Amoeblog

Queen Josephine Baker and her banana skirt

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, February 28, 2015 10:25pm | Post a Comment

josephine baker paul colin la revue negre art posrt black history african american dance paris 1920s

Josephine Baker, American expat and French citizen, was a decorated World War II hero and civil rights crusader who spoke at the March on Washington in 1963 next to Martin Luther King, Jr. and further devoted her life to challenging segregation in America while attempting to raise a multiracial, multinational family of twelve children adopted from twelve different countries, her so-clalled "rainbow tribe", to further demonstrate her belief in the possibilities of racial equality. In spite of all her honors, humanitarian efforts, and dignified intentions, Baker is perhaps best known for being the vivacious cabaret dancer in the banana skirt.

josephine baker march on washington world war II hero medal of honor josephine baker rainbow tribe adopted family

Born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1906 to a washerwoman and a vaudevillian drummer (who would later abandon them), Josephine took to the stage when she was about a year old. Her parents, who had a song-and-dance act, would occasionally bring her out onstage as a part of their finale, an appearance that unofficially marks the very beginning her 67 year career as an entertainer. Her official start came years later when she dropped out of school at thirteen and lived the life of a street urchin in the St. Louis slums, scavenging garbage cans for food, sleeping in cardboard shelters, and dancing street-corners for money.

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Overview of Recorded Speeches by Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr

Posted by Billyjam, February 27, 2015 10:14am | Post a Comment

In honor of Black History Month as well as the legacies of both Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X I present an overview of some of the available recordings of these two fine African American orators - two activists whose speeches have been sampled numerous times in countless hip-hop tracks - especially back in the golden era of hip-hop when the music was more political. Also in this Amoeblog are a couple of videos of the corresponding speeches by each of these historic political figures. First up is Malcolm X whose 50th anniversary of his death was last Saturday. That day marked the anniversary of when he was shot and killed in New York City on February 21st 1965. Over the years (many after his all too short lifetime that ended months before his 40th birthday)  numerous recordings of speeches by Malcolm X have been released on record and CD, and also digitally. These include the 36 minute Malcolm X Speaks To The People In Harlem (Excerpts), and the 2CD set The Wisdom Of Malcom X whose 29 tracks include such speech segments as "Police Brutality and Mob Violence," "F.B.I. and The Black Muslims," "White News Media," and "Black Women In Prison." Others include The Ballot or The Bullet (Complete Speech) LP, The Unstilled Voice LP, and In His Own Words.

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The Late, Great Leonard Nimoy

Posted by Charles Reece, February 27, 2015 09:33am | Post a Comment

From the second greatest adaptation of Invasion of the Body Snatchers
Leonard Nimoy, he lived, prospered and is now dead at 83.

Hip-Hop Rap-Up: BadBadNotGood & Ghostface Killah, Big Sean, THEESatisfaction, Fashawn, Churchward Pub DJ Battle + more

Posted by Billyjam, February 26, 2015 07:00pm | Post a Comment
Amoeba Berkeley Hip-Hop Top 5 Week ending 02:27:15


1) BadBadNotGood & Ghostface Killah Sour Soul (Lex)

2) Fashawn The Ecology (Mass Appeal) [also avail as LP and DL]

3) THEESatisfaction EarthEE (Sub Pop)

4) Big Sean Dark Sky Paradise (Def Jam) [
also a deluxe CD]

5) L'Orange After the Flowers (Mello Music)

The brand new number one hip-hop chart entry at Amoeba Music Berkeley this week (thank-you to E-Lit for providing the above top five chart) is the collaborative effort of Wu-Tang member Ghostface Killah and Canadian jazz trio BadBadNotGood for their one-off, full-length, joint project Sour Soul on Lex Records - available for now in CD format only with a soon be released vinyl format to follow. While not billed as such, this new album could be considered the third part of a live collaborative trilogy by Ghostface since like his last two releases - last year's 36 Seasons and 2013's Twelve Reason To Die - Sour Soul is another production that finds the WU emcee rhyming with a live band. This time out it's BadBadNotGood who, as well as their own work as a trio, have previously collaborated with the likes of Danny Brown (who coincidentally appears here) and Earl Sweatshirt - although only on individual tracks, not a full length project as here with Ghostface Killah. The end result is a strong album whose standout tracks include "Mind Playing Tricks," "Tone's Rap," "Gunshowers (feat elZhi)," and “Ray Gun (feat. DOOM)” (see music video below).

