Known to many as Tom Haverford - the character he's played for the past five years on television's Parks and Recreation - prolific actor/comedian Aziz Ansari has a lot going on in addition to his hilarious role in that popular NBC sitcom, between acting gigs, writing a book, and of course his active stand-up career. He's landed acting roles in numerous other TV shows and movies including the recently released film Date and Switch. Meanwhile his busy stand up shows have yielded releases including last year's Dangerously Delicious CD (see clip above from this 2010/11 tour of the same name) and 2010's Intimate Moments For A Sensual album- both released by Comedy Central. And likely his current stand up tour, entitled Modern Romance: A New Comedy Tour, will be released as an album and DVD too.
Known to many as Tom Haverford - the character he's played for the past five years on television's Parks and Recreation - prolific actor/comedian Aziz Ansari has a lot going on in addition to his hilarious role in that popular NBC sitcom, between acting gigs, writing a book, and of course his active stand-up career. He's landed acting roles in numerous other TV shows and movies including the recently released film Date and Switch. Meanwhile his busy stand up shows have yielded releases including last year's Dangerously Delicious CD (see clip above from this 2010/11 tour of the same name) and 2010's Intimate Moments For A Sensual album- both released by Comedy Central. And likely his current stand up tour, entitled Modern Romance: A New Comedy Tour, will be released as an album and DVD too.
We had another earthquake last night in Los Angeles, this time a 5.1, and it came less than two weeks after a 4.4 earthquake. I don't mind the little earthquakes, but when we start getting up into 5s, I get a litlte nervous. (Side note: I held the belief that the smaller earthquakes relieve the tension along a fault line and reduce the likelihood of a larger event. The super useful and sometimes perception shattering earthquake.usgs.gov just told me that was untrue.) I actually didn't feel the 5.1 earthquake last night, but I jumped out of bed for the 4.4 and ran to a doorway. Then I thought, "Am I supposed to be standing in a doorway?"
Turns out, no, not so much. Doorways in modern buildings are generally not built super strongly, so unless you know it is a load-bearing doorway (and I would have no clue which doorway that was), standing under one isn't going to offer you much protection. The best thing to do is drop, cover, and hold on wherever you are.
If you can get under a heavy desk or table, make yourself as small as you can under that sturdy piece of furniture. Or you can crouch in an inside corner, covering your face and head with your arms. If you're outside, get into an open area, making sure to stay away from power lines, trees, streetlights, and buildings. If you're in a high-rise building, stay away from windows and elevators. If you're driving, as I was last night, stop as soon as you can without causing an accident, and stay in your car until the shaking stops. Do your best to stop in an area free of power lines, overpasses, trees, etc - basically, keep clear of anything that might fall on you if it were to collapse in an earthquake.
San Francisco drag luminary Peaches Christ and “Rupaul’s Drag Race” winner Jinkx Monsoon will star in the L.A. premiere of original drag show “Return to Grey Gardens” April 5 at Wilshire Ebell Theatre.
The show starts at 8 p.m. Regular tickets are $30 in advance or $35 the day of, while VIP tickets (which grant you a seat in the VIP section, a signed “Great Gardens” program and VIP entrance at the door) are $100 in advance, $105 the day of. Get all tickets here.
TIP: If you sign up for Peaches Christ’s fanclub, you get a code for $2 off tickets. You can sign up here.
The show, which is written and directed by Peaches Christ, parodies the Maysles’ documentary Grey Gardens, about Edith Beale (Little Edie) and her mother (Big Edie), eccentric relatives of First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy who bicker and live surreal lives in virtual isolation and let their house fall into disarray. The drag show is set 40 years in the future, documenting the lives of an aging drag mother and her bitter drag daughter who continue to perform for an empty house, delving into their backstories and future.
Guest stars at the show will include actor Thomas Dekker (All About Evil and Gregg Araki’s Kaboom) and L.A. drag star Squeaky Blonde. The show runs 90 minutes, with the Either Edie Costume Contest to follow, hosted by Peaches Christ and judged by Jinkx Monsoon. Audience members are invited to dress up as either Little Edie or Big Edie, so find your best silk scarf and fur coat and join in!
Freddie Gibbs & Madlib "Shame (feat. BJ The Chicago Kid)" (off Pinata)
1) Freddie Gibbs, Madlib Pinata (Madlib Invazion)
2) YG My Krazy Life (Def Jam)
3) ScHoolboy Q Oxymoron (Interscope)
4) JJ Doom Bookend EP (Lex Records)
5) Rick Ross Mastermind (Maybach / Def Jam)
The new number one hip-hop album at Amoeba Hollywood this week is the recently released (March 18th) collaborative album Pinata (also available on LP/vinyl format) from the power duo of Madlib teaming up with Freddie Gibbs. Released through Madlib's Madlib Invazion label this one hour, seventeen track, hip-hop tour-de-force also features some very well-chosen guests (new school and old school) that perfectly compliment the pair including Danny Brown, Raekwon, Scarface, BJ The Chicago Kid, Casey Veggies, Sulaiman, Mac Miller, and Odd Future's Domo Genesis and Earl Sweatshirt. Another new album featuring numerous guest collaborators is the number two chart entry this week from popular new rapper YG whose just released debut on Pu$haz Ink via Def Jam My Krazy Life features such big name guests as Drake, Young Jeezy, Kendrick Lamar, and Ty Dolla $ign along with his longtime producer DJ Mustard. Scroll down below to see the video for YG with DJ Mustard's "Left, Right" off the new album. Another new chart entry is the recent (vinyl picture disc DP) Bookend EP from JJ Doom (the duo of DOOM - aka MF Doom, and producer Jneiro Jarel) on Lex Records.
OFF! Collaborate With Shepard Fairey on Record Store Day Cover
Hardcore supergroup/purveyors of awesome minute-long songs OFF! have collaborated with artist Shepard Fairey (who did the Obama “Hope” poster, if you’ve been living under a rock inside a cave on a deserted island) for the cover of their Record Store Day 7” Learn to Obey. True to form, it’s fast, furious and over before you know it. It’s out on RSD, April 19. Read more about how this whole thing came together via Esquire—it should be no surprise that Fairey, who got his start as a street artist from the skateboarding scene, is a hardcore fan.
Antwon – “Rain Song” featuring Lil Ugly Mane, production by Shawn Kemp
Antwon’s goth-rap track “Rain Song” builds its dusky mood over a full minute before he or cohort Lil Ugly Mane deliver a single rhyme. Antwon, who used to be raps about devotion, temptation and increasing paranoia while Shawn Kemp’s cathedralesque production drips all over everything. Antown and co. recreate the feeling of being trapped, whether that’s physically during a rainstorm, or mentally (“He built up a wall to have somewhere to hide but anxiety’s coming from somewhere inside”). Heavy Hearted in Doldrums is due May 6.
Beats in Space
Plenty of djs (plenty of LA djs) are involved in the disco not disco unearthed classic arms race, but you don't hear too many acts take a shot at their own version. Hidden Fees isn't scared. Full disco orchestra with Emotional Rescue-era Jagger pouting all over it. Great hypnotic Rhodes lines and horn arrangements. Portugese wizard Tiago turns in some hypnotic, floor-ready remixes.
Brooding, patient album from the US-style house wunderkind and the Innervsions man Worgull. Not a sample or an obvious club cut to be found here, this is emotional synthesizer music more concerned with textures than beats. "Ruckzug" uses moody piano and an insistent synth, while "Ubersprung" has beautiful, elegiac strings. It's all a tad serious, but it's expertly produced the listener would be hard pressed to find more evocative, filmic electronic music. The delicate, precise touch used to create these tracks make it a perfect fit on Kompakt.
Self-described "anthropologist technologist" Randy Rodriguez, aka veteran New York City graffiti artist KEL1ST, has just launched his latest project; the unique iPad App titled 2Many2Name that presents what he calls, "a blend of graffiti history and technology, the first in depth view of graffiti wild style" that showcases pieces by some of NYC's graf legends. With the full length title of KEL1ST presents The history of 2 Many2Name this cool, colorful new App he designed takes iPad users on a narrated ride that incorporates new media with the urban landscape and showcases graffiti masterpieces of a bygone era via a whole new platform. When he started out as a young graf writer KEL1ST, Rodriguez magnificently and colorfully spray-painted NYC subway trains back during the NYC graffiti heyday of the 1970's and 1980's. And as such he was immortalized in such landmark hip-hop history documents as the hip-hop/graffiti documentary Style Wars by the late great Tony Silver, and in the pages of the bible of graffiti art - Martha Cooper and Henry Chalfant 1984 pioneering street art book Subway Art. Meanwhile as later day anthropologist technologist, Rodriguez was pioneering by creating (now defunct) VoiceOfTheGhetto.com which was the Internet's first urban outpost dedicated to graffiti and hip-hop way back in the early Internet days of the early 1990's. Also in the 90's Rodriguez became what he claimed to be "hip-hop's first graffiti jeweler" making graffiti rooted jewelry for such big hip-hop and pop star names as Madonna, Busta Rymes, Afrika Bambaataa, and Mariah Carey. His successful freelance design business has racked up an impressive client list that includes The Wall Street Journal, Polo Ralph Lauren, Boeing, T-Mobile, and Microsoft - not bad for someone once considered a delinquent and a vandal. Additionally his art is on permanent exhibit at the big Brooklyn Museum. And with his new iPad App he brings things full circle back to his beginnings as NYC graffiti master. 2Many2Name is described by Apple as "an immersive experience, with just a swipe of a finger KEL1ST unveils the blueprint of the iconic master pieces that established the standard for Graffiti Wild Style and made New York City the Mecca of Graffiti." To use the new iPad application users will need iOS 6.0 and higher. More info here.
