CIIS Public Programs & Performances and Amoeba Music present Karsh Kale featuring sarod master Alam Khan in Classical Science Fiction: An Intimate Sonic Exploration of the Future Sounds of Indian Classical Music on March 21st at the Herbst Theatre in San Francisco.
Classical Science Fiction, brainchild of producer and multi-instrumentalist Karsh Kale, breaks down the traditional constructs of Indian classical music, while maintaining that music's emphasis on rhythm, scale, and improvisation.
This is not just an exercise in blending various musical traditions. "The effective fusion of styles and repertoire," according to Karsh, "is not dependent on the musical concepts or genres used, but rather the musicians assembled." In this case, Karsh has put together an all-star ensemble of musicians, rooted in their traditional styles, and yet all have created new paths in music. Indian classical, electronica, blues, jazz, rock, and ghazal come together in a seamless blend.
Karsh would be the first to admit that the fusion of Indian classical and other musical traditions is not new. Ravi Shankar, Ustad Zakir Hussain, Remember Shakti, and Tabla Beat Science (of which Karsh is a founding member) have all incorporated Indian classical with genres such as jazz, Western classical, and to lesser extent, electronic music. With Classical Science Fiction, Kale and his collaborators push these boundaries even farther, blending the new Western idioms of 21st century America.
CIIS Public Programs & Performances and Amoeba Music present Karsh Kale featuring sarod master Alam Khan in Classical Science Fiction: An Intimate Sonic Exploration of the Future Sounds of Indian Classical Music on March 21st at the Herbst Theatre in San Francisco.
Head to the Vinyl Beat website to check out extensive LP label guides and wild cover galleries!
Eric Christensen has made an entertaining and informative documentary called The Cover Story about iconic album covers and how they came to fruition. There are interviews and stories with a number of the photographers and designers such as Bob Seidemann (Blind Faith), Henry Diltz (Morrison Hotel, Crosby Stills & Nash, Eagles), Mouse (Grateful Dead), and Jim Marshall (Allman Brothers and hundreds of others). Along the way he also interviews such rock luminaries as Nick Lowe, Ray Manzarek, Huey Lewis, Elvis Costello, and Sammy Hagar. There’s also a very intimate chat with Yoko Ono where she talks about John’s blood smeared glasses, etc. It is also a hoot to see a psychedelic Amoeba SF in the introduction.
Hi guys, it’s a quick one this week (DEADLINES!!) but here are some great local songs/vids I checked out:
Heavy Hawaii – “Airborne Kawasaki”
Oh man, I’m falling hard for Heavy Hawaii, a San Diego duo that produces woozy, lo-fi surf pop that sounds like a Beach Boys tape reel warped from years of disintegration, with its parts sounding as though they’re played at different speeds — guitars charge forward while synths rest uneasily underneath and Matt Bahamas’ vocals move from sweet high-end coo to low-end doom. Goosebumps is due March 19 on Art Fag.
Bleached – “Next Stop” video
LA kids get cozy at a party over the Clavin sisters’ raw surf-punk riffs and harmonies. The long-awaited debut LP Ride Your Heart, from Bleached, featuring Jessie and Jennifer Clavin formerly of Mika Miko, hits April 2 on Dead Oceans. Preorder it on CD or LP.
In the lead up to next week's release of Outernational's politically charged Here Is The Rose EP, the Brooklyn, NY-based revolutionary rockers have teamed up with the Amoeblog today to offer an exclusive advance free download of the EP track "She Craves Spring" that features Canadian power vocalist Lindi Ortega. Click "Download" above for your free advance copy of the the pro-feminist bluesy rock ballad track that features lyrics such as, "This woman knows there's no man above / Your brothel's are filled with a slave-master's love / All my sisters, ready to fly / Breaking tradition holding half the sky."
The new release is deliberately scheduled to drop on International Women's Day, March 8th, 2013. "We are releasing the Here is The Rose EP right now, in time for International Women's Day, because right now millions of people, and millions of women in particular are speaking and acting out against their daily oppression - patriarchy, rape culture, sexual objectification and dehumanization," explained Outernational guitarist Leo Mintek. On Thursday March 7th, the night before the EP drops, Outernational will be celebrating the release with a new weekly residency at Arlene's Grocery in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. 10pm shows. More info here. Follow Outernational on Twitter and on Facebook.
If one listens to a “hillbilly” record like, say, Jimmie Rodgers’s “Blue Yodel” back-to-back with a “race” record like Lead Belly’s “Cow Cow Yiki” it should become immediately clear to the listener that often the distinction between these two genres has for many years been (and continues to be) more of an industry marketing rather than musicological one. After decades of segregation, one needn’t watch the CMT Music Awards to know that Country music has for a long time been almost totally dominated by white performers. However, there have always been black country musicians and more continue to emerge. Whether or not they're embraced by the Nashville industry or public is another question.
WHAT YOU KNOW ABOUT THE DIRTY SOUTH?
To Americans for whom there are only two coasts (the East and West), the South is with tiresome regularity portrayed and imagined to be a homogeneous region populated entirely by menacing, toothless, racist rednecks (whereas the North is totally free of racists, naturally). If these regionalist haters ever bothered to explore the South they’d likely be surprised by the physical and cultural variety of the Appalachians, the Delta, the Deep South, the Old South, the Ozarks, the Piedmont, the Upper South, the cities and countryside and so on. It would probably surprise many of them to learn that almost every single county in the country with a majority black population is located in the South since they imagine everyone there to be a white Republican.
In support of her latest release, Is Your Love Big Enough? (Nonesuch), British singer/songwriter Lianne La Havas charmed an Amoeba audience with just her voice and a 1964 Danelectro Silvertone guitar. Given the warehouse sized building that is Amoeba Hollywood, Lianne did a superb job of creating an intimate feel for her performance. She played semi-acoustic versions of new songs including, "No Room For Doubt," "Age" and "Forget." La Havas proudly declared on stage, "It's always been a dream of mine to make a record and for it to be sold in this store and to play in this store. I think it's probably the best shop in the world." Yes, it is Ms. La Havas! We at Amoeba throuroughly enjoyed the tunes and are happy to be a part of your dreams. Thank you!
Lianne La Havas is back in Los Angeles March 19 & 20th to play The El Rey Theatre. Make sure to catch her as she will be backed by a full band! You can purchase tickets for this show and many others at Amoeba Hollywood. For those of you in the Bay Area, you can catch Lianne at The Great American Music Hall in San Francisco. The tour will also roll through the Pacific Northwest with stops in Portland and Seattle.
LA DJ/producer/beatmaker and record collecting/crate digging fanatic DJ Nu-Mark, who talks about his 35,000 deep collection in the above recently posted video from Fuse TV's Crate Diggers series, will be doing a free live in-store performance Thursday (Feb 28th) at 6pm at Amoeba Hollywood. The producer/turntablist extraordinaire, who many got to know through his membership of now defunct quality hip-hop crew Jurassic 5, will be promoting his new, guest-heavy solo album, Broken Sunlight, which was released in December by Hot Plate Records. At this week's Amoeba in-store Nu-Mark will play his famous "toy set" live as well as sign copies of the new album immediately following the performance. More info on the show here and below is the video for the album track "Tonight" featuring J-Live, M3, and Erica Dee. Buy Broken Sunlight here
DJ Nu-Mark "Tonight (feat. J-Live, M3 & Erica Dee)"
Radiohead on SNL - Lotus Flower (1) by nickmic
In previous NY State of Mind Amoeblogs I've written about how to go about getting tickets to be studio audience members for tapings of such television shows as The Late Show with David Letterman, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and the Colbert Report. Snagging tickets for each of these shows takes a fair bit of effort. But they do have standby lists and typically, at last minute, you can usually snag tickets to these coveted shows by putting in some time in line on the day of the taping.In comparison, getting tickets to NBC's long running, legendary, live comedy sketch show Saturday Night Live is the extremely tough - but not impossible. It just takes a degree of commitment and some time and effort if you are trying to get standby tickets. Advance tickets are only issued via an email lottery (email@example.com) that accepts requests in the month of August for the following season. So unless you planned ahead, standby tickets are the best option...or knowing someone at NBC.
