2010 was another great year for hip-hop with a seemingly never-ending flow of quality releases dropping from both underground and mainstream hip-hop artists. Hence, it's impossible to fully represent the diversity of hip-hop in 2010 in any year-end column. But this Amoeblog will attempt to offer a sampler of some of the highlights of 2010 via revisiting some select Amoeba Hip-Hop Top 5 charts along with some accompanying videos. Also below are some best-of 2010 lists from Luis F Soria (Amoeba San Francisco), Ray Ricky Rivera (Amoeba Hollywood), DJ Inti (Amoeba Berkeley), and myself (Amoeblog).
The lists of 2010 releases below only scratch the surface of what came out this past year, which proves just how vibrant hip-hop was in 2010. It was everywhere, with artists crossing over more than ever into pop, rock, & dance. And while 2010 saw a ton of newcomers drop impressive albums, it was also a year when many longtime artists delivered some of their best work. Eminem, Big Boi, E40 and Ghostface Killah each had stellar releases. Also impressive in 2010 were Dres from Black Sheep, Sadat X, Rah Digga, and Son of Bazerk and No Self Control, who returned with the killer jackin for beats track, "I Swear On a Stack of Old Hits," released by Chuck D's Slamjamz label. Unfortunately, when they performed live, opening for Public Enemy in 2010, they weren't as good as on record or video (see below). Consistently great in concert including on their 2010 tour was Public Enemy whose 1991 single "By The Time I Get To Arizona" inspired many and took on a new meaning in 2010 with Arizona's Senate Bill 1070, or SB 1070.
DJ Shadow's Shadowsphere tour was among the best shows of 2010. Zion I's recent Atomic Clock tour was also on the money. Gurp Fest, earlier this month, proved that the party driven, raw hip-hop Bay Area bred movement is on the brink of blowing up. Among the many Bay Area artists making noise in 2010 were Richmond's Erk Tha Jerk, Vallejo's Moe Green, and Fillmore San Francisco's DaVinci. Veteran SF hip-hop crew Bored Stiff released the free digital album Now More Than Ever in 2010 but tragically lost a member when earlier this month Rick Fairley, aka Big Kwanz, died in his sleep from a heart attack. He was only 36. Hip-hop lost many others too in 2010, notably GURU of Gang Starr, who died back in April at age 43.
Since Che only showed for a week in 2009 and I couldn't see it until this year, I'm including it here (and, conversely, I included Mother and Trash Humpers on my last year tally). Along with Carlos, The Social Network and Mesrine, this was the year of the biopic for me. I generally hate biopics, since they tend to reduce an interesting individual to the least interesting aspects of his or her life. Who gives a shit about the summer Che traveled around on a motorbike falling in love? Why, he's almost just like us ... except for that time he took over a country. Steven Soderberg and Olivier Assayas focus their epics on what made their respective subjects, Ernesto Guevara and Ilich Ramírez Sánchez, historically significant, namely wreaking ideological havoc. Thanks to their loving attention to the details of guerilla warfare and terrorism, I can now knowingly return to my homeland and make it the independent republic that God always intended it to be. Best historical epics since David Lean was making them.
The Black Swan may be my favorite film of the year. Themes of pressure, perfectionism, claustrophobia, and the horror and madness that come along with the distortion that occurs when all three are applied to the brain at the same time are explored here in a fabulous performance by Natalie Portman along with Mila Kunis. And Winona Ryder's Beth is scary as hell!
Here's the trailer:
I am a photographer, but these aren't necessarily my best photos ever. They are, however, photos from most of my favorite shows of 2010, in chronological order:
1/2/10 An Evening with the Melvins at the Great American Music Hall
I don't like to be late to shows, but I think I had to work this night, so I walked into the Great American Music Hall during the second song of the set. The show began with just Buzzo and Dale on stage. I brought my one of my brothers to the show, and it was his first time seeing the Melvins. We grew up listening to a lot of Beatles and both LOVE them, so when the band played "Let Me Roll It" by Paul McCartney, I kinda lost my shit. It was an amazing beginning to a rad show. Love those Melvins!
2/11/10 Brendan Benson supported by Frank Fairfield at the Independent
I love Brendan Benson and saw him twice this year but this show was extra awesome because I got to see Frank Fairfield. He plays old timey country/bluegrass music and he blew me away. I also grew up listening to Bob Wills, the Carter Family, Johnny Cash, among others. I was pleased when Frank played at Amoeba Music later this year to support Terry Zwigoff's DVD signing.
1) Cee Lo Green The Lady Killer (Elektra Records)
2) Kanye West My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam)
3) Ghostface Killah Apollo Kids (Def Jam)
4) Michael Franti & Spearhead The Sound of Sunshine (Capital)
5) Andre Nickatina & Tha Jacka My Middle Name Is Crime EP (I-Khan Distribution)
Special thanks to Amoeba Berkeley's DJ Inti, whose year end list is posted on Amoeblog, for this final Amoeba hip-hop chart of the year. "Due to the holiday shopping rush, some releases that haven't shown up in a while show a spike in sales," Inti told me, explaining that the Michael Franti/Spearhead album released back in early summer is back on the top five for the Telegraph Avenue store. Meanwhile, the more recently released albums from both Kanye and Cee Lo continue to sell well and likely will into 2011. Speaking of Kanye, a leaked version of the new video for his album track "Monster" surfaced earlier today on several sites including YouTube. Click here to see the video/song that features Jay-Z, Nicki Minaj, and Rick Ross but be forewarned that the audio quality is poor.
New hip-hop releases at Amoeba, as in albums dropping over the past week or two, include both Ghostface Killah's impressive new solo release and Andre Nickatina & The Jacka's collaborative EP release, My Middle Name Is Crime, on Nickatina's I-Khan Distribution label. The 8 song release from these two much celebrated Bay Area rappers follows their series of singles together.
I remember the first time I caught sight of the glowing, blacklit neon appeal of TRON. The boxy upright console outshone the others in my hometown Putt-Putt arcade and I couldn't help desiring to bask in its purple hazed portal though I'd always considered Centipede to be my one and only love. Let's be honest, playing TRON was about as exciting as the saccharin in a can of Tab, no matter how romanced I was by that Starlight Express meets Pinball Wizard of a design story. It's a silly game popularized a silly movie and it seems the good folks down at Disney completely understand that. TRON may never be taken seriously for its dramatic narrative and that's exactly right-on, but it is bursting with cinematic content. For me, re-viewing the 1982 classic TRON flick and the recently reimagineered TRON: Legacy was pure pop Sci-Fi pleasure the likes of which anyone this side of the Logan's Run Carousel knows better than to over-analyze.
Anyway, what better way to punctuate sweet freedom of another semester completed and celebrate the spirit of the season than seeing TRON: Legacy in IMAX 3D over Christmas vacation? Disney's new take on the ambitious yet sketchy Rotoscoped, post modern, science-fantasy arcade-gaming jam delivers a not very smart but sometimes clever cross-section of tired sci-fi/fantasy genre clichés, slickly redesigned to diamond-cut, mind-blowing visual perfection, ever flying the promotional gaming flag and still driven (literally!) by a pre-Lebowski albeit CG'd Jeff Bridges (which raises questions about the ethical treatment of dead actors' imminent bodies of possible future work) as well as the more popular (and less obviously plasti-complexioned) post "Dude" Jeff Bridges. Aesthetically, TRON went from this:
Washed Out - "Feel It All Around" - Life of Leisure: "Mellowed out, slowed down boogie samples." - Inti
Onra - "Long Distance": "Boogie from France." - Inti
Lil B - "It's Okay To Be Different" - Rain in England: "Berkeley weird ass future rap released on a noise label. About nothing but himself." - Inti
And DJ Inti's honorable mentions of 2010:
Amoeba Testimonials Contest Winners!