If there is such a thing as folk rock royalty, then Linda Thompson deserves a gold throne at the head of the table. Her story definitely has the makings of an episode of VH1's Behind The Music, full of drama, heartbreak and drug addicted co-stars. Her circle of friends included many great singer-songwriters who played major roles in the folk rock boom of the '60s and '70s. Such friends include Nick Drake, Sandy Denny, John Martyn, Tim Buckley and, of course, her ex-husband Richard Thompson. During the '70s, Linda and Richard Thompson married and released several albums as a duo for Island Records before taking a three year hiatus to study Sufism. In 1982, they partnered with famed producer Joe Boyd to release Shoot Out The Lights (Hannibal), which critics today hail has one of the greatest folk rock records of all time. (You can watch our "What's In My Bag?" episode with Joe Boyd here.)
Despite battling a rare throat condition that hampered Linda's ability to talk and sing (resulting in an eleven year hiatus), Thomspon has released four solo records including 2013's Won't Be Long (Pettifer Sounds). This new album finds her collaborating with her son, singer-songwriter Teddy Thompson, including backing vocals by her daughters (Kami & Muna) and accompaniment from her ex, Richard Thompson. The end result is a cohesive, timeless batch of covers and originals that marks a definite milestone for the singer in her 60s.
Winsor McCay's Little Nemo in Slumberland
An eiderdown (according to the Collins English Dictionary) "a thick warm cover for a bed, made of two layers of material enclosing a soft filling" and thus not necessarily stuffed with the epidermal growths of the Common Eider for which the garment is named.
Eider duck female and chicks (with their eider down intact -- source: Thomas Reich)
As I fried hashed browns and veggie bacon in a wok and brewed coffee in the French press, my thoughts returned to eiderdowns, and to the songs which have celebrated... or at least mentioned them. "It's an eiderdown kind of day," as they say.
We’re back at one of the Southland’s biggest and best record swap meets.
The Pasadena City College Flea Market and Record Swap takes place on Sunday, April 6, from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Visit our booth in the Bonnie Street parking structure (Lot 5) on the third level for great deals on vinyl, from dollar LPs to collectible records. Admission is FREE, with parking available for $2 in student lots on the corner of Hill and Del Mar.
The PCC Flea Market boasts more than 400 vendors selling records, antiques, collectibles, tools, clothes, toys, food and more. LA Weekly has called it “the best source for used records in all of Southern California.” Come out and hang out with us!
Amoeba is once again sponsoring First Fridays at the Natural History Museum April 4 from 5 to 10 p.m.
|Mikal Cronin at Amoeba SF May 28, 2013|
Panthers. Mikal Cronin’s MCII ended up on many year-end lists last year with its fuzzy pop gems reminiscent of bands like Teenage Fanclub, such as the effervescent “Shout It Out.” Tijuana Panthers play a doo-wop inspired brand of surf rock on albums like last year’s Semi Sweet; you can read my interview with Tijuana Panthers from a little while back here.
Bands will start at 8 p.m. Before that, there’ll be tours on tracking and trapping L.A.’s wildlife starting at 5 p.m. with Beth Werling, Collections Manager of NHM History Dept., and a discussion at 6:30 p.m. on what evolution tells us about modern life, with with Dr. Marlene Zuk. And KCRW DJs Anthony Valadez and Raul Campos will kick things off spinning tunes in the DJ lounge starting at 5:30 p.m.
Lady Gaga sings "Alejandro" live on Today Show in her hometown of New York City
Hometown mega pop star Lady Gaga, seen in video above a few years ago playing a free outdoor NYC show for the Today Show on NBC, plays kicks off a residency series at the Roseland Ballroom (just a matter of blocks from Rockefeller Center where NBC is located) for an eleven night consecutive residency series beginning this Friday night (March 28th). The series, that ends on April 7th, will be a kind of primer/practice run for Lady Gaga before she heads out of NYC on her upcoming big stadium tour ArtRave: The Artpop Ball. that coincides with her recently released album ARTPOP. The concert series at the 52nd Street venue is significant in that it will also mark the end of the Roseland Ballroom which, after many decades in operation, will close its doors for good after Lady Gaga's closing night performance. 8pm showtimes. Tickets range in price from $52 to $202. Roseland Ballroom is located at 239 W. 52nd St. New York,NY 10019. More info.
relatively small (by her standards)
Currently in its midway point the indie film New Directors/New Films festival showcases up-and-coming filmmakers in this annual springtime mini film fest that takes place at such indie movie houses as Walter Reade Theatre at Lincoln Center, and MoMA.
It’s a gutsy move to call your album Singles, but in the case of Future Islands, their fourth album and first for 4AD, it’s appropriate. The album is packed with songs that are both immaculately written and catchy as hell, as Future Islands mine new wave and pop-rock for all they’re worth. Just as lead singer Samuel Herring’s dynamite performance style and swingin’ dance moves have won people over (David Letterman, famously), the band gives it their all on songs like “Seasons (Waiting On You).” Herring’s emotional, throaty tenor, which can warp into a growl in an instant, is given the perfect backdrop of stargazing new-wave rock that should bring together fans of everyone from Bruce Springsteen to The Cure to The Killers with lighter-waving glee. The synths of “Spirit” bring up memories of B-Movie's “Nowhere Girl,” but Herring’s unique voice keep Future Islands from ever veering into purely nostalgic territory. “A Song For Our Grandfathers” is dreamy yet packs an emotional punch. Herring seems to get more and more insistent over the sprightly “Light House,” almost completely out of step with the band, yet it works so much better than it would have if he played it straight, getting in your face and making it impossible to merely have the song on in the background. On “Like the Moon,” a sexy, pulsating groove gives Herring the chance to kill it vocally, crooning romantically. But his best vocal performance comes next, on “Fall From Grace”—over a simple waltz, Herring goes deep into the bowels of his voice to deliver a performance somewhere between Tom Waits, The National’s Matt Berniger and a black metal singer. Charisma like his doesn’t come around all the time, and as a band, Future Islands are smart enough to stay out of the way while crafting terrific songs that stand on their own. Before you know it, you’ve listened to Singles like five times and still can’t wait to hear it again.
The Click "Tired of Being Stepped On"
Recently uncovered the early days interview in the careers of E-40 and The Click - his family group that featured D-Shot, B-Legit, and Suga T - that I conducted with the legendary Vallejo family rap crew on KUSF radio in San Francisco (interview below) around the time of the release of The Click's group album Down & Dirty that featured the above track "Tired of Being Stepped On," and the E-40 solo album Federal on the crew's label Sick Wid It. This was before they signed with Jive Records and when D-Shot would still go by the name Mac D Shot.and B-Legit would still be sometimes referred to as Legitimate B.
For this 22 year old radio interview the group were joined in the studio by their producer Studio Ton and it was an exciting time for them as they were regionally popular - both in the Bay Area and down south and in the mid west where they built up a grassroots following from tirelessly trekking out to these other parts of the US to sell their tapes. In the interview they talk about their first (pre Click) group MVP who, in 1988, released a 4 song 12" EP featuring such tracks as "Thought I Could Trust A Girl." Note that with their later record label Sick Wid It they had a habit of printing the following year's date on their releases (IE if an EP or LP dropped in 1990 it would read 1991 on the label) hence there's often confusion about the exact years of the early era Sick Wid It releases like Federal and Down & Dirty that are often listed as 1993 instead of 1992.
Amoeba Hollywood is holding another great Sidewalk Sale this April 5 from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Just outside the store on Sunset Blvd., we’ll have deals including:
-Comic books at four for $1
-DVDs for $3, or buy three get one free (excluding DVD box sets)
-DVD box sets at $7, or two for $10
-Classical CD bargains
-Blu-rays at three for $12
Don’t worry about getting too hot outside—Hubert's Lemonade will be on hand with free lemonade for thirsty shoppers.
See y’all there!
The Belle Brigade - Belt of Orion (Live at Amoeba Hollywood, 2011)
Over the past several decades in popular music there's been frequent reminders that bands featuring siblings usually offer a special musical synchronicity, a flawless fusion of two signing voices - perfectly in sync with one another on a musical level. Examples of brothers, or sisters, or brothers and sisters together in bands over the years include The Kinks, Tegan and Sara, The Everly Brothers, The Bee Gees, and The Belle Brigade who play two Amoeba in-stores this week (tomorrow Tuesday at Amoeba San Francisco, and Thursday at Amoeba Hollywood) in support of their brand new album Just Because (also available on LP format). It will not be the first time that the LA brother-sister duo, comprised of Barbara Gruska and Ethan Gruska, graced Amoeba with their irresistible melodic rock and pitch perfect harmonies. Check the video above from Amoeba Hollywood from a few years ago, around the time of the release their critically acclaimed self-titled debut The Belle Brigade featuring such sunny and satisfying slices of pop rock as "Belt of Orion" above (see the full May 18th, 2011 Amoeba Hollywood in-store here).
