Amoeblog

Catching Up With Wheelchair Sports Camp's Kalyn Heffernan on New WSC Album, Youth on Record Program, and More

Posted by Billyjam, December 12, 2014 02:01pm | Post a Comment

In her hometown of Denver, charismatic hip-hop artist/activist/educator Kalyn Heffernan is well known. She is also much loved and respected for her talents, her warm personality, endless energy, and the passion for everything she embraces in her life. She is also an instantly recognizable figure. She may only be three and a half feet in height, weigh less than sixty pounds, and need the use of a wheelchair to get around, but the ever-active Kalyn Heffernan (who has the brittle-bone disability osteogenesis imperfecta) is a commanding persona who always has words of wisdom and encouragement to impart with those who cross her path.

The always good-humored, weed-smoking, queer, hip-hop artist/front person of the live hip-hop group Wheelchair Sports Camp (WSC) counts among her many admirers music fans, fellow protesters in the Denver Occupy movement, and the recent anti-police demonstrations in the Mile High City as well as all the inner-city kids at the programs she tutors (when not on tour). She also has many fans in the LGBT community won over by her out, loud, and proud positive attitude as witnessed in the WSC song "Madd" with the lyrics, "Everyone here is mad / Everyone here is queer and perfectly glad!"

The Denver Colorado artist's accolades are lengthy. She's been featured in her hometown's The Denver Post a few times, been featured in Spin, Vice, and the Huffington Post, as well as gracing the cover of the NYC weekly The Village Voice in 2011 when she only had some demos and no album yet. In September she was among the contributors in the ten-day NYC arts festival Photoville where her video piece 4TheHomies (see below) was part of the exhibit. As a teacher/mentor she works in a couple of youth empowerment programs including Youth on Record at Youth Media Studios where various areas of music production are taught with an emphasis on hip-hop and its four elements (see video interview below that I conducted with her recently at the space).

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Tortorous Tunes - CIA Mixtape Vol. 1

Posted by Billyjam, December 11, 2014 04:15pm | Post a Comment

"The CIA was probably keeping detainees awake by blasting Feist," quipped Stephen Colbert during last night's broadcast of the Colbert Report in reference to the some of the disturbing torture tactics employed by the US in the last decade during the Abu Ghraib prison scandal that has been revisited this week with the publication of the so-called CIA Torture Report. While the Feist reference was funny in terms of jokes about popular music in the aughts decade, the artist (her last album, 2011's critically acclaimed Metals, debuted at number seven on the Billboard 200 chart) was actually not among the music on the CIA torture playlist of a decade ago. That music playlist included such seemingly innocent songs as the theme songs to kids TV shows Barney & Friends and Sesame Street, as well as the Meow Mix TV commercial jingle. Harder sounding guitar driven songs included AC/DC's "Hell's Bells" and Metallica's "Enter Sandman," which (along with Naughty By Nature's "Hip Hop Hooray") is cited by the US military member in the documentary clip below. Meanwhile pop songs that made the CIA torture playlist included The Bee Gees' "Stayin' Alive," Don McLean's "American Pie," and Christina Aguilera's "Dirrty."

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15 Music Gift Ideas You Didn't Know Existed

Posted by Amoebite, December 11, 2014 11:44am | Post a Comment

15 Music Gift Ideas You Didn't Know Existed

Music is always a great gift, but even when it's gift-wrapped, a new LP or CD isn't fooling anyone with its distinctive shape. Why not surprise the music lover who has everything with one of these unexpected items? Some of them are kinda fun, while others are more practical, but they are all definitely not your typical music gift.

Bad Brains Hot Sauce

Bad Brains - Fire Burn Babylon Hot Sauce

Hot sauce seems to be a thing that a lot of bands create (i.e. BastilleJoe PerryThe Offspring's Dexter Holland's line of hot sauce, Gringo Bandito). The punk rockers of Bad Brains created their own hardcore hot sauce that combines sweet and heat, just like they do.

Best Coast Snack Plush Cat

Best Coast - Snacks Plush Cat

my top 50 albums of 2014...