In celebration of our 20th Anniversary, we ran a contest where we asked YOU to tell US about your favorite Amoeba experience. The response was overwhelming!
Thank you to everyone who took the time to tell us their own personal Amoeba story. It was so difficult to just pick 3 winners but we did. To read all of the entries click right here! Read on to find out who won!
The Social Network. I had no interest in seeing it, but once I did, I can admittedly agree with the critics that despite its potentially yawn-inducing Facebook-saga topic, it is one of the most compelling films of the year. It moves at a frenetic, breakneck pace, just as the events of the film must have felt to its main characters, who in the space of months go from nerdy Harvard students to (nerdy) millionaires entrenched in legal action and beyond.
The dialogue is snappy and well written by Aaron Sorkin, who has a little cameo in the film as well, and I must congratulate director David Fincher for creating a film that easily held my attention throughout the two hours, and not just because I was gaping at the flawlessly created Winklevoss twins, actually played by one actor and a lot of digital trickery.
Even if you are not a fan of Facebook or overly self-important Harvard-types, this film is gripping as a real-life based character study alone and definitely worth checking out.
Peña-S/T CD & DVD of Traditional Afro-Peru
DJ Lengua -Cruzando
Best World Music Release That NPR Likes:
Best World Fusion Album:
Saravah Soul-Cultura Impura
Best Retro World Release LP:
Anibal Velasquez -Mambo Loco
Best 2010 World Release On LP:
Mexican Institute of Sound-Suave Patria
Best World Music Box Set:
V/A-Congotronics Box Set
Best World Music Compilation Of 2010:
Pomegranates – Persian Pop, Funk, Folk, and Psych Of The 60s & 70s
Best Of The Many African Funk Compilations We Saw In 2010:
Afro Beat Airways – West African Shock Waves Ghana & Togo 1972 to 1979
Best African Compilation That Wasn’t From Nigeria:
Angola Soundtrack – The Unique Sound Of Luanda 1965 to 1976
Best Usage Of World Music Without Being A World Music Album:
Cut Chemist – Sound Of The Police – A Live One Turntable Mix of African & South American Inspired Music
Best World Music Release That I Raved About Last Year That Got Popular This Year:
Chico Mann-Analog Drift
For the past couple of hours, Twitter, Facebook, and other online sites have been abuzz with word that soul singer Teena Marie, who was once known as Rick James' protégé, died today (Dec 26th, 2010). According to several sources close to the singer, the word out there is sadly true. Additionally, such outlets including CNN and Philadelphia soul and R&B radio station WDAS-FM have confirmed the report, saying that Teena Marie died from a heart attack the age of 54.
Born Marie Christine Brockert, Teena Marie released thirteen studio albums. Her debut was 1979's Wild and Peaceful, and her most recent one was last year's Congo Square. Teena Marie, aka Vanilla Child, will be remembered for such solo hits as "I Need Your Lovin," "Square Biz," "Lovergirl," "Cassanova Brown," "Out On A Limb," and "Ooo La La La" (which the Fugees famously sampled on "Fu-Gee-La"). Teena Marie is also known for doing a series of duets with (her producer/mentor) Rick James such as "Fire and Desire."
plus we caught a bonus showing of The Tourist.
Mash-Up of the (Christmas) Day: "Imagine Santa" (DJ BC Xmas Mashup)
#1 Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti-
Before Today (4AD)
The first time I heard this album I knew it would be at the top of my list this year. It was really just a competition the rest of the year with these other albums to see if anything could overtake it but nothing could do it. I somehow resisted the temptation of Ariel Pink the last couple of years. Before Today was clearly the album for me and a perfect introduction to this band. I just didn't know how much I would be falling in love with the band and obsessed with this album. It is like a shoegaze soft rock mash up of all the songs that you have ever loved. You simply need this album in your collection. It is simply amazing!
listen to "fright night" by ariel pink...
buy the album at amoeba.com
#2 Avi Buffalo-Avi Buffalo (Sub Pop)
Oh, Avi Buffalo. I am so glad to have you in my life. Another album that I didn't really know I would love until I first listened to it. These guys are crazy young and ridiculously talented. The album is one of the perfect little pop gems of the year and I really couldn't stop listening to it for months. Seeing them open up for My Morning Jacket at the Greek was one of my favorite shows of the year. I was first drawn to them because they were from my hometown of Long Beach, but I fell in love with the album as soon as I heard it. It is addictive. This album will stay with me forever and forever connect me to my great year that was 2010.
1) Kanye West My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam)
2) Nicki Minaj Pink Friday (Cash Money/Universal)
3) Diddy-Dirty Money Last Train To Paris (Bad Boy Records / Interscope)
4) Cee Lo Green The Lady Killer (Elektra Records)
5) Curren$y Pilot Talk II (Def Jam)
Thanks to Ray Ricky Rivera at Amoeba Hollywood for this week's Hip-Hop Top Five chart at the Los Angeles Amoeba store. It includes many of the recent new releases that have been doing well at the other two Amoebas and beyond: Kanye West, Cee Lo Green, Nicki Minaj, and Curren$y. It also includes the brand new DIddy-Dirty Money album, Last Train To Paris, which the artist/rap impresario once known as Puff Daddy said took three years to make and described its sound as "electro-hip-hop-soul funk." In a press release, Diddy said that for this more dance club sounding album he was influenced "by being in the dance music world and doing stuff with Felix da Housecat, Erick Morillo, Deep Dish, DJ Hell and being in Ibiza and DC10," in reference to the big nightclub on the island of Ibiza in the Mediterranean. Despite themselves, many Diddy haters will find this album infectious since it is filled with irresistibly catchy choruses. Of course, being the wise overseer / producer he is, Diddy only did part of the real work on this album; he shrewdly enlisted the talents of others to accomplish his musical goals.
Banky's Exit Through the Gift Shop trailer (extended version)
Released only last Tuesday on DVD, the Banksy film Exit Through the Gift Shop has been flying out the door at the Hollywood Amoeba store, where it has already become one of the top selling titles of 2010. "Yeah, it's been selling like crazy," confirmed Jackie in the DVD section of the Los Angeles Amoeba Music by phone yesterday. "At the rate it's selling it's probably going to be one of the number one selling DVDs of the year. It's hilarious and you don't even have to be a fan of this art form to enjoy this documentary." In agreement is pioneering street artist & culture jammer Ron English, who appears briefly in the film and who along with Banksy and Swoon put his art on the Palestinian separation wall in the West Bank in 2007.
"Banksy really made a great movie. He's a great storyteller as you can see from this documentary," said English, explaining the film's premise as, "About this French guy in LA who followed Shephard Fairey around filming him for five years but then he wouldn't give him the footage. And Shephard was like, 'You got the best stuff I've ever done, so let's make the movie,' but the guy Thierry [Guetta] wouldn't give him the footage so he was suing Thierry. And then Thierry turned out to be, like, crazy. And then he did the same thing to Banksy. He shot Banksy for all these years but then he wouldn't give Banksy the footage.
2010 In-store Favorites:
This year in San Francisco, Amoeba Music was host to 48 live music performances! Here are some of my favorite photos that I edited for Amoeba.com's "In-store photos" section. While I did not take all of these images, I had the pleasure of editing them and they are some of the most fun photos I've edited this year.
This Japanese female rock trio was loud and got the crowd into it.
I have long been a fan of Talib Kweli's -- his music (both his solo work & collaborations with Mos Def, Hi-Tek, and Madlib) and his consistent & refreshingly uplifting & positive outlook. His unwavering commitment to thought-provoking, conscious, non misogynist hip-hop in an era when that approach to the genre doesn't generally fit the criteria for lucrative success is admirable. Talib Kweli is a truly unique artist and as a high-profile hip-hop act he is an anomaly in that he safely walks that line between mainstream (including his work with Kanye West -- an artist that once opened for him) and independent hip-hop; he is well known above the radar while still maintaining the respect of the ever discerning underground hip-hop world. So when I had an opportunity to attend a listening party in New York last night for Kweli's January 2011 release, Gutter Rainbows, and to also sit down and talk with him a bit for the Amoeblog, I jumped at the chance.