Joanna Newsom with Kevin Barker at Old Ironsides, Sacramento CA, July 10, 2004. Photo by Alissa Anderson.
Once upon a time, or nearly ten years ago, a couple of bands combined their like-minded pursuit of music, travel, and kindred jamming and took to the road for what would later be known as the "Magical Tour of Two Thousand and Four" or The Family Jams, as revealed in Kevin Barker's tour documentary of the same name. Perhaps a more accurate description of the happening would be to say that it was an extended jaunt comprised of artists caught in Devendra Banhart's orbit at the time -- an Earthbound constellation of celestial talents that, for better or for worse, birthed the term Freak Folk. Though the documentary captures intimate performances and would-be private moments of many hearts and artists, the camera focuses mainly on Banhart, Vetiver, and Joanna Newsom.
Let’s be honest, all I had to say was “featuring Kevin Shields” and your ears perked up. First, let’s talk about Reitzell. He’s served as the drummer for Air and Redd Kross, so already nice resume there. He has been a Hollywood music supervisor and composer, working with the likes of Sofia Coppola on The Bling Ring and Gus Van Sant on Promised Land, among others. Now the recuslive My Bloody Valentine frontman helps him out on the dreamily decadent “Last Summer,” which does have the feel of something from a Sofia Coppola soundtrack. That all makes sense—Reitzell is the guy who convinced Shields to do a song for her film Lost in Translation. Reitzell made the experimental Auto Music to sound like the drive from his home to his studio in Los Angeles, with all the small changes and evolutions of the journey represented in the music. The album’s out June 3 on Smalltown Supersound.
On Thursday, March 20 Amoeba Hollywood hosted a press conference and roundtable conversation to announce the official list of limited edition releases available exclusively at independent record stores on Record Store Day 2014 (April 19). Download Amoeba's list (.pdf) of Record Store Day titles here.
RSD co-founder Michael Kurtz kicked off the event with representatives from the city of Los Angeles. Angela Babcock, Business Development Specialist for LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, and Tony Arranaga, Communications Director for LA City Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell, presented Kurtz with official plaques proclaiming April 19 Record Store Day.
Our special guests for the roundtable included Chuck D, Record Store Day Ambassador for 2014 and co-founder of Public Enemy; John Densmore, founding member of The Doors; Marc Weinstein, co-owner of Amoeba Music; Mark Thompson, owner of Vacation Vinyl; Neil Schield, owner of Origami Vinyl; Julie Edwards of Deap Vally; and Samuel Lopez of Tapioca and the Flea.
Kylie Minogue's brand new video for "Sexercise" has gone viral, having racked up over half a million views since the video was published to YouTube earlier today. The Will Davidson directed music video above is presented as "the sexiest workout ever" (note, with parental warning) and features Minogue getting her sexercise on in stilettos and leotard.
The song is culled from the Australian pop sensation's brand new 11 song album Kiss Me Once that arrived in Amoeba yesterday and features such other tracks as "Sexy Love," "Million Miles," "I Was Gonna Cancel," and "Into The Blue." The Into The Blue Remix EP featuring four different non-album versions of the song preceded this release by a few weeks. Meanwhile Kiss Me Once is Minogue's first official new studio album since 2010's Aphrodite but her first full length release since 2012's The Abbey Road Sessions.
The festival is devoted to Indian cinema and culture, and features critically acclaimed independent films from India, Bollywood kitsch, documentaries, film shorts and more. The IFFLA is showing 33 films in total this year. Fest passes are $100 for access to all screenings (excluding galas). Pick them up here. Individual screening passes are $14.
Check out all of the festival’s films and buy tickets here.
This year Amoeba presents the following films:
Writers (Sulemani Keeda)
Thursday, April 10
Sulemani Keeda, which means “pain in the ass” in Hindi street slang, is billed as a slacker bromantic comedy. Two writing partners want to shake up Bollywood but instead get rejected by producers and spend their time hitting on girls at bookstores and poetry slams. Things change when a drug-addled son of a B-movie producer hires them to write a salacious arthouse film. One of the writers meets a beautiful photographer, making him question his choice to sell out. Director Amit V Masurkar casts his friends in the film and shoots guerrilla style to keep things real.
Jennifer Herrema is best known for her role in alternative rock band Royal Trux. From 1987 until their breakup in 2001, Herrema and her then partner/bandmate, Neil Hagerty, broke out of the underground and into rock & roll mainstream. With 13 official releases (including two on Virgin Records), Royal Trux built a solid foundation for future projects to blossom. Fast forward to 2004, Herrema is pumping out the jams with her band, RTX (Rad Times Express), somewhat a continuation of the previous Royal Trux trend. RTX went on to release three studio albums, and changed their name to Black Bananas on their fourth release, Rad Times Express IV (Drag City, 2012). Subsequently, their fourth release acted as the debut under the Black Bananas name.
Jennifer Herrema and her Black Bananas bandmate Kurt Midness stopped by Amoeba Hollywood for another cool episode of "What's In My Bag?" Some might be surprised to know that Jennifer and Kurt get down with hip hop! They pick up a vinyl copy of Dr. Dre's Chronic 2001 and also grab a copy of 2 Live Crew's Greatest Hits. Those two records alone pack enough bass to blow your speakers! They also dig up a cool copy of the Blade Runner soundtrack on 180 gram vinyl. Check out the full episode to see all of their picks and stay tuned for a new album from Black Bananas scheduled to release in June 2014.
On 22 March, 1981, RCA introduced a brand new but curiously retro analog video format, the SelectaVision CED VideoDisc system. Today the CED (Capacitance Electronic Disc) is all but forgotten but even at its most popular it wasn't well-known and was much widely-adopted than contemporaneous video formats like Betamax, VHS, and LaserDiscs.
Billy Joel "New York State of Mind (Live @ Tokyo Dome)" (2006)
After much publicity Billy Joel finally kicks off his new monthly residency at the cavernous Madison Square Garden (MSG) this Friday (March 21st) and once a month thereafter up until tickets stop selling for the "Piano Man." So far the first seven months of this Las Vegas type series of Billy Joel shows are officially sold-out or near sold out. Hence there are some tickets still available for this week's show when seats range from $64.50 to $124.50 per ticket. Each show promises to be a Billy Joel Greatest Hits styled showcase (Joel sure has an arsenal of hits to draw from!) with the Bronx NY born artist making his "New York State of Mind" a highlight: maybe the finale song of each show. Above is Joel performing that song in Japan eight years ago. The next scheduled monthly Billy Joel at MSG concert will be April 18th. Tickets and more info.
SWV, the popular nineties soul/r'n'b female singing trio whose name stands for Sisters With Voices are back keeping busy, and performing this weekend in New York. The group, who released the return album I Missed Us and star in the surprise hit reality TV show SWV Reunited, play B.B. Kings on 42nd Street on Friday night. 21+ Tix $35 to $40. 8pm show. More info.
On Saturday, April 12th from 2-10pm at San Francisco's Brava Theater, Switchboard Music presents its seventh annual marathon music festival. Festival headliners Kronos Quartet will perform world premieres by Switchboard co-director Ryan Brown and Bay Area composer Sahba Aminikia. The Festival also includes performances of works by Bang on a Can’s Michael Gordon, Chicago Symphony resident composer Anna Clyne, Wojciech Kilar, Nicole Lizee, Tom Johnson, Julia Wolfe, and Deerhoof’s Greg Saunier. The complete 2014 lineup includes the Kronos Quartet, Matthew Welch’s Blarvuster, Dublin, Kate Campbell, Odessa Chen and the Invisible Stories Ensemble, Gamelan X, Jordan Glenn and Michael Coleman, Grex, Makeunder, Mobius Trio, and more.
Tickets to the 2014 Switchboard Music Festival include come-and-go-as-you-please access to eight hours of genre-bending musical performances. Founded in 2008 by Ryan Brown, Jeff Anderle, and Jonathan Russell, the Switchboard Music Festival is a non-stop music spectacle presenting composers and musicians who push the boundaries of their respective genres—be it rock, jazz, classical, hip-hop, world, or something less defined. It is a showcase for innovative local music that easily traverses disparate genres—a physical analog for a borderless, digital world.
The War on Drugs’ dreamy country-rock music evokes slow motion, even as its songs move at a sprightly pace. The driving rhythm behind "Under the Pressure" is caked in heavily reverbed guitars and washes of synthesizer, even as real-life guitar solos and Adam Granduciel's vocals come through more clearly than ever before. Similarly "Red Eyes" is like some lost '80s collaboration between The Highwaymen and The Cure, effusing brilliant colors with its bright synths and yelping vocals, but the most stunning moment comes in the minute or so in the middle of the songs when a third of the sound is stripped away, leaving a gorgeous, introspective bridge before Granduciel's yelp brings everything crashing back, while the rhythm stays insistent as always. Lost in the Dream invites repeat listens—atmospheric pieces like "The Haunting Idle" keep things spacious, yet the band comes back for the Bruce Springsteen-vibing "Burning" in the albums latter half. As its title would suggest, it's an album to get lost in. It feels like seeing the entire open road ahead of you, coasting yet seemingly to move in place while the sun sets and middle-of-nowhere stations play Bruce and Tom Petty in the background.