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Weekly Roundup: Best Coast, Wand, Cotillon, Talk in Tongues

Posted by Billy Gil, February 26, 2015 05:34pm | Post a Comment

Best Coast – “California Nights” video

best coast amoeba hollywoodWe only heard a taste of “California Nights” last week, so we couldn’t tell just how rad the song is. It’s an expansive shoegazer informed by influences like Chapterhouse, The Verve and Ride that sees Bethany Cosentino getting stoned, staring up into the big California sky as sunset and capturing a sense of infinity. We all know Cosentino likes singing about weed, but this is easily her stoneriest jam yet, and it’s great. The scenic video will have you packing your bags for Joshua Tree pronto. California Nights is out May 5 on Harvest.

 

Wand – “Reaper Invert”

wand bandWand has just realeased another terrific song from their upcoming album, Golem, which is out March 17 on In the Red and is fucking badass. “Reaper Invert” is an ace piece of psychdelic rock ‘n’ roll, with massive fuzz, a dash of metal drone and Cory Hanson’s high-flying vocals adding up to a hollowed-out cave of sound where devilish solos fly out like bats. Get that Golem when it comes out! They'll be at the Echo March 13.

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Amoeba Joins RBMA's San Francisco Broadcasts

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, February 25, 2015 05:39pm | Post a Comment

RBMA is the radio station of the Red Bull Music Academy and is now broadcasting live from San Ceiling EyesFrancisco, straight from their studio in the Mission District, every day from 2pm to 10pm 'till Mar 11th. Guests include Kevin Saunderson, Wooden Shjips, Honey Soundsystem, Amoeba music's own superstars, and many others.

Tune in to RBMA on Tuesday, March 3rd from 2-3pm to hear Amoeba presents Ceiling Eyes live! With their debut album First Lust Encounters, Ceiling Eyes unleashed their esoteric dreamworld on the masses. No two of their experimental ambient performances are ever alike.

Then on Tuesday, March 10th from 6-7pm, hear Amoeba's tribute to 1980's Sunset Strip with Lip Service (aka Brent James & Kells Bells). Spandex and hairspray reign supreme on the outside, but you might be surprised to see what lies beneath as Lip Service spins old favorites and deep cuts from the debauchery that was Hollywood in the late '80s. Listen with fondness or recoil in horror, but be prepared to get rocked to the foundation!

Tune it to RBMA HERE!

The Legend of Lead Belly Lives On With New Documentary and Releases

Posted by Billyjam, February 25, 2015 12:50pm | Post a Comment
He may have died 66 long years ago but the highly influential Delta blues artist Lead Belly's music is very much alive and well, as witnessed by the two new Lead Belly releases having dropped this month (Black History Month) - two CD releases whose content overlaps somewhat. A few weeks ago the Lead Belly / Woody Guthrie 1940 New York City radio station session WNYC Radio New York 12th December 1940 CD arrived in Amoeba via Keyhole Records. And this week the fine folks at the Smithsonian unleashed the 5CD set Lead Belly: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection which includes some of the same Lead Belly WNYC recordings found on one of the five CDs. The five CDs total include a total of 108 Lead Belly songs most of which are culled from the Folkways' deep archives - much previously released and found at Amoeba's online store. Sixteen of these tracks, collectors will be pleased to learn, are previously unreleased Lead Belly recordings.  Also included in the Smithsonian set is an engaging accompanying 140-page booklet that contains various essays, lots of photographs of the blues legend born Huddie Ledbetter in Louisiana in 1888, whose influences run long and deep with fans including the likes of John Fogerty, Kurt Cobain, Van Morrison, Tom Jones, Tom Waits, Robert Plant, Lonnie Donegan, and Ben Harper.