Of course, Talib Kweli is no stranger to Amoeba Music. Not only has his music long been a favorite of staffers and customers alike, but he has also had some very well received Amoeba instores, including at Amoeba San Francisco along with Hi-Tek back in May of this year just as the duo (aka Reflection Eternal) was dropping the highly recommended (but generally slept on) Revolutions Per Minute. And back in August 2007 in support of his last solo album Ear Drum, he had an instore that was streamed live. Kweli put on one of the best ever live sets I've seen at Amoeba Hollywood -- as witnessed in the video below. Last year at SXSW in Austin, TX, when he was performing a showcase with Hi-Tek, Amoeblogger Smiles Davis sat down with the artist to ask him ten questions about hip-hop and his take on the genre.
Last night (December 21st) was the listening party at the bar Snap on West 14th Street in Manhattan for Gutter Rainbows (Javotti Media/3D), which will be a digital only release. The night was unlike most listening parties in that it was a more intimate event and also was technically a semi-performance for Kweli, who mingled throughout the night with fans and media folk. He spent the entire preview playing time of his new album, which drops January 25th, up in the DJ booth rapping along on the mic to many of the new release's 14 songs, and introducing each track, big upping its producer and giving some background history. He also fielded questions from the invited partiers (many longtime friends from Brooklyn) who packed the club and gave an update on what he's been up to.
Our full upcoming schedule is available online:
And speaking of Christmas counterprogramming, the New Beverly initiates a week of pre- and post-Christmas and New Year festivities designed to make sure your cinephile heart stays merry and bright with a two-part tale of personal ambition, and that you strut into 2011 alive with the hopes and dreams of one of America's most celebrated families coursing through your spirit. Get warmed up for Christmas on December 23 with a chance to catch one of 2010's most heralded performances-Vincent Cassel as real-life Gallic gangster Jacques Mesrine in a two-part chronicle of the criminal's nearly two-decade-long dominion over the French underworld in director Jean-Francois Richet's MESRINE: PUBLIC ENEMY #1(2010) and MESRINE: KILLER INSITINCT (2010). This is probably your last chance to see Cassel's magnetic work here, in what will surely be an important performance in terms of year-end attention, perhaps also as an interesting point of comparison to how Bronson handles similarly themed material.
Magnolia Shorty was a bounce rapper from New Orleans who was the first female MC to record with Cash Money Records. She was murdered along with Jerome “Man Man” Hampton on the morning of December 20th, 2010 in Little Woods, New Orleans East. After being hit with a rumored 26 gun shots, their vehicle crashed on the 6300 block of Bridgehampton around 12:30 p.m. She was 28, Hampton was 25.
She began rapping publicly when she was twelve, performing at block parties and recording mixtapes. When she signed with Cash Money, she was the first female rapper (and second female, following singer Ms. Tee) to join the label’s ranks. Her sole album for the label, recorded in 1996, is also notable for being the first Cash Money release to feature Juvenile. Not only was Monkey on the D$ck (Cash Money), released in February, 1997, Magnolia Shorty’s last album for the label, but sadly, it was her last album ever. In an era and scene known for bizarre album covers, Monkey on the D$ck’s image of to be-thonged girls with bullet braces and war helmets facing a large, irradiating, disembodied chimpanzee visage is on a level of bizarreness all by itself. Befitting the rapper’s stature, the album is itself incredibly short – just 21 minutes long and, as with many of Cash Money’s independent-era records, sounds like it was recorded in a single, lazy afternoon. The album's opener, “Manny Fresh (Cash Money Style)” doesn’t even feature her. There’s also a radio version of “Monkey on the D$ck,” another bounce classic, “Charlie Whop!!,” the wordless “Soldier Chant,” and “Magnolia $horty” (featuring BG and Juvenile).
In the spirit of giving for the Christmas season, Amoeba Music is offering some free music to download. As seen on the Amoeba homepage and on the Amoeba.com Free MP3 Downloads page, there are currently a variety of cool Christmas tracks that you can download for absolutely no cost. These include three holiday recordings by vocalist Brandi Shearer ("Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas," "Auld Lang Syne," & the previously unreleased version of "Christmas Time Is Here" by the longtime Amoeba Music friend), the funky funky soulful (a la James Brown) and "Every Day Is Christmas" by Daptone Records recording artist Charles Bradley, whose anticipated debut full length, No Time For Dreaming, arrives in Amoeba on January 25th.
Also on offer for free, care of Amoeba.com, is the brand new Christmas track by Paul Simon, "Getting Ready For Christmas Day" -- a song the famed artist performed live last Thursday onThe Colbert Report on Comedy Central when host Stephan Colbert was teasing Simon over his rhyming in the song. The new holiday themed track is taken from the artist's forthcoming Spring 2011 album So Beautiful Or So What (Hear Music/Concord Music Group) that will also feature such new Simon compositions as "The Afterlife," "Love and Blessings," and "Love Is Eternal Sacred Light." The other Christmas season tracks up for free download include Sub Pop artist Beach House's "I Do Not Care for the Winter Sun," The Superions' B52's-like "Fruitcake," and White Widow's "Hark the Herald Angels Sing." Obviously, this is a limited time offer, so go snag those free holidays songs for yourself right now at Amoeba.com!
Joanna Newsom - Have One On Me
Is there any point in writing about any other album than Joanna's? This triple album is clearly the work of the bright star of young music makers today. The difference between her and everyone else on the playing field? Nothing about her work is derivative: not her sound, not her writing and certainly not her voice. Album of the year, for sure...probably would even call it album of the past few years! It's that good.
"Soft As Chalk"
Mountain Man - Made the Harbor
Old timey yet thoroughly modern.
That quote comes from the respected and edited online journal Film-Philosophy. It contains one of my major pet peeves: using 'mediums' when 'media' is what's intended. The error occurs so frequently and in various places (even in academic journals that should know better) that I'm sure lexicographers will eventually note the change in dictionaries. Until then, I offer this helpful pictorial guide:
MIXING MEDIUMS & MEDIA
1. Slices - Cruising LP (Iron Lung)
A tortured hulk of a record. Both sides fool you into thinking there’s something Fucked Up styled on deck, just to swerve into the guardrail seconds after initial takeoff. Art damaged agro-sPunk that’ll give Dry Rot or Sex Vid a run for the money in the "New Hardcore for Haters" competition. There’s the drunken metallic sway of Blut Aus Nord. The pummeling thug-jazz of Unsane. The recent Pennsylvania noise-rock shuffle. A blaring tension release full of guitar squalor that more than occasionally comes off like a chorus of strangled geese. Instrumentation sputters and flails as someone – something - barks obscenities at you. Your new scene-cleaners. A thinking man's mess.
Tickets on sale Friday, December 24!
For all you savvy observers, the description “best” was omitted from this year-end post. Why, you ask? Well, for several reasons: a) who the hell am I to say so and so's album was better than so and so; and b) I'm not a jukebox; I simply don't listen to enough albums a year to know whom to accurately give that title to. Furthermore, the ever-expanding field of opinions and critics makes me gag, so I'll pass. Since the bulk of my day is spent discovering, sorting, and devouring music in general, I do have a few things to share at this year's end. Here is a tight list of albums/ mixtapes/ LP’s/ videos and such I couldn’t stop playing this year. In no particular order, here are my favorite musical things of 2010:
1) Matthew Dear – Black City (Ghostly)
2) Aloe Blacc – Good Things (Stones Throw)
3) Quantic – Dog With a Rope (Tru Thoughts)
4) Toro Y Moi - Causers of This (Carpark Records)
5) Gil Scott-Heron – I’m New Here (XL Recordings)
6) Erykah Badu - New Amerykah Part Two (Return of the Ankh) (Universal Motown)
7) Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (Roc-A-Fella Records)
8) First Aid Kit - The Big Black & The Blue (Wichita Recordings/Jagadamba Records)
9) Tame Impala - Innerspeaker - (Modular Recordings)
10) Yeasayer - Odd Blood (Secretly Canadian & Mute Records)
11) Dale Ernhardt Jr - Horse Power EP (Quite Scientific Records)
12) Ninja Tune XX Box - Ninja Tune Comp
Merry Christmas from the homeless guy who stole your candles!