A true sign of any album qualifying as a classic in its respective genre is when, even 31 years after its initial release, it still packs the same punch it did upon first listen. Such is most definitely the case with Malcolm McLaren's hip-hop and world music 43:36 minute classic album Duck Rock that was originally released in January 1983 on Island Records in the US and on Charisma in the UK. Presenting divergent styles of music from round the globe, most notably hip-hop and African and all interspersed with NYC hip-hop radio show snippets from the World's Famous Supreme Team radio show, Duck Rock featured such timeless hits as "Buffalo Gals" and "Double Dutch." And while British impresario Malcolm McLaren, who was perhaps best known then and now as the former manager of the Sex Pistols, is credited as the album's creator or main artist, that was not technically the case. The maverick McLaren was really more of a hands-on executive producer with a knack for unearthing new trends long before they broke and repackaging them for public consumption. And for this intuitive gift McLaren, who died four years ago, has been praised for discovering new artists/genres while alternately been criticized for exploitation. McLaren has also (rightfully) been accused of routinely giving himself more much credit than he may have deserved. In the case of Duck Rock he is listed as the artist on the record while there are numerous artists on there - with McLaren, who sings and kind of raps throughout Duck Rock (like when he does the talkover in "Double Dutch"), being just one contributing artist. McLaren is also credited as "producer" along with (post Buggles / pre The Art of Noise) Trevor Horn who actually did the majority of the music production; perfectly melding together divergent styles and sounds that included South American, Caribbean, and down home Americana roots. Thomas Dolby was also a musical contributor.
Here are 12 great albums that are coming out soon. Better save your pennies!
Out March 18
Atlanta’s finest, scuzziest garage rock band is back with its seventh album. It’s co-produced by The Black Keys’ Patrick Carney. The video for “Boys in the Wood” has all kinds of homoerotic and drug-fueled forest mayhem.
Out March 18
The Strypes "Hometown Girls" from the Irish band's debut album Snapshot
Tomorrow is the Stateside release date of Irish rock group The Strypes' 12 track debut album Snapshot, featuring such tracks as "Hometown Girls" above. To date only the September 2013 import version of Snapshot has only been available from Amoeba. The young retro styled rock quartet from Cavan, who Sir Elton John scooped up and signed to his Rocket Music Management, is currently on tour in the States including three gigs at SxSW. And with their stellar debut album Snapshot been released this week in the US - already available to pre-order from Amoeba - you should expect big things from the Strypes Stateside in 2014. They play Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco on March 29th and the El Ray Theatre in LA on March 31st.
The other clips below include a random array of different genre music videos - both new and old - from Ireland. Included immediately below is the brand new music video for the soon-to-drop, Irish single "Lifeboat" by Ireland's 2007 Irish Idol champ Liam Geddes and featuring members of the talented Dublin rap crew Class A'z with production by John Gibbons and Scimon Tist. "25 O'Clock In The Mornin" is the track below by RíRá - the supertalented veteran Irish emcee who came to fame two decades with pioneering Irish hip-hop crew Scary Eire. The track was single on All City single and an album track on the artist's 2008 album Horses Work For Donkeys Wages (Maddaxxe). For their latest The Rubberbandits (the Limerick absurdist comedy/rap/hip-hop duo who rocketed to fame 3 years ago when their "Horse Outside" Republic of Telly skit went viral) take things to the darkside with their compelling latest, , "Dads Best Friend."
It will certainly be a magical night as the special guest will be Alaska Thunderfuck (RuPaul's Drag Race)! Featuring performances by Heklina, Becky Motorlodge, Cookie Dough, and so many more!
Trannyshack, San Francisco's infamous drag performance night club, incorporates everything from low brow trash to high brow performance art, and has become famous (or infamous) worldwide as the quintessential San Francisco experience.
Get your tickets NOW!
The Maccabeats "Purim Song"
To further celebrate the Jewish holiday of Purim, the spring holiday that commemorates the Jewish community's narrow escape from collective destruction in the ancient Persian Empire, I share with you "Purim Song" by the Maccabeats. The upbeat, updated version of the song that celebrates the age old holiday is musically based on Pink's big hit "Raise Your Glass." The name of the Jewish holiday, which began last evening and ends this evening (March 16th) and traditionally involves dressing up in costumes and having lots of celebratory drinks, comes from the Persian word for "lots" and is a reference to the fact that the date set for the Jews' annihilation was chosen by casting lots. The Purim holiday entails several major components that include delivering gifts to friends (mishloach manot), giving charity to the poor (matanot la'evyonim), and public readings of the Book of Esther (k'riat megillah) - all of which are referenced in the Maccabeats' "Purim Song." To understand the meaning of Purim further, check out the lyrics in the video version of the Maccabeats' "Purim Song" below or research more here.
Nelly "Hot In Herre" (2002)
Whatever the reason behind Bay Area radio station Latino Mix 105.7 suddenly halting regular programming last evening to begin playing a non-stop loop of Nelly's 2002 number one rap crossover hit single "Hot In Herre," its widespread effect has been profound. Not long after 6pm last night (Friday March 14th), when Latino Mix 105.7 (also 100.7FM) first began playing the Southern rapper's NellyVille album hit, it has invoked in listeners (mostly new ones who got wind of the stunt via social media) something long lacking in commercial radio programming; a sense of mystery and the unknown. And even if solving that mystery meant listening ad infinitum to Nelly rap lines like "Stop placin, time wastin I gotta a friend with a pole in the basement (What?). I'm just kiddin like Jason (Oh)" curious ears wanted to know the reason. By around the 140th time the 3:48 minutes song was spun, nine hours in the Nelly marathon at around 3am this morning, one hooked listener tweeted, "I almost feel compelled to stay up all night and listen to Nelly just to see how this will all end" while another posed the question, "Did this nikka cure cancer recently or some shyt?"
The event will feature an intimate discussion and performance from the duo, made up of Summers and multi-instrumentalist Rob Giles. Tickets are $25 and are available here.
The band started after The Police reunion tour of 2008. Summers, who has released many solo albums and had just played on the third highest-grossing tour of all time, was looking for a new project. He saw Giles’ band The Rescues play a few years back at The Troubador and knew he’d met his new musical partner. Circus Hero features 13 tracks of high-energy pop rock, fueled by Summers’ trademark, stuttering riffs and Giles’ soaring vocals, which do bear some resemblance to those of Sting.
Some sweet sounds from Teebs to match this early Summer weather we’re having. The Brainfeeder producer from Chino Hills has a new album due April 8 called E S T A R A, and we’ve got the second song from it (following the slow-motion jungle beats of “View Point”) with “Holiday.” Stones Throw’s Jonti offers faraway vocals that are folded into a lush dreamscape. Feels like a memory of spending a day in the park.
SFV Acid – “Cheddar Mercedes”
I was never clear if San Fernando Valley-based SFV Acid were a reference to acid house, acid the drug or some sort of actual acid found in the Valley. Whatever the ref, SFV Acid is great, and the awesomely named “Cheddar Mercedes” is a great bit of casio-fueled dingey house stuff. I don’t know what to call this exactly, but it just makes me feel good to listen to it. He’s got a new album out April 25 called Amber’s House on UNO.
Rick Ross "Nobody (Explicit) feat. French Montana, Puff Daddy)" (2014)
Amoeba Music Hollywood Hip-Hop Top Five: Week Ending 03:14:14
1) Rick Ross Mastermind (Maybach / Def Jam)
2) ScHoolboy Q Oxymoron (Interscope)
3) The Grouch & Eligh The Tortoise & The Crow (Empire)
4) Kendrick Lamar good kid, m.A.A.d city (Aftermath)
5) Childish Gambino Because the Internet (Glassnote)
Just as last week's number one on the Amoeba Hip-Hop Chart (ScHoolboy Q's Oxymoron) reflected last week’s number one Billboard pop album chart entry so too does this week's number one at Amoeba: Rick Ross’ brand new Mastermind is also the number one seller in the country as per the Billboard Top 200 charts making it Ross’ fifth album to debut at No. 1 nationally. The album features the lead singles "War Ready," "The Devil is a Lie (feat. Jay-Z)," and "Nobody (feat. Diddy and French Montana)" or Puff Daddy as he is ID'ed in the Vevo video version of the single above. The video for the song, which is a homage to Biggie, finds Ross recreated the drive-by shooting attempt on his life a year ago. Other releases on the latest chart include the recurrent entries from Kendrick Lamar (good kid, m.A.A.d city) and Childish Gambino (Because the Internet).
As Tuna noted, a lot of contemporary punk acts like to release their music first on cassette (another popular old format thought to be long gone), followed by a 45 single release, and then followed up with an LP.
In addition to the 45's sections at each of the three Amoeba Music stores (Hollywood, Berkeley, and San Francisco), you will also find a wide variety of 45's on the Amoeba online store. New additions for this week alone include Swedish rockers The Hives' 2004 single "Walk Idiot Walk / Genepool Convulsions" new for just $4.98, which (like all the 45's from Amoeba.com) SHIPS FREE in U.S. Nice!