For getting last minute standby tickets, plan on getting little or no sleep the night before so you can arrive by 7am on the Saturday morning of the show (note: if you arrive before 7am, you will not be allowed to jump the line) to the 49th Street side of 30 Rockefeller Plaza. If you are granted tickets, you may choose a stand-by ticket for either the 8pm dress rehearsal or the 11:30pm live broadcast. Aside from minimal, necessary breaks, all stand-by line members must remain in line at all times. And remember that getting in line does not guarantee you will get a ticket, especially when the host and/or musical guest is a hot ticket like in May of 2011 when Lady Gaga was the musical guest with host Justin Timberlake, or when Radiohead paired with host Alex Baldwin in September of 2011 (video above), or earlier this month when Justin Bieber was the host.
|Catch Ceremony on February 27th at The Rickshaw Stop.|
The Noise Pop Music Festival is the country’s leading indie music, arts, and film festival. Now in its 21st year, the San Francisco festival features performances by Toro y Moi, Amon Tobin, !!!, Thao & The Get Down Stay Down, Rogue Wave, Ceremony, and so many more!
In addition, the festival boasts a film series that explores the intersection of music and art; Pop-n-Shop, a local designer fair; Culture Club, an interactive workshop exploring DIY culture; Art Gallery Shows; and Happy Hours!
Check out the full schedule of events HERE!
Amoeba is now taking preorders for My Bloody Valentine’s long-awaited third LP, mbv, at Amoeba.com. The album hits stores March 12 and is available on CD or LP. The LP is 180 gram and includes the CD as well.
Most of you probably know the story, but here’s the quick rundown: My Bloody Valentine released two full-length albums, 1988’s Isn’t Anything and 1991’s Loveless, to universal acclaim and a cult following which seemed to grow with each passing year, kicking off the shoegaze genre and spawning legions of imitators. Then they virtually disappeared — mastermind Kevin Shields could be seen in a number of guises over the years, namely playing with and producing Primal Scream and contributing to Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation soundtrack, but the band was dormant. An album was said to be “3/4 done” in 1996 but never surfaced.
Bleached "Next Stop" (2013)
LA band Bleached unveiled the brand new video today for "Next Stop" - the irresistible, power punk fueled first single off their anticipated debut full-length album Ride Your Heart (Dead Oceans) which will arrive in Amoeba on April 2nd but is already available for pre-order in both CD and LP formats. The single follows the band's other three 7" singles released over the past couple of years; "Think of You"/"You Take Time," "Searching Through The Past," and "No Friend of Mine." Formed by San Fernando Valley raised sisters Jennifer Clavin (guitar) and Jessie Clavin (bass), who many got to know originally through their old group Mika Miko, Bleached proudly wear their retro influences (Misfits, Ramones, etc.) on their sleeves and are known to do covers of these bands in concert. Likely they'll do so on their upcoming two-month US tour that kicks off March 9th in Texas and includes a slew of dates at SXSW. During the tour they will be back in the Golden State twice: on March 22nd they play The Observatory in Santa Ana along with The Black Lips, Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti, and others, and then again at the very end of the tour when their Cali dates will include at The Independent in San Francisco, CA on May 5th and at the Troubadour in West Hollywood on May 8th which is the final date. Right now you can pre-order the twelve track Ride Your Heart.
Atoms For Peace - Amok
Deluxe CD $16.98
Deluxe LP $32.98
Thom Yorke further blurs the line between organic and electronic, emotional and mechanical on his latest release, with Atoms for Peace. Keeping the more electronic-based notion of his 2006 solo album, The Eraser, Yorke balloons the tinny sound of that album with living, breathing collaborators — Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich, Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea and session drummer Joey Waronker. “Before Your Very Eyes” wipes the floor with most songs on The Eraser with its fully realized sound and emphasis on Yorke’s robofunk riffs and supernatural, swooping vocals. “Default,” too, is like the gnarled single the last Radiohead album, The King of Limbs, was missing. “Ingenue” boasts some of the catchiest synth riffs on the album, and its backbeat, a sort of digitally created, organically reconstructed afrobeat/dubstep hybrid, demands careful attention. Though Amok is sequenced well, some of its tracks fail to make a lasting impression, but by album’s end, the acoustic guitar spiderwebs, handclaps and layers of heavenly Yorke vocals on “Judge, Jury And Executioner” save the day, along with the trippy jazz beat, mathematical guitar, buzzing synths and gurgling, cut-up vocals of “Reverse Running.” Musically there’s something new to glean from each listen, from allowing the densely sequenced beats to firmly etch themselves in your brain to appreciating Yorke’s croon as it echoes out and drowns in reverb. Those who closely follow Yorke’s forward-looking adventurousness will get more from Amok than those looking for songs with the emotional heft of, say, a “Karma Police” or “Kid A.” However, Amok is a more than striking debut, sending new spores to grow on you with each listen and establishing Atoms for Peace as a welcome project from Yorke and co.
DJ Toure documentary (electronic press kit 2013)
Last Tuesday DJ Toure, DJ/producer and member of Oakland's longtime Hieroglyphics crew, released his long-awaited solo album, Toure's Theory: Session One, which initially was expected to drop last year but due to his busy schedule got bumped back until now. The prolific artist, who in addition to working with the Hieros crew including member Casual has, over the years, produced tracks for the likes Too $hort, Freeway, Devin The Dude, Phonte, Father Dom, Beeda Weeda, The Grouch & Eligh, Goapele, E-40, and Forty Wata's rapper son Droop-E, has been down with the Hieros since day - initially joining the crew as the DJ for his (elementary school mate) Casual .
The above Dylan Freitas-D'Louhy directed electronic press kit video gives some insight into DJ Toure's rich history (coming up in Oakland upbringing with fellow Hieros (Casual, Tajai, Opio, and A-Plus) as well as some background on the new album that includes many of the aforementioned artists he's worked with including members of the Hieros - Opio, Pep Love, Del The Funky Homosapien, and Casual; plus such Bay Area artists as Too $hort (see new video below for the album track "Mind Yo Business" that also features Jacoria Marzett.), E-40, Mistah FAB, Clyde Carson, B-Legit, J. Stalin, Nio Tha Gift, and The Jacka, as well as such other guests as Philly rap star Freeway.
|Chad Michaels of RuPaul's Drag Race|
Trannyshack, San Francisco's biggest drag club night, salutes the ultimate show business survivor on Friday, March 15th at the DNA Lounge! That's right...it's a salute to the original one-named wonder, CHER!
Plus, special guest Chad Michaels from RuPaul's Drag Race will join the festivities along with performances by Heklina, Holy McGrail, Landa Lakes, Cookie Dough, Precious Moments, Holotta Tymes, Cockatelia, and more!
To read more Behind The Grooves, go to http://behindthegrooves.tumblr.com.
Born on this day: February 25, 1943 - The Beatles' lead guitarist, humanitarian, and philanthropist George Harrison (born at 12 Arnold Grove, Wavertree, Liverpool, UK). Happy Birthday to this rock music icon on what would have been his 70th Birthday. We love and miss you, George.
The Beatles - While My Guitar Gently Weeps (LOVE Version)
On this day in music history: February 25, 1963 - Vee Jay Records in Chicago, IL will release "Please Please Me" by The Beatles in the US. Issued with the catalog number VJ 498, it is their first American release. It will be licensed to the label after EMI Records owned Capitol Records refuses to release it, telling producer George Martin and manager Brian Epstein that the band "won't mean anything over here." The record will fare no better on Vee Jay initially, which is such a low priority that the initial pressings of the 45 misspell their name as "The Beattles." The original release of the single will sell just over 7,300 copies, mostly in the Chicago area where it receives airplay on WLS. Today those copies sell for over $3,500 in near mint condition.
I had my decomposing gall bladder removed this week just so I could read it to make my predictions. Against the wire, but here they are ...
Best Picture: Argo
A film that suggests Hollywood saved lives. Really, there's no contest here.
Leading Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln)
Joaquin Phoenix is great doing what Day-Lewis did the last time around, a slash-your-wrists performance for Paul Thomas Anderson, but no one seems to like The Master much. Maybe it guilt trips Hollywood into thinking about the days when it used film. I don't know, but the other choices aren't worth much.
Supporting Actor: Robert Di Niro (Silver Linings Playbook)
This should've gone to Leonardo DiCaprio, the best thing about Django Unchained; but no one seemed to notice, since he's not up for anything. As it stands, it'll probably go to De Niro for appearing to care enough to act this time around.
Best Actress: Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty)
Maybe political backlash over the film's pro-torture sentiment will kill her chances, but I'm thinking strong-willed woman in the middle of another of Bigelow's macho wank fantasies as tough-minded realism has something for everyone. Besides, the film won't win anything else.
Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway (Les Misérables)
Sally Fields is shrill and irritating -- at what point do people realize that she's not really playing a part? Hathaway can really sing, cut her hair and the Academy really likes her.
