Aceyalone "Leanin On Slick" (title track of 2013 release from longtime LA emcee)
1) DJ Frane Hi Dusty Stranger (Self-Released)
2) DJ ADA The Work Album (self released)
3) RJD2 More Is Than Isn't (RJS Electrical Connection)
4) Deltron 3030 Event II (Bulk Recordings)
5) Run the Jewels (Killer Mike + EI-P) Run The Jewels (Fool's Gold)
We've been compiling our Best of 2013 lists for a while now. Here's the combined efforts of Amoebloggers who submitted their favorite albums of 2013, compiled in a quasi-scientific fashion.
It should come as no surprise that the favorite record of the year from a bunch of record store geeks was My Bloody Valentine's long-awaited return with mbv.
"A year heavy with vets, but no one had anybody more excited than My Bloody Valentine (this guy included.) The logical follow-up to Loveless – 22 years later – and it’s a total stunner. mbv is MBV doing what they do best, and quite certainly, it was worth all those delays and the epic wait. It has familiarity that’s instant, but still pushes guitar rock into new terrains like no one else can." —Aaron Detroit
The Knife's divisive fourth studio album was a favorite amongst those who were up for the challenge from the Swedish experimental duo.
Back in 1983, a time when Bay Area hip-hop was just beginning to take root, there were a handful of dedicated early era DJs around the Bay starting to fully embrace the still relatively new genre including both DJ Chill and DJ Chino (above) who formed the Midnite Cru Deejays that year. With hip-hop being such a globally popular and ubiquitous musical genre in 2013 it is hard to imagine a time when it was otherwise but back thirty years ago things where very different. Back in '83 hip-hop records (of which few were albums, mostly only 12" singles) were comparatively limited in supply and hence DJs like the Midnite Cru Deejays would typically mix in other types of music (freestyle, pop-dance, Minneapolis 80's funk, and new wave) into their mixes.
In addition to the above video interview with Midnite Cru Deejays' DJ Chill (who you can also follow on Twitter) and DJ Chino (conducted at Gellert Park in Daly City during Cue's Records Reunion BBQ in October of last year), in which they name check such legendary SF/Bay hip-hop spots as the Palladium, Creative Music, and Bobby G's Soul Disco Records' store and DJ pool, this week I again caught up with the two Bay Area DJ pioneers to ask them each a few questions on their hip-hop DJ legacies: Chino from Daly City and Chill from San Francisco. These questions and their replies appear below. DJ Chino, who is DJing in the new year tonight at The Connection in the Outer Mission district of SF at 5740 Mission St (flyer below), shared of his long DJ history that, "I never thought I would make it this far as a DJ but time just flew by, and here I am thirty plus years later and still doing what I love to do, DJing. It's my natural high (mixing). I get these goose bumps that just make me want to do it again and again." Meanwhile Chino's longtime turntable partner DJ Chill offered this wonderful insight on why not to bother a DJ at work - something that any club/party DJ can relate to - via this series of rhetorical questions: "Do you bother a fireman in the middle of a fire? Do you bother a doctor in the middle of surgery? Would you bother a cop in the middle of an arrest? Then why the fuck would you bother a DJ in the middle of the mix?!"
Enjoy checking out all the Amoeba staffers Best Of 2013 lists? Then tune into KPFK radio Los Angeles this morning into early afternoon between 11am and 1pm (PST) when Amoeba Hollywood staffer, musician, musicologist, and Amoeblogger Rick Frystak will be manning the boards and working the turntables, sitting in for Betto Arcos on the ever popular weekly Global Village program.
What to expect from Rick's two hour live mix today? will be digging into his 2013 crates and playing many of his personal favorite releases from the past twelve months (including some "new finds"), along with some rare sounds, and to properly prepare us for a new year "five versions of 'Auld Lang Syne'!" If you are in the Los Angeles area tune in on your radio dial at 90.7FM. Otherwise tune in online from anywhere at KPFK.org. And after the show has aired view the playlist and listen back to audio archive of show on the KPFK website here.
We've been compiling our own Best of 2013 lists for a while now, so why don't we ask some of our favorite local artists what they were spinning this year?
Gabe Fulvimar of Gap Dream
“I really, really really did like [Daft Punk’s] Random Access Memories. I’ve seen it make it on the lists this year, but it seems like it’s not really getting too high up there. People are being kind of shitty to that record. It’s like a Rocky soundtrack or something. When that record came out this year, I was so stoked, I didn’t even know a new Daft Punk record was coming out. I know the one that came out before this last one didn’t do too well, and I knew they were kind of moving into soundtrack territory. That’s usually a clue that they’ve found their way into the golden land of making cinema scores. I was like, good for them, they’re geniuses. But I was blown away. It’s such a great blending of like modern pop music, which isn’t really that great, with classic pop music. Overall it’s just a really good pop record.”
Gap Dream's latest album is Shine Your Light.
Read my interview with Fulvimar here.
Amoebapalooza, Amoeba Music's annual tradition of musical mayhem featuring bands comprised of Amoeba San Francisco employees & friends, is back!
Join us on January 12th, 2014 at Brick & Mortar Music Hall for this celebrations of employee creativity. The doors open at 8:00pm and admission is just $5! Yes! Just $5 to see all of these bands and hang out with Amoeba tastemakers:
Kiss Me on the Butt
Haight Street Shakers
Special thanks to our friends at SIR SF for donating the backline for the third year in a row! We highly recommend SIR for all of your equipment needs.
Please note that we will be closing Amoeba SF early that night at 7pm.
Check out the photos from last year's Amoebapalooza SF!
Also on January 12th, Amoeba Berkeley is holding their Amoebapalooza in Oakland at The Night Light at 9pm. Featuring entertainment from The Senile Men, comedian Keith Swiggart, members of MUSK, and DJ Halo, this is a FREE event!
Join Amoeba Music for January's edition of First Fridays! Once a month, Los Angeles's Natural History Museum stays open late and features live music, exciting scientific discussion, and behind-the-scenes curatorial tours as part of the First Fridays program. Amoeba is excited to sponsor this fabulous series of live music, discussion, concessions, tours, DJs and more.
Join us on January 10th from 5-10 p.m. for live performances from Youngblood Hawke and Conway, special DJs, and a guest lecture from Kathryn Bowers and Dr. Barbara Natterson-Horowitz!
Look for the Amoeba booth, where we'll be handing out free swag and selling Amoeba merch.
Find out more HERE!
To read more Behind The Grooves, go to http://behindthegrooves.tumblr.com.
Born on this day: December 30, 1928 - Rhythm & Blues legend Bo Diddley (born Ellas Otha Bates in McComb, MS). Happy Birthday to Bo on what would have been his 85th Birthday.
Born on this day: December 30, 1939 - R&B vocalist Kim Weston (born Agatha Natalie Weston in Detroit, MI). Happy 74th Birthday to this Motown legend!
Born on this day: December 30, 1945 - Former Monkees vocalist Davy Jones (born David Thomas Jones in Manchester, UK). Happy Birthday to this pop music icon on what would have been his 68th Birthday. We miss you, Davy!
And then write about them, like this:
Little Wings - LAST
LAST comes first not just because I'm a longtime avid supporter of Kyle Field as an artist and musician, but it just so happens that LAST was one of the very first new records I bought in 2013. LAST is one of those "total package" records about which I could spin infinite yarns of praise n' things regarding the songwriting, the recording, the artwork, and total overall vibe and I kind of already did that in the interview piece I put together last Spring and so I urge anyone interested in this two-fer plate of odd hip-hop with a lotta folk-rockin' goin' on to check it out as it'd be redundant to put further shine on this diamond.
We are wrapping up our 6th season of What's In My Bag? and we wanted to take a look back at the year that was 2013. It's been a fantastic year for us (we won a Webby Award!!) and this season featured a number of outstanding WIMB firsts.
Lots of love and countless hours of editing goes into making each video happen. They're a bit like our children, so picking our favorites is a daunting task. We tried to make a list of our Top 5 episodes, but that seemed impossible. Then we attempted a Top 10 list, but we couldn't narrow it down. So we settled on our 13 favorite episodes of 2013.
These are the episodes that surprised, excited and engaged us the most. These are the episodes that make us laugh upon repeat viewings. These are the episodes that we send to our friends to make them jealous about the work we do. These are the best “What’s in My Bag?” episodes of 2013. Enjoy!
#13. Clairy Browne
The Australian soul singer may not be super well-known in the States yet, but she thoroughly charmed and entertained us. She talks about albums by strong women including PJ Harvey and Queen Latifah, deconstructing Frank Ocean songs, and shares some of her famously misheard lyrics. And then there's her fashion...
Last fall I had a stint house-sitting in El Sereno. I spent much of my time exploring that neighborhood with a dog named Dooley who belongs to the owners of the home I was... sitting. This fall I again returned to the Eastside and Dooley I resumed our epic walks. This time we explored Arroyo View Estates, City Terrace, East Los Angeles, El Sereno, Garvanza, Happy Valley, Hermon, Highland Park, Lincoln Heights, Montecito Heights, Monterey Hills, Rose Hill, University Hills, and on one afternoon and early evening, a neighborhood considered by many to be part of El Sereno -- Hillside Village.