Throne of Blood
Awesome, somewhat under the radar EP from the shadowy Bohemian Groove. "BJ Funk" purports to be a mission statement of sorts, using a catchy organ stab before bringing in a deep bassline which brings the deep collaboration between FIT and Gunnar Wendel (Kassem Mosse) to mind. Veterans Posthuman knock their remix of the track out of the park, working from a huge melodic progression to a relaxed acid breakdown. Another original with a Hieroglyphic Being mix on the B-side. Recommended.
New tracks following the first unobtainable Bahkti release. A-side "Trans-Jungle Ride" takes a psychedelic house progression and places it over a dub bassline and breakbeat flourishes. Properly hypnotic. "Cross-Jungle Tide" removes the kick, focusing on the natural rhythmic qualities of the insistent melody and filling the background with creepy synth abstractions.
Sky Ferreira is quickly becoming pop culture's it girl. Ferreira can be seen on the silver screen flexing her acting chops, showing off her modeling skills on runways and in print, or you can catch Sky rocking arenas opening up for the Miley Cyrus Bangerz tour. The girl does it all. At just 21 years of age, Sky Ferreira is on her way up the super stardom ladder. A quick Google search will yield pictures of her next to celebrities like Kanye West and Frank Ocean. Her debut full-length album, Night Time, My Time (Capitol), peaked at #15 on Billboard's US Digital Albums Chart and is available now in our stores and at Amoeba.com.
Sky Ferreira recently performed at Amoeba Hollywood in support of Night Time, My Time, and stuck around for a little shopping. She hung out with our camera crew and shared her findings for another awesome episode of What's in My Bag?. Sky starts things off with the 1996 drama, Freeway, telling the story of being a kid and watching a rented VHS copy when her mom wasn't looking! She also picks up Angel Olsen's latest album, Burn Your Fire For No Witness, on vinyl and talks about the classic folk record, Parallelograms, by Linda Perhacs. See which electronica artist Sky is a big fan of and check out the giant sized poster she finds. Very cool stuff!
Next Thursday, March 20, at 10 a.m., Amoeba Hollywood will host a press conference to announce the list of titles for Record Store Day, which takes place April 19.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti will be on hand to open the event with a Record Store Day Proclamation. Following will be the announcement of titles and highlights, and a roundtable discussion with rap legend Chuck D, The Doors drummer John Densmore, local record store owners and more special guests.
Chuck D was inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last year for his work leading the pioneering hip-hop group Public Enemy, helping to make politically and socially conscious lyrics popular in hip-hop. Densmore, also a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member, was the drummer for the classic L.A. band The Doors, and he appeared with Doors bandmates Robby Krieger and Ray Manzarek in the 2012 documentary RE:GENERATION, which saw Densmore collaborate with electronic music star Skrillex.
A simultaneous RSD event will take place in London March 20, while another event will also take place that day in Nashville. The list of titles that will come out on Record Store Day will also be released the same day on www.recordstoreday.com.
Amoeba is proud to sponsor the “Leee Black Childers Photo Exhibit” at Lethal Amounts in Downtown Los Angeles from March 22 through April 19.
The exhibit showcased the work of photographer Leee Black Childers, who was Andy Warhol’s assistant at the legendary Factory, Warhol’s work studio and space for parties and shows from 1962 through 1984. Childers’ work harnesses the wild energy and personalities of the time, from capturing artists, starlets, wannabes and junkies to chronicling rock ‘n’ roll as it evolved into glam, punk and new wave.
In addition to his work at The Factory, Childers was the tour manager for Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust tour, as well as for Iggy & The Stooges and for Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers, when they toured with then-little-known acts like The Sex Pistols, The Buzzcocks and The Clash.
As I prepare this week's report in midtown Manhattan an uneasiness still lingers in the air as news spreads of a big explosion at approx 9:30am (EST) this morning further uptown in East Harlem on 116th St and Park Ave. with details slowly trickling in: the latest being that two women are dead, seventeen injured, and 20 missing, with the cause of the explosion of the two residential buildings been a gas leak. But before that news was released people here were feeling most uneasy. Even thirteen years later, ever-anxious New Yorkers automatically slip into that nervous 9/11 mental mode when anything vaguely resembling the WTC attacks occur - especially an out of the blue explosion with heavy smoke billowing high into the Manhattan skyline and viewable even two miles away. As one witness, Samuel Paul, told CBS News in a report little earlier this morning, "The smoke started to rise. It looked like something fell because it wasn't like a fire. It just looked like debris smoke, similar to 9/11." As of publishing this Amoeblog all the latest news reports indicate that the blast was the result of a gas leak. Thoughts/prayers go out to those victims of this explosion that no doubt you will learn more about care of national news reports continue throughout the day.
Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's map of Orange County
In early 1889, Pemberton Medicine Company (later Coca-Cola) incorporated in Atlanta, Colombia Phonograph (later Columbia Records) launched, Japan adopted the Meiji Constitution and the Eiffel Tower opened in Paris. Meanwhile in Southern California, the communities on Coyote Creek's left bank seceded those on the right bank and incorporated as the County of Orange. More precisely, on 11 March a bill was signed into law which allowed for voters to vote whether or not to approve the motion to incorporate -- which they did (2,509 to 500) on 4 June, 1889. But today's date is the one that is observed by most of Orange County's friends and family as its birthday.
It wasn't the first time county borders within California had changed. In the first half century after the US invaded and conquered Alta California from Mexico, the county borders have changed several times; San Bernardino County split from Los Angeles County in 1853, parts of Los Angeles County became Kern County in 1866, and in 1893 Riverside County was formed out of what had been parts of San Bernardino and San Diego counties. Several attempts were made and failed to establish Orange County in the 1870s and '80s.
(Look close – I'm the guy in the green shirt next to the building.)
I recently returned from a week-long stay in San Francisco.
Now, before you jump to conclusions that’ll confuse matters as I continue on with my story about San Fran, (yes, there’s even more to the story!) it’s important to clarify I was in San Francisco, California – not, I repeat not, San Francisco, Córdoba.
Okay? I just saved you from asking a bunch of inappropriate questions about whether I heard any good cuarteto while away, plus making embarrassingly irrelevant jokes about “getting a dolor de la panza from eating too much Cabsha Alfajores de Dulce de Leche Cubierto con Chocolate.” I know you too well, dear reader! You and your assumptions.
San Francisco, California is located roughly 3,670 miles south-west of Prince Edward Island, but don’t confuse the two – only one of these locations was watered with the many tears of the Mi’kmaq people and named after a British royal who was no fun at drinking-games.
Hint: This couple never went to a Giants game.
Join us for a conversation and performance with St. Vincent at the GRAMMY Museum in downtown LA on Thursday, March 20! Annie Clark has just released her fourth album, St. Vincent (Universal), which our reviewer described as "absolutely breathtaking" and the NY Times called "dulcet and ferocious, meticulous and deranged."
Amoeba sponsors The Drop: St. Vincent, an interview with GRAMMY Museum Executive Director Bob Santelli, and performance with Ms. Clark. Doors are at 7:30 on 3/20 and the event begins at 8pm. Tickets are on sale now for $25. Get your tickets here.
St. Vincent - Digital Witness
Watch and comment on YouTube
Often when an established artist like Dean Wareham, the former lead singer of Luna and Galaxie 500, releases a self-titled album, it’s a restatement of purpose or sound. However, Dean Wareham really is the most Dean Wareham release yet, especially languid, dreamy and witty, even by his standards. The songs are milky and heavily reverbed, taking their cues from The Velvet Underground’s third album, while lyrically Wareham provides his typically engaging specificity—“This is not my home, stuck inside a drop down menu” he sings, venting the comic frustration of tech-enabled culture. On “Happy & Free,” the drums rise above the reverie to make for one of Wareham’s loveliest rock ballads in years, harkening back to the Galaxie 500 days. While Dean Wareham is short on surprises from the singer/songwriter, it’s also a terrifically concise, at nine solid songs, and immensely enjoyable. It’s thoroughly appealing for anyone who’s ever fallen in love with the Wareham’s music.
Premiering today on YouTube and here on the Amoeblog (above) is Forever-Land: the Jim Lujan made full-length, animated film starring Kounterclockwise that has the distinction of being the first single hand drawn, animated, Sci-Fi film based on location in Cleveland, Ohio. The 56 minute movie is also the first one to feature a disabled hip-hop "inter-galactic animated hero" in a wheelchair. Billed as "a hidden dimension where strange characters, creatures, and lands exist under the iron harsh rule of Infinitus…destroyer of all things funky" Forever-Land is an inspirational tale by the animation filmmaker Lujan with a lot of input from Kounterclockwise whose two members co-wrote the script with the filmmaker. The movie's 17 track soundtrack was co-produced by Lujan wtih Kounterclockwise's Deacon Burns.