Animated Feature: Frankenweenie
AMOEBA MUSIC HOLLYWOOD HIP-HOP TOP FIVE WEEK ENDING FEBRUARY 22, 2013
2) MED, Blue, Madlib Burgundy EP (Bang Ya Head/Fat Beats)
3) A$AP Rocky Long.Live.A$AP (RCA Records)
4) Wu-Tang Clan Enter The Wu Tang (36 Chambers) (Loud/RCA)
5) Kendrick Lamar Good Kid M.A.A.D City CD (Aftermath)
Although first released back on October to 22nd Kendrick Lamar's Good Kid M.A.A.D City Deluxe CD as well as the regular CD version of his Good Kid M.A.A.D City on Aftermath both continue to sell well and chart at the Los Angeles Amoeba Music (in the artist's hometown) as seen on the above top five from Amoeba Hollywood where the other entries include the recommended new (vinyl release) Burgundy EP from MED, Blue, and Madlib on Bang Ya Head/Fat Beats. Additional chart entries are the ever popular new release from A$AP Rocky Long.Live.A$AP on RCA Records and the classic (but charting again) two decade strong album from the Wu-Tang Clan Enter The Wu Tang (36 Chambers). Amoeba fans note that this weekend there is an 15% Off Everything on Amoeba.com sale. This includes vinyl (lots of hip-hop) and CDs and the offer is valid through Sunday Feb 24th. When you go online to the Amoeba store apply promo code at checkout: FEB1513
On a recent visit to Amoeba Hollywood in support of his current book, That Is All, funny man John Hodgman found some time to entertain our cameras and give us an inside look at what tickles his fancy. Much like his role as The Daily Show's "Resident Expert," Hodgman gives us the low down on several films and artists including, Island of Lost Souls, Cabin In the Woods, AC Newman and Megafaun. He offers up a hilarious trade in deal to all Amoeba customers that involves John Tesh's A Romantic Christmas and Jonathan Coulton & John Roderick's One Christmas At A Time.
John Hodgman - What's In My Bag?
Watch and comment on YouTube
Check out more photos from John Hodgman's book signing at Amoeba!
Warm Soda – “Busy Lizzy” video
Oakland’s Warm Soda have released a video for “Busy Lizzy,” from their excellent Someone for You, recently released on Castle Face. In the video, sexy librarian babe Busy Lizza walks around town and causes havok with her sheer babeness, all shot on VHS video. It’s like a great ’80s local commercial, set to one of the finest power-pop jams you’ll hear in this young year. They’re all over California in the coming days, check ’em out:
2/21 – San Diego – Soda Bar w/Teenage Burritos, Shiva Trash
2/22 – Fullerton – Burger Records
2/23 – Oakland – Night Light w/Bad Vibez, Cocktails
2/28 – San Francisco – Noise Pop – Brick & Mortar w/Free Energy
3/1 – Pacifica – Winters Tavern
3/7 – Long Beach – Alex’s Bar w/Cigarette Bums, Feral Kizzy
Tera Melos – “Sunburn”
Sacramento’s Tera Melos have unveiled the second track from their buzzed-about forthcoming album X’ed Out. Buzz is the operative word here — glorious guitar buzz, manipulated and strangled into convoluted math-rock guitar lines that bleed into big choruses. There just aren’t a lot of bands exploring guitar textures this way any more, and Tera Melos definitely fill a void. X’ed Out is due April 16 on Sargent House.
Amoeba’s ongoing sponsorship of First Fridays at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles continues March 1 with Allah-Las and The Babies. We’ll be at a table near the entrance selling Amoeba swag, $20-for-$10 Amoeba gift certificates (limit two per person) and more. There's also a tour of the museum and discussion with Dr. Lucy Jones starting at 5 p.m., discussing the history of seismology in LA and what might be in its future — yikes! The band performances run from 8 to 10 p.m., with KCRW DJs Anthony Valadez and Travis Holcombe spinning from 5:30 to 10 p.m. in the DJ lounge, where you can buy drinks as well. For $18 you get a presale ticket and museum admission (with a guaranteed spot in the concert hall), or museum admission with access to the discussions and DJ lounge but not the concert hall for $12. The event starts at 5 p.m. Get tickets for the show here.
This show is extra special because it features Allah-Las, who met while the members were working at Amoeba. Since forming, the band, which filters surf rock, ’60s garage rock nuggets and ’80s jangly paisley underground rock into a cool, collected whole, has become one of the biggest young bands in Los Angeles. Produced by another local favorite, ’50s-flavored songsmith Nick Waterhouse, their self-titled debut record, released in 2012 on Innovative Leisure, was one of the most buzzed-about L.A. records of the year and has helped launch the band globally. We’re proud of our boys and we hope you check them out March 1! Read my interview with the band here.
Symbols Of The West "Save My City"
Above is a live studio recording of the great track "Save My City" from San Francisco's Symbols Of The West - a group I predict we'll be hearing a lot more of in 2013. The above version, recorded about a year ago, is slightly different from the new version of the song - the lead single off the duo's debut album A Thousand Lights,” that will be released by Rock Shock It! Records next Tuesday, Feb 26th. The indie electro pair, comprised of members Lauren Stark and Nat Kendall, are actually from Montana but based in San Francisco. The new ten song album, which was recorded at Hyde Street Studios and Magnolia Records with producer Chris Wonzer with later mastering by by TJ Lipple, who had mastered the MGMT Time To Pretend EP and also had recorded Nat’s first release back in 1998. captures their refreshingly unique sound that's built on layered guitars and synthesizers with dreamy hypnotic vocals, and has drawn favorable comparisons to such other outfits as Of Monsters and Men and Beach House. A few nights ago they played theNight Light in Oakland (the club/bar that incidentally will be showcased here on the Ameoblog in the coming week). To find out about upcoming shows for the band visit Symbols Of The West's website.
Dawn McCarthy and Bonnie "Prince" Billy's newly-released love letter to The Everly Brothers, What the Brothers Sang, was recorded at a studio called The Butcher Shoppe in Nashville, which is owned and operated by Grammy award-winning engineer David Ferguson and singer-songwriter John Prine. Summoning up the magic of others who have recorded there before them (Johnny Cash!!), the duo was joined by musicians Emmett Kelley, Dave Roe, and Kenny Malone, with featured players Billy Contreras, John Mock, Dan Dugmore, Matt Sweeney, Pete Townsend, John Catchings, Bobby Wood, Joey Miskalin, Nils Frykdahl, Ian McAllister, Joey Baron, Dr. Chris Vivio, and Noah Tag.
Filmmaker Lara Miranda bottled some of that behind-the-scenes magic with this atmospheric short. Enjoy.
Above in that photo with an Amoeba sticker in foreground is the world famous Magnolia Bakery where tourists and New Yorkers (but mainly tourists these days) flock to buy their cupcakes and other tasty goods. There's more info below on Magnolia in this latest weekly installment of the New York State of Mind Amoeblog. Also read about the Bay Area's Today's Future Sound in New York, Improv Everywhere's Grand Central Lights, and previews of some of the NYC concerts and events in the week ahead.
Soul Served: A Night of Dinner and Poetry in Brooklyn this weekend is a unique, fun, all-ages, appetizing event that examines how food creates community. Three types of poetry are paired with a three-course meal, with each centered on the themes of food and community with artists Briannah Hagger, Kearmonie, and Malcolm Wicks. Also at this free event, DJ Polarity will be spinning music. Saturday, February 23rd from 6:30pm to 9pm at Five Spot Soul Food located at 459 Myrtle Ave (between Washington & Waverly), Brooklyn, NY 11205. More event info here.
Meanwhile concerts in the week ahead include the pioneering hip-hop crew Cold Crush Brothers at SOBs on Sunday (February 24th) night. 8pm doors. 21+. Tix $20 advance $25 at the door SOB's is located at 200 Varick St NYC 10014. More info. That same night DJ Tony Touch will be wrecking the ones and twos all night (9pm-4am) at the Sullivan Room. 21 + located at 218 Sullivan St btw Bleecker & W 3rd St NY 10012 - more info.