Posted by Brad Schelden, December 11, 2014 09:30am | Post a Comment

douglas dare#1 Douglas Dare - Whelm (Erased Tapes)
There are always a couple of albums like this every year. And I always just patiently wait for them. I just never know where they are gonna come from. I loved this album after the first listen. This album would clearly end up on the top of my most listened to albums of the year. Which naturally makes it my favorite. It is one of those albums that I prefer to listen to by myself since I am never sure if anyone is gonna like it as much as I do. Your favorite albums are the ones you keep going back to. The ones you want to start over as soon as they end. This is that album for me. An album I will always have close to my heart. This album is basically just Douglas stripped down bare with his songs and his piano. It is beautiful and heartbreaking. A fantastic debut album.



mac demarco#2 Mac DeMarco - Salad Days (Captured Tracks)
Mac DeMarco's second album was one of my favorites of 2012. Here he is again with his fantastic third album. I am still not exactly sure why I can't stop loving this dude. I actually will forget how much I love him until I go and put on his albums again and then fall in love all over again. This new album is another perfect mellow pop album. Perfect for a lazy day. It gets under your skin and becomes part of you. There is just no denying the talent of this dude. I can't help but feeling sometimes that he has somehow tricked my into liking him. You seriously can't help but love this album. There is nothing upbeat about this album. However it still manages to make me so happy every time I listen to it.

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Dec 12 2014 Hip-Hop Rap-Up: Ghostface Killah, E-40, Metermaids, Yung Lean, J.Cole

Posted by Billyjam, December 10, 2014 05:31pm | Post a Comment


Amoeba Music Hip-Hop Top Five Week End 12:12:14

1) Run The Jewels RTJ2 (Mass Appeal)

2) E-40 Sharp On All 4 Corners 2 (Heavy On The Grind)

3) Ghostface Killah 36 Seasons (Tommy Boy)

4) J. Cole 2014 Forest Hills Drive (Roc Nation)

5) Wu-Tang Clan A Better Tomorrow (Warner Bros)

As mentioned in last week's Amoeblog hip-hop report there's been a slew of new releases dropping recently - something confirmed by my visit to Amoeba Berkeley this week where I talked with E-Lit in the Telegraph Ave. store's hip-hop section who did a nice overview of all the latest CD and vinyl releases featured at the store. See the video clip with the hip-hop buyer/DJ below in which E-Lit breaks down such new releases, including some of the top five chart entrants above, as Wu-Tang Clan's much hyped new joint A Better Tomorrow that dropped last week, and Wu member Ghostface Killah's 36 Seasons that dropped yesterday care of Tommy Boy Records and features such guests as Kool G Rap and Pharoahe Monch. Also released yesterday is the new 13 track J. Cole album 2014 Forest Hills Drive on Roc Nation - the follow up to last year's popular Born Sinner and most likely this one will be just as popular with fans of the North Carolina born multi-talented artist. 

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8 New Holiday Releases That Don't Suck

Posted by Billy Gil, December 10, 2014 05:04pm | Post a Comment

holiday releases that don't suck

Last year I made a list of 10 holiday albums that don’t suck. Well there’s a whole batch of new ones out now, so listen up!

Mark Kozelek Sings Christmas Carols

mark kozelek sings christmas carols lpIndie rock firebrand Mark Kozelek, who released one of the best albums of 2014 with his Sun Kil Moon release Benji, makes a perfect fit for these churchy holiday tunes, with his cozy, crackling voice and gentle acoustic fingerpicking. The song choices are obvious, yet Kozelek imbues them with such spare beauty that it’s impossible not to be touched by classics like “Away in a Manger.”

 

Seth MacFarlaneHoliday for Swing!

seth macfarlane holiday for swing lpWhat do you know? “Family Guy” and “American Dad” creator Seth MacFarlane ain’t a bad crooner. Actually I guess we all already knew that, since he sings regularly on “Family Guy” and released an album already, 2011’s Music Is Better Than Words, but it’s still remarkable to hear him play it straight, rein in the sarcasm and keep it classy—you keep waiting for him to drop an F-bomb or toilet joke, but he doesn’t. He works with a 52-piece orchestra here, singing only a couple of well-known classics like “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!” and picking a few lesser-known tunes from the ’50s and ’60s.Best are his duets with Norah Jones (“Little Jack Frost Get Lost”) and Sara Bareilles (“Baby, It’s Cold Outside”).