Gap Dream emerged from the Burger Records pack with an excellent record this year called Shine Your Light. It's main man Gabe Fulvimar’s second record in two years, and Fulvimar, who lives at label-and-record-store Burger Records in Fullerton, Calif., has solidified a brilliant sound for his band across two records, full of vintage synthesizers, glam-style guitar glissandos and repurposed bargain-bin-record sounds. I sat down to speak with Fulvimar about the Shine Your Light, living in a record store and nightmare scenarios.
Hey man, how’s it going?
Fulvimar: Right now I’m sitting in my room, listening to the Halloween II soundtrack. Just another day at Burger!
This is actually my last interview of the year.
Fulvimar: Oh no shit! I hop it’s a good one.
Everyone always talks about how you live in Burger Records. What’s the story there, is it just cheaper, easier or do you really like living there?
Fulvimar: I’ve been here for a year, so it was kind of an easy way to move to California and not encounter too many hardships that would come along with a move, being from Ohio. I was working as a busboy before I was doing this, so I don’t have a trust fund or anything. (Label co-founders) Sean [Bohrman] and Lee [Rickard] … just invited me to live here until I found a place to live. I moved in, and it’s been great. It’s pretty easy to deal with. We don’t have showers, which kind of sucks. I’m trying to find one today.
The Heavy broke out in 2009 with their smash hit, "How You Like Me Now?," from their album The House That Dirt Built (Counter). From movie trailers to video games to sports shows, the song and the band were everywhere! The British quartet flaunts retro-soul with funky horn stabs and '60s garage rock grit. They pack a punch a la The Black Keys and will slap you silly with soul like Sharon Jones. James Brown would be proud.
The Heavy were in town recently promoting their latest full-length release, The Glorious Dead (Counter). Their third album is a step deeper into their gospel and blues influences, with the band utilizing an actual choir to help take us all to church. There's also a subtle nod to the late glorious Amy Winehouse on the song "Be Mine" and rightfully so, as the band worked with The Dap-Kings, who backed Winehouse.
While the band was at Amoeba Hollywood they shot two videos for us! Their rock and soul roots are definitely apparent in their What's In My Bag? episode, with picks by American soul singers Marvin Gaye and Syl Johnson, and British classic rock bands The Smiths and The Rolling Stones. They also filmed a Green Room Session for a handful of extremely lucky fans. Check out both videos below.
DJ Earworm Mashup - United State of Pop 2013 (Living the Fantasy)
Every year around this time San Francisco mashup master DJ Earworm rolls our another one of his audio/video year end mashups of the top 25 major pop hits of the past year. Depending on how you felt about pop music in 2013 will pretty much determine how you much you like or dislike Earworm's ‘United State of Pop’ 2013 mashup megamix of hit songs since his mixing/blending/matching is pitch perfect and on point as usual. Subtitled “Living the Fantasy” this latest mix regurgitates such 2013 global pop hits as Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky,” Miley Cyrus' “Wrecking Ball," Eminem's "The Monster (feat. Rihanna)," Macklemore and Ryan Lewis' “Thrift Shop" ("Can't Hold Us" is in there too), Robin Thicke's unavoidable "Blurred Lines," Lady Gaga's "Applause," Lorde's "Royals" and sixteen others - the original full versions of which are all available at Amoeba Music.
There are a few seminal American movies that I've made a (non-)tradition of never seeing: E.T., Forest Gump, Platoon, High Noon and It's a Wonderful Life. It's sort of fun to not have seen something that everyone else has. However, I possibly brought a curse upon me and my kin by finally watching Frank Capra's Christmas classic last Saturday at the Egyptian Theater in sunny, anti-winter wonderland Hollywood. The commentary on It's a Wonderful Life is vast, I'm sure, but along with being baffled at anyone who would choose Donna Reed over Gloria Grahame, here's what came to me:
Ultimately, what capitalist realism amounts to is the elimination of left wing politics and the naturalisation of neoliberalism. [...] Capitalist realism is about a corrosion of social imagination, and in some ways, that remains the problem: after thirty years of neoliberal domination, we are only just beginning to be able to imagine alternatives to capitalism. -- Mark Fisher
I don't know which of the most prominent intellectual leftists first said it, but Fredric Jameson, Alain Badiou and Slavoj Zizek have all repeatedly commented that it's easier to imagine the end of the world than the world continuing without capitalism. We treat capitalism as a biological state of things (survival of the fittest, etc.) or a nomological principle on which our understanding of humanity rests. Even the angels in It's a Wonderful Life can't imagine a counterfactual reality where capitalism ceases. George, contemplating suicide, is given an onto-ethical choice between two worlds: one in which he lives trying to help those in need as best he can, but where his whole community ebbs and flows from one crisis to the next according to the caprice of capital, with capital mostly flowing to those most capable of and willing to exploit the working class, i.e., old man Potter; or, two, a world where George was never born, but Potter's power is even greater and he's more successful at exploiting the working class. If divine power is so great that it can fabricate a new reality without you in it, and follow the diverging trajectories of everyone in the alternate world, then why not do the same regarding capitalism, or Potter? George could've even made a deal with Clarence, his guardian angel, such as: "You want me to live, so that you can get your wings, right? Well, how 'bout you make Bedford Falls into a self-sufficient, anarcho-paradise, where there's no hierarchy and everyone respects each other's individuality, yet we work together for the good of the collective, too? I'd love to live, even with Donna Reed and all these goddamned kids, in such a place." But, no, capitalism is greater than God's will.
Run DMC "Christmas In Hollis" (1987)
The Film Noir Foundation's yearly festival Noir City returns to the historic Castro Theatre January 24 - February 2, 2014. The 12th edition of the world's most popular film noir festival is going international, exploding the long-held belief that noir stories and style are a specifically American phenomenon.
"Our desire to expand the scope of the festival has resulted in our most ambitious program ever," says festival impresario and host Eddie Muller. "Its overall impact will, I suspect, change many people's long-standing ethnocentric preconceptions about film noir."
Focusing on the years immediately following World War II, the festival features classic noir films from France, Mexico, Japan, Argentina, Germany, Spain, Norway, and Britain, as well as a complementary sampling of homegrown Hollywood flicks. The 27 films in the series will conclusively prove that the cinematic movement known as "Noir" spanned the globe, and its style, sexiness, and cynicism crossed all international borders. Check out the full schedule HERE!
Get your tickets now and know that you are supporting a great cause; the dollars you spend at the festival go towards the Film Noir Foundation's year-round restoration efforts.
Every year at this time artists roll out new recordings of classic holiday tunes or newly written ones in the hope of becoming a new Christmas/holiday time classic - a la Mariah Carey's 1994 runaway smash hit single "All I Want for Christmas Is You" off her Merry Christmas album of that year (in 2010 she released the sequel Merry Christmas II You). So for this holiday season here are four brand new Christmas themed music songs and accompanying videos. They include the above latest Christmas time charity raising song/video from the ever generous Las Vegas rockers The Killers who, for every Christmas since 2006, have teamed up with the RED organization and recorded a song specifically to raise funds (100%) for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS. "Christmas in L.A." is the latest song/video from Brandon Flowers and crew with a feature from Dawes on the track plus the voices of Harry Dean Stanton and Owen Wilson - the latter of whom also appears in the video. Partly animated the clip captures what its like for Wilson to wake up alone in an L.A. apartment on Christmas morning. In addition to this new Killers Christmas track below are three other brand new holiday season song/video recordings including from RnB singers K. Michelle and Tyra B, and pop singer Asher Monroe. Whether any of these songs will follow Mariah Carey's good fortune and stick around for future Christmas seasons remains to be seen.
This year Amoeba Hollywood hosted some of the best, and most diverse, in-store performances in Amoeba’s history. Let’s look back at 10 that stood out.
Yo La Tengo – Jan. 17
More Yo La Tengo photos here.
One of the greatest indie rock bands of all time helped start the year off in support of their album Fade, playing a set that combined heavy guitar histrionics with more intimate moments. Read my full recap here.
FIDLAR – Jan. 24
To read more Behind The Grooves, go to http://behindthegrooves.tumblr.com.
On this day in music history: December 23, 1947 - Bell Laboratories scientists John Bardeen, Walter Brattain, and William Shockley will conclude experiments they had begun five weeks earlier that will result in the development of the bi-polar contact transistor. The trio will discover that by applying two gold contacts to a crystal of germanium, that it will will produce greater output power than its input. Their discovery will become the one of the cornerstones in the development of modern electronics (transistor radios, computers, calculators, etc...), and is regarded as one of the most important inventions of the 20th century. Texas Instruments will be the first company to produce the silicon transistor in 1954. Bardeen, Brattain, and Shockley will be awarded the Nobel Prize for their discovery in 1956.