(image source: Kevin Balluff)
Although it takes an incredible combination of cognitive dissonance, myopia (and usually some chauvinism) to deny that Los Angeles can be characterized by its amazing architecture, it does happen. Ironically, most of the blame for this fact can be placed on the shoulders of the self-appointed boosters in Hollywood, whose idea of Utopia seems to resemble a boring, wealthy, white Florida suburb more than the actual city of angels. For example, when a film wants to communicate that its setting is Los Angeles, most of the establishing shots aren’t of architecture at all. Instead audiences are subjected to images of the Hollywood Sign, the Walk of Fame, Venice’s Muscle Beach, Beverly Hills's Rodeo Drive, etc. Maybe they’re treated to a shot of Welton Becket’s Capitol Records Building or Meyer & Holler’s TCL Chinese Theatre (formerly Grauman’s).
Iceage - You're Nothing
Turning on Iceage’s You’re Nothing at first feels like jumping headfirst into a cold pond. On openers “Ecstasy” and “Coalition,” the Danish band turns up the distortion to brutal levels and works itself into a frenzy of speedy hardcore riffs and singer Elias Bender Ronnenfelt’s anguished Ian Curtis-esque wail. But Iceage’s post-punk fury is no monolithic sound, as its dynamic push and pull recalls My Bloody Valentine at their Isn’t Anything roughest, allowing songs to bend and turn at will but with a strong base and memorable hooks, like “In Haze’s” sudden textured guitars and pummeling chorus. The band’s foreboding marches and chugging guitars never get too mechanical, splintering off into chaotic noise whenever possible, as how the tense near-ballad “Morals” breaks from its severe structure into searing choruses. They’re the rare band you trust to always take you somewhere worthwhile even while blowing your hair back with pure noise. Crash into You’re Nothing like an iceberg.
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Push The Sky Away
On Saturday, February 9th, Amoeba San Francisco celebrated the canine with our first-ever Dog Day Afternoon! We are a retailer that always invites you and your dog to shop together, but on this special day we offered special treats for both human and companion, AND set up a doggie photo booth to capture the cuteness. Here are some of our most adorable visiters. Can you handle this? (Photos by Kaitlin Layher.)
On Sunday, March 3rd, Amoeba Music returns to one of the Southland's biggest and best record swap meets, the Pasadena City College's Flea Market and Record Swap. With over 500 vendors, the Flea Market features antiques and collectibles, records, tools, clothes, toys, and much more, not to mention food and good company. And admission is always free!
The Flea Market and Record Swap is from 7am - 3pm. Look for the Amoeba booth located in the Bonnie St. parking structure (Lot 5) on the third level. We always have a great selection of vinyl, from dollar records to collectibles in every genre. Come out and enjoy your Sunday with us!
The LA Weekly calls the show “the best source for used records in all of Southern California."
More info HERE.
Our recently expanded headphone section is booming and we've all caught HEADPHONE MADNESS!
Shop a great assortment of styles from Urban Ears, Sony, Eskuche, JVC, Panasonic, Grado, Skullcandy, and more (depending on the Amoeba location).
The quality of your headphones is just as important as the format you chose to listen on. Plus, headphones can really be a personal choice...a symbol of your individuality, to say the least. We understand that here at Amoeba and want to make sure that you get just the right pair!
What better way to get the right headphones than on sale?! Shop our three-store sale on Saturday, February 23rd and get 20% off all headphones, PLUS all turntables and t-shirts too! This sale is limited to stock on hand and is for one day only, so you won't want to miss it.
Just look at this assortment of headphones!
To sweeten the deal, Amoeba Hollywood is having a sidewalk sale on the same day -- Saturday, February 23rd. Score some awesome deals on CDs, vinyl, DVD box sets, books and more Saturday 2/23 in front of the store from 12PM - 5PM. (All sidewalk sales are final. Store credit cannot be used to purchase items from the sidewalk sale. Prices apply to sidewalk sale stock only and this offer is only while supplies last.)
To read more Behind The Grooves, go to http://behindthegrooves.tumblr.com.
On this day in music history: February 18, 1956 - "Rock and Roll Waltz" by Kay Starr hits #1 on the Billboard Best Sellers chart for one week. Written by Dick Ware and Shorty Allen, it is recorded at RCA Victor Studios in New York City. The song will be the biggest hit for the Oklahoma pop vocalist born Katherine La Verne Starks. Starr will get her big break singing with the Glenn Miller Orchestra in 1939 when she is only 17 years old. Recently signed to RCA Victor after several years with Capitol Records, the head of A&R at RCA will present the song to the singer. At first she does not like it, feeling that it is more like a novelty record than the type of material she was used to performing. But she will consent to record it, completing it during a round of sessions at the label's New York recording studio. To her surprise, the record will be an immediate hit. Entering the Best Sellers chart at #21 on January 7, 1956, it will leap to the top six weeks later. "Rock and Roll Waltz" will sell over a million copies earning a Gold disc for Kay Starr. Starr will also become the first female vocalist of the rock era to have a number one single (also RCA Victor's first chart topper of the rock era), and is the first song to have the term "rock and roll" mentioned in it.
On this day in music history: February 18, 1967 - "Kind of a Drag" by The Buckinghams hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks. Written Jim Holvay and Gary Beisber, it is the biggest single for the Chicago based pop band. Formed in 1965, they are originally known as The Pulsations, becoming regulars on a local Chicago music show called the All Time Hits Show. When someone on the program suggests that they change their name, they will change it to The Buckinghams. Signed by local label USA Records, the track is recorded at Chess Studios. Released in late 1966, the record will take off quickly. Entering the Hot 100 at #90 on December 31, 1966, it will shoot to the top of the chart seven weeks later. Shortly after the single tops the chart, the band will be quickly snatched up by Columbia Records and paired with producer James William Guercio (Chicago, Blood, Sweat & Tears). The Buckinghams will score four more top 20 hits while on Columbia including "Don't You Care" (#6 Pop), "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy" (#5 Pop), and "Susan" (#11 Pop), though "Kind of a Drag" will remain their most successful single.
First off, a belated congratulate to Quetzal and Lila Downs for winning Grammy awards last week. I wrote about both their albums, Imaginaries and Pecados y Milagros last year. I've also written in the past about the other nominees, Ana Tijoux, Los Cojolites, Sistema Bomb and Carla Morrison. Speaking of Carla Morrison, you can now order her album, Dejenme Llorar from the Amoeba website. Amoeba is one of a handful of stores carrying the physical copy of her album. Dejenme Llorar was in
Another album that has been in demand has finally arrived as a domestic release.
Last year when news surfaced that Paul Canales, formerly chef at Oliveto, along with Rocco Somazzi would be opening their new Uptown district (468 19th St.) eatery DUENDE anticipation has been high for this latest addition to the ever evolving hot Oakland nightlife area in the vicinity of the Fox Theater And justifiably so for DUENDE, which opened last month, is more than simply an enticing new East Bay dining destination; it is a many faceted, ambitious new nightlife addition that is also a music venue, art gallery, and wine store.
And as for the food - its primary draw - DUENDE offers a refreshing original cuisine by the renowned East Bay chef whose Basque heritage plays a subtle yet distinct influence in his approach to cooking. Described as "Spanish based" but with a broad blend of flavors (drawing from African, French, & Italian) Canales told the San Francisco Chronicle that for DUENDE, "I really wanted a flexible food concept. I didn't want to be stuck in a style of food." promising that he will never settle for traditional Spanish fare (or "Spanish museum food" as he dismisses it).
Originally expected to open last summer DUENDE, following many months of hard work and adhering to building codes and various city codes, finally officially opened in January. Its location is at 468 19th Street in historic Floral Depot building in the short block between Broadway and Telegraph Aves. a stones throw from the Fox Theater and round the corner from The Uptown nightclub and the various other clubs, restaurants, and art spaces that have filled this revitalized, vibrant, once dormant part of Oakland over the past several years. Inside the high-ceilinged, exposed brick and beam, large but cozy space - the work of Arcsine Architecture - seats up to 84 diners, while a wide iron stairway leads upstairs to the live music area where a black and gold emblazoned grand piano (pictured below) is the centerpiece. Recently I caught up with Rocco Somazzi who handles the music end of things at DUENDE to ask him about the new space and his own rich history which anyone from Los Angeles already likely knows about (LA Magazine once wrote of Rocco that, "The best jazz club in L.A. is wherever Rocco Somazzi handles the booking on a given night...He is the rare local booker who keeps jazz fans wondering what he’s going to do next.")
I can't think of the last time a seven-inch split lead me to a TV show, let alone a scrummy back-bridge of DIY television programming like Hollywood Nailz. All I thought I was getting into when I slid the 45rpm slice of block-rockin' Bay Area vibrations onto the ol' hi-fi was some good time 90's cover tunes redressed and turned-out by Grass Widow (who tackled EMF's "Unbelievable") and Shannon and the Clams (who snagged "The Power" by Snap!). And, for a fact, much enjoyment ensued. But, as luck would have it, I wanted more.