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New CD and Vinyl release at Amoeba Hollywood 12/10/14 - Theo Parrish, Keith Worthy, Lady Blacktronika and more!

Posted by Oliver / Matt / Jordan, December 10, 2014 02:42pm | Post a Comment

Theo Parrish

American Intelligence CD

American Intelliegence 3x12"

Sound Signature

The latest album from the Detroit iconoclast. You're pretty much going to buy it or not, the sticker price ensures that, but for those who need a description: American Intelligence, like Moodyman's 2014 effort, attempts to lay out the psychic space of Detroit for a worldwide audience. Parrish's city is far more introspective, often restrained to the fascinating rhythms of his mind. Much of the album is interesting drum + bass (but not drum 'n bass) workouts, similar to Footwork  and his 12" for Trilogy Tapes. Highlights include Welcome Home, which has Parrish subjected to racial profiling on his way home from the airport and Ah (feat. M. Pittman, Ideeyah & Duminie Deporres),  a King Crimson-style slow burn evocative of a bar with red leather booths in some forgotten neighborhood in Detroit.

Buy American Intelligence CD

Buy American Intelligence 3x12"


Lady Blacktronika - All In VainLady Blacktronika

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Weekly Wednesday Steal: Boards of Canada's 'Trans Canada Highway'

Posted by Amoebite, December 10, 2014 10:30am | Post a Comment

boards of canada trans canada highway lpThis week's Weekly Wedensday Steal is Boards of Canada's Trans Canada Highway, regularly $19.98 and on sale for $10 on vinyl.

The 2006 EP from the acclaimed electronica duo includes the single "Dayvan Cowboy," a dayglo wash of synths and electric guitars, as well as four more songs and a remix including "Left Side Drive," which was later covered by Solange. It was the last thing released by BOC before their most recent album, 2013's Tomorrow's Harvest.

A bit about our Weekly Steal: A new item is featured on Amoeba.com every Wednesday for $10, while supplies last. It's limited to one per customer, and the deal is only available on the website. As always, there’s free shipping on all music and movies you buy on Amoeba.com throughout the United States.

Watch "Dayvan Cowbow," which was the band's first-ever video, below:

 

Unnecessary "Quotation" Marks

Posted by Billyjam, December 10, 2014 07:25am | Post a Comment

You'd think that as time and innovation progresses, so too would the correct use of our language. But it's not so. The opposite appears to be the case in our current culture of social media where speed of who gets what up first reigns over accuracy of reporting and grammar. Despite all of the new technologies directly linked to language (spell-check on every device, etc.), the use (or rather abuse) of English in the written form seems to be regressing at a rapid rate. If you were to quiz any high school English teacher on the current state of students' penmanship, spelling, and grammar, odds are that they would squeeze their face into a painful look and tug on their hair as they proceed to launch into a list of today's abuses of the English language. And it is the written word, especially the typed or texted word, that tends to be the biggest victim of this current decline of the language.


These days, with typos and overuse of caps being the norm in the majority of social media posts, emails, and text messages, it is as if we are all granted a poetic license to type and spell however we feel fit. And of course this is all fine so long as the person on the other end of the two way communication can understand what the hell has been said or written. This is where the problems and fun begin. In fact, many amused bloggers have dedicated websites to the numerous abuses of the English language. One of my favorite sites - one that's been around for several years now - is the blog of unnecessary quotation marks. As its name implies, it focuses on the misuse of quotation marks and has been diligently reporting each week with photos of newly found examples of unnecessary use of quotation marks. Check out submitted photos of signs that use inappropriate quotation marks, such as "live" reindeer, "NO" parking, and chairs are for "customers" only.  Bookmark the blog of unnecessary quotation marks or simply keep your eyes open today in your travels and you likely will spot an abuse or two. 

New "What's In My Bag?" Episode With The Zombies

Posted by Amoebite, December 9, 2014 06:38pm | Post a Comment

Zombies

Legendary English rock group The Zombies formed in 1962 and were first signed by renowned label, Decca Records. The band's debut single, "She's Not There," peaked at #12 on the UK charts and hit #2 on the U.S. Billboard Chart. Due to the success of their single, The Zombies were subsequently sent overseas for a U.S. tour, where they were greeted by screaming teenage girls at their first television appearance on NBC's Hullabaloo.