Featured here on the Amoeblog back in late 2011, when they released their album Daylight Savings Time, the group that identifies as both "Krip-Hop" and "alternative punk hop" Kounterclockwise is the Cleveland Heights based duo comprised of Deacon Burns and Kaya "Rouge" Carine Gabriel (read their Amoeblog interview/profile here). Meanwhile underground animation filmmaker Jim Lujan's resume includes such works as Freakdaddy, Spike and Mike, Sanjourno Must Die (popular on YouTube animation channel RugBurn). He is currently working on the feature film Revengeance alongside renowned independent animator Bill Plympton, and with music by Kounterclockwise. Uploaded two days ago as a private invite only YouTube stream Forever-Land is as of today (March 11th) available to the general public to view on Lujan's YouTube site with links from such select sites as here. For more background on the film frequent Amoeblog contributor and founder of Krip-Hop Nation, Berkeley CA based author/activist Leroy Moore caught up with filmmaker Jim Lujan and Kaya and Deacon of Kounterclockwise to interview them for the Amoeblog. His insightful conversation with these three talented individuals follows immediately below the Jim Lujan produced Kounterclockwise "Whip" video.
Prepare to go back in time and experience (or, for most of us, re-live) the roots of modern American values. Psychotronic cinema wizard Christian Divine presents Hollywood Strikes Back: The Imperial '80's -- a mesmerizing clip show at Other Cinema (ATA Gallery, 992 Valencia) on March 29th -- that delves into the icons and iconography of the 1980s.
With the 1980 election of Ronald Reagan, Hollywood exited the New Seventies Cinema for a "State of the Art" genre that sub-texted jingoism and imperialism -- powdered with the cocaine of Capitalism and edited to the video beat of MTV. Christian Divine takes a Cult Studies approach to the industry products that became emblems of the era. From masked slashers to weird science, this clip show will weave a thematic narrative of the pop-neon decade, exposing the colonialism of Raiders of the Lost Ark, the Cold War propaganda of Top Gun, the entitled teen world of Ferris Bueller's Day Off, the proto-revolutionary realms of Star Wars, and so much more! Come early for cheap '80s cocktails. Andre Perkowski's mash-up of Orson Welles movie lore will kick off our Hollywood review.
April is going to be a stellar month for world music as CIIS Public Programs & Performances and Amoeba Music bring you three great shows! Start spring off right with Karsh Kale: Classical Science Fiction on April 11th and follow it up with the Mali Weekend Festival, which features Fatoumata Diawara on April 18th and Tinariwen on April 19th at the Nourse Theater in San Francisco.
Karsh Kale is known as a pioneer in the world of global fusion. His career has gone through many avatars over the past 15 years as he jumps between being a world renowned tabla player, drummer, DJ/ remix artist, vocalist and multi instrumentalist, film composer, as well as a band leader all with equal ease. He has produced five solo albums of which his most recent, CINEMA, won the best fusion album award in India at the GIMA (Global Indian Music Awards) in 2012 and debuted at #1 on the Itunes World Music charts. Karsh Kale has also developed a reputation as a genre-bending collaborator, which has led him to work with some of the most renowned artists from around the globe including his musical hero Zakir Hussain, Pandit Ravi Shankar, Herbie Hancock, Sting, Anoushka Shankar, Lenny Kravitz, DJ Spooky, and many many others. He was recently invited to perform at the White House and was introduced by President Obama himself. Find out more about Karsh Kale: Classical Science Fiction on April 11th HERE and get tickets HERE!
This month at Amoeba SF we're forging a fellowship for Fantasy genre awareness and appreciation! Given the recent release of Numero Group's most excellent "one comp. to rule them all" collection of Dungeons & Dragons inspired pre-Heavy Metal underground Rock, Warfaring Strangers: Darkscorch Canticles, and the impending Game of Thrones hype-a-thon building up to the premiere of the HBO show's fourth season on April 6th, we figured the month of March could do for a heady dose of Ice and Fire-fueled cinematic dream-fasting -- a visual poultice with which the reality-weary may allay their workaday woes, watching. Do keep an vigilant eye out for our Fantasy endcap at Amoeba SF featuring golden genre gems like these from the nineteen-eighties:
Dragonslayer (1981) in which a young wizard's apprentice (Peter MacNichol of Ally McBeal and Ghostbusters 2 fame) must kill a virgin-snacking dragon to save the King's daughter who has been chosen by the kingdom's lottery system as the next sacrifice in line to keep the beast's appetite for destruction at bay.
Additionally the music downloads for sale from Amoeba are available not only in MP3 format, but also in higher quality formats as M4A (ALAC - Apple Lossless) and WAV files. This way you can choose the sound quality and file size that works best for you and your personal needs depending on how you listen back to your music. And on the download pages of the Amoeba.com store you can preview album track samples and, without even re-hitting the red play button, if you leave it the player will automatically track through an album for you.
Inspired by the reunion of shoegaze greats Slowdive, Amoeblogger Brad Schelden and I have compiled our list of favorite shoegaze albums.
For any who don’t know, shoegaze is a style of music rooted in the noise pop of The Jesus & Mary Chain and dream pop of Cocteau Twins from the early ’80s. In the late ’80s and early ’90s, bands took elements put forth by those bands—loud, distorted guitars, heavily reverbed vocals and emphasis on atmosphere over discernable lyrics—and came up with a new sound, first truly realized by My Bloody Valentine on their classic 1988 album, Isn’t Anything. Shoegaze (or shoegazing) was a term NME and Melody Maker in the U.K. used to describe the visual representation of the sound from bands who rose in My Bloody Valentine’s wake, depicting bands’ apparent lack of movement onstage and propensity to stare down at their numerous effects pedals. The genre hit its heyday in the early ’90s but persists today, with bands like My Bloody Valentine and Swervedriver reuniting and artists like M83 and Diiv using elements of their sound (so-called nu-gaze, but I’ll avoid that terrible term). So with that lengthy explanation, here we go.
Amoeba Music Hollywood Hip-Hop Top Five: Week Ending 03:07:14
1) ScHoolboy Q Oxymoron (Interscope)
2) J-Dilla Donuts [8 x 7" Box Set] (Stones Throw)
3) Childish Gambino Because the Internet (Glassnote)
4) Talib Kweli Gravitas (Javotti Media/Fat Beats)
5) Kendrick Lamar good kid, m.A.A.d city (Aftermath)
In the number slot with a bullet at Amoeba Music this week is the brand new ScHoolboy Q album Oxymoron care of Interscope Records who will be unleashing a vinyl version of the album in a few weeks (pre-order Oxymoron LP version here). This phenomenally successful new major label debut album from ScHoolboy Q, that also bowed at number one nationally on the Billboard 200 charts this week, follows up two extremely well received indie albums from the talented young hip-hop artist: 2011's Setbacks and 2012's Habits & Contradictions - in addition to his 2012 collaboration project with The Alchemist and Danny Brown, Flight Confirmation. Q is down with Kendrick Lamar and along with the the good kid, m.A.A.d city artist (the 2012 release that is still charting at Amoeba) he is also signed to Top Dawg Entertainment who made a joint-venture deal with Interscope Records to release this first No. 1 for Top Dawg. The lead single “Collard Greens” that dropped mid 2013 features Kendrick Lamar while 2 Chainz cameos on “What They Want" (see new video above), and Tyler, the Creator guests on “The Purge.” In the review of this album Amoeba.com praises ScHoolboy Q for being, "commercial and weird at the same time, but ScHoolboy Q makes it work with flying colors."
This year's Fat Tuesday celebration March 4 at Amoeba Hollywood kicked off with DJs playing all manner of funk, soul and zydeco from New Orleans or influenced by its rich musical history. Our resident emcee Gomez asked trivia questions, such as the difference between "cajun" and "zydeco" (one's a culture, the other's a type of music).
Los Angeles' ORGONE took the stage offering a flurry of horn blasts, funkadelic guitars and plenty of cowbell. Singer Adryon de Leon commanded with a soulful performance fronting the eight-piece band. "Don't Stop" sounded particularly alluring, with its rubbery bassline and lush, classic soul sound. They effused warm vibes perfectly suited to the day, singing "love is the answer" to a dancing crowd.
Amoeba's annual Mardi Gras parade began to prepare as the band played the funky "Say Goodbye." Meanwhile, ORGONE's bongos player had hips shaking, and the band got the audience to participate in a soul clap as de Leon channeled Donna Summer. As if the drum-fueled extended jam at the end of their set didn't already cement the fact that this band has chops, they helped out with a great, impromptu rendition of "When the Saints Go Marching In" as the parade started, with marchers wearing masks and playing instruments and its floats featuring an edifice of the late Lou Reed.
La Sera – “Losing to the Dark”
Whoa, Katy Goodman’s La Sera project has really kicked it up a notch. “Losing to the Dark,” the first taste from Hour of the Dawn, out May 13 on Hardly Art, is a lot more fierce than the bubblegum-flavored, lovelorn power pop we’ve come to know and love from her. Goodman said in press material that she wanted the new record to sound like “Lesley Gore fronting Black Flag.” Think she nailed it.
Thee Oh Sees – “The Lens”
Following the shortest breakup in musical history, Thee Oh Sees have been pretty busy preparing the release of their umpteenth album, Drop, out April 9 on Castle Face. Contrasting with the super heavy, psychedelic “Penetrating Eye,” “The Lens” is a slow-burning classic pop number with touches of “Hey Jude.” Maybe all of that breakup stuff was just a ruse to get our attention for their best album yet. Listen over at Pitchfork.