On this day in music history: December 23, 1959 - Musician Chuck Berry is arrested in St. Louis, MO on charges transporting a minor across state lines for "immoral purposes." At the height of his popularity at the time, the arrest of the rock & roll pioneer stems from his association with Janice Norine Escalanti, a 14-year-old bar waitress he meets in Juarez, Mexico. Berry will offer Escalanti a job working as a hat check girl at his Bandstand nightclub in St. Louis. When she is fired two weeks later, the girl will allege Berry attempted to have sexual intercourse with her. Police will arrest the musician for violation of the Mann Act (first known as the United States White-Slave Traffic Act of 1910), a vaguely worded piece of federal legislation meant to crack down on organized prostitution. The Mann Act will be used to claim that Berry has transported Escalanti "across state lines for immoral purposes." Following his arrest, Berry is fined $5,000, and after a two-week trial by an all male, all white jury, is sentenced to five years in federal prison. However, the initial sentence is turned over on appeal on the grounds that his original trial was heavily biased and racist. A new trial is ordered by the Federal Appeals Court in October of 1960, with Chuck Berry being convicted in 1961 after his second appeal fails. He will spend twenty months in federal prison from February 1962 to October 1963.
|Best Coast plays Amoeba SF|
Amoeba San Francisco and Berkeley were particularly blessed with great in-store performances in 2013. From legends like Nik Turner, Billy Bragg, and Camper Van Beethoven to new faces on the scene like Lissie and Bastille, each and every show was a fantastic reminder of how thrilling live music can be. It was daunting to have to pick just ten of these shows, but here they are in reverse chronological order...Amoeba SF and Berkeley's ten best in-stores of 2013!
The year is just about up, but new music is headed our way. You can already preorder some albums due in 2014 on Amoeba.com. Here are 10 to check out. [WARNING: NSFW pic of Sky Ferreira's infamous nip-slip album cover below].
Due Jan. 7
Preorder on CD
Due Jan. 7
1) Childish Gambino Because the Internet (Glassnote)
2) Dam-Funk & Snoopzilla 7 Days of Funk (Stones Throw)
3. DJ Platurn So This Is De La Heaven 2 (Oakland Faders)
4) Madlib Rock Konducta Vol. 1 (Stones Throw)
5. E-40 Block Brochure Vol. 4, (Heavy On The Grind)
E-40 Block Brochure Vol. 5 (Heavy On The Grind)
E-40 Block Brochure Vol. 6 (Heavy On The Grind)
He may be known to most as an actor and comedian, but Donald Glover, under his hip-hop alter ego Childish Gambino, is also an accomplished skilled rapper and not a novelty rapper who proves with the success of his latest Childish Gambino release (Because the Internet is this week's top hip-hop chart entry) that he indeed has a lot to offer the hip-hop world. Of that number one at Amoeba Berkeley this week the Amoeba.com reviewers write, "He’ll likely always have to content with haters knocking him for starting as a comedian, but now Glover can point to Because the Internet as proof positive that his multifaceted professional title can firmly include rapper, as well." Indeed! Meanwhile another artist, who started as hip-hop but has drifted off into other areas of pop culture and watered down his rap street by cavorting with the likes of Martha Stewart and Katy Perry in the kitchen and studio respectively, Snoop Dogg returns supreme with his latest project: Dam-Funk & Snoopzilla 7 Days of Funk on Stones Throw on which the artist known as Snoop Lion for a minute returns to his (G) funk roots with the best practitioner of said genre, power producer/multi-instrumentalist Dam-Funk who presents the Long Beach, CA artist born Calvin Broadus with the perfect smokey funky musical backdrop. Amoeba.com reviewers accurately herald this EP release as, "a revelatory event for for fans of and freaks for The Funk, and should be particularly pleasing for those whose funk du jour is syrup-thick mid-tempo boogie-funk seasoned heavy with synthesizers a la Yarborough & Peoples or Zapp. ......Easily transcending the side-project ghetto, 7 Days of Funk is two major voices in contemporary music, subsuming their individual identities into something new and simply huge. A match made in funk heaven." Indeed!
Thus the first song ever played in space was a surprise rendition of "Jingle Bells" on an 8-note Honer harmonica and hand full of jingle bells to celebrate the arrival of the holiday season. If your ever at the Smithsonian Institution keep an eye out for these instruments! Here's a bonus vid for anyone out there who hasn't seen Col. Chris Hadfield's Bowie jam -- it really was one of the best things to happen in 2013.
The annual MoogFest inspired by the Robert Moog invention that bears his name takes place every Spring in the same North Carolina town that houses the factory where Moog's instruments are hand-built to this day. Now in its tenth year, the MoogFest (April 23-27th in Asheville) will include daytime conference programming, with such speakers as Giorgio Moroder and Laurie Anderson, and landmark nightly performances including such headliners as Kraftwerk and Chic featuring Nile Rodgers. It is a five-day homage to the legacy of the analog synth, the electronic musical instrument that shook things up in the 60's and helped shape the course of popular music over the past half century.
Need further proof of the influence of the 50-year-old electronic synthesizer keyboard instrument that originally cost $11,000 and that counted amongst its earliest owners The Beatles, Sun Ra, and Mick Jagger? Then check out the informative video lecture above by Cornell University professor of Sociology and of Science and Technology Studies, Trevor Pinch. Entitled From Trumansburg to Abbey Road: History of the Moog Synthesizer, Pinch's history lesson traces the five-decade history of the Moog synthesizer (including its oft mispronounced name - it rhymes with "rogue" not with "fugue") and how Robert Moog and his Moog Music undeniably changed the course of popular music up to this day. MoogFest, which annually draws a motley crew of musicians, scholars, scientists, engineers and plain ole fans, pays homage by honoring the instrument's spirit of innovation via what organizers call "the intersection of art, music, performance and technology."
Thanks for supporting Amoeba and reading the Amoeba Electronic blog in 2013. Like us on Facebook for daily updates and feel free to hit us up with any requests/feedback. Without further ado, here are our Best LPs of 2013, compiled by Oliver, Matt and Jordan.
20. ADR - Chunky Monkey
Hippos In Tanks
While visual artists have been quick to adapt to the internet's Babel of information, musicians have been slow to comment directly on the vast digital buzz. Hippos In Tanks, as a label, has admirably pushed this conversation forwards while also displaying a fierce devotion to the traditional mediums of CD and vInyl. James Ferraro's "Farside Virtual" (Hippos In Tanks, 2011) was seen as a comment on emerging personality types in the face of rampant technoconsumerism, but in retrospect, can be seen as Ferraro's first step out of the cassette underground into sleeker rnb/hip-hop influenced production Gatekeeper's "Exo" had them abandoning the Carpenter-esque VHS aesthetics of their previous releases, even hiring internet artist Tabor Robak to create a playable game for reach song. The most successful effort in creating a musical analog to endless internet-meme driven communication is ADR's "Chunky Monkey".
The record succeeds first and foremost because Aaron David Ross (1/2 of the Gatekeeper) is a completely badass producer. I woudn't be suprised if legitimate pop production is in his future based off of the seemingly effortless genre tourism on display here. Opener "Casual Friday" places samples of sitcom saxaphones against a loping 303 and eerie processed piano that could be lifted from a Prologue release. "Sumo" seems to be an oblique comment on 90s boom-bap, while "What It Takes" could be lifted from a sinister Sprite commercial. "Stray Dog Strut" could be seen as ADR's reading of Sly and Robbie digidub, but in this tune, the comment on internet culture is palpable. In the midst of innocuous and expertly produced genre-exercises, ADR is prone to interrupt with unsettling samples (e.g. a screaming chorus of roller coaster riders) to fray the edges. The effect has an uncanny resemblance to cruising through life with 15 tabs open.
Last year I had a stint house-sitting in El Sereno and spent the better part of my stay exploring with a dog named Dooley that I was also charged with the care of. She and I mostly explored the greater El Sereno area, including Hillside Village and University Hills. This time I set about exploring more of the Los Angeles's Eastside -- and Dooley and I managed to unturn stones in the Eastside neighborhoods of Arroyo View Estates, East Los Angeles, El Sereno, Garvanza, Happy Valley, Hermon, Highland Park, Lincoln Heights, Montecito Heights, Monterey Hills, Rose Hill, and on one warm morning, City Terrace.
Parquet Courts had a very good 2013. Their debut album, Light Up Gold, was re-released on What’s Your Rupture? to rapturous acclaim, and their live shows have become somewhat legendary. Live and on record, the band flaunts a defiantly youthful energy that resuscitates classic indie rock tropes and perfectly captured mid-20s bohemia. Late in the year, they released the great Tally All the Things That You Broke EP (which I called one of the best EPs of 2013), finding the band honing its sound and growing wilder, even funkier as Andrew Savage’s vocals are more confident and strident, sing-talking and even sort of rapping, while the band tosses out knotty, catchy riffs with apparent ease. “The more you use it, the more it works!” Savage cries on one of Tally’s songs, as if echoing his own band’s tour-and-release-heavy year, which has clearly paid off.