Santa, it would seem, heard my Christmas wish and brought me lots of rain. While not convenient to my compulsive walks to the grocery store for whatever culinary whims o’ertake me, I’ll trade easy access to the “Asian food aisle” for gloomy storm-clouds any old day. It’s not just the weather itself, it’s the music, movies, food and activities that I save for just such an occasion. What are they? I’m pretending you ask – Why, I’ll tell you!
Let’s start with alcohol, as any good day does. This is the season for a cocktail staple of mine: hot toddies, of the whiskey variety. It’s so simple, I hesitate to say this is a recipe, any more than boiling spaghetti and dumping a jar of sauce on it is a “recipe,” but if I’ve learned anything about you earthlings, it’s that when cooking doesn’t come naturally, it doesn’t come at all. So here goes…
1.) Simply boil water. If you need instructions for this, stop now and don’t ever, ever step into a kitchen.
2.) While you wait for your water, squeeze the juice from one whole lemon, removing any seeds. Save the seeds and, in another blog, I’ll show you how you can use these dried lemon seeds to make the ugliest, stupidest necklace ever.
Andrew McElhinney's adaptation of Georges Bataille's perverse classic, Story of the Eye, is transgressive in the way Lady GaGa challenges our notions of sexual identity. Its cast seems to have come from gay S&M clubs, Korn videos and Midwestern strip joints. I don't have Phil Donahue to tell me what middle America is thinking any more, so maybe the sight of a pierced black cock that looks like a Subway sandwich is still provocative up in Bakersfield. I'm certain my 95-year old grandmother would rather watch her soaps, but so would I. I knew I was in for a boring ride when the film opened with actual footage of a baby's birth, as if Hollywood still had Rob and Laura Petrie sleeping in single beds. Then came a scene with the Korn extra controlling via a joystick two dancing women with torsos painted to look like faces under big top hats. Guess what the joystick is replaced with through the magic of montage. Hasn't the phallic joystick become such a frozen metaphor at this point that it's literal? This is hardly the metonymic eroticism Roland Barthes once analyzed where eyes, eggs and breasts become signs of each other through cleverly structured vignettes of abject sexuality. Whereas Bataille's love story begins with a decapitated cyclist, McElhinney shows the application of a condom to promote safe sex! After about 5 minutes of gay porn involving a bleached blonde sailor boy pitted against the aforementioned Moby Dick of, umm, deli sandwiches, I began to fast forward, looking for anything involving buttocks and egg cracking, but to no avail. Maybe it's old-fashioned to be thinking of the halcyon days of transgression, however McElhinney's sexual terrain would've been flyover country back in de Sade's time.
You're better off watching Apocalypto, where Mel Gibson displays true Bataillean flair by taking his time in showing a Mayan sacrifice. As with the mortification of Jesus' body in The Passion of Christ, Gibson eroticizes the sacrificial act, beginning with the arduous walk up the steps of the great temple to the removal of the victim's heart to his beheading and then to the tossing of the headless corpse down the steps. (Inspired, he goes on to show another sacrifice, albeit it in not quite as much detail.) In both films, pain builds until it's released through violent ejaculation. Gibson was particularly interested in why a civilization like the Mayans (one could ask the same of the Romans), rationally capable of creating such architectural marvels, would treat another human so cruelly. For Bataille, it had to do with the material baseness of any rational structure, society's blindspot, or the madness that makes it all possible. Against the ratio of the Hegelian master-slave dialectic, he suggested that Aztec sacrifice (which Gibson had considered using, but went with the Mayans instead) was a way of resisting the reduction of human life into pure exchange value. While the slave can be exchanged in a rational system, the sacrifice is pure excess, or waste, and can't be used for anything else. In this manner, it becomes sacred ("heterogeneous"), suggestive of something beyond the homogenizing structures their culture placed upon them, and was therefore a foundational act.
As the above excerpt from the the Rock Family Trees series about the history of the Manchester music scene (see Pt 2 and Pt 3) nicely outlines, and as most of us Smiths/Joy Division etc. fans already well know, Manchester, England has an incredibly rich musical legacy. It spans several decades with a seemingly never ending stream of talented bands and artists including (to name but a handful) New Order, The Stone Roses, James, 808 State, The Durutti Column, The Happy Monday, The Inspiral Carpets, The Fall, Autechre, The Ting Tings, and Herman's Hermits.
Also well aware of this are the music loving folks who throw the ongoing Bay Area electro/80's/indie/goth themed Temptation party. So for tonight's (sure to be hella fun) Temptation party at Cat Club, the theme is Manchester and that's what the DJs will be spinning all night long. I caught up with Temptation DJ/promoter DJ Damon, who co-produces the Bay Area club night with Dangerous Dan and Skip, and who holds a special place in his heart for Manchester's rich musical history to ask him about tonight's party and Manchester music in general.
In honor of tonight's big Gurp Fest 2010 at Club Six in San Francisco, the Amoeblog offers an overview of the San Francisco based hip-hop movement / collective known as Gurp City. What follows is a general history and a guide to some of the unique slang used by its members, plus a listing of the many talented artists (and the many more who are loosely affiliated) involved in this party-driven, homegrown underground hip-hop movement. Though based in San Francisco, it but has members beyond, all the way down to the Gurpy South.
Gurp City South will be well represented at tonight's Gurp Fest with (NJ by way of NC) emcee Foulmouth Jerk, Fist Fam, and Bay transplant & orchestrator of tonight's event TopR, who took the word of Gurp City with him when he moved to Asheville, NC. This article includes TopR's description of the Gurp City movement.
Other performers tonight include such key Gurp City members as Z-Man, Eddie K & Brandon K's Trunk Drank, Grand Invincible (Luke Sick from Sacred Hoop + DJ Eons), DJ Quest, Cutty Bang (aka Dick Nasty), Rec League, BOAC, DJ Cue and DJ 2 Fresh.
And given that the term to gurp means to party hard, a belief tha all of Gurp City's members hold close to their heart, tonight's Gurp Fest should be quite the party!
Although centered in “The City in a Bottle” (San Francisco), the origins of Gurp City are in two other locations at the end of the nineties: the city of Chico, CA and the long gone, beloved record/hip-hop store in Daly City, Cue's Hip Hop Shop. It was run by DJ Cue of the legendary Bay Area DJ groups Bulletproof Scratch Hamsters/Space Travelers and was a gathering point for hip-hop minds and talents. The shop may be gone but DJ Cue is still going strong and will be at tonight's event. It's been organized by TopR (aka Topper Holiday), once a very familiar face at Amoeba San Francisco, where he used to hang out years ago and in 2008 did an instore performance. Additionally, back in 2005 TopR appeared on the Amoeba Music Compilation Vol. 5 with a song that mentioned Amoeba in its lyrics.
Take 2 parts Sleater Kinney, plus 1 part Helium, plus 1 part Minders and you get an incredible super-group of ladies. Not to mention they had only been a band for 2 or 3 months before embarking on their first tour and they were incredibly tight together! Can’t wait for recorded material!