On the surface, Classical music and downloading is a bit of a mismatch. The chance of someone downloading Wagner’s four and a half hour opera, Parsifal, or Bach’s three hour choral masterpiece, St. Matthew Passion, to play on their iPad is rather remote. But there is a seemingly brisk business in downloading popular classical "Greatest Hits." The nomenclature of the potential buyer is different than that of a seasoned Classical aficionado (song versus composition piece for instance). Another challenge is the novice buyer may know what the piece (song) sounds like, but does not know the name of the composer. The novice buyer will probably know the piece from a movie, a commercial, video game or even a cartoon. Downloads generally give you the flexibility of sampling and then downloading the track you want or the entire piece. Explore our full catalog of Classical music downloads, which are 20% off in March with promo code DLSALE.
Here is a short list of some of the most popular Classical pieces being downloaded and some of the more accessible endeavors with which they are associated:
Pittsburgh's given us the prolific Pittsburgh Track Authority and Chase Smith (WT Records, Argot) as of late, and the new Detour label evidences the city is emerging as midwest (ish) hotspot for underground sounds. Remarkably consistent in style for a V/A, PTA starts things off with straightforward Detroit techno, reminiscent of prime Carl Craig. Mirko (who has also released on Ithaca's excellent Blank Slate), goes dark with "Arena", nestling a cool didgeridoo-like bassline within austere, Function-style techno. The young producer Naeem is responsible for the comp's most adventurous track, a gritty house track that mixes tough percussion and dreamy melodies like Omar S.
The Citizen's Band
Airy, tripping house EP from TCB. The title track introduces the loose, nuanced percussion that defines the EP, with a boogie influenced bass line and melodic piano progression serving as an inviting introduction. "Disrupted" is headier, with searching synth leads recalling Four Tet's most psychedelic work. "Eddy's Theme" continues down a similar Krautrock/Border Community-influenced path, while closer "Freefall" is built on a cosmic, arpeggiated theme which will appeal to fans of Steve Moore and Pye Corner Audio.
Danny Tamberelli is one of the few child actors to successfully make the transition from pre-teen stardom to adjusted adult. In the '90s, Tamberelli starred on Nickelodeon's hit TV series, The Adventures of Pete & Pete, which dipicted two brothers, both named Pete, who found themselves in unpredictable situations. Tamberelli played "Little Pete," the rebellious younger brother who often insulted people and made brash decisions. The show and character were a hit, turning Tamberelli into a child celebrity who rubbed elbows with future A-listers in the making.
Tamberelli recently visited Amoeba Hollywood for some record digging. These days, in addition to hosting The Adventures of Danny & Mike podcast Tamberelli is also the bass player and singer in the band Jounce. In our latest "What's In My Bag?" episode, Tamberelli finds some great albums, including classic So Cal punk, soul and rock albums. First off, he digs up a copy of the Angry Samoans' The Unboxed Set. He follows that up with What Makes A Man Start Fires? by the Minutemen. Tamberelli was happy to find a rare vinyl pressing of Brian Eno & David Byrne's My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts to which he says, "I go into a lot of record stores and I ask them if they have this copy and I should have just come here all along."
On Fat Tuesday, Amoeba San Francisco let the good times roll with our Mardi Gras DJ extravaganza! We had an eclectic melange of music with our own DJ Kelly-O and DJ DJ (also of Afrofunk Experience), plus a special appearance from DJ Shona's Dad (KPFA Programmer Joel Sachs) who played non-stop New Orleans party classics!
Amoeba employees enjoyed some authentic Louisiana cooking with Jambalaya from the Outer Sunset's Cajun Pacific and traditional King Cake too.
We urge you to recreate the fun at home with some of these amazing New Orleans recordings as your soundtrack. But we're not sharing that Jambalaya recipe!
|DJ DJ & Trae|
|DJ Shona's Dad|
|Shona & Suzanne dish it out|
Here in New York City this week, besides the post Oscars chatter and talk amongst weather weary New Yorkers about that false mega-snowstorm warning (the 10 inches of snow forecast to hit this week never materialized past a light dusting), a lot of talk is on the new Forbes report. That new report by the magazine places New York City, in a tie with Honolulu, as the USA's "most-overpriced city" to live in because of both expensive housing and a high cost of living. Personally I expected NYC to be in a tie with the ridiculously expensive San Francisco market, which came in number 7 in a tie with Essex Co., MA while San Jose ranked higher at fifth place, but wasn't surprised with New York ranking highest expense. As Democratic Manhattan City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez noted in a public response to the new findings things are only going to get more expensive for the average (non-rich) New Yorker.
"From ever-soaring rent levels to higher priced foods and goods invading lower-middle income neighborhoods, many lifelong residents are being pushed out of their homes," said Rodriguez in whose district the average rent is currently at just under $4,000. Meanwhile most struggling working class and middle class New Yorkers are anxiously looking to new New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio who got elected on a platform that promised more equality on things like housing. And even though de Blasio this very week forced luxury condo developers at the former Domino Sugar site in Williamsburg to construct 700 new affordable apartments (double the amount initially supposed to be built) many feel that it is too little too late in terms of housing costs overall, plus the fact that the general cost of living in NYC outweighs everything else. EG: one recent comparison study found utilities to be 29.6% higher here than in other parts of the country. Bottom line New York is a great city to be in but you do have to pay the price to live here. But on the bright side other new statistic released this week show that, while rents continue to rise, crime continues to drop across New York City's five boroughs - and this news comes following the NYPD substantially backing off on their controversial stop-and-frisk practices. New statistics show an 18.5% drop in murders for the first two months of 2014 with other crimes also substantially lower than this period in 2013.
Amoeba Hollywood was the place to be on a rainy Los Angeles afternoon in March. Our pal, Brently Heilbron, made for the most hilarious stream-of-pop-consciousness hour ever! And it was all for a cause that has special meaning to us as we were raising money for two New Orleans charities.
Our March charity auction benefitted the ongoing work still needed in New Orleans via two amazing organizations, Tipitina's Foundation and the New Orleans Musicians Assistance Foundation (NOMAF). Their services grew even more vital out of the damage done during Hurricane Katrina and they both continue to do great work with and for the musicians in New Orleans. The rich musical and cultural heritage of New Orleans is a unique part of the core of American music--from Jazz to Rock and Roll; from Country to Hip-Hop. We encourage you to learn more about what they do and the musicians they've helped.
Mr. Heilbron, the original host (and originator) of our charity auctions, made a triumphant return appearance at our auction on Saturday, March 1, sending the rain-drenched onlookers into peels of laughter with his random delightful musings. Musings about such things as the political and social impact of the greatest movie of all time (Goonies) and the best band of all time (Spin Doctors) and everything in between. His encyclopedic knowledge of music and pop culture made for grins and giggles as he regaled the crowd and hyped up a slew of wonderful items. The crowd ate it up!
Headlining the bill is L.A.'s PAPA. The band has steadily grown over the past few years from local indie pop darlings to a sexy, grooving beast. Last year's Tender Madness was an excellent entry into the city's cache of guitar-based bands that put danceable beats on equal footing with interesting musicianship and unique melodies. Check out "Young Rut" for a taste of how enjoyable their music can be.
Cillie Barnes is an indie pop singer-songwriter with a great, earthy voice and an ear for intriguing sounds. "Brainwash," taken from last year's Happy Valley EP, moves on bouncey piano and acoustic guitar, unloading a catchy refrain as Barnes whispers, hoops and hollers through the proceedings. It'll have you singing along in no time.
Huntington Beach's Hindu Pirates produce shoegazey sounds, billowing out swirling guitars, new wave beats and shadowy melodies in the vein of bands like The Stone Roses. For anyone like us who can't get enough great post-punk bands in their lives, Hindu Pirates are a godsend. Check out "Like I'm Sinkin'" and you'll be hooked.