The subject matter of the band’s songs is another matter. On its most famous song, Light Up Gold’s “Stoned and Starving,” the title says it all as Savage details a muchies-fueled trip through Ridgewood, Queens. But don’t call Parquet Courts “stoner rock” or “slacker rock” to Savage’s face.
Oft lost in the great “best albums of the year” rush are EPs, those unimposing 18-minute-or-so releases that artists release between albums, to try stuff out or to unload extra songs. While you don’t get the whole enchilada of a full-album statement, EPs are like a great appetizer that leave you wanting more, and 2013 was full of delicious bloomin’ onions. Here are 10 that I liked, in no particular order.
William Emmanuel Bevan makes the kind of music Thom Yorke dreams about, dark, brooding electronic music that blends subgenres like dubstep (the good kind) while sounding like its own thing, future-seeking yet emotional and grimy. He hasn’t had a full-length album since 2007’s great Untrue, but he released several EPs this year, including the recent Rival Dealer 12” and, earlier this year, this release of two 10-plus-minute tracks, the first entrancing and inviting, the second morose and restless.
California based alternative rock -pop band The Neighbourhood has hit the mainstream full steam ahead. Complete with a black and white marketing vision, in just two years The Neighbourhood has signed a major label deal, gone gold and headlined a summer tour across the U.S. Their music video for the single "Sweater Weather" has amassed over 14 million views on YouTube. The band is now nominated for MTV Buzzworthy's Breakthrough Band of 2013. Their debut album, I Love You (Colombia), entered the Billboard Music Charts at #39 and their lead single, "Sweater Weather," has already been certified gold by the RIAA for digital sales of over 500,000.
The guys recently visited Amoeba Hollywood for another fun episode of What's In My Bag?. Check out who picks up seasons 1& 2 of Saved By The Bell on DVD and which Neighbourhood member gets introduced to Breaking Bad. They run the gammut of music from classic Phil Collins to Metallica's Whiplash on vinyl to Sade's Soldier of Love.
Festive destinations for tourists and New Yorkers alike include Rockefeller Center (photo left taken earlier this week) where in addition to the usual all year round attractions, such as going up to the Top Of The Rock (one of the best aerial views of the Big Apple), there is the big brightly lit Christmas / holiday tree and the Center's famous ice rink plus a tapestry of large scale colorful holiday statues and lights for the one square block around the Center.
Being that NBC's main television studios are right there at 30 Rock, in addition to earlier this month broadcasting the lighting of the tree ceremony accompanied by performances from such musical guests as Mary J. Blige, Mariah Carey, Kelly Clarkson, and the Goo Goo Dolls, the TV network has been featuring the hella holiday themed area over the past couple of weeks on such NBC shows as Saturday Night Live and the Today Show. Very closeby Rockefeller Center is the big Saks Fifth Avenue department store where, in addition to their extravagant holiday themed window displays, they also have a large scale 3D light show, complete with booming music system blasting "Carol Of The Bells," that plays in repeat mode on the front of the block long Fifth Avenue building between 48th and 49th streets every night between 5pm to 10pm for the duration of this holiday season (scroll down to see video of this nightly display).
Amoeba is offering new versions of our iconic T-shirts for a limited time. All shirts are available in-store only, so get your butt to your local Amoeba store for some killer new tees.
At Amoeba Hollywood, look out for our new super soft, limited edition logo shirts in blue, green, red, gray and black. The T-shirts are available for $12.98. I gotta get that black-on-black shirt.
Amoeba San Francisco has available both holiday shirts for $12.99 and tie-dye shirts for $19.98.
Despite the liberal message of tolerance, the Billy Jack series has always struck me as metaphor for American foreign policy: "I'm trying .. I'm really trying to not hurt you, but you're forcing my hand." It's a power fantasy that we're always on the side of the little guy, or that we're really the little guy, just blessed with super powers to fight back (like Peter Parker taking on Flash back in high school). My dad raised me on these films, and I love them for their lunacy. Tom "Billy Jack" Laughlin died last Thursday, but our national fantasy lives on.
For this week's Hip-Hop History Amoeblog, I take it back to 21 years ago to early November of 1992 when I caught up with Chuck D of Public Enemy (PE) to chat with him on the state of politics. Since that interview (which I just uncovered again this past week) was never archived anywhere, I decided to share it here because its content is pretty engaging from a historical point of view. I also assembled a series of Public Enemy videos from their six-year career up to that point. November 1992 was a time when the politically charged hip-hop crew was still riding high in popularity and public consciousness.
Tragically, even hip-hop heads don't realize that PE are still together as a group these days, touring, recording, and making meaningful statements. But back then, everyone knew and intently listened to what the group, -- whose previous year's album Apocalypse 91… The Enemy Strikes Black, was still selling briskly and whose compilation of remixes and new tracks, Greatest Misses, had just been released seven weeks earlier -- had to say. Of course things would soon shift on the popular hip-hop landscape since, just a month later in mid December of 1992, former N.W.A. member Dr. Dre would release a game-changing album - The Chronic with the Snoop Doggy Dogg featured lead single "Nuthin' But A G Thang" - that would be highly instrumental in helping push popular rap away from the political arena and towards the gangsta/G-Funk/mob style of rap as the predominant force in popular hip-hop.
Amoeba Music is thrilled to join the San Francisco Silent Film Festival on January 11th at the Castro Theatre for a day-long centennial celebration of Charlie Chaplin's beloved "Little Tramp" character. Yes, 100 years ago the Little Tramp appeared in Kid Auto Races at Venice (1914), the funniest of the Keystone films that set the stage for Chaplin’s ascendancy as a star. This "little fellow," as Chaplin called him, became an icon of world cinema and catapulted Chaplin to fame.
SFSFF's celebration will feature three programs of Chaplin's indelible contribution to cinema. Three comedy shorts from Chaplin's time at the Mutual Film Corporation - The Vagabond (1916), The Cure (1917), and Easy Street (1917) - start the day off, with piano accompaniment by John Mirsalis. Chaplin's first feature, The Kid (1921) will be preceded by the aforementioned Kid Auto Races at Venice and accompanied by the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra conducted by Timothy Brock. Preceding The Kid, compete in the Charlie Chaplin Look-Alike contest! Come dressed as the Little Tramp and win a prize! The Gold Rush (1925) will also be accompanied by the Chamber Orchestra conducted by Brock. Timothy Brock is an acclaimed composer/conductor specializing in concert works of the early 20th-centure and silent films. He restored Chaplin's original scores for The Kid and The Gold Rush.
On this day in music history: December 16, 1966 - "Hey Joe", the debut single by The Jimi Hendrix Experience is released (US release is on May 1, 1967). Written by Billy Roberts, the song tells the story of a man on the run after shooting his wife for her infidelity. A garage band standard, it is covered by numerous acts including The Leaves, The Byrds, Love, The Standells, and The Surfaris to name a few. Hendrix's version is recorded on October 23, 1966 at De Lane Lea Studios in London. The single is first offered to Decca Records in the UK who decline to release it. Polydor will pick it up for UK release (and Reprise in the US) and it will immediately hit the charts. "Hey Joe" will peak at #6 on the UK singles chart.
On this day in music history: December 16, 1972 - Across 110th Street - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack is released. Produced by Bobby Womack, it is recorded at American Sound Studios in Memphis, TN from Spring - Fall 1972. Issued as the soundtrack to the blaxploitation crime drama starring Anthony Quinn, Yaphet Kotto, and Antonio Fargas, it features a song score written and produced by Bobby Womack and is performed by Womack and his backing band Peace. It also features the instrumental score from the film written by J.J. Johnson. The title song will be issued as a single and will peak at #19 on the Billboard R&B singles chart and #56 on the Hot 100. It will also be featured in director Quentin Tarantino's film Jackie Brown in 1997 and in American Gangster in 2007. Across 110th Street - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack will peak at #6 on the Billboard R&B album chart and #50 on the Top 200.
The Cramps Live at Napa State Mental Hospital(1978)
In Bay Area rap history there are several instances of artists rapping live from jail - perhaps most notably the late great Mac Dre rapping over the phone from Fresno County Jail back in the early nineties and X-Raided at that same period rapping over the phone on series of occasions that would finally be released as the 1995 album Xorcist (in later years the still incarcerated rapper would get smuggled in recording gear to record albums). But there are also many instances of artists performing for inmates at jails and prisons, as well as other institutions.
Of the performances in mental institutions perhaps the best (and the best known) is from when The Cramps, in June 1978, did a live show from the California Mental State Hospital in Napa. Also performing were San Francisco's wonderful post punk act The Mutants. It was when the pioneering psychobilly gods had just had just finished up recording Gravest Hits - to be released the following year that would include the track "The Way I Walk" that they are captured performing in the Napa hospital concert clip above care of Target Video.