Tyler, The Creator "Domo 23"
Illogic & Blockhead "Capture the Sun (feat Slug)"
Another upcoming April hip-hop release will beIllogic & Blockhead's collaborative full-length, Capture The Sun that will drop on the 16th of that month. The album, which includes features from Blueprint, Abstract Rude, Slug and others, will be released on TK via Man Bites Dog Records. Above is the new video of the album's lead single and title track, featuring the aforementioned Slug of Atmosphere, "Capture The Sun."
Friday, February 15, 2013 / Midnite
Call dispatch and get ready for the wildest ride in D.C. — that’s District of Comedy, fool! The zaniest bunch of ragtag misfits ever assembled must battle topless dancers, brutal kidnappers, the taxicab commission and more boneheaded hilarity to collect their fare and save their hides. Fifteen years before Batman & Robin, director Joel Schumacher had already perfected his ability to put together a top-notch, no-holds-barred WTF cast: the no-relation-to-the-Baldwin-brothers Adam Baldwin, the terrifyingly spastic Gary Busey, a synthesizer-wielding Bill Maher, the hulkazoid Barbarian Brothers and motherfuckin’ MR. T! And that’s not even mentioning Barney Miller’s Max Gail, legendary NYC comedian Charlie Barnett, Paul “A Million to Juan” Rodriguez, Sanford & Son’s Whitman Mayo, Andy Kaufman’s partner-in-crime Bob Zmuda, or Irene Care as HERSELF. If you don’t want to see a cast like that star in an R-rated early-’80s comedy, check your pulse — you’re probably dead! NOTE: the start time of this screening will actually be 12:15AM.
Dir. Joel Schumacher, 1983, 35mm, 100 min.
$12, Free For Members
Cinefamily // 611 N Fairfax Avenue // Los Angeles // 90036
Why release Jersey-inspired house when you can reissue the real thing? The “Meat Mixx” and “NYC Dub” of this Whitehead/Murk collaboration are compiled here, along with present-day remixes. The original NYC Dub is a transcendent example of American garage house - all vocal cutups, pristine piano, swung drums and organ steps.The Meat Mixx makes full-use of Whitehead’s powerhouse ( vocals. A1, the remix by Willie Graff and Tucillo provides an airier interpretation of the NYC Dub’s organ stabs and Whitehead’s soaring vocals, and adds a subtle acidic squelch. The Florian Kruse mix has a classic Strictly Rhythm vibe while Max Jacobson takes a deeper approach - looping a wordless sample of Whitehead’s vocal, but buoying the track with live-sounding bongos. Great release!
Purchase Under My Spell
Their status as LA’s premier live dance/balaeric/kraut/? band cemented, the group of talented producers and music nerds (Pharoahs’ core consists of former Amoeba employee Sam Cooper, Dublab dude Ale Cooper and rising producer Suzanne Kraft) make the move to fellow diviner Lovefingers’ label for their most realized effort yet. “Ahumba” is named after surfer Cooper’s dream beach in Zanzibar - and the song reworks windswept digital beauty of the Innovative Communications label for the dancefloor. Sublime guitar arpeggiations color the tropical tracks. “If It Ever Feels Right” is a live staple that never comes out quite the same - a testament to the massive amount of improv that makes Pharaohs such an exciting group. The basis of the track is a descending Juno 60 arpeggio - delayed uptown sax, a far-off pad and varied percussion fill this out into perhaps the most floor-friendly track on the record. The insistent bassline eventually ends up scoring some light jacking and zonked sax-work worthy of Roland P. Young. Island Time successfully focuses on rhythm rather than the synth acrobats of the other tracks, bringing the tide back out for this great EP.
Thee Oh Sees – “Minotaur”
S.F.’s Thee Oh Sees are at it again, with a new album out April 16 called Floating Coffin. As Pitchfork reports, the album comes from “the mindset of a world that's perpetually war-ridden.” The track is more ominous than anything the band has released thus far from the outset, carried through with somber strings that sound amazing in their lo-fi setting, making Thee Oh Sees sound like some zombie orchestra. John Dwyer’s vocals are appealingly deadpan throughout. With having just released Putrifiers II last year and Castemania and Carrion Crawler/The Dream both the year before, Floating Coffin sounds like it’ll continue their tradition of getting better with each release. Hear it at Pitchfork.
Local Natives – “Heavy Feet” video
Local Natives have unveiled an almost painfully charming video for their song “Heavy Feet,” a standout on the excellent recently released Hummingbird. It’s one of the rare videos I’ve seen recently where I immediately thought of the glory days of MTV — this shit would’ve been buzzworthy fo sho. Something about talking sandwiches, cute old people painting planes and burying a cake. It reminds me a bit of the looney Michel Gondry videos of the ’90s, though not as manic. Read my interview with the band here; see photos of their amazing Amoeba performance here.
John Lennon "Oh My Love"
When you think about it nearly every pop song is about love in some form or another. Most songs on the topic are either about celebrating being in love or alternately mourning falling out of love and wanting to get back there. Of the literally millions of songs on love I think John Lennon wrote and recorded some of the most touching and poignant ones - two of which I have included here on this Valentine's Day. Above is "Oh My Love" with Lennon on piano and George Harrison joining him on guitar. The song was written by John Lennon with Yoko Ono and first appeared in 1971 on Lennon's album Imagine on which George Harrison contributed to several songs in addition to this one. "Oh My Love" can also be found on Wonsaponatime: Selections from Lennon Anthology
Then below is the simple but powerful Lennon song "Love" (with lyrics in the video) that was first released on the 1970 album John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band. As anyone who has that album knows the piano part at the beginning (and end) is really quiet but builds in volume. So you will notice that the version below is the later remix of the song with the sound levels more equalized on these two parts. The posthumous version of "Love" below appeared a dozen years after the initial release on the 1982 compilation The John Lennon Collection, and later appeared on such other collections as the John Lennon Anthology box set.
In this week's New York State of Mind Amoeblog is a preview from the forthcoming XXL magazine on the return of New York hip-hop, a review of a unique new record store/barber shop Deep Cuts at the Silent Barn in Bushwick Brooklyn, plus a novel, budget conscious, way to celebrating Valentines Day in New York City, as well as a righteous rewarding way to participate in V-Day's One Billion Rising in NYC, plus concerts picks and happenings for the week ahead.
Concerts include gospel great Mavis Staples (pictured right) on Feb. 14th as part of the American Songbook series in the Allen Room, Jazz At Lincoln Center's Frederick P. Rose Hall at Broadway at 62th Street. 8pm show. More info 212 721-6500 and at AmercianSongbook. Also on Feb 14th (Valentine's Day) soul singer Freddie Jackson plays BB King's on 42nd Street in the Times Square area. More info. On Friday, Feb 15th heavy metal masters Meshuggah headline a bill at Roseland Ballroom on W 52nd near 8th Avenue with both Animals As Leaders and Intronaut opening. Tickets and info. Big Head Todd & The Monsters play Irving Plaza on Saturday, Feb 16th. More info. Longtime homegrown hip-hop acts M.O.P. and Smif-N-Wessun, both from Brooklyn, team up to play a show at the Highline Ballroom at 431 West 16th Street in the Chelsea district on Sunday Feb 17th. More info.
"New York is back" - that's the word according to New York City based Harris Publications hip-hop magazine XXL who, in celebration of this proclamation, feature on the cover of their brand new (March/April) issue both Harlem’s A$AP Rocky and The Bronx’s French Montana in both solo covers and the joint cover (left). These two newcomer NYC rap stars, "are sure to be two of 2013’s most celebrated MCs" write XXL's editors. A$AP Rocky’s debut album (as distinct from his mixtapes), LONG.LIVE.A$AP, debuted at No. 1 on the Amoeba chart and on Billboard 200 upon its release last month. Meanwhile fellow NY rapper French Montana's debut disc, Excuse My French, will drop on April 16th and is expected to do extremely well. In the new XXL issue, which hits stands nationwide on February 19th, both artists give intimate in-depth interviews with Rocky talking about such things as his former drug dealing days and the recent death of his father, and Montana discussing such things as his relationship with 50 Cent and his feelings on that almost deadly day he was shot in the head.
A record number of people came to celebrate Amoeba Hollywood’s annual Fat Tuesday celebration. This year saw The Dirty Dozen Brass Band perform live and lead the annual Second Line Parade down the aisles of Amoeba.