Go Sailor @ Slumberland Records' 20th Anniversary @ The Rickshaw Stop (San Francisco)
I have been waiting YEARS to see this band actually play live. I got into them 4 or 5 years after they had broken up and shat myself when it was announced that they were reuniting for 3 shows. It was everything I had hoped for, plus that day also saw reunions of Henry’s Dress and Boyracer as well, but nothing compared to Rose, Linton and Paul playing the most influential songs of my 20’s.
Need/Bangs/CAverage/Thrones @ Berbati’s Pan (Portland)
Another case where I got into The Need right after they had broken up. This was a special experience because it also involved a road trip up to the Northwest with co-workers and friends. The Need were unbelievable! Bangs, who I saw the last time at their last show in Olympia, were spot on, and CAverage and Thrones completed the throwback to the Evergreen days for me. It made me want to move back up to the Northwest, so that definitely lands it on this list, if not list of best show experiences ever.
The year is quickly drawing to an end -- Christmas Eve is a week away, and New Year's Eve is two weeks from today! I really do love this time of year. I love the weather in December. I love all the movies that come out at the end of the year. I love the holidays. I love the best of the year lists. I am not ashamed to love December. As the music releases slow down this month, the big movies are all coming out this month -- movies hoping to get nominated for Oscars tend to come out toward the end of the year. The Golden Globes Nominations just came out this week! The Golden Globes take place on Sunday, January 16th. Oscar Nominations come out on Tuesday, January 25th and the Oscar ceremony is on Sunday February 27th! They decided to change the Best Picture category for the Oscars last year to ten nominees. The Golden Globes have always had 10. There are five comedy / musical nominees and five dramas. I think it is easy to pick 10 best pictures every year but the Foreign Press seems to have a hard time coming up with 5 comedies and musicals. The nominees for comedy/musical are a bit ridiculous this year. I am embarrassed for them! The 5 nominees for Drama are Inception, Black Swan, The Fighter, The King's Speech, & The Social Network. Now that the Oscars have 10 nominees, these films are almost guaranteed to also get nominated for the Oscar for Best Picture. These films will probably be joined by Toy Story 3, True Grit, & The Kids Are Alright. The last 2 nominees will probably be 127 Hours & The Town. Maybe Winter's Bone, Biutiful or Get Low will sneak in there. I would love to see Never Let Me Go, Animal Kingdom, or Ghost Writer included. These were three of my favorites this year. But they will most likely be looked over.
1) T.I. No Mercy (Grand Hustle)
2) Andre Nickatina/Smoov-E The King & Mr. Biscuits (I-Khan Dist.)
3) Big Rich Built to Last (Big Rich Music)
4) Buff1 & Rhettmatic Crown Royale (ASide)
5) Redman Reggie (Island Def Jam)
Special thanks to Luis at the San Francisco store for this week's top five chart. Beyond the top five, Luis notes that, "Then there's the Kanye, Curren$y and Damu the Fudgemunk, which is super dope!" The latter is also a favorite of DJ Inti at the Berkeley Amoeba, where it was a hip-hop chart contender last week. The latest SF Amoeba chart includes some local Fillmore district SF flavor from both Big Rich and Andre Nickatina. His latest outing is a joint project with his regular studio collaborator, the Tennessee to The Bay transplant Smoov E, who also sometimes goes by the name Smoov Biscuits. That explains the title of their new joint release, The King & Mr. Biscuits, which appears on Nicatina's label, I-Khan Distribution. The eleven track album features great tracks such as "For The Green (Remix) and "Genuine Draft (Remix)."
Meanwhile, Big Rich, who last year dropped Heart Of The City, is back with his impressive latest two-part release. Built to Last (Big Rich Music) is both an album and a documentary (CD + DVD) from the successful SF artist who has had a mixed year. Musically, he's kept busy and been artistically satisfied, he says, having spent the greater part of 2010 out on the road.
Pendersleigh & Sons' Official Map of the Mideast Side
Angeleno Heights is a neighborhood in Los Angeles' Mideast Side. It's the second oldest suburb of the city after Bunker Hill (which is no longer suburban). After the Victorian homes of Bunker Hill were razed in the 1950s, Angeleno Heights became the largest concentration of Victorian homes, or "painted ladies" in the city.
Pendersleigh & Sons' Official Map of Angeleno Heights
TOP TEN DVD RELEASES OF THE YEAR...
TV CARNAGE: LET'S WORK IT OUT!
BEST OF SOUL TRAIN
EVERYTHING IS TERRIBLE 2
by Evan Litwack
images by Ryan Stark
Last Sunday, the staff of Amoeba Music Berkeley was brought together for their annual Amoebapalooza holiday party, which combined the talented musicianship of many of Amoeba Berkeley’s key figures with some good-old fashioned celebrating. The concert party was hosted at the Stork Club in Oakland, which provided the perfect intimate atmosphere and stage setting for Amoeba’s diverse personalities to perform and interact in. Amoebites of all age groups and walks of life were in attendance with friends, including past employees and long time fans, and every room of the Stork Club was buzzing with the energy and enthusiasm of a hundred hardcore music heads in unison. Excitement lingered in the air as weeks of waiting to see colleagues and friends show their true musical colors built itself to a head. Thankfully, none of the bands disappointed.
People were still arriving and buzzing amongst themselves when the evening’s first band, Maestro’s Choice, set their equipment on stage and started the night off on a moody, downtempo note. Michael Henning worked the percussion and looping while Kai Keya complimented his arrangements on flute. There was some curiosity in the crowd surrounding Kai Keya, who hadn’t performed in public for years, and folks were impressed by his playing and by the chemistry between the two musicians. Those who know Michael’s band The Why Because would have been certain to appreciate this set.
Seconds To Forever 12”
This is the fourth EP from the cv313 album Dimensional Space. "Seconds To Forever" was originally planned for Echospace 010, but due to the nature of old Ampex tape, the track was unable to be restored -- but as a result, it was remodeled for this special limited release. Expect gorgeous plumes of sound, deeper than the ocean floor. The remodel strikes a space-age groove with live congas. The reprise of "Beyond The Clouds" is an extended (over 20 minutes long!) psychedelic trip.
KiNK & NEVILLE WATSON
Hour House Is Your Rush
KiNK & Neville Watson deliver two winning tracks that combine the best elements of Chicago house (for the body) and Detroit techno (for the soul), which has become their sound signature. Where "Metropole" will cause ruckus on the dancefloor at peak-time moments, "The Long Wait" is a deeper affair, perfect for late/after hours. Raw and dirty house music. When music is this good, let there be renaissance!
Listen to "Metropole" here:
MOTOR CITY DRUM ENSEMBLE
Raw Cuts 5 & 6 12"
For all the latest in our stores' Classical sections, you've come to the right place! Please read on for sale info, reviews of new releases and the top 20 concertos and symphonies you need to own!
AMOEBA SAN FRANCISCO CLASSICAL NEWS by Stacey
These hot new titles are on sale until Christmas Eve...and make great stocking stuffers.
Vittorio Grigolo - The Italian Tenor ($12.98)
Discover what all the fuss is about with the debut solo recording of this exciting young talent.
David Braid & Canadian Brass - Spirit Dance ($13.98)
Two award-winning Canadian artists join forces to create a rhythmic concoction of jazz, classical and world music.
Anonymous 4 - The Cherry Tree: Songs, Carols & Ballads for Christmas ($16.98)
There are few ensembles in the world who can compete with Anonymous 4 for sheer beauty. Let this wonderful collection of medieval English carols and Anglo-American spiritual songs sooth away your holiday stress.
Angèle Dubeau & La Pietà - Noël ($14.98)
Violinist Dubeau and her string ensemble take you on a joyous tour of the world's Christmas music.
Fresh off the press: "Still Sounds" is the new laid back 70's disco groove by Toro Y Moi. If you haven't already heard his infection experimental electro pop debut album Causers of This, do yourself a favor and give it a listen. "Still Sounds" is from his forthcoming album, Underneath the Pine, which drops February 22, 2011 via Carpark.