The great Leonard Cohen also did a series of free concerts about forty years ago in mental institutions but without much media attention at the time. According to Sylvie Simmons' bio I'm Your Man Cohen performed, like the Cramps, at Napa State Hospital as well as at Henderson Hospital (in the UK), and at an unnamed facility in Montreal (Canada). Reportedly he booked these shows "without fanfare" and on his own dime, reportedly telling a reporter a few years later that he was drawn to mental hospitals because he had "the feeling that the experience of a lot of people in mental hospitals would especially qualify them to be a receptive audience for my work." Cohen later commented, according to Simmons, that “I’ve always loved the people the world used to call mad.”
On December 14, all three Amoeba stores are holding a Super Saturday Sale with deals on tons of items, just in time for all that holiday shopping you still have to do!
At ALL Amoeba stores, we'll have 20% off the following (limited to available stock):
- Selected Turntables (call for details)
When you spend $100 in-store, you'll get a $10 gift certificate to Amoeba! Gift certificates are valid starting December 15th. Does not apply to purchases redeemed with store credit or gift certificates.
Additionally, Amoeba Hollywood will have a Vinyl Blowout sale out front, with three-for-$1 45s, 78s, 12"s, and LPs. Come shop clearance vinyl out front, and come in for deals in-store!
1) Eminem The Marshall Mathers LP2 (Interscope)
2) Dom Kennedy Get Home Safely (The Other Peoples Money Co.)
3) Drake Nothing Was The Same (Cash Money)
4) Danny Brown Old (Fools Gold)
5) Deltron 3030 Event II (Bulk Recordings)
Five weeks since its release, Eminem's universally popular (and deservedly so) latest album The Marshall Mathers LP2 (Interscope) continues to top the charts at Amoeba Hollywood as seen in the above latest top five from the LA store. And that is not the only place Eminem is number one this week. His incredibly popular current album single "The Monster (featuring Rihanna)" just hit number one on the Billboard charts, meaning that Eminem now ranks as the rapper with the most number one pop singles (a total of five). Meanwhile, the new album's first single "Berzerk" is a nominee for best rap performance in the upcoming Grammy Awards as announced by the organization last Friday. Furthermore, the Eminem song is being used in advertising for the Jan. 26, 2014 Grammy ceremony. However the full The Marshall Mathers LP2 is not eligible for a trophy in the 56th annual show because of the timing of its release.
UPDATE DEC 26, 2013: The Ringo: Photograph book is sold out.
Ringo Starr’s limited-edition, signed book, Photograph, is at Amoeba Hollywood in VERY limited quantities now (only two available in-store) or for online purchase on Amoeba.com. Online orders will ship directly from the publisher with estimated arrival time of February 2014. It’s priced at $600, and each one is signed by Ringo and numbered. (Please note: Photograph book does not qualify for our Super Saturday store sale on December 14th due to its limited nature)
We were pleased to help Genesis Publications launch the book in Hollywood at a special event with Ringo. Below is a great recap of the event, written by Amoeba’s Greg Griffith:
“Every time I see your face it reminds me of the places we used to go,
But all I’ve got is a photograph and I realize you’re not coming back anymore…”
These are the lyrics to the 1973 song, “Photograph” which was co-authored by Beatles Ringo Starr and George Harrison. Not only is the tune itself one of Ringo’s most memorable and enduring as a solo artist, who could have guessed that 40 years later we would get to see, in person, the faces and places that were lamented in the song.
Electronic music duo and recent Grammy nominees Disclosure have been quickly becoming dance music's latest craze. The English born musicians are brothers Guy and Howard Lawerence. Despite being born in the mid-'90s when U.K. garage was peaking, Disclosure pulls from the past to create their own brand of 2-step house. Some critics call them revivalist while others praise their elaborate production chops. The dudes are really good.
Disclosure made a lot of noise when they gave Jessie Ware's "Running" a hyper-soul synth pop makeover. The remix resulted in millions of plays on YouTube and Soundcloud. It didn't take long before promoters from London to Ibiza were falling over each other to book the duo.They quickly found fans in some of dance music's tastemakers, including Pete Tong and Annie Mac.
Their debut album, Settle, entered the U.K. charts at #1, followed by a Grammy nod for Best Dance/Electronica Album. The duo will now ring in 2014 with a world tour. Pretty impressive for a couple of kids born in the mid '90s.
Disclosure recently visited Amoeba Hollywood for another awesome episode of What's In My Bag?. These dudes are very much the "producer's producer" as it goes. Big fans of Hip Hop, Guy and Howard pick up J.Dilla's Welcome 2 Detroit, a classic in the underground Hip Hop scene. They also grab Gangstarr's Ownerz and A Tribe Called Quest's Anthology on vinyl. They make sure to dig up some house music and find a copy of Pepe Bradock's Lifting Weights 12". Clearly these guys love all things with big deep bass! These two brothers are super cool, down to earth and insanely talented. Check out the full episode of "What's In My Bag?" below.
Why let it snow when you can make it snow, amirite? Taking a cue from yesterday's "Klingon Kristmas" post, I urge everyone to make merry with Captain Jean-Luc Picard as he continually commands Christmas, with that classic "final frontier" flair that only he can own, in this genius Star Trek: TNG edit set to the tune of "Make it Snow". I dare you to humbug this hot, hot cup of holiday cheer!
M O S Recordings
Heckle x M O S, a match made in heaven. The pairing lives up to expectation. Cactus Jack obliterates with a chunky acid line, new wave snare and subtle guitar lead. Birds of Vertigo is another demonstration of brute force, yet the record's highlight is the title track, which turns some melancholy Juno chords into a shimmering, psychedelic banger. Recommended.
Home Taping is Killing Music
Percolating disco/house rollers from the prolific and tasteful Italian producer. The Music Lives has a classic-King Street feel, building momentum with a skyward bound organ riff and eventually working in moody vocals before ending with a loose percussion jam. The final track leans into a Mahogani-inspired sample cut, all florid Rhodes, disco strings and crack rhythm section holding it down.
If you’re like me, most Christmas music makes you want to stab yourself in the eyeball with a sharpened candy cane. Luckily, since everyone and their mother has attempted a holiday album (I mean, most of them are X-mas-centric), there are some gems in the mix.
The Beach Boys’ Christmas Album/Christmas With the Beach Boys
The Beach Boys and Christmas music go together like Christmas and getting drunk. It’s an obvious choice, sure, but this album also wins because of the originals, which they put just as much effort into as their regular classics. “The Man With All the Toys” kicks enough ass to be listened to all year round.
Some would say the greatest Christmas album of all time, featuring classic productions by Phil Spector, with The Crystals, The Ronettes, Darlene Love and other Spector favorites. Every other version of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” sucks compared to this one.
Last week here on the Amoeblog was the first half of an interview piece with Amoebite Zak Wilson on the subject of the wonderful new documentary that he is featured in: Art Gods (An Oral History of the Tower Records Art Department). Over the weekend the film premiered at San Francisco's Balboa Theatre and this week Art Gods has been released on DVD and is available in each of the three Amoeba Music stores: Berkeley, San Francisco, and Hollywood.
As its full title implies Art Gods is a documentary about the art department at the now defunct Tower Records chain that began in Sacramento in the early sixties when Russ Solomon opened the first Tower Records store. Zak Wilson (that's him above back in the day at Tower), who is among those featured in the engaging doc, worked at Tower in Berkeley during its 80's heyday and has many stories to share from those times - as you will see in the Q+A below that is accompanied by numerous photos of Tower in the 80's and some of their legendary displays - all courtesy of Zak Wilson's photo collection that is featured in Art Gods.
Amoeblog: Many people thought of Tower Records as a big chain run like any other large music chain. But was that really an accurate view of Tower? And was owner Russ Solomon a hands on boss or someone you never saw?
Star Trek fans and Chrisman revelers rejoice! While Klingon Vanna White's latest albums may not be available in this galaxy, the commercial for her holiday collection, Klingon Kristmas Klassics, is! And frankly, you haven't lived until you hear "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" and "Little Drummer Boy" sung in the mellifluous Klingon language.
Prop Anon "Luxury Condos" (from the album Squat The Condos)
When I first met New York City based emcee/singer Propaganda Anonymous (aka Prop Anon who is from NYC's Mindspray hip-hop crew) five years ago he was busy slapping his "Squat The Condos" stickers on lampposts and walls all around the city. That simple three-worded message of his sticker was twofold: to both promote his forthcoming album of the same name and, more importantly, to encourage those who had been displaced by development (IE luxury condos going up, most notably in developing parts of Brooklyn at the time) to squat these new condo constructions. "The negative impact that these new overpriced, extremely expensive luxury condos, that only the very rich in New York City can afford, will be felt for a long time to come - especially on the artists and creative people," he told me at that time.