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Essential Records: 'Rage Against The Machine'

Posted by Amoebite, February 25, 2015 11:15am | Post a Comment

Essential Records Rage Against the Machine

With the release of Nirvana's Nevermind (Geffen), Pearl Jam's Ten (Epic) and Red Hot Chili Peppers' Blood Sugar Sex Magik (Warner Bros), Alternative Rock dominated the early '90s mainstream. Touted as the voice of a generation, Kurt Cobain was the poster boy for grunge, leading the way with chart-topping, angst-filled hits. For perspective, Los Angeles was dealing with its own levels of angst and anarchy with the '92 riots which were spawned in the wake of the Rodney King beating. With the City of Angels literally on fire, President Bush had to call in the U.S. Guard for help. Compton rap group N.W.A. was ending its terror on the music industry, but not after prompting strict Parental Advisory guidelines on CD packaging for explicit content and drawing scrutiny from the FBI. With emotions on high and tension building in the streets, the stage was set and no one could have ever predicted the sonic tsunami that was about to shake up the music scene.  

Essential Records

Taking their name from a song written by frontman Zack de la Rocha (while with his previous group Inside Out), Rage Against The Machine produced a 12 song demo cassette. The tape was self-released and made available at shows for $5. The band's buzz quickly erupted like a molotov cocktail and with just a handful of live performances, Rage were being persued by several major record labels. Ultimately signing with Epic, the band's debut album, Rage Against The Machine, was released on November 3, 1992. On the strength of the lead single, "Killing In The Name," the album hit #1 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart and #45 on the Billboard 200 chart. "Killing In The Name" received heavy radio play with just 8 lines of repeated lyrics, including the explicit, "Fuck you I won't do what you tell me" repeated 16 times. In line with the aesthetic and social message of RATM, the song alludes to the idea that police brutality is closely associated with the deep-rooted racism in the United States. It's safe to say that none of the grunge bands of the time were singing songs like this.

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New "What's In My Bag?" Episode With Avant-Garde Composer Nils Frahm

Posted by Amoebite, February 24, 2015 05:00pm | Post a Comment

Nils Frahm

Nils Frahm is a Berlin-based Avant-Garde composer and pianist known for his Nils Frahm Spacesunconventional approach to Classical piano. Frahm creates a unique style of classical and Jazz-influenced electronic music by utilizing a grand piano, upright piano, Juno 60 keyboard, Rhodes and a drum machine.

Frahm has gained recognition for his trance-inducing live shows where he's known for painstakingly sustaining notes over a long period of time. On his tenth studio release, Spaces (Erased Tapes), Frahm delivers layers of atmospheric sonics while displaying his ability to create meticulous compositions. Many of his pieces paint broad pictures and can easily be used as film score. Nil Frahm's work satisfies Jazz listeners, electronic fans and those who enjoy avant-garde. Spaces does not disappoint.   

Nils Frahm dropped by Amoeba Hollywood recently and picked up some choice vinyl from our Jazz Room. Once Nils starts talking about albums, it's clear he is a true connoisseur who takes his record collecting very seriously. He also explains the importance of being patient when hunting for harder-to-find records. A huge fan of classic Jazz, Nils finds a copy of Billie Holiday's Songs For Distingue Lovers. He follows that up with another rare copy of Thelonious Monk's Thelonious Himself. Frahm finds some amazing records and his genuine appreciation for Jazz makes you want to fire up the record player and chill out to some Miles Davis or John Coltrane.