Zombies Odessey and Oracle

In 1968, The Zombies recorded the cult favorite, Odessey and Oracle, and the single "Time of the Season" became a surprise hit despite the album's indifferent reception. To this day, the album remains a fan favorite and continues to top "best of" lists every year. Rolling Stone gave it a ranking of 100 on the magazine's list of 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Despite their initial break up right before Odessey And Oracle was released, The Zombies have reunited several times throughout their career. In 2014, the lineup features original members Rod Argent and Colin Blunstone, plus Tom Toomey, Jim Rodford, and Steve Rodford. After a busy year performing at the Austin Psych Festival and the San Francisco Stern Grove Festival, The Zombies are back in the studio recording a new album.

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New, FREE Poetry eBook From The Legendary Martin Perlich

Posted by Rick Frystak, December 9, 2014 10:46am | Post a Comment

Martin Perlich

...or, How The Amoeba Buy Counter
Made Martin Perlich And Me Life-Changing Friends.
 

Here at The Choice Bin, I've been a fan of Martin Perlich's ever since I discovered him on the radio in the early 2000s. An immediate hit, I remember making the station a preset on my car radio. He was THE MAN when it came to the best musical programming in L.A. at the time for me and it was every weekday!! Avant Garde, progressive Rock and Pop mixed with gorgeous Classical, World, and Folk music in regular rotation! And his raps between tracks always drew me closer to the speakers. His distinguished broadcasting career spans almost fifty years. He pioneeried experimental radio in Cleveland (Classical Radio as well as Rock Jock on WMMS in Cleveland) and KMET in Los Angeles (now KTWV); classical host on KFAC, KUSC, and KMZRT. He practically invented the "eclectic" format of mixing genres one after the other, fitting in perfectly in the early 1960's. As a radio guy, I was excited about what he would play next.

So, I was at the buy counter at Amoeba Hollywood one day (where folks trade in their old CDs and records). "I know that voice," I thought, as this cool fellow laid out his used CDs. Of course we chatted, and when fate would put us together for a few more minutes, it was apparent to me that that not only would we be fast friends, but broadcasting was only a part of Martin's life.

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10 More Essential Records from 2014

Posted by Billy Gil, December 8, 2014 06:20pm | Post a Comment

Last week, I posted my top 50 albums of the year. Cause 50 just ain’t enough, here are another 10 essential records from 2014:

Fear of Men Loom

fear of men loom lpFear of Men imagine a world where The Cranberries stayed good, The Sundays really got their due and Belly didn’t flame out. Led by singer/guitarist Jessica Weiss, the band calls to mind alternative/dream pop bands of yesteryear, and Weiss’ vocals call to mind the ethereality of Cocteau Twins’ Elizabeth Fraser crossed with the heartiness of The Cranberries’ Dolores O’Riordan. The band’s muscular indie-rock can move in graceful lockstep (“Tephra”) or set a pretty, yet never sappy backdrop over which Weiss can breathily intone, as on the lovely “Seer.” On the album’s most thrilling moments, Weiss will stretch her voice into territory that goes beyond the expected, singing into a lo-fi mic on the gorgeous “Descent” or looping into dizzying layers on standout “Waterfall.” One of the most promising debuts of the year.

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Shopping At Amoeba For That Hip-Hop Fan On Your Holiday Gift List

Posted by Billyjam, December 8, 2014 02:05pm | Post a Comment

While at Amoeba San Francisco over the weekend, I realized that one could easily take care of their holiday shopping for that hip-hop fan in their life merely by focusing on the wonderful Featured Hip-Hop Releases display (found at end of the section's aisle) that is currently stocked with a variety of perfect gift choices. These include Brian Coleman's excellent, exhaustively researched new book Check The Technique Vol. 2 (for which he recently chatted with the Amoeblog about the making of), a killer '90's hip-hop mix cassette (with digital download card included) laced up by DJ Spinna and J-Rocc descriptively entitled The Best of 90's Hip-Hop Flavors Mix Cassette, and a Souls Of Mischief picture disc album (with liner notes) of their latest new studio recording There Is Only Now  - a collaboration with Adrian Younge