Prop Anon's predictions could not have been more accurate. In the half decade since then New York City's luxury condo housing market has grown by leaps and bounds - making a select few very rich at the expense of longtime low income residents of New York and struggling artists. Among the most recent victims of luxury condo developments have been 5Pointz and The Clocktower - two art spaces that, in the past few weeks, have both been displaced to make way for luxury condo developments.
Hunt Rodriguez on his work Rest In Power 5Pointz - Amoeblog Interview
Above is an impromptu interview I conducted last Saturday (December 7th) afternoon at 5Pointz in Long Island City, Queens with writer/sculptor Hunt Rodriguez whose current favorite form of art is doing sculptures like this one - Rest In Power 5Pointz - and having people sign it. Other works of his have included ones dedicated against gun violence and child abuse. Last weekend, right as workers were putting up a fence around the main entrance to the former aerosol art haven, the artist had taken his tribute work of art out to the the very location of the graffiti mecca that was recently whitewashed over in preparation for its destruction to make way for high rise luxury condo construction. Rodriguez and his sculpture will be at North 7th Street between Kent
and Wyatt in Williamsburg, Brooklyn this Saturday, December 14th from noon to 3pm. More info on the 5Pointz Facebook page.
Another Monterey Hills refers to a small residential neighborhood between El Sereno, Hermon, Montecito Heights, Rose Hill, and South Pasadena. I recently explored that neighborhood with Dooley (a dog) whilst house, dog, and cat-sitting in El Sereno. During my stint on the Eastside, Dooley and I visited all the aforementioned communities and additionally explored Arroyo View Estates, East Los Angeles, City Terrace, Garvanza, Happy Valley, Highland Park, Hillside Village, Lincoln Heights, and University Hills. Our first excursion was of Monterey Hills on a cool, clear day that followed a light, overnight rain.
20/20 Report Hip-Hop Special (1981) - Part 1
Above and below are the two parts of the very first network TV news program report on rap/hip-hop: an entertaining episode of ABC's 20/20 from July, 1981. While Yo! MTV Raps is routinely (and rightfully) credited for speeding up the popularity of rap/hip-hop by bringing the inner-city, Bronx NY born culture and musical form directly into the living rooms of middle America and exposing many non-urban kids to rap for the first time, it came along a lot later than this. The MTV weekly two hour rap music video show, hosted by Fab 5 Freddy, Ed Lover and Doctor Dre, did not begin airing until the summer of 1988 and hence was by no means the original introduction of rap music to mainstream America. That honor/distinction goes to ABC's 20/20 investigative journalism/news magazine program, that even predates MTV's very existance (well by one month), which was the very first national/network TV news show to do an in-depth spotlight on hip-hop or "rap" music, as it was still generally referred to back then, for a national audience.
Through my Weekly Roundup series every Thursday (returning in 2014), I listen to a lot of stuff from California-based artists. Here’s a list of 40 great albums that were made by artists based in this great state. There were lots more, so just consider this my own personal list, and let me know if there’s anything I missed!
Epically beautiful seafaring pop from the dude formerly of The Mallard.
The cute electro-pop duo get dancier with freestyle sounds on their second album.
The singer for hip smooth jazz purveyors Rhye, Milosh, has an otherworldly, feminine voice that has helped make that band a favorite of many a music fan. On his solo album Jet Lag, Milosh employs many of the same dynamics Rhye does on their debut, Woman, only with a somehow even more intimate sound, using laptoppy sounds and his own swirling, looped voice to create small, sexy atmospheres. The effect is to pair down Rhye’s already intimate sound even further, akin to how Thom Yorke used The Eraser to approach a more electronic, solitary sound than with Radiohead. Jet Lag’s electronic textures are appealing, yet it’s always Milosh’s voice that keeps us hooked, and he uses it to great effect on “Slow Down,” one of his strongest compositions yet, using little more than his voice and piano to sell a pretty broad sentiment—“can we all just slow down?” he sings in his breathiest tone. With that voice, you’ll do just about anything he says.
It was the first Saturday of the month which meant Amoeba Music in Hollywood had a slew of cool and interesting items up for auction to the highest bidder! And it meant that people got to help out where the need is greatest while they scored cool and interesting items. This month we were raising money for the Philippine Red Cross with the help of comedian Cameron Esposito.
On Saturday, December 7 our guest auctioneer Cameron Esposito, the host of the live show and podcast Put Your Hands Together with Cameron Esposito Tuesdays at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, rocked our auction! Esposito has been named a top Comedy Act to Watch in 2013 by LA Weekly and she has appeared at clubs and festivals across the country. Her network televison debut on Late Late with Craig Ferguson garnered attention as "the most memorable first time on a late night show for any comedian in recent history."
If you weren't at Amoeba Hollywood on Saturday you missed all the zingers and one-liners she dished up to help the Philippine relief effort. She had the audience chuckling and raising their hands to donate! "C'mon, you know the movie Die Hard is worth $25.00 in your heart."
Here are just a few of the highlights:
- Trader Joe’s gift card ($50) + vintage monkees lunchbox - $55.00
- Urban Outfitters gift card ($50) + vinyl records AND – a John Denver cloth tote - $40.00
- Tickets to see Lissie at the Fonda theater - $20.00
- Tickets to see Suicidal Tendencies at The Fonda theater - $40.00
- 4 passes to Natural History Museum of Los Angeles - $30.00
- Amoeba VIP in-store pass to show of your choice + CD and first in line for signing - $35.00
- Ringo Starr limited-edition tote + drumsticks along with a cool Beatles package filled with all sorts of collectibles - $50.00
- Record Store Day bag filled with limited-edition releases and a T-shirt - $15.00
- Holiday Horrors! Vincent Price tote bag + tickets for two to see Abel Ferrara's lost horror-revenge film Ms. 45 at Cinefamily – Dec. 20, plus DVD horror classics - $10.00
- Hollywood Holiday pack! Hollywood sign photo/canvas + the holiday classic Die Hard - $10.00
- Special "kids" pack with signed Yo Gabba Gabba! stuff and Despicable Me 2 doll - $15.00
We began hosting charity auctions when Hurrican Katrina hit New Orleans and over the years we’ve raised over $475,000 for New Orleans, Green charities, Animal charities, Doctors Without Borders and many local organizations. Amoeba also matches all winning bids (up to $1,000) and 100% of funds raised in the auctions go straight to the charity.
"You had me at that 1922 Oakland Chamber of Commerce record!" - I told the curator MAC upon first glancing the above historic record oddity - a free phonograph record issued by the East Bay City's Chamber of Commerce back in the 1920's to encourage residents from nearby San Francisco as well as other faraway locations to relocate to Oakland, CA "where California's promise is Fulfilled." This rare record was one of approximately 200 equally engaging and odd discs on exhibit during the recent WFMU Record Fair in New York City.
I want this to be true, since I can't imagine a better use of Lars Von Trier's entire oeuvre: pornographic portions of the above trailer for his new film Nymph()maniac were shown during the cartoon, Steamboat Willie, which was serving as filler while a Tampa, Florida theater was dealing with some technical problems in projecting Disney's Frozen.
"They put in the filler, it looked like Steamboat Willie, the old Mickey Mouse cartoon, and then all of a sudden it goes into this other scene," grandmother Lynn Greene told My Fox Tampa Bay. "It seemed like forever when you're trying to, you know, cover a little guy's eyes. I didn't have enough hands to cover his ears too and he got the sound down real good."
Although I share Film Drunk's skepticism, it's a truly beautiful idea.
To read more Behind The Grooves, go to http://behindthegrooves.tumblr.com.
On this day in music history: December 9, 1962 - Meet The Supremes, the debut album by The Supremes is released. Produced by Berry Gordy, Smokey Robinson, Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, and Raynoma Liles, it is recorded at Motown Studio A in Detroit from October 1960 - September 1962. It features the first four singles released by the group during 1961 and 1962. All fared poorly on the charts in spite of the company's best writers and producers efforts to come up with a hit single for the group. In the wake of the group's breakthrough success with their second full-length Where Did Our Love Go?, the album will be reissued in early 1965 (originally issued in mono, it is remixed in true stereo with different cover artwork). Original copies of Meet The Supremes are among the rarest of the early Motown LPs and command up to $500 for a near mint copy today.
On this day in music history: December 9, 1966 - Fresh Cream, the debut album by Cream is released. Produced by Robert Stigwood, it is recorded at Rayrik Studios and Ryemuse Studios in London from July - October 1966. The first release by the British rock supergroup is also the first release on manager/producer Stigwood's newly formed Reaction Records in the UK, and will be released by Atlantic Records subsidiary Atco in the US. Featuring a mixture of covers and original material, it will include some of the band's signature songs including their first single "I Feel Free" and the blues standards "I'm So Glad," "Spoonful," and "Rollin' And Tumblin'." The original US LP pressings will feature a different track sequence than the UK version, exchanging "Spoonful" for "I Feel Free," which had been issued as a stand alone single in the UK. Fresh Cream will peak at #6 on the UK album chart, and #39 on the Billboard Top 200.