Still Sound by fantasma_
Special thanks to my man Rickey "Uhuru Maggot" Vincent for supplying the Amoeblog with his enlightening Top Ten Funk Sessions of 2010 list that includes the likes of Bernie Worrell's SociaLybrium, Nick Rosen, and Punk Funk Mob. In addition to his Top Ten, Vincent has included some "also digging" additional picks.
Rickey Vincent, who was interviewed about his favorite topic here last year, literally wrote the book on funk music.
Vincent's acclaimed music history book Funk: The Music, the People, and the Rhythm of The One (St. Martin's Press), which won the ASCAP Deems Taylor Award, is the ultimate guide to funk music and its rich history.
Rickey Vincent, who many know from his long-running, popular KPFA 94.1FM radio show The History of Funk (10pm-midnight Fridays) knows more about funk than anyone I know. Not surprisingly, as well as being an author & journalist, he is also an educator on the subject and has taught classes at both City College of San Francisco and SF State University.
Vincent's 2010 Top Ten follows:
Another year and another wide ranging collection of funky discs have come my way, and I’m going to share my favorite ones from the year. The best criteria I can give is that these discs have been playing in my iPod nonstop since they came out. Simple as that.
(A lady raises her pinky.)
Day 5 (Part 1)
Friday. September 16, 2010
The best part of mornings on-board a cruise ship is waking up to the scent, sight, and sound of your ship at sea. The Pacific Ocean has a myriad of blues in her pallet, all of them are mesmerizing and crushable. For real. If the Pacific Ocean were a lady, I would totally marry her.
The worst part of mornings on-board a cruise ship are the breakfasts. It’s as though they were prepared by contestants on Top Chef who were given the challenge to “make as many things as possible using only white flour and remember – no fresh ingredients!”
By the episode’s end, my tummy loses. Bacon that remarkably resembles fried leather shoes, eggs that looked like they came from a chicken’s leukemia ward, fruit salads that seemed so depressed you’d think they should be sprinkled with Prozac, not sugar – and since I couldn’t bring myself to eat any of these aforementioned items, I was left with the option of pancakes covered in waffle cupcakes, drizzled in biscuits with a dash of bagel. One bite of this, and coffee became my only morning meal.
"I just feel like I'm never gonna accomplish anything that matters."
There are so many invalids on-board, trudging slowly, hunched over stainless-steel canes or walkers, oxygen tanks everywhere underfoot – you can easily forget you’re on a luxury liner, not a retirement home. The greatest danger is not that the ship will sink, but that you’ll get run-over by a Rascal Scooter.
Faces of Death: Cruise Ship Edition
By lunchtime I was ravenous – the coffee that became my only breakfast was, in turn, making a meal of my stomach lining. By Day 5, I decided to try lunch in the main dining room. Up till then, most of my days were off-ship so I could eat from vendors at the ports. I was curious to see if formal lunch was as good as the formal dinners.
It wasn’t. I ordered a salad in which each separate ingredient somehow tasted like water. Put them all together and you get, well, a whole lot of water, but with texture. Despite this disappointment, there was a singular joy in my lunchtime: it was the first meal there where I didn’t have to hear the staff singing “Happy Birthday” to someone. Yay, God!
Anibal Velaquez-Mambo Loco
Probably my most abused LP that I bought this year. I can’t tell how many times I’ve played Mambo Loco at shows or just sitting at home. Velaquez is a master of the accordion and very influential in bringing Colombian Cumbia to the rest of the world. I found that his outside influences, mostly from Cuban music, made his sound easier for people to digest. In my DJ sets, Mambo Loco served as a gateway into Salsa or Merengue or out of that into Cumbia. I’m telling you, this one is straight heat! If you still aren’t a fan of Cumbia after this album, you are probably dead.
Charanjit Singh — Ten Ragas To A Disco Beat
Does House Music have its roots with Charanjit Singh and his box of archaic early 80’s electronic equipment? That is debatable, but what isn’t is that Singh’s electronic Indian Ragas contained some of the freshest sounds to hit my ear in a while. "Raga Bairagi," my favorite track, is a cluster of different Indian influences with Singh’s ear for soundtrack music. It's as if he imagined Moroder working with Herbie Hancock to create the soundtrack to the Indian version of The Warriors.
I can't help but imagine how much fun we would be having now if the Western world had embraced Charanjit Singh in the eighties like they did Ravi Shankar in the sixties.
Last year I did one featuring aircraft.
Click here to check it out.
1. Joanna Newsom - Have One on Me
The Wire said that this album is like an overturned jewelry box, and I would agree. So deeply felt, everything else seems shallow. See her live.
2. Glasser - Ring
My favorite newcomer. Innovative electronics meet radio-friendly R&B. And there's something else I can't quite put my finger on...
3. Zola Jesus - Stridulum & Valusia EPs
A pretty epic talent, considering she's only 21. She must be an old soul.
4. Girls - Broken Dreams Club EP
More 80s jangly than their debut, but always as heartbreaking.
You don't have to love the holidays to love the Yule Logs, but for me it was love at first listen! Seeing them headline the annual "Christmas is the Best!" bonanza last year was an absolute blast and just thinking about their show coming up this Sunday at Amnesia in San Francisco (festivities begin with holiday crafting and shitty gift giving at 7pm, show at 9) has got me all worked up like a little insomniac on the night before Christmas --- baby, I can't wait! Making spirits bright since 2005, vocalist Marty Parker, bassist Kirt Lind, guitarist Maurice Spencer and drummer Jake Specher dole out hit after original hit of Christmas and Hannukah jams and spruced up traditional holiday classics with such contagious enthusiasm and flawless four-part harmonies that one cannot help but drink their kool-aid. With a good-time party sound that recalls British Invasion class, California surf-rock sass, pop savvy hooks and non-stop borscht belt humor the Yule Logs'll have your shoes off and your socks twistin' under your feet dancing their "Hannukah Mambo," fist-pumping to their "Runaround Rudolph" (featuring guest appearances by presidents William Howard Taft and Richard Nixon, along with Elvis "the King" Presley) and swooning for their rendition of Wham's "Last Christmas." Recently I rapped with the boys from Chico, California about their music, their muses and their state of holiday affairs, and their status as a "the world's premier Christmas and Hannukah rock 'n roll band;" here's what they had to say:
1) Kanye West
My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam)
2) Cee Lo Green
The Lady Killer (Elektra Records)
3) Kid Cudi Man On The Moon 2: The Legend of Mr Roger (Universal/Motown)
4) Nicki Minaj Pink Friday (Cash Money/Universal)
5) (tie) Eligh Grey Crow (Legendary/Alpha Pup)
Damu The Fudgemunk Supply For Demand (Redefinition Records)
That first rock band video game was Journey Escape (1982). In it you have to help guide a faceless ginger (see above screen shot) through the night sky, past disembodied Italian heads and lilac-colored jelly beans with legs to the famous scarab ship that was, frankly, my favorite thing about the band. Occasionally, a character that looks like the Kool-Aid Man comes to your aid.
I haven't played the game's sequel, Journey (1983) but I was transfixed by the title screen as a kid.
LIMIT TO YOUR LOVE 10”
His stunning cover of FEIST & CHILLY GONZALES showcases the melancholy soul of JAMES' voice mixed with moments of shuddering bass and a deliberate manipulation of silent spaces. This is truly a stunning piece of modern music. Do not miss out on this! 1-sided.
Listen to "Limit To Your Love" here:
Most Of This Moment
Most Of This Moment
Beautiful deep house 12". Melodious beats and pulsating rhythms mixed with some NY garage-styled female vocals. Catchy but deep and underground, too. Comes with two remixes from ISOLEE (remix and dub). Limited (500x) hand stamped white label 12".