Amoeba Hollywood regularly sells tickets to local shows, with the added bonus of charging low service fees (if you are 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:
Ty Dolla $ign
Peter Hook & the Light
Here is a full list of tickets we currently have for sale at Amoeba Hollywood:
|Show Name||Venue||Show Date||
(fee not included)
|Black Label Society||Fonda Theatre||06/07/2014||$35.00|
|Black Lips||El Rey||03/21/2014||$22.00|
|Charles Bradley||Fonda Theatre||05/17/2014||$25.00|
|Dan Croll||El Rey||04/04/2014||$18.00|
|Danny Brown||El Rey||05/03/2014||$24.00|
|Dark Star Orchestra||El Rey||04/05/2014||$30.00|
|Mac Demarco||Fonda Theatre||07/11/2014||$20.50|
|Desert Daze||Sunset Ranch Oasis||04/26/2014||$45.00|
|First Aid Kit||El Rey||05/28/2014||$27.00|
|Ghost (SOLD OUT)||Fonda Theatre||04/27/2014||$25.00|
|Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger||El Rey||05/17/2014||$17.00|
|Johnny Hallyday||Fonda Theatre||04/24/2014||$77.50|
|Peter Hook & the Light||Fonda Theatre||11/22/2014||$22.50|
|Kap Slap||El Rey||05/10/2014||$19.00|
|Hamilton Leithauser||El Rey||05/06/2014||$25.00|
|London Grammar (SOLD OUT)||El Rey||03/25/2014||$22.00|
|Luscious Jackson||El Rey||05/30/2014||$30.00|
|Stephen Malkmus||El Rey||03/28/2014||$25.00|
|Petty Fest Los Angeles||El Rey||04/03/2014||$20.00|
|RAC (SOLD OUT)||El Rey||04/15/2014||$25.00|
|Chuck Ragan||Fonda Theatre||05/09/2014||$22.50|
|Yann Tiersen||Fonda Theatre||06/20/2014||$25.00|
|Ty Dolla $ign||El Rey||05/22/2014||$20.00|
|Tycho (SOLD OUT)||Fonda Theatre||05/08/2014||$20.00|
|Sharon Van Etten||El Rey||06/28/2014||$20.00|
|Suzanne Vega||El Rey||05/24/2014||$32.00|
|VNV Nation||The Mayan||04/03/2014||$25.00|
|Cassandra Wilson||Fonda Theatre||05/10/2014||$57.50|
Run-D.M.C. "Sucker MC's" (live 1984)
Released 30 years ago - in March of 1984 - Run-D.M.C.'s eponymous debut has not aged one bit nor lost any of its vitality even three full decades later. So for this week's Hip-Hop History Tuesdays Amoeblog I salute this influential landmark, nine track album Run-D.M.C. from the renowned Hollis, Queens, NY hip-hop trio (although only two appeared on the front cover); an album that ushered in a new school era of hip-hop upon its release back in '84. More than any other early era rap act the power trio of Run-D.M.C., comprised of Joseph "DJ Run" Simmons, Darryl "D.M.C." McDaniels, and the late great Jason "Jam-Master Jay" Mizell (who was murdered back in 2002 in a Jamaica Queens recording studio), were such a phenomenally influential rap/hip-hop act that they singularly were responsible for converting legions of new fans, who up until this point dismissed rap as mere novelty, to hip-hop music.
Furthermore Run-D.M.C. were also pioneering within hip-hop itself by being responsible for releasing the first real full length rap album to become a major hit. Up until this point rap acts generally only released singles and the idea of a full-length had not yet widely taken root. Hence in so doing Run-D.M.C.'s debut elevated the genre from been a primarily singles driven sub-genre of black music to help it go on to become the unstoppable force it is today on a global level.
Sonically the album was harder than anything else in rap music up until this point in time, and was delivered in a beatbox style, over hard drum machine beats, with in-your-face, aggressive (rebellious rock like) delivery of protest songs like "Hard Times," "Wake Up," and "30 Days." With a logo that is still copied to this day and a simple but instantly recognizable sharp fashion sense shared by all three, Run-D.M.C. cemented their image and themselves forever with this 1984 debut on Profile Records which, in 2005, was reissued as a "Deluxe Edition" with the four bonus tracks: "Rock Box [B-Boy Mix]," "Here We Go [Live at the Funhouse]," "Sucker M.C.'s [Live]," and "Russel & Larry Running at the Mouth." Below, alongside the cover art, is the original 1984 version track list of the landmark LP.
It should be no surprise that Real Estate’s third album is another impeccably crafted piece of beautiful guitar music. The New Jersey band has only made the necessary updates to their sound over the past few years, like polishing a statue into perfection. The album’s first few tracks offer everything we’ve come to love about this band, with sunny jangle-pop songs (opener “Had to Hear” and single “Talking Backwards”) butting next to nostalgic, minor-key songs about suburban splendor and decay—like being depressed about seeing a high school friend that never moved on, Matt Mondanile (also of Ducktails) sings “I walk past these houses where we once stood/I see past lives, but somehow you’re still here,” with perfect precision on “Past Lives.” Real Estate’s lyrics have often taken a back seat to their shimmering guitarwork, but here they’re a bit more prominent, shining a light on Mondanile’s minimalist approach—despite how lovely the music is, songs like “Crime” are pretty depressing when you get down to it, with lyrics like “I wanna die/lonely and uptight.” Musically things have expanded a bit, as the band throws in more overt nudges toward easy listening and ’70s singer-songwriters in “The Bend” and country tinges in the gauzy, pretty “How I Might Live.” Instrumentally, these guys are just top notch, as they make instrumental “April’s Song” an album highlight, even without Mondanile’s soothing vocals, allowing his tremoloed, romantic guitar lines to do the singing for him. Atlas is simply a stunningly beautiful piece of guitar pop.
|The Carrie Nations - a fictional band from Beyond the Valley of the Dolls|
In the first half of the 20th Century there were many popular all-female musical acts. In the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s and 1950s there were vocal groups like The Andrews Sisters, The Boswell Sisters, and The McGuire Sisters. In the early rock/soul era, the so-called "girl groups" such as The Shirelles, The Teen Queens, The Paris Sisters, and The Chantels all achieved both artistic and popular success. However, none of these groups were proper bands. There were some all-female bands -- that is, groups comprised of female musicians -- but sadly most were viewed by many as little more than curiosities. You can read about them here.
Every year I watch the condensed version of the Oscars the day after with just the highlights, but this year I decided to actually watch the Oscars in real time, live on TV, all three and a half hours. Overall it wasn't bad but, like the long (and overrated) The Wolf Of Wall Street, it could have been edited down to half the length to make for a much more snappy, flowing production. But I still watched and, for most part, enjoyed the proceedings of which I made the following observations.
Speech highlights of the night for me were Lupita Nyong'o (best supporting actress) who, after getting a big loving hug from her brother and "best friend" Peter Nyong'o, made the most moving speech of the night, that had some audience members tearing up and that ended with the encouraging words: "no matter where you are from, your dreams are valid." Also moving and meaningful was the speech by the most deserving Oscar winner Jared Leto (best supporting actor for his brilliant role in Dallas Buyers Club) who dedicated his award, "for all the people of the world who have felt injustice I stand here for you and with you."
Meanwhile the 30 Seconds to Mars member and actor's co-star/best actor winner Matthew McConaughey (who I loved in both Dallas Buyers Club and in his too-short appearance in The Wolf of Wall Street) gave the most confusing rambling-on speech of the night, that seemed to have little to do with the movie he won the award for and sounded like maybe he had been at the Hollywood Weed Buyers Club beforehand stocking up on strong concentrates to smoke beforehand. Best (and only) acceptance speech done in song was by Darlene Love (for her part in the best documentary feature 20 Feet From Stardom) who was clearly very happy to be honored at the Oscars and who got the first standing ovation of the night for her entertaining song/speech.
Speaking of music the big surprise to me was that U2 didn't win. Nor did Pharrell Williams! And after both did excellent performances during the big show - Bono and co. doing an acoustic version of "Ordinary Love" from Mandala, and Pharrell Williams doing "Happy" from Despicable Me 2 in which he was joined by a stage full of dancers in 50's style fashion doing some excellent dancing moves (including aerial shots). But then the Oscar for best song went to brother and sister team Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez for their song "Let It Go" from Disney's animated feature film, Frozen. Karen O was joined by Vampire Weekend frontman Ezra Koenig on guitar for a performance of "The Moon Song" from the movie Her but I found the performance non-engaging and boring. Better was Bette Midler's live rendition of "Wind Beneath My Wings" which followed the in memoriam segment and that had the artist in tears after her performance. As a giant screen showing silent clips of Judy Garland in scenes from The Wizard Of Oz dwarfed her, Pink did a nice enough (but not great) version of "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" that had me scratching my head wondering why not have Liza Minnelli (Judy's talented Oscar winning daughter who was there with her half-brother and half-sister) sing it instead of Pink? But maybe it is about politics and perhaps she was invited to in the first place.
Shout out to E-Lit at the Berkeley Amoeba Music store for running down, in the above video, all the new and recent hip-hop releases to arrive at Amoeba lately in both CD and vinyl formats including Open Mike Eagle's Rappers Will Die of Natural Causes(on vinyl) and As Is on CD by longtime prolific Bay Area hip-hop soldier White Mic of Bored Stiff fame who, as E-Lit notes, also has a forthcoming release - a previous collaboration with Z-Man - now coming on vinyl. All of the releases showcased by E-Lit above can be found at Amoeba Music in the three retail stores (Berkeley, San Francisco, and Hollywood) and in most, but not all, cases online at the Amoeba.com store.
Hip-hop concerts, parties, and events from the Bay to LA and beyond in the week ahead include Too $hort doing a most worthwhile charity event that offers fans a chance to go both bowling and into the studio with the godfather of Bay Area rap while simultaneously helping out the East Oakland self-described multi-service community transformation hub Youth UpRising that Short has long been involved in. The ongoing Too $hort Charity Buzz auction fund drive, that offers the final winner "one hour of recording time in the state of the art music studio at Youth UpRising, a 25,000 sq. ft. community transformation center in the heart of East Oakland. Following the recording session, join Too $hort for a game of bowling at Lucky Strike, a stylish bowling lounge in San Francisco," is currently up to $850 with the estimated value on this item listed as $2000. Bid here and help a worthy cause and yourself at the same time. Auction ends March 11th. In the South Bay tonight, Saturday March 1st, LA rap vet Ras Kass along with Indjnous headlines a show with Motion Man (whose classic 1993 song/video "Mo Like Flows On" is below), Jeff Turner, Opski Chan, Audio Dru, plus DJ Abraham and others. Show at Back Bar 418 S Market St, San Jose, CA 95113. 9pm 21+ $10 more info.