El-Haru Kuroi - Cantagallo
Best Of The World Music Releases That NPR Likes:
Juana Molina - Wed 21
Best World Fusion Album:
Bombino - Nomad
Best Retro World Release:
William Oneyeabor - World Psychedelic 5: Who Is William Onyeabor?
Best Reissue World Release On LP
The entire Manu Chao catalog on LP!
Best New World Release On LP
Meridian Brothers - Devocion (Works 2005-2011)
While plenty of new acts released great albums in 2013, a few heavy hitters came back with awesome records after years of either inactivity or critical/commercial depression. Here’s a list of 12 of those records.
David Bowie had been relatively silent since 2003’s Reality. Then, out of nowhere, on his 66th birthday on January 8th, he announced a new album would be released in March. The Next Day largely blew away expectations, exceeding in quality just about anything else Bowie has done since the ’80s, harkening back to his most acclaimed phase, The Berlin Trilogy, comprising the albums Low, “Heroes” and Lodger. Romantic rockers like “The Stars (Are Out Tonight)” live alongside alien funk (the title track) and searching ballads (“Where Are We Now?”). It’s classic Bowie, throughout. (See where The Next Day landed on Aaron Detroit’s top 50 albums of 2013 list.)
Amoebite Zak Wilson, who I last talked with here a few years back when he offered his invaluable insights on the world of guitar picks for the Amoeblog, is always busy working on some new project. His latest, of which he is one of several contributors, is the wonderful new documentary Art Gods (An Oral History of the Tower Records Art Department). As its title implies, Art Gods is about the art display department of the now defunct Sacramento-based record store chain during its 1980's heyday (when Wilson worked in their art department).
This documentary is an engaging time capsule of a bygone era in both the record business (when records were the primary format) and in the pre-computer/pre-digital age of art displays. The film premieres tonight and tomorrow (Dec 6th and 7th) at San Francisco's Balboa Theatre. Next week, Art Gods will arrive in Amoeba and other stores on DVD. This is part one of a two-part interview with Zak about the film, along with pictures of some of those great album art-based record store displays. Part two will run next week to coincide with the release of the documentary on DVD.
Johnny Clegg "Asimbonanga (featuring Nelson Mandela)" (1999)
To honor the legacy of the great Nelson Mandela, who died earlier today at the age of 95, here is a selection of songs written and recorded about this great man who spent his lifetime in the fight against racial oppression. So inspiring a figure was Mandela that he had the distinction of having more songs written in his honor than perhaps any other global political figure in history.
These include Johnny Clegg's "Asimbonanga" (above) -- a very special live concert version from 1999 featuring a walk-on cameo from Mandela himself who blesses the mic for a bit and grooves to the music of Clegg's band.
Other songs (all below) include the best known of all the songs recorded about him: the 1984 hit single by The Specials/ The Special AKA (free) "Nelson Mandela," a live version of Hugh Masekela's inspired "Mandela (Bring Him Back Home)," Nomfusi & The Lucky Charms' "Nelson Mandela Song," (my personal favorite) Youssou N'Dour's "Nelson Mandela" (live in NY in the early 90's), and a cool song and video remix of "Number 46664" which was Nelson Mandela's prison number when he was incarcerated on Robbin Island, Cape Town (Mandela spent a total of 27 years in prison after being convicted of treason by the white minority government of South Africa). Read the full news report here on the Los Angeles Times. Rest In Peace Nelson Mandela!
Brilliant imaginary Soundtrack by Samo DJ Max Stenerudh, which seems to score an imperialist drama. The sounds within are closer to the bamboo drums and razor sharp synths of 80s Japan - music that sounds otherworldly and futuristic 30 years later. One of LIES most adventurous and most musical releases, not much for the non warm-up set dj here, simply a beautiful concept album. Recommended.
Just Another Beat
Brooding, virtuosic house from Kim Brown. Brown allures the listener with an equal understanding of rough Chicago inspired rhythms and a pristine high-end melodic sense reminiscent of early Border Community. Camera Moves is a great example - starting with plaintive ambient synths before introducing an absolute monster melodic bassline which stretches out for eight bars. The bittersweet tone of the record will appeal to fans of Dial's leading lights.
For over two decades, Katey Sagal has reigned as one of television's most popular actors. She became an instant fan favorite as Peggy Bundy, the hilarious redheaded bombshell on Married...With Children. In the early 2000s, Sagal was pegged to play the voice of Turanga Leela, the one eyed mutant on Futurama. Today, Katey Sagal rules the television throne as Gemma Teller Morrow, the matriarch of The Sons of Anarchy, a role which earned Sagal a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Television Series Drama.
With all the acting accolades Katey has achieved, it's easy to overlook her first true talent: singing. In 1976, Sagal made her professional recording debut singing with The Group With No Name. The band was signed to Neil Bogart's Casablanca Record label. She went on to sing backup for musical heavy hitters including Bob Dylan, Etta James, Bette Midler, Gene Simmons and Tanya Tucker. She has released three solo albums, most recently this year's Covered (E1Music). The new record finds Sagal covering some of her favorite songs, including Tom Petty's "Free Fallin'" and Jackson Browne's "For a Dancer." Sagal's vocal styling is rooted in Soul and Blues with a heavy singer-songwriter influence. She has also been featured on the Sons of Anarchy soundtracks.
The annual Stevie Wonder tribute WONDER-Full SF starring DJ Spinna (NYC) celebrates its ten-year anniversary in San Francisco on December 7th at Mezzanine.
WONDER-Full is a dance party of epic proportions dedicated to Stevie Wonder’s essential compositions, covers, and goodies. WONDER-Full debuted in San Francisco in 2003 and its ten-year run, Stevie fans from across the Bay Area and beyond have embraced the event with beautiful energy, diversity and love that has made WONDER-Full SF one of the most anticipated events of the year!
One of the most sought after dance floor magicians DJ Spinna headlines with support from Hakobo (fresco), Proof (Massive Selector), and King Most (Society).
More details HERE! Advanced tickets have sold out, but tickets will be available at the door the night of the event.
Just about everyone could agree on “Get Lucky” and “Hold On, We’re Going Home,” but there were lots of other great singles and album cuts released this year. Here are 21 you can download from Amoeba.com right now. Pretty sure these could just top out a 120-minute cassette tape, if my high school calculations are correct. Check out my top 50 albums list, too!
Kurt Vile – “KV Crimes”
Kurt Vile's Wakin on a Pretty Daze is a great, melodically hazy stoner-rock record, but "KV Crimes" hits hard, like a song Tom Petty would kick out in five minutes and decide he was too stoned when he wrote it and leave it on the cutting-room floor for some bullshit like "Free Fallin'." Kurt Vile is like our more enlightened Petty, one who knows that off-the-cuff tracks can be the best.
From the album Wakin on a Pretty Daze
Savages – “I Am Here”
There are at least four places in California named Happy Valley. This blog entry is about the small neighborhood on Los Angeles’s Eastside. To vote for other Los Angeles neighborhoods, vote here. To vote for Los Angeles County communities, vote here. To vote for Orange County communities and neighborhoods, vote here.
Greetings from New York City which seems to be stealing some of the West Coast's thunder of late (namely Silicon Valley and Hollywood) by not only becoming a booming location for tech startups, but also this week adding a big new large-scale (one square block in scale) outdoor film production studio backlot. This brand new 35,000 square feet lot is on the sprawling Kaufman Astoria Studios campus in Queens - just across the river from Manhattan that is home to the excellent Museum of The Moving Image - where it will provide film production companies a desired controlled environment for filming and safely utilizing special effects unlike busy NYC streets where most filming takes place such as the Michael J Fox TV Show being filmed on East 33rd Street today (12/4) or the forthcoming movie 1:30 Train, starring Chris Evans about woman chasing through the streets of New York amidst a series of obstacles in an attempt to catch the 1:30 train to Boston, that will be filmed this Saturday (12/7) way downtown on the East Side at Jackson and Cherry Streets near the FDR Drive and East River Park (see production notice below).
Another West Coast like recent development in New York, that has drawn comparisons to Amoeba Music by several reporters, is the just opened cavernous Rough Trade record store and concert space down near the waterfront in the hip and pricey Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn. But as the Gizmodo website reported in their review of the new space that opened last week, when comparing it with Amoeba, "Aisles upon aisles of CDs and vinyl records for sale. Not as many as you'd see in a music mega mart like a Virgin Megastore or in legendary independent chain Amoeba Music, but a respectable amount." I have still to make it over to check out firsthand this new Rough Trade space but once I do will do a full report here on the Amoeblog.