The band brought New Orleans cheer to the store, getting the family-friendly audience dancing in the aisles with their influential funk-infused jazz style. Some attendees showed up in Mardi Gras costume, including a quartet of girls in white dresses spattered with fake blood — maybe it’s a True Blood thing, I’m not sure.
While homemade floats, masks and beads floated around the audience, the extraordinary musicianship on display wasn’t lost on the audience. A sax solo introduced the band’s second song, breaking out into a drum solo before returning to the song and drawing huge applause. They got the audience clapping to what I thought was a standup bass but was actually DDBB’s tuba player playing a rubbery bassline. They thanked the audience and Amoeba as they capped off 36 years as a band before leading everyone through a parade while playing “When the Saints Go Marching In” up and down the aisles.
Amoeba is distributing The Congo Square Project Foundation: Sacred Ground Vols. 1 and 2, the first two of six planned volumes tracing the development of New Orleans music, with all proceeds of the sale benefiting New Orleans relief efforts. Additionally, a portion of all proceeds for the day (including sales on Amoeba.com) went to Tipitina’s Foundation, which seeks to preserve Louisiana and New Orleans’ musical heritage, and New Orleans Musicians’ Clinic, which is dedicated to providing affordable healthcare to New Orleans musicians. A total of $3,000 was donated from Amoeba's revenue Feb. 12, adding to the $1,400 raised through a charity auction held at Amoeba Hollywood Feb. 2 ($700 was raised from auction sales, with a $700 match from Amoeba), for a combined total of $4,400 sent to the two charities.
Veronica Falls - Waiting For Something To Happen
Veronica Falls make a huge songwriting leap on their second album for Slumberland Records. Where their first self-titled album was sweet and catchy, Waiting for Something to Happen explodes with teenage energy, overflowing with emotion and honesty. Frontwoman Roxanne Clifford is no belter, but she knows how to land a line, singing “driving late at night, I’ll let you listen to the music you like” in a way that digs into you with unforced adolescent earnestness on “Teenage.” Musically, Veronica Falls touch upon ’80s jangle and ’60s garage rock without falling prey to forefather worship — their easiest comparison for influence is early R.E.M., constructing straightforward guitar pop that wear honesty and naivete as badges of pride. Similarly to that band in its early incarnation, Veronica Falls sound like a gang of close-knit misfits, with Clifford’s cohorts surrounding her smooth voice with harmony and melodic counterpoint on a song like “If You Still Want Me,” wringing new energy out of a chord arrangements older than sin played as though it were entirely new. The band’s confidence and ability to guide a song smoothly carries them through simple arrangements until you’re completely sold — witness how the band makes “Everybody’s Changing” into their own “Everybody Hurts,” with a handful of chords, simple statements and the panache to carry it off. While it may have been tempting to enjoy Veronica Falls as merely one of the best bands to recreate a beloved old sound, they make the case for being as strong as several of their forebears on Waiting for Something to Happen’s strongest moments. When Clifford sings “You’re a broken toy, it’s true/But I am broken too” on “Broken Toy,” the teen angst in you will come flooding right back. Don’t resist the urge to give in.
|photo © Kevin Estrada / kevinestrada.com|
I had the amazing good fortune to be among the audience at the Hollywood Palladium last night to witness Justin Timberlake's return to the stage after a far-too-long absence from music (it's been nearly six and a half years since his sophomore solo album, Futuresex/Love Sounds [RCA, 2006]). But nothing in his set, his performance or his voice, gave any indication of just how long it had been since he'd put on a show like that.
Starting just after 11:30pm, he opened with "Like I Love You" and continued to play songs from his two previous albums, as well as a handful of new ones from the forthcoming album, The 20/20 Experience (due out March 19 on RCA, but available as a pre-order now on Amoeba.com in both CD and LP formats). He even worked in two cover songs, most surprisingly "I Need You Tonight" by INXS. I never would have thought of that song choice for him, but he pulled it off and made it his own. Given his background in soul music, his other cover, "Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)" by The Jacksons was the type of song I would have expected him to perform. I don't intend that to disparage the choice - far from it - but rather to highlight the pleasantly surprising INXS pick. It would be amazing to hear a recorded version of that cover (hint, hint Mr. Timberlake!).
Photo by JD Hancock
“I don’t like movies when they don’t have no niggers in ‘em. I went to see, I went to see Logan’s Run, right. They had a movie of the future called Logan’s Run. Ain’t no niggers in it. I said, well white folks ain’t planning for us to be here. That’s why we gotta make movies. Then we be in the pictures.”
In celebration of the best day of the week, all three Amoeba store locations are offering up some big savings next week!
On Saturday, February 23rd, get 20% off all turntables, headphones, and t-shirts at each Amoeba location! This sale is limited to stock on hand and is for one day only, so you won't want to miss it.
To sweeten the deal even more, Amoeba Hollywood is having a sidewalk sale on the same day. Score some awesome deals on CDs, vinyl, DVD box sets, books and more Saturday 2/23 in front of the store from 12PM - 5PM.
All sidewalk sales are final. Store credit cannot be used to purchase items from the sidewalk sale. Prices apply to sidewalk sale stock only and this offer is only while supplies last.
Other Minds, America’s only international festival of avant-garde music, returns for its 18th year with composers from the Faroe Islands, India, Spain, Canada, Sweden, and around the U.S. From bass recorder to bansuri, from Bang to Sachdev, Other Minds presents another incomparable aggregation of revelationary new music.
Amoeba Music is a proud sponsor of this festival, which includes three days of concerts, panel discussions, and symposia at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco (JCCSF) from February 28th through March 2nd. Check out this action-packed, global line-up!
Thursday, February 28, 2013
G.S. Sachdev (India/US), Bansuri
Swapan Chaudhuri (India/US), Tabla
Friday, March 1, 2013
Dohee Lee (South Korea/US), Eye Cello & Voice
Anna Petrini (Sweden), Paetzold Contrabass Recorder
Craig Taborn (US), Piano
Saturday, March 2, 2013
Amy X Neuburg (US), Voice & Live Looping Electronics
William Winant Percussion Group (US)
Michala Petri (Denmark), Recorder
Mattias Petersson (Sweden), Laptop
Paula Matthusen (US), Live Electronics
Pamela Z (US), Voice and Electronics
For tickets and more info, please click HERE!
Don't try this at (my) home.
I haven’t had a good night’s sleep in days; what sleep I have gotten is mostly thanks to the fine folks who make Motrin PM. (In the interest of full disclosure you should know that while McNeil Consumer Healthcare – makers of the aforementioned drug – are not a sponsor of the Amoeblog, they do give us free donuts on Mondays and occasionally wash our cars for an extra buck or two.)
While my Mom was kind enough to pass down to me a knack for cooking and robust health, I also inherited her tenuous sleeping habits. We deal with it similarly, too: we listen to the radio to keep our minds from, as she puts it:
“Going, going, going… just making plans and playing with ideas.”
Or, as I put it:
“Obliterating my peace of mind with the chaos and fury of post-traumatic stress fantasies catalyzed by a cruel and crippling world.”
It’s semantics, really.
Mom likes to treat this with AM radio, a favorite program being Coast to Coast. While this particular broadcast seems to promote a nightmarish reality of government conspiracy, alien invasion, body snatching and morally questionable fringe-sciences, she finds it delightful. That she does speaks to her unwavering trust in our fellow man and her willingness to believe everyone deserves to prove their innate goodness – even if, I suppose, it’s lizard-men from another planet who are covertly running our government.
To read more Behind The Grooves, go to http://behindthegrooves.tumblr.com.
Remembering Pop and R&B vocal icon Whitney Houston (born Whitney Elizabeth Houston in Newark, NJ) - August 9, 1963 - February 11, 2012.
Born on this day: February 11, 1941 - Brazilian jazz pianist and bandleader Sergio Mendes (born Sergio Santos Mendes in Niteroi, Brazil). Happy 72nd Birthday, Sergio!!
On this day in music history: February 11, 1963 - The Beatles record their debut album Please Please Me in Studio Two at Abbey Road in London. Following the huge success of their second single "Please Please Me," the band are given the green light to record a complete album. Acting quickly, producer George Martin will have them perform material that is a part of their current stage act. Working with engineer Norman Smith behind the board, it will be recorded for a cost of only £400 ($630.24 US) live to two-track tape with very few overdubs done after the fact. They will record eleven songs in the nine hours and forty-five minutes (between 10 am and 10:45 pm with a lunch break and two tea breaks in between) it takes to complete the album. The album's iconic cover photo (taken by photographer Angus McBean) is shot in the stairwell of EMI Records Manchester Square offices in London. This location is decided upon after the initial idea of photographing the band in front of the insect house at the London Zoo is vetoed by the owners of the zoo. Released on March 22nd, the album is an instant smash, holding down the top spot on the UK album chart for 30 weeks, until it is replaced by their second album "With The Beatles" in November of 1963. Please Please Me will go on to become one of the best selling albums in history.