You'll also find on this display the classic 1987 Profile Records hip-hop Christmas Rap compilation on vinyl that boasts Run DMC's classic Christmas rap track "Christmas In Hollis" (recently reissued as a limited run 7" single for Black Friday/Record Store Day) along with other holiday themed hip-hop tracks from such other old school acts as Sweet Tee, Dana Dane, and Spyder D. Also on the same rack is a must-have for any hip-hop junkie - the Wu-Tang Clan's first album, Enter the Wu-Tang: 36-Chamber ,in yellow black swirl vinyl. Don't miss the instrumental version (on vinyl) of the 2011 release Fela Soul, which is Fela Kuti vs. De La Soul and is, as you would imagine, a unique and pleasing meld of golden era hip-hop with afrobeat rhythms and funky horn riffs.

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20 Gift Ideas for Tweens

Posted by Amoebite, December 8, 2014 12:56pm | Post a Comment

Gift Ideas Tweens

We've got lots of great stuff for tweens at Amoeba, from posters of teen heartthrobs to the latest records by Ariana Grande and One Direction. Here are 20 we think would be perfect gifts for the not-quite-teenagers in your life. 

one direction four cd

For the boy-bander:

One Direction - Four

The fourth album by European boy band One Direction shows added maturity in the lads' songwriting, with help from Good Charlotte, McFly, Kodaline, The 1975, John Legend and Emeli Sande. Features the songs "Steal My Girl" and "Night Changes."

Music History Monday: December 8

Posted by Jeff Harris, December 8, 2014 10:57am | Post a Comment

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

Remembering music icon John Lennon (born John Winston Lennon in Liverpool, UK) - October 9, 1940 - December 8, 1980.
 


Born on this day: December 8, 1925 - Entertainer extraordinaire Sammy Davis, Jr. (born Samuel George Davis, Jr. in Harlem, New York City, NY). Happy Birthday to this entertainment icon on what would have been his 89th Birthday. We love you, Sammy!
 


Born on this day: December 8, 1943 - The Doors lead vocalist, lyricist, and poet Jim Morrison (born James Douglas Morrison in Melbourne, FL). Happy Birthday to "The Lizard King" on what would have been his 71st Birthday.
 


On this day in music history: December 8, 1973 - “If You’re Ready (Come Go With Me)” by The Staple Singers hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for three weeks, also peaking at #9 on the Hot 100 on December 22, 1973. Written by Homer Banks, Raymond Jackson, and Carl Hampton, it is the second R&B chart-topper for the Chicago-based family group fronted by lead singer Mavis Staples. The song is inspired when Banks, Jackson, and Hampton are hanging out at Stax Studios in Memphis and they decide to go to lunch at a local restaurant. Before heading over, Raymond Jackson will blurt out the line “If you’re ready, come go with me.” Carl Hampton will hear him say it and then reply that it sounds like a potential song title. The trio will return to the studio and quickly write the song, recording a demo within a day of completing it. Issued as the first single from the group’s 17 album Be What You Are, the track features members of the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section including Jimmy Johnson (guitar), David Hood (bass), Roger Hawkins (drums), and Barry Beckett (keyboards). The group will record their vocals with the band live at FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, AL in mid 1973. “If You’re Ready (Come Go With Me)” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
 

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One album wonders: The Sex Pistols' Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols

Posted by Eric Brightwell, December 8, 2014 08:16am | Post a Comment
The Sex Pistols - Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols (1977)

Sex Pistols - Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols

In the early 1980s, when I was in elementary school, I remember asking my father what mental illness was. This was the era of deinstitutionalization, when most of the nation's mental institutions were emptied onto the streets which were at the same time flooded with AIDS and crack. Not surprisingly, most popular entertainment was decidedly escapist in nature.

Hey Hey were the Sex Pistols
Hey hey we're the Pistols!

I probably asked my father because I assumed he was an authority on the subject, him being a psychiatrist at the VA and also himself clearly not right in the head. To answer my question he briefly told me about the Sex Pistols, specifically their seemingly innocuous use of safety pins in fashion. I didn't come away from our conversation with even a better understanding of mental illness but I imagined that the Sex Pistols must be a very frightening bunch indeed to exemplify insanity in that insane era where our society's inevitable and impending doom was guaranteed -- probably because of satanic cults, child abductionHalloween poisoningssubliminal messages, Dungeons & Dragons, or Sigue Sigue Sputnik

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