For this week's Hip-Hop History Tuesdays Amoeblog installment we continue with more on the topic of the first decade of LA/West Coast Rap. Above is a continuation of the video interview with DJ Flash and Captain Rapp and below is the entire film of the little-seen 1983 documentary on LA Hip-hop's early history: the 84 minute film Breakin' N Enterin. In the above video interview with Flash and Rapp, they discuss both LA rap history and their latest release, Westcoastin featuring Ronnie Hudson along with a slew of legendary West Coast rappers, which has been selling well at Amoeba Hollywood since its recent release on CD. Meanwhile, the out-of-print 30-year-old documentary on LA Hip-hop made by Topper Carew is a refreshing West Coast counterpart to such NYC hip-hop films as Wild Style and Style Wars. It showcases LA's vibrant early b-boy, poplockin, graffiti, DJ, and MC scenes. Among the many highlights of this engaging documentary told by the practitioners of the art form is the Blue City Crew out of Carson, CA featuring members of what would later become the Boo Yaa Tribe. A young Ice-T, who would not appear in the hip-hop film Breakin' until a year later, is also featured here.
In Gang Gang Dance, Brian DeGraw helps make screwed up electronic music that is still somehow danceable and hooky. In his bEEdEEgEE project, he expands on the dancier side of things, weaving expansive electronic tapestries rooted in house and new wave, with the help of a couple of awesome guest singers (CSS’s Lovefoxxx, Hot Chip’s Alexis Taylor, among others). Douglas Armour’s yearning voice makes “Empty Vases” into ace emotional electro-pop. His GGD bandmate Lizzi Bougatsos lends some of her ethereal coo to the jittery “Overlook,” which feels as close to their band as anything on this album. And Taylor makes “(F.U.T.D.) Time of Waste” a great, hedonistic party jam about having lots to do yet getting nothing done—“all I wanna do is fuck up the day” has to be one of the great all-time slacker lines, while Lovefoxx’s turn over the big, dreamy beats of “Flowers” has got to be the highlight of the entire album. Yet even with these high-profile guest spots, DeGraw is still just as dazzling on his own, spinning various distorted percussive elements into a dizzying stew on “Bricks” and creating a distinctive early house homage with “Like Rain Man.” It’s late in the year, but bEEdEEgEE is making a bid for year-end-list relevance with the stunning Sum/One.
Amoeba Hollywood regularly sells tickets to local shows, with the added bonus of charging low service fees (if you're into saving money and who isn't really?).
All tickets can be purchased at the registers (while supplies last) for a $2 service fee. We take cash and credit cards for all ticket sales. Store credit and coupons cannot be applied to ticket sales. Limit 4 tickets per person.
Please note that on the day of the show, we will stop selling tickets for that show at 5pm.
If you have a question about whether we've sold out of a specific show, please call the store at 323-245-6400.
JUST ADDED SHOWS:
Here is a full list of tickets we currently have for sale at Amoeba Hollywood:
|Show Name||Venue||Show Date||
(fee not included)
|Cibo Matto||El Rey||02/24/2014||$25.00|
|Sharon Corr||El Rey||02/26/2014||$37.00|
|Crystal Method||El Rey||01/16/2014||$25.00|
|Dale Earnhart Jr. Jr.||El Rey||02/28/2014||$20.00|
|Dark Star Orchestra||El Rey||04/05/2014||$30.00|
|Darkside (SOLD OUT)||Fonda Theatre||01/25/2014||$25.00|
|Robert DeLong||El Rey||01/31/2014||$17.00|
(Show postponed to Feb 7, 2014.
All tix for 11/15 will be honored.)
(12/28 SOLD OUT)
|Fonda Theatre||12/26, 12/27 & 12/28||$27.50|
|Gardens & Villa||El Rey||03/08/2014||$17.00|
|Mike Gordon||El Rey||03/17/2014||$25.00|
|RL Grime||El Rey||01/23/2014||$22.00|
|Hollywood Ending||El Rey||02/20/2014||$17.00|
|John Butler Trio||Fonda Theatre||02/21/2014||$35.00|
|Kaiser Chiefs||El Rey||02/25/2014||$30.00|
|London Grammar||El Rey||03/25/2014||$22.00|
|Lord Huron||Fonda Theatre||03/01/2014||$22.50|
|Mad Caddies||El Rey||02/04/2014||$17.00|
|Stephen Malkmus||El Rey||03/28/2014||$25.00|
|Colin Meloy||Fonda Theatre||01/16/2014||$28.50|
|John Newman||El Rey||01/15/2014||$17.00|
|Gary Numan||The Mayan||03/06/2014||$35.00|
|Parquet Courts & White Fence||Fonda Theatre||01/17/2014||$17.50|
|Russian Circles||El Rey||03/10/2014||$20.00|
|Skinny Puppy||The Mayan||03/05/2014||$35.00|
|St. Lucia||El Rey||02/11/204||$18.50|
|Step Brothers (Evidence x Alchemist)||El Rey||02/05/2014||$20.00|
|Dave Stewart||El Rey||01/30/2014||$25.00|
(Show postponed from 12/9 to 3/3.
All tix for 12/9 show will be honored.)
|Trombone Shorty||El Rey||01/25/2014||$27.50|
|VNV Nation||The Mayan||04/03/2014||$25.00|
|Volcano Choir (SOLD OUT)||Fonda Theatre||01/18/2014||$26.00|
|Washed Out (SOLD OUT)||El Rey||01/27/2014||$29.00|
|We Were Promised Jetpacks||El Rey||02/21/2014||$20.00|
To read more Behind The Grooves, go to http://behindthegrooves.tumblr.com.
On this day in music history: December 2, 1967 - "Daydream Believer" by The Monkees hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks. Written by John Stewart, it is the third (and final) #1 single for The Monkees. Though it is recorded during sessions for the band's fourth album Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones, Ltd., it will be released initially as a stand alone single. It will be included on their next full-length release The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees. Singer and songwriter John Stewart ("Gold") will write the song while he is still a member of the folk music band The Kingston Trio. The song will be brought to The Monkees by their producer Chip Douglas, assigning it to Davy Jones to sing. Initially Davy isn't fond of the song, unsure that it will be a hit. Any doubt about its hit potential will be quickly erased as soon as it's released. Entering the Hot 100 at #33 on November 18, 1967, it will shoot to the top of the chart only three weeks later. "Daydream Believer" will become a hit again in early 1980 when country/pop singer Anne Murray's version tops the Adult Contemporary chart, as well as peaking at #3 on the country chart and #12 on the Hot 100. The Monkees version of "Daydream Believer" is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
For those of you not fortunate enough to live within traveling distance to one of Amoeba Music's three retail stores - Berkeley, San Francisco, and Hollywood - and to have taken advantage of Black Friday Record Store Day, today you can make up for it with Amoeba's Cyber Monday deal: 20% off everything you purchase online. Just use the special code CYBER20 today, December 2nd, to get your discount.
The deal also includes 20% off on pre-orders so you can get the big discount on albums that are coming soon! These include anticipated releases such as Lady Gaga's upcoming anticipated album ARTPOP that drops on December 24th and features guest spots from Too $hort, Twista, and T.I.
#1 Tropic Of Cancer - Restless Idylls (Blackest Ever Black)
A coworker of mine basically just told me that I would love this album before I even knew what it was. I didn't know at the time just how much time I would be spending with this album. It reminds me of the dark wave gothy vocals of Zola Jesus. It also reminds me of the darker moments of an album by This Mortal Coil or even Slowdive. I might also just love this album because it reminds me of the album With Sympathy by Ministry. This is an album you need to experience on your own. There are a couple songs on this record that I honestly can't listen to enough. This is an album that will stay with me forever.
Listen to "More Alone" by Tropic Of Cancer...
#2 Weekend - Jinx (Slumberland)
Jinx is the third album from Weekend. Sports & Red came out in 2010 and 2011 but this is the album that made me their #1 fan. It is a beautiful post punk shoe gaze sort of album. Reminiscent of the great For Against. I am still very much enjoying the albums that Slumberland is giving us every year. And this is their best of the year. This is one of the albums that I can easily lose myself in and listen to on repeat. Like the best albums it just keeps getting better the more I listen to it.
Noir City once again offers the dark gift of film noir for the holidays!
The Film Noir Foundation, dedicated to preserving films in danger of being lost or irreparably damaged AND the organization behind the Noir City film festival, presents their fourth annual Noir City Xmas show on Wednesday, December 18th at San Francisco's Castro Theatre!
The double dose of Noir Noel will feature Allen Baron's landmark independent crime drama Blast of Silence (1961) followed by the ultra-rare genre-bending Christmas Eve (1947). Allen Baron will be in attendance to introduce his legendary cult classic, and at the intermission will be signing copies of his new book, Blast of Silence: A Memoir. The show will also feature the public release of the NOIR CITY 12 program schedule, the unveiling of the new NOIR CITY 12 poster, and holiday shopping for the noir-lover in your life. "Czar of Noir" Eddie Muller and the reigning Ms. NOIR CITY 2013, Audra Wolfmann, will host.
Both films will screen in 35mm, and as usual tickets for this exceptional event are only $10 for the double bill! Get your tickets HERE!