Space Dimension Controller
TEMPORARY THRILLZ EP D12”
This SPACE DIMENSION CONTROLLER EP contains intergalactic slow jams, deep club excursions, and midtempo space funk, all with trademark soul, depth, and finesse. With 6 tracks total, 4 locked grooves. Repressed and back in stock.
Listen to "Kaleidoscopic Ecstasy" here:
The San Francisco Film Society presents Mauritz Stiller's 1919 silent film classic Sir Arne's Treasure with live musical accompaniment by indie rock icon John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats. You won't want to miss Stiller's haunting tale of murder, betrayal, and divine redemption alongside Darnielle's world premiere of the score. Join us at the Castro Theatre on Tuesday, December 14 at 8:00pm. More info here.
It has been revealed today by Aretha Franklin's family that the fabulous Queen of Soul has cancer. They have not specified what type, but this certainly must be what was behind her recent surgery and canceled tour dates. Hurry back to health, Miss Aretha!
Here she is back in 1968 performing "I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)":
Joshua's alter ego Peaches Christ has a cameo role in this hilarious and smart movie about what happens when a woman is desperate to keep her father's old time theater open...she'll do anything, even kill, to get people to fill those seats! It stars Natasha Lyonne, Thomas Dekker, Mink Stole and Cassandra Peterson (Elvira) and is destined for cult film status!
You can get the DVD here at amoeba.com or come on down to any of our stores!
John Lennon holds a special place in the hearts of so many people and those of us who were alive on this date 30 years ago have our own personal memory of that tragic night and of learning the news. For me, I had emigrated a year earlier to America from Ireland and was living in the Upper West Side, a couple of miles from where the murder took place.
Like most people I knew, I too was a big John Lennon (and Beatles) fan. And if you lived in NYC at the time, odds of a Lennon sighting were pretty good. He was always out and about. He and Yoko would sometimes come to the Japanese macrobiotic restaurant I worked at as a waiter at the time (Souen on Broadway near 91st - long gone location). The album Double Fantasy had been released a few months earlier but was still a "new album" by 1980 standards, back when the shelf life of music seemed much longer than these days. It was on my turntable at the time, although I must admit that it was not my favorite Lennon release. Anyway, none of that mattered once the tragic news hit that night, which I learned when one of my room mates came rushing into my room with the unbelievable announcement.
This blog entry is about the City of Orange, a town located in North Orange County, California. I was joined on my visit by long-time Orange residents and fans, Alex Graham (of The Internal Tulips) and Song Le Graham, whose contributions greatly contributed to this entry. If you'd like to see more Orange County communities be the subjects of further blog entries, click here and vote. If you'd like to see Los Angeles County communities be the subjects of further blog entries, click here and vote. If you'd like to see Los Angeles neighborhoods be the subjects of further blog entries, click here and vote.
Pendersleigh & Sons' Official Map of the OC
"Friendly Ranger at Clontarf Castle" -- an early early version
A piece by the late, great American composer/music theorist John Cage, to be "recorded" today by an extended ensemble that includes Billy Bragg and Pete Doherty, will go head to head against this weekend's winner for the Sunday finale of the phenomenally popular British television talent contest The X-Factor for the much coveted #1 position on the Christmas pop chart. Until last year that top slot on the UK pop charts automatically got taken by the winner of The X-Factor, ever since it began airing in 2004.
However, that all changed last Christmas after disgruntled music fans, who were sick of the overbearing blase pop of the mainstream Simon Cowell-created contest (Cowell is also a judge), banded together via a Facebook campaign to all purchase another single and drive it, through sales, to the top position on the Christmas week pop chart. The song they chose, based on the name of the band and the song title, was the 1992 Rage Against the Machine track "Killing In The Name."
Continuing in the "Rage Against The Machine" theme (The X-Factor being the machine), this year's song is by a one-off band named Cage Against the Machine, who today were scheduled to "record" the song by John Cage -- and not just any old Cage composition, either, but the composition "4' 33."" Even by the avant garde artist's standards this is a challenging track since it is a completely silent piece that runs for 4 minutes and 33 seconds.
1737 Vine Street
RSVP @ itsaschoolnight.com
Day 5 (Part 2)
Thursday. September 16, 2010
As the boyfriend, his father, Fred, the sweltering heat and I walked home along the quaint, plank-board sidewalks along the coast of Puerto Vallarta, I was all the time keeping a look-out for a keen thank you gift for Smithy, who’s house-sitting for us had caused her such difficulty after the devious plotting of the demon spawn we call “our kitties.”
You’d think that a tourist trap like Puerto Vallarta would be ideal shopping, but I couldn’t imagine Smithy exactly swooning over a miniature beaded palm tree statue or a Hard Rock Café tank-top.
Then, at last, I saw just the sort of boutique that catered to the refined taste of my dear,lady friend: a tequila specialty shop. Hypnotized by the variety of tans, camels, and caramel colors that shone through the many-angled bottles, I floated in and got real thirsty. The vendor – who’s name I never got, so I’ll call Graggenhauserfrauschembaur – practically materialized from out of my shadow, eager to exchange some of his wares for the far-less delicious bills I kept in my wallet.
“This,” I thought to myself, “Is gonna be a great relationship.”
It was. At Graggenhauserfrauschembaur’s insistence we sat at a tiny portable bar and were lined up shots after shots of tequila tasters. It was like being a college freshman girl at her first date rape. Graggenhauserfrauschembaur’s salesmanship was bar-none; how brilliant to get your customers drunk! And the tequila was, truly, lekker. My personal favorites were a coconut-crème tequila and a tamarind liqueur that made me wanna be an alcoholic again for the first time. I purchased some booze for Smithy, and some for myself. I bid Graggenhauserfrauschembaur a bittersweet farewell, and he scolded the boyfriend and I for coming from Los Angeles and not being able to speak Spanish.
I had a very strict curfew living with my grandparents, but was allowed a grace period whenever attending a concert. The first show I went to without my parents was a D’angelo concert. It was the Voo Doo tour with Lucy Pearl. The opening act was Anthony Hamilton, an unknown at the time. He was good, damn good, as was the rest of the touring ensemble. That dreamy night is memorable for so many reasons. For starters, it was me celebrating my independence, but also D’angelo means so much to my generation. He was to my generation what Sade was to the preceding generation.
I ran across this G.A.M.M. comp a few years ago with a few heaters lurking. The stand out track was this unbelievably dope remix of D’angelo’s "Left & Right" from the prolific Voo Doo album. I remember playing the song constantly. The vibes over D'angelo's seductive vocals give the song legs and take it to another level, better than the original. The title of the track was different from its original counterpart, I assume for good reason. “Follow Me,” as the song was called, is not just a remix but an entirely new song with its own identity because of its greatness. The producer/DJ is Red Astaire, also known as Freddie Cruger. He’s had me hook, line and sinker ever since.
The Anthology of Rap is the recently published, exhaustive 880 page book from Yale University Press that compiles the lyrics to about 300 rap songs of all different types and styles, spanning 30 plus years in the music's history. Edited by Adam Bradley and Andrew DuBois, the book, which has afterwords by both Chuck D and Common, also includes some artist bio information along with the song lyrics.
The Anthology of Rap is divided into timeline sections and then into artists sub-sections. For example, "Part I 1978-1984 The Old School" includes such artists as Afrika Bambaataa, Kurtis Blow, Cold Crush Brothers, Eddie Cheba, DJ Hollywood, Lady B, Spoonie G, and Sequence (one of the earliest recorded female rap crews -- lyrics to their hit "Funk You Up" plus their songs "And You Know That" & "Simon Says" are all included here).
