wide mix of people from The Town: musicians, DJs, artists, students, blue collar workers, OPD, young, old, straight and, gay. It's open Monday to Friday 7am to 6pm and weekends 8:30am to 6pm.
Before opening Remedy, which is right next door to Flying Yoga, round the corner from a cluster of Korean restaurants known to many as Little Korea, and down a block from Rent-A-Relic, Todd had a coffee cart set up right outside. With help from friends, he slowly but surely over a period of year worked on getting his business off the ground. He carefully crafted the interior of Remedy, which is modern without being cold or alienating. I recently caught up with Todd to ask him about going from cart to cafe, light roasted versus dark roasted., Oakland as a place to live & work, the meaning of the Remedy logo, and, of course, music -- inviting him and his staff to submit their all time Top Five Albums lists. The staffer descriptions are all Todd's.
Taylor King (Almost lead barista and art curator) Top Five:
1) Jethro Tull Thick as a Brick
Well, I went to see Joanna Newsom at the Fox Theater in Oakland last night, and there it was, clear as day, conjured and unfolding before me like no one else but the artists of olde: alchemy.
She and her adept band whirled and bounced through much of her new album, Have One On Me, peppered with a few songs from Milk Eyed Mender and one from Ys.
I can't think of anyone else who is making music now that is so utterly unique, creative, innovative and moving. It's a difficult thing to do these days, it seems. If you're not on board with Joanna and music matters to you, you are really missing the boat.
LIVING WOULD BE EASY IF YOUR COLOURS WERE LIKE MY DREAMS -- LITTLE ETHIOPIA - ሊትል ኢትዮጵያ
This blog entry is about the Midtown neighborhood of Little Ethiopia. To vote for more LA neighborhoods, click here. To vote for LA County communities, click here. To vote for OC communities, click here. I was accompanied on my adventure to the hood by Aussie filmmaker, Diana Ward.
To be a star in Hollywood all you really need is a Sharpie pen. And since fame and stardom don't always come a-knockin' on your door, sometimes you just gotta go out there and make it happen yourself -- take control of your own destiny, or stardom, so to speak. This you can do armed with a Sharpie, plus a willingness to commit a minor crime, followed by a quick walk down the Hollywood Walk of Fame until you stumble upon one of the blank stars on the sidewalks of Hollywood Blvd. and Vine Street.
There, spread over a combined 18 blocks, sit approximately two and a half thousand five-pointed terrazzo & brass stars brightly embedded in the Hollywood sidewalk, spaced at every six feet. Many of these stars are blank waiting to be officially filled in with the name of some accomplished entertainment figure, typically a movie, TV, or music person. Sometimes these blank stars get unofficially filled in. That is exactly what "Boris P" with his "M" in a circle symbol recently did on Vine in the block just below Hollywood Blvd, where he got busy with his Sharpie pen -- instantly bypassing the typical hard uphill slog to stardom. And with an estimated ten million visitors annually coming to LA specifically to see The Walk, according to a report by NPO/Plog Research, odds are that "Boris P" is a hell of a lot more well known now than he was before he bought that 99 cent Sharpie.
Administrated by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce and maintained by the Hollywood Historic Trust, The Hollywood Walk of Fame very recently celebrated its 50th anniversary which I missed by a few days. Held on Sunday, July 25th, the occasion was celebrated with a day-long festival with tours of iconic Hollywood theaters and studios, as well as live music, performances, movie screenings and various other activities including the induction of the late great Louis Prima onto The Walk. I passed his shiny new star -- not too far from Boris P's star.
1. Enrique Iglesias-Euphoria
2. V/A-Let’s A Go-Go
3. Seu Jorge- Seu Jorge & Almaz
5. V/A-Afrosound Of Colombia Vol.1
6. Sloepoke-Fiesta Tropical
7. V/A-Saigon Rock & Soul
8. V/A-World Ends: Afro Rock & Psychedelia in 1970s Nigeria
10. Marc Anthony-Iconos
July’s top ten includes five retro world compilations, three releases by iconic Latin Pop stars, a release by one of the coolest Brazilian to ever walk on this earth and a local deejay who's got a Cumbia collection like no other.
Enrique Iglesias topped the chart this month, a slight surprise considering his last few releases didn’t do much in the store in the past. Two other iconic Latin Pop singers, Marc Anthony and Yuri, sold well enough to take the ninth and tenth spots.
A welcome change is the increase of retro releases from Southeast Asia. Saigon Rock & Soul is a vinyl only release from the Sublime Frequencies label that will soon be sold out, even before this blog is up. The funky psychedelic Vietnamese rock certainly has people willing to pay the almost thirty bucks for this double LP, but I’m sure there are not many complainers in the end. Don’t have a record player and/or don’t want to spend 30 bones? Another option is to go with the Let’s A-Go-Go compilation, which is from 1964-1969 and includes bands from Singapore as well as all over Southeast Asia.