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Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: Public Enemy's "It Takes A Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back"

Posted by Billyjam, February 24, 2015 02:01pm | Post a Comment
public enemy it takes a nation of millions to hold us backBack in April 1988 Public Enemy (PE) released the classic album It Takes A Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back on Def Jam Recordings. And prove that it's a classic is the fact that  27 full years later Nation still packs the same punch it did when it was initially unleashed on the world back in the late eighties. Widely considered the Strong Island (aka Long Island, New York) crew's greatest work ever, It Takes A Nation... was not only one of PE's finest moments, but hip-hop's as well. Released during the much lamented "golden" era of hip-hop, the album, which was the follow up to PE's 1987 debut Yo! Bum Rush the Show, defied the stereotypical "sophomore slump" that so many artists suffered from.

PE's debut was an excellent hip-hop album but this sequel simply blew it away since it was a jaw-droppingly amazing album (of any genre) in every way. Production-wise, it was so richly layered and hardcore that it just grabbed you and didn't let go. Chuck D's militant and thought-provoking, in-your-face revolutionary lyrical flow was so powerful it scared some people. But mostly it won over new fans who still thought of rap as some fad or disposable urban pop. Combined, all the elements of Nation made up an album that was unlike anything heard in hip-hop, or any music, up to that point. I remember that summer of '88 in the Bay Area hearing it blasting everywhere I went in every type of neighborhood. I had never experienced that before!

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Album Picks: Colleen Green, Torche, THEESatisfaction

Posted by Billy Gil, February 24, 2015 10:55am | Post a Comment

Colleen Green - I Want to Grow Up

Colleen Green I want to grow up lpColleen Green details major life upsets as she faces the end of her 30s on her new album, I Want to Grow Up. From breakups to digitally addled attention spans, Green’s power-pop panache makes quarterlife crises go down smoothly on hooky songs like “Pay Attention” and girl-groupish “Wild One.” “I’m so sick of being self-absorbed,” Green sings on the title track, yet she’s so good at communicating that sense of staring at the ceiling and chastising yourself that we can’t help but be hooked on her particular brand of sugary anxiety. She writes a catchy ode to getting clean and going to bed early with “Things That Are Bad for Me” and then follows it up with another track about wanting to get fucked up on the drone-rocking “part 2,” summing up a sentiment on this album we can all relate to: I’m gonna get it together, maybe tomorrow. Read more about I Want to Grow Up in our interview with Green here. See her live at Amoeba Hollywood today at 7 p.m.!

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15 American Pop Hits That Aren't in English

Posted by Eric Brightwell, February 23, 2015 10:00pm | Post a Comment
In the United States there is no official language and in roughly 18% of American homes, one of hundreds of languages other than English is primarily spoken -- all of which, unless they're indigenousshould be considered "foreign languages." In Los Angeles, everyday you can hear pop songs on the radio in Cantonese, English, Farsi, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Spanish, and Vietnamese and although I often find that pop music is better when the lyrics are unintelligible, only a handful of pop songs in a language other than English have made the journey onto the pop charts -- here are fifteen (or so).


Harry Choates - Jole Blon



Harry Choates's "Jole Blon" (1946, French


Colleen Green Talks Growing Up and Turning 30 Before Amoeba Performance

Posted by Billy Gil, February 23, 2015 10:44am | Post a Comment

colleen green amoebaMuch has been made of the mid-life crisis, but Colleen Green details the kind of quarter-life crisis that happens in your late 20s on her new album, I Want to Grow Up. Over fizzy power-pop chords and purring solos, Green’s girlish coo is so sweet you almost miss the hungover, self-flagellating lyrics that fill I Want to Grow Up—“I’m sick of being immature … I think I need a schedule,” she confesses on the title track. But I Want to Grow Up is also a lot of fun, as Green doesn’t take herself so seriously, writing odes to TV and her lack of an attention span that are as funny as they are self-critical. Even in the admonishing “Things That Are Bad For Me (Part 1),” Green admits in part two, “I wanna do drugs right now/I wanna get fucked up, I don’t care how.”