I have always loved the above 60 Minutes clip in which Morgan Freeman, when quizzed by Mike Wallace on his views about Black History Month, tells it exactly as he sees it - not holding back one iota and raising some excellent points. So for this Black History Month 2013 Amoeblog I pose the question: is Morgan Freeman correct in calling Black History Month "ridiculous" and that it should not be relegated to one month but rather incorporated as a part of American history? Please share your views in comments below. Thank-you!
So here it is. My top ten albums of 1994...
3) Kendrick Lamar Good Kid M.A.A.D City (Aftermath)
4) Fashawn Champagne & Styrofoam Cups (Fat Beats/Dirty Science)
5) Dead Prez Information Age (Varese Sarabande)
Joe Budden the popular Jersey City, New Jersey rapper, who is known for both his solo work as well as being a member of rap supergroup Slaughterhouse, and to some as a part on the VH1 TV show Love & Hip-Hop: New York, released his brand new album No Love Lost on Entertainment One this week which is in the top slot of the latest Amoeba Music hip-hop chart. Other new and recent releases in this new top five include the eternally popular Kendrick Lamar Good Kid M.A.A.D City (Aftermath), the latest from Cali hip-hopper Fashawn's Champagne & Styrofoam Cups on Fat Beats/Dirty Science, and A$AP Rocky whose successful new album Long.Live. A$AP was somewhat bittersweet since on the eve of its release his always supportive father suddenly dropped dead. Also charting is the new long-awaited album from Dead Prez (Information Age) - more on it below along with such other items as BPos' alternate ending to last weekend's Super Bowl XLVII and Amoeba Berkeley's E-Lit's picks of new releases for this month.
English singer/songwriter Ellie Goulding performed at Amoeba Hollywood back in October, just a few days after her sophomore album, Halcyon (Interscope Records), was released. It was one of only a handful of performances she did during release week, and her fans turned out in full force. The line to get into her in-store performance followed the side of Amoeba along Ivar Blvd, wrapping around the block. For those unable to attend the show, it was also webcast live on Amoeba.com.
We just posted a video of Ellie Goulding's stunning, stripped down version of her single, "Anything Could Happen," from the in-store:
This in-store performance was Ms. Goulding's second at Amoeba. She performed at Amoeba San Francisco back in April 2011. At that point, she was just beginning her US promotion for her debut album, Lights (Interscope Records), which was released in March 2010 in the UK and had already reached number one there. That SF in-store was truly special and she decided to release it as an EP, Live at Amoeba San Francisco (Interscope Records).
Young Prisms – “Runner” video
S.F.’s Young Prisms have released a video for the song “Runner,” from 2012’s In Between. For the uninitiated, Young Prisms combine hushed, reverbed out vocals with pop melody, lush synthesizers and crisp, Sonic Youth-esque guitar lines They share some elements in common with S.F.’s Tamaryn, with whom they recently toured, like the pop counterpart to Tamaryn’s oceanic soundwaves. If you haven’t yet checked them out, here’s a great place to start. They’re at the Echo in L.A. March 15 and the Chapel in S.F. March 16.
The Cyclist – “Visions” video
Though he hails from Northern Ireland, producer The Cyclist has joined the fold of L.A.-based Stones Throw and Leaving Records, who recently signed a distribution deal for Stones Throw to distribute Leaving Records titles. The mind-expanding “Visions” appeared on Dual Form, a cassette release celebrating the deal and Leaving Records’ catalog. It will also appear on The Cyclist’s upcoming debut LP, Bones in Motion, releasing March 26 via Stones Throw/Leaving. The song is accompanied by a dizzying array of colors and images that makes up its great video, directed by Miko Revereza.
Since Monday rumors had been circulating via Twitter and Facebook that legendary trumpeter Donald Byrd had passed away but for the past few days none of these reports of the jazz musician and educator extraordinaire's passing were confirmed and even considered some kind of cruel hoax. However today all those rumors were put to rest when confirmation of Byrd's passing was announced by the artist's nephew Alex Bugnon who said via Facebook and emails that his 80 year uncle had indeed died on Monday, February 4th, adding that for some reason other family members were trying to shroud his passing in secrecy. "I have no more patience for this unnecessary shroud of secrecy placed over his death by certain members of his immediate family," wrote his nephew. So far the exact cause of death has not been made public and, note, there has been no other confirmation beyond Bugnon's of Byrd's passing.
Born Donaldson Toussaint L'Ouverture Byrd II in Detroit, Michigan in December 1932 Donald Bryd was a one of a kind trumpeter whose work spanned several decades and genres. Byrd was known for not only for his indelible work in jazz (in a career in which he played alongside the likes of John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Eric Dolphy, Thelonious Monk, and Herbie Hancock), but also in RnB, soul, and funk. And of course hip-hop fans know his work from the countless times it has been sampled. Large Professor, Organized Konfusion, Black Moon, The Pharcyde, Nas, Public Enemy, Madlib, and Del Tha Funkee Homosapien are among the many that sampled him along with fellow late great Detroit artist J Dilla was who clearly influenced by Byrd: Byrd's song "Think Twice" (below) was reworked/sampled by Dilla (whose 39th birthday would have been today) on the Welcome 2 Detroit track "Think Twice feat Dwele." Furthermore the once popular acid jazz movement heavily built upon its sound via Byrd's work. In recent decades Byrd was known as an educator lecturing at numerous institutions on music.
Robert DeLong taught a master class in how to construct electronic music live, on the fly, during his performance at Amoeba Hollywood Feb. 5.
He began by building layered vocal loops and electronic drum beats before singing along to a bass-heavy programmed backbeat. DeLong demonstrated his strongest points early on: his high energy and ability to combine densely layered EDM songs with the feel of a live rock band.
The songs hit hard — I felt like my skull was rattling from the bass. DeLong made up for his just so-so voice by manipulating it when necessary and singing earnestly as well, taking the Ben Gibbard heart-on-sleeve approach. “Global Concepts” best exemplified his Postal Service meets Skrillex approach to making music, combining visceral dance music with emotional delivery.
The busyness of DeLong’s music only occasionally got the best of him when his vocals would fail to rise to the occasion while he inexplicably played a maraca egg at the same time, for instance, or when the mic would drop out, perhaps overloaded with effect. The best part of the show by far was when he ditched the singing and electronic instruments to do their thing on their own while he played live drums along to the backing music. That was the moment when he did indeed make everyone “fucking dance,” as “Global Concepts” claims. Side note: Besides the novelty value of his playing drums in a one-man band setting, DeLong’s a pretty great drummer.
22 years after releasing "Loveless" My Bloody Valentine return with "M B V" Sounding like a follow up to the iconic album, and spotted in the album artwork is an Amoeba t-shirt! Enlarge the image and in the top corner, you'll see our logo included in the collage!
Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch, a true blue New Yorker who loved his city with a passion - was born here and never left to live anywhere else, had always said he wanted to go out to the song "New York, New York." And on Monday this week the three term mayor of New York City, who passed early last Friday morning at age 88, had that wish fulfilled at his funeral service at the large and packed Temple Emanu-El on Fifth Avenue at 65th Street where, at the end of the long touching series of tribute (including former president Bill Clinton), as his coffin was slowly carried out of of the Upper East Side temple the organist played "New York, New York." And by the time the coffin - held high by six NYPD officers - was exiting the building the organist had segued into "The Lullaby of Broadway" from the musical 42nd Street. Note that Koch himself, in his ever active post-mayoral decades, did a brief acting role on Broadway when he played Daddy Warbucks in Annie the Musical. Many outside New York might recall him as judge/host of The Peoples' Court TV show in the late nineties. No stranger to the big and small screen Koch appeared in over five dozen Hollywood films and television shows including Sex and the City, Spin City, Saturday Night Live, and The Muppets Take Manhattan - playing himself in each production.