"Part 2, 1985-1992 The Golden Age" features lyrics from artists like the Beastie Boys, De La Soul, Eric B & Rakim, Gang Starr, and Ultramagnetic MCs, while "Part 3, 1993-1999 Rap Goes Mainstream," includes the likes of Arrested Development, Foxy Brown, E40, Goodie Mob, Lauren Hill, Common, Jay Z, KRS-One, and Lil Kim. The fourth part, "2000 to 2010 New Millenium Rap," includes such artists as Aesop Rock, Atmosphere, Blackalicious, Brother Ali, DOOM, Immortal Technique, Mos Def, T.I., Kanye West, and Young Jeezy. There is also an additional final segment titled "Lyrics For Further Study" that includes lyrics from a broad swath of artists from all over the rap spectrum and timeline, including contemporary popular rap star Drake, golden era artists Black Sheep and Bay Area homo-hop crew Deep Dickollective.
Pendersleigh & Sons' Official Map of the Westside
Mar Vista is a westside neighborhood surrounded by Santa Monica, Sawtelle, Rancho Park, Palms, Culver City, Westside Village and Venice. To vote for other Los Angeles neighborhoods to be covered on the blog, vote here. To vote for Los Angeles County communities, vote here. To vote for Orange County communities, vote here.
No, this isn't some viral joke; 19 million was spent on it. I'm thinking there are two explanations for featuring Mel talking to a beaver on his hand: (1) Foster's a scientologist, because anything this wrong has to have a scientologist behind it, or (2) any support she gave him during his recent troubles was a ploy to lead him into this trap.
1) Kanye West
My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam)
2) Nicki Minaj Pink Friday (Cash Money/Universal)
3) Cee Lo Green
The Lady Killer (Elektra Records)
4) Kid Cudi Man On The Moon 2: The Legend of Mr Roger (Universal/Motown)
5) Lloyd Banks H.F.M.2 (G-Unit Records))
Things were hectic at Amoeba Music last Friday, Black Friday, which was also a sort of mini Record Store Day with exclusive one day only releases like the Cee Lo Green green vinyl pressing of his current hit single "F**k You." The album that the song comes from, The Lady Killer, was also selling briskly in CD format, as were such other releases as the new full-lengths from Kanye West (My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy), Kid Cudi (Man On The Moon 2: The Legend of Mr Roger), and G-Unit artist Lloyd Banks (H.F.M.2). Also doing well at Amoeba and elsewhere is the much anticipated debut from Nicki Minaj, who released her own album, Pink Friday, last week, and has also been highly visible of late elsewhere, making cameos on numerous other artists' releases. But, in an ongoing battle of words, Nicki has been getting some grief from fellow female rapper Lil Kim, who released the diss track "Black Friday" last Friday (a direct negative reference to Minaj's album title Pink Friday) in which she raps at the new kid on the rap block: “It will be a murder scene. Turning Pink Friday to Friday the 13th. Aiight, you Lil Kim clone clown. All this buffoonery. The shit stops now...”
Happy Friday! Glad to see the week come to an end, more or less because there are so many good tings a brewin' 'round LA tonight. If you didn't get the memo, Aloe Blacc is live tonite at The Echo. If you're looking for a night out on the town, you've come to the right place, my friend, just a few cheap date options for all you last minute scrambles.
NITESHIFT Presents: Robbi's Birthday Smash! featuring Kenny Dope
(Master At Work, Nuyorican Soul, Kay-Dee Records - NY)
(Soul Electric, Cha Cha Project, niteshift - SF/LA)
(Lucid Sundays, niteshift - LA)
El Cid 4212 W. Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA
9:30pm - 2:30am | 21+ | $10 be4 10:30 & $15 After
RSVP for $10 list email@example.com
Our full upcoming schedule is available online:
Friday & Saturday, December 3 & 4
Celebrating Godard's 80th Birthday!
BREATHLESS (1959; Jean-Luc Godard) The word "masterpiece" has been tossed around so often in this age of movie hype and hyperbole that it has all but lost its meaning. But the word "landmark," while perhaps not implying as much about the work, is much less frequently heard. Why? Because it cannot with any seriousness be bestowed upon a work of art absent the passage of time. In a culture of instant gratification that seeks to package movies as consumer product, where the formats in which a movie is available are often more important than the movie itself, a word or phrase requiring patience is a much less attractive one. But there is little doubt that for a generation of critics and filmgoers Breathless was a turning point, the unveiling of a new directorial sensibility where the iconography and attitudes of old Hollywood met the cresting soon-to-be-dubbed French New Wave. Breathless brought with it a whole new attitude about contemporary society and film architecture that could be folded into the most familiar of genre tropes with bracing, shocking results that continue to resonate within the grammar of films made 50 years after its initial release. (One need only imagine Breathless, in which Jean-Paul Belmondo co-opts the image and insolence of Humphrey Bogart on a crime spree with the lovely and reticent Jean Seberg, on a double feature with last week's Bonnie and Clyde to get a sense of how Godard's movie created waves that are still rocking the boat.) This print is the beautifully restored version on view in theaters this past summer, struck to celebrate the 50th anniversary of a movie that, alongside subsequent complacency-shattering films like Psycho, Bonnie and Clyde and The Wild Bunch, demarcates the emergence of a singular vision signaling the end of the Production Code and the breaking down of walls between "high" and "low" culture. Few films made after, say, 1962 could be said to have not at least registered the presence of Breathless along the timeline of film history. That it is such an integral part of the D.N.A. of most of those films, consciously or subconsciously, only speaks to its status as a true cinema landmark.
Ok, LA! Hot on the heels of a sold-out European Tour and #1 album in France, Germany & Belgium, Aloe Blacc wraps up his North American Tour in his hometown alongside Maya Jupiter, Garth Trinidad, The Do-Over’s Haycock & Strong + Special Surprise Guests! This will be one of your only chances to see Aloe Blacc in LA, as he departs on a worldwide tour until Summer 2011, so advance tickets are highly recommended, especially with sold-out shows in SF, Seattle, Portland, NYC, Chicago, Toronto & Montreal. So, ditch the 'it's too cold to go out' excuse and saddle up, partner. See ya at the show, folks!
(presale tix: http://tinyurl.com/379zthx)
Our own Amoeba site's capacity for you, gentle reader, to purchase the vinyl/cds/blu-rays/books/swag/etc of your dreams has just increased about 3,000 fold, and will increase more and more with each passing hour! We are pleased to introduce to you a new section on our website where you can buy both new and used product, and keep in mind we are adding more every day!
You can now search by genre, or narrow your choices to Buyer's picks, Music We Like and more! There's even a Gift Picks option -- something that should be of service to you this holiday season!
Please check it out when you have a chance right here. We think you'll love all the new, mind-bendingly infinite possibilities for your musical pleasure!
The artists Alan Forbes, Stacie Willoughby and David D'Andrea have given us some of the most intricate, epic poster art for equally intricate, epic and, of course, full-on rock shows! Now they will be celebrated in a show called Archaic Revival at the Space Gallery here in SF this Thursday night. Check out the artists' work, plus DJs and also a special acoustic show by Amoeba faves Howlin Rain! More info here.
poster by David D'Andrea
poster by Stacie Willoughby
poster by Alan Forbes
Indie perennials Sebadoh and Quasi have announced that they will be touring together this February and they are kicking it off in San Francisco! Dates follow:
08 -- San Francisco, CA @ Great American Music Hall
10 -- Portland, OR @ Wonder Ballroom
11 -- Vancouver, BC @ Rickshaw Theater
12 -- Seattle, WA @ Neumo's
14 -- Salt Lake City, UT @ Urban Lounge
15 -- Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge
16 -- Kansas City, MO @ Record Bar
17 -- Norman, OK @ Opolis
18 -- Dallas, TX @ Granada Theater
19 -- Austin, TX @ Emo's
21 -- Tucson, AZ @ Hotel Congress
22 -- Tempe, AZ @ Rhythm Room
23 -- San Diego, CA @ The Casbah
24 -- Los Angeles, CA @ Troubadour
25 -- Los Angeles, CA @ Echoplex