Green talked to us a bit about her new album before her show at Amoeba Hollywood Feb. 24 at 7 p.m.

The songs on I Want to Grow Up really hold together as an album because there’s an inward quality to them, for the most part. Did you write them kind of all at once in a certain frame of mind or were they written more slowly?

They were kind of written over the course of a few years. They started out primarily as ideas that I thought about for a long time before I tried to sit down and make music out of them. Once I got to that stage where I was like OK, I need to record this and get this done, it all kind of materialized as a set kind of well.

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Music History Monday: February 23

Posted by Jeff Harris, February 23, 2015 10:14am | Post a Comment

To read more Behind The Grooves, go to http://behindthegrooves.tumblr.com.

On this day in music history: February 23, 1968The Dock Of The Bay, the sixth album by Otis Redding, is released. Produced by Steve Cropper, it is recorded at Stax Studios in Memphis from July 11, 1965 - December 8, 1967. The first posthumous release from the legendary R&B vocalist features tracks from his final recording sessions cut just two days before his death, combined with unreleased material that dates as far back as 1965. The album also includes the hugely successful title track "(Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay," which will become a posthumous number one single on the pop and R&B singles chart in March of 1968. The Dock Of The Bay will spend three weeks (non-consecutive) at number one on the Billboard R&B album chart, peaking at number four on the Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
 


On this day in music history: February 23, 1980 - "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" by Queen hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks. Written by Freddie Mercury, it is the first US chart-topper for the British rock band. The song will come to Mercury while taking a bath in his room at the Munich Hilton. Quickly getting out of the bath, he'll run to the piano and begins playing the chords, writing them down before he forgets them. The song will be recorded at Musicland Studios in Munich, Germany during sessions for The Game. Initially, the band's US label Elektra Records, who do not think that the Elvis Presley-inspired rocker will be a hit and don't want to release a single with no album accompany it immediately, will refuse to release it. But they will be forced to when US radio stations begin playing imported copies of the 45 and listener demand for the record becomes too great to ignore. Issued as a single more than seven months ahead of the album, it will become an immediate smash. Entering the Hot 100 at #58 on December 22, 1979, it will climb to the top of the chart nine weeks later. "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
 

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My Own Personal Oscar: 11 Best Films of 2014

Posted by Charles Reece, February 23, 2015 02:18am | Post a Comment
Hohum, the Academy Awards are over for the mostly lackluster year of 2014. Here are a few gems, very few of which were celebrated or probably even noticed by those deciding on nominees. In no particular order ...

wild tales poster jesus sotes
Wild Tales - Damián Szifrón

Six short short stories of vegeance that evince a Coen brothers level of comedic tension (recall the classic bag drop off scene from The Big Lebowski, for example). Pure cinematic bliss.


dawn of the planet of the apes che
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes - Matt Reeves

Aside from getting to see apes double-fisting arms on horseback, I loved the atypically depressing political message of this film. No matter how much a few individual apes and humans might strive to get over interpersonal problems, that doesn't mean shit in the overall scheme of things. For once, a Hollywood film portrays the problem of structural difference (the unbridgeable otherness of ape culture to what's left of humanity) instead of pasting some subjectivized problem over the gap that allows for a pat narrative resolution (more often than not in the form of a loving relation or the superhero's coup de grâce to the face).

goodnight mommy poster
Goodnight Mommy - Severin Fiala, Veronika Franz

This film has the most agonized scream I've encountered since the beginning of Cries & Whispers. A parable for contemporary times that asks how much plastic surgery can a person have before she becomes someone else. Twin sons spend the duration of the film brutally experimenting on their mother to answer that question. Obviously, this one cuts too deep for the aging Academy. Skip the overhyped Babadook, Goodnight Mommy is the only dyadic familial horror film that matters.

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