Lo-fi psych-pop band Unknown Mortal Orchestra grow and refine their sound by leaps and bounds on their second album. While the band’s fine self-titled debut reveled in its Syd Barret-inspired weirdness, II ups the ante by funneling its odd turns into pop songs that seem to activate new nodes in your brain. “From the Sun” makes like a White Album demo, stuffing its rich arrangement into the washing machine — it comes out with colors mismatched but intact. “Swim and Sleep (Like a Shark)” is high-flying indie-pop that doesn’t have to ask to make itself at home on loop. By the time you’re three songs in, with the soft vintage soul of “So Good at Being in Trouble,” II becomes remarkable rather than merely enjoyable. From space-rock (“No Need for a Leader”) to glammy soul (“Secret Xtians”) to Madchester-style Britpop (“Faded in the Morning”), Unknown Mortal Orchestra seem to have digested decades worth of bargain-bin records and made the sounds their own on II.
On January 27th, Amoeba San Francisco celebrated the yearly rite of rock -- Amoebapalooza -- at Cafe Du Nord. It was raucous night filled with top notch entertainment and everything from country to electronic to sea shanties was represented.
in my freshman year of college I remember being hipped to the Last Poets by another temporary housing refugee. He basically told me that they were rap music before rap music. This was back in 1992, a year after CERN released the World-Wide Web and when most music was shared via cassette tapes or compact discs. There was no Napster or YouTube and in Iowa, there weren’t a lot of copies of obscure, 1970s, militant, black spoken word records floating around so for years I could only wonder what they and other soul and jazz poets sounded like. Today there’s no reason anyone with access to a computer can’t check them out so for Black History Month, here’s a brief introduction to the ones that I’m familiar with. (If there are others, please let me know in the comment section).
After decades of being out of print, iconic sixties image Little Girl on the Beach by John Pearson is finally available again as a 21 1/4" x 18" black & white poster, distributed exclusively through Amoeba Music. The subject of the photograph is actually one of Amoeba Music's owners, Karen Pearson, who was four years of age when her father snapped the iconic image on a Bay Area beach in 1965. Not planned or staged/posed in any way, the casually taken photo began its ubiquitous life almost by accident when, upon the suggestion of others in the Bay Area Photographers Association, it was entered as part of a children's alphabet themed exhibit in the San Francisco Art Festival that year. The photo, chosen to represent "J for Joy" in the festival, would go on to become globally popular, and would also become Pearson's best known photograph.
Originally one of ten photographs on a roll of film (in the pre-digital age) that Pearson shot on Stinson Beach in Marin County, the photo was first printed as a 5" x 7" scale print. He then blew that up into a larger size print to enter it in the San Francisco Art Festival. From there the photo took on a life of its own; first as a poster that became a classic of the '60s and '70s, and then as the cover of two books - Pearson's own first publication (one of eight books he would publish), To Be Nobody Else, and later the best selling book, Born to Win: Transactional Analysis With Gestalt Experiments by Muriel James and Dorothy Jongeward, published in 1966. The image resonated with a generation and a time in history - many finding the simple but profound image conveyed messages of freedom and hope, joy and happiness, and peace with nature.
On Saturday, February 2 we kicked off "New Orleans Month" at Amoeba Hollywood with a rockin' auction hosted by the inimitable and charming Billy Calhoun. Billy's soothing and unflappable style not only inspired some major bidding, but he deftly and seamlessly dropped some science on all the onlookers about New Orleans and the two foundations we were focusing on (New Orleans Musicians Clinic and Tipitina's Foundation), as well as what we are doing on Amoeba.com and how long we have been doing the charity auctions. People learned a lot while they had fun bidding on really cool items. More than a few customers mentioned that they didn't realize we do these auctions every month, and that they learned a lot from all that Billy had to say. Billy educated folks on our Vinyl Vaults and Louis Armstrong digital restoration, as well as the exclusive release of the Congo Square Project which is an amazing collection of music available only on Amoeba.com.
We had several bidding wars, and Billy effortlessly kept the momentum going and kept people engaged. Here are some of the highlights for today's auction---one of the highest generating auctions we have had in a long while. Way to go Billy!!
To read more Behind The Grooves, go to http://behindthegrooves.tumblr.com.
On this day in music history: February 4, 1956 - "Please, Please, Please," the debut single by James Brown & The Famous Flames, is recorded. Written by James Brown and Johnny Terry, it is the first major hit for "The Godfather of Soul." Having previously recorded a version of it in 1955, the song is recorded again at King Studios in Cincinnati and is produced by Ralph Bass, the man who signs Brown to King Records. The label's founder Syd Nathan hates the finished record so much that he nearly fires Bass. Nathan will release the record anyway and, to his great surprise, it is a smash! The single will peak at #6 on the Billboard R&B chart and sells over one million copies. "Please, Please, Please" will also be inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2001.
On this day in music history: February 4, 1966 - "19th Nervous Breakdown" by The Rolling Stones is released in the UK (US release date is on February 12th). Written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, it is the sixth US top ten single for the British rock band. Mick and Keith will write the song during the Stones tour of the US in 1965, with Jagger lyrics being a narrative about a spoiled girl who doesn't appreciate what she has. The songs' signature guitar riff (played by Brian Jones) is inspired by Bo Diddley's "Diddley Daddy." "Breakdown" is recorded at RCA Recording Studios in Hollywood on December 3rd & 8th of 1965 during sessions for the bands forthcoming album Aftermath. "19th Nervous Breakdown" will be released as a stand alone single peaking at #2 on both the UK singles chart and the Billboard Hot 100.
And we are once again giving away a free download from this newest volume. Yes, even though we are practically giving away the full album for only $5.99 (Note: with all proceeds going to NOLA) we are also giving away completely free download tracks at no cost. Last week Amoeba gave away a free download copy of "Shallow Water" by The Young Guardians of The Flame off Vol 1, and this week we are offering for free download a copy of "Down by the Riverside" by Washboard Chaz.
This weekend, between studio sessions, I caught up again with Fabian to ask him specifically about these two free download tracks from the Sacred Ground Volumes 1 and 2 in the six-part Congo Square Project Foundation series being sold exclusively by Amoeba Music. Regarding the free download being launched this week, "Down by the Riverside" by Washboard Chaz, Fabian notes that this traditional gospel song, that was first published almost a full century ago but written many years before that, has also gone by such other titles as "Gonna Lay Down My Burden" and "Ain't Gonna Study War No More" and been recorded numerous times over the years by various artists. "One night I was walking the streets of New Orleans taking musical Polaroids, trying to do my best Alan Lomax impersonation, when I heard the colorful Washboard Chaz play his rendition of this Black gospel plantation classic singing, "I ain't go study war no more, study war no more, ain't go study oh war no more. Gonna lay down my sword and shield. Down by the riverside…" To Fabian these lyrics, sung by a Woody Guthrie type traditionalist, seemed perfectly in tune with the current political/economic climate. "I immediately invited him to come on-board the project," said Fabian, quickly noting how, "[I] wished politicians could learn to sing that wise song too!"
Along with being a director for Cartoon Network's Metalocalypse, Jon Schnepp is the fellow who designed its protagonists, the group Dethklok. He's currently trying to get Kickstarter funding for The Death of "Superman Lives": What Happened?, a documentary looking into the vagaries of Tim Burton's aborted Superman project that was to star Nicholas Cage. It could've been the most spectacular travesty of a Superman film ever made ... and that's saying something given Superman III and IV. Jon recently visited Amoeba Hollywood and recommended some stuff:
1) A$AP Rocky Long.Live. A$AP (RCA)
2) Fashawn Champagne & Styrofoam Cups (Fat Beats/Dirty Science)
3) Dead Prez Information Age (Varese Sarabande)
4) Moe Pope & Rain Let The Right Ones In (Brick Records)
5) Oh No Disrupted Ads (Cash Rock Entertainment)
Delta Machine is the 13th album by English new-wave pioneers Depeche Mode. Preorder it on CD, Deluxe CD or LP. The album will be released March 26 in the U.S. by Columbia Records. The album’s first single is the slow-burning “Heaven”; see the video below. The band will tour extensively behind the album starting in May. See a “What’s In My Bag?” for DM frontman Dave Gahan’s other project, Soulsavers, below.
Beatles LOVE Lamps and Mugs
Nothing says “love me do” like a Beatles LOVE lamp. Who doesn’t love the Beatles? Weirdos, that’s who. For a V-day gift that won’t break your budget, Beatles LOVE mugs are the ticket, for only $10. I personally like the John & Yoko mugs — if there’s a couple who ever made it through adversity and symbolized love above all else, it’s them. Check out all of our Beatles lamps and all mugs. Or pick up the Beatles catalog, recently reissued on vinyl.