Damaged Bug – “The Mirror”
John Dwyer of Thee Oh Sees has another solo album due as Damaged Bug, his synthy alter ego. “The Mirror” creeps and buzzes around on an analog groove, getting under your skin like a mosquito without you realizing it. Cold Hot Plumbs is due June 1 on his label, Castle Face (following last year’s Hubba Bubba). Hear it over at Pitchfork. And check out that sick album art!
tUnE-yArDs – “Wait for a Minute” video
The Bay Area’s Merrill Garbus is back with a new video from last year’s great Nikki Nack album. Directed by SNEAL, there’s a lot going on, as you might expect from hearing Garbus’ dense synth-pop, layering images over one another in a kind of public access video meltdown. Watch below via Stereogum.
We’re proud to be a sponsor of the 13th Annual Indian Film Festival of L.A., taking place April 8-12 at the ArcLight Hollywood. Tickets are on sale now.
IFFLA showcases features, shorts and documentaries created by emerging Indian filmmakers and seasoned auteurs. Amoeba is sponsoring a screening of the smash film TAAL on April 11 at 9:30pm. Buy tickets to that screening here.
As part of the festival’s “Bollywood By Night” series, TAAL the soundtrack by A.R. Rahman is considered one of the best in Bollywood history. Originally released in 1999, the film, about a star-crossed pair of a wealthy young man and the daughter of a folk singer who fall in love, is directed by Subhash Ghai and stars Anil Kapoor, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, and Akshaye Khanna.
Watch the trailer below:
The festival features 25 films, including four world premieres, seven North American premieres, two U.S. premieres and 10 Los Angeles premieres, hailing from six different countries and in 10 different languages. Other highlights include the world premiere screening of comedy One Crazy Thing, directed by IFFLA alum Amit Gupta (Jadoo) and featuring BAFTA “Breakthrough Brit” winner Ray Panthaki, and the Los Angeles premiere of Academy Award-winner Danis Tanovi’s latest film, the political thriller Tigers, starring Bollywood heartthrob Emraan Hashmi.
The influential British guitarist and songwriter John Renbourn died earlier today, reportedly the result of a heart attack, it was reported the Guardian. The 70 year old artist, known for his solo work as well as with the legendary jazz-tinged, progressive British folk group Pentangle, was described by Amoeba.com biographer J. Poet as "one of the Godfathers of Britain’s folk revival" and "one of the best fingerpickers in the world and if he never did anything else but help found Pentangle, the world’s first folk/jazz band, his place in music history would be secure." You can add to those accolades the huge influence the prolific artist's guitar playing has had on so many folk guitarists of the past several decades. Between his solo releases and those with Pentangle (with whom he formed with the late Bert Jansch) Renbourn recorded and released over 30 albums, getting nominated twice for Grammys. Wrote J. Poet in 2008 "He’s approaching his 50th year of music making with no signs of slowing down" which was absolutely accurate since Renbourn was busy right up to his death - currently on with guitarist / singer Wizz Jones. In fact he was due to perform last night (Wednesday March 25th) at the Ferry in Glasgow but, according to today's Guardian news report when he failed to show up a the Scottish music club "colleagues became concerned" which in turn led to police finding him dead at his home this morning (March 26th). Rest in peace.
In recent years the prestigious UK Festival Awards named the once outlawed Isle Of Wight Festival the 'Best Major Festival' across the festival-rich United Kingdom that hosts such other well known annual festivals as Glastonbury, Reading, and Creamfields. But once upon a time - back five decades ago - so controversial was this short-lived rock music festival off the southern coast of England, that began as a counterculture event during the "summer of love" in 1968, that following its overwhelmingly popular third year it got shut down by the government. In fact so notorious the shutdown of the event dubbed "the Woodstock of Europe" that it even earned a British Parliament Act named after it.
Following the 1970 Isle of Wight festival, which horrified many locals when it attracted an estimated 600,000 long haired hippies to this once quiet small southern English island. For context that was nearly five times the population of the island - hence the uproar by the ill-prepared citizens of the island whose loud vocal complaints were heard by politicians. Hence why before the next year's festival could take place the British Parliament had passed the "Isle of Wight Act." That act introduced new legislature that made it illegal to present gatherings of more than 5,000 people on the island without a special license.
The next First Fridays show at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles features California bands Cherry Glazerr and White Fence April 10. Tickets are $18 without a museum membership. Amoeba is proud to be a sponsor. Come out to the show and swing by our booth to pick up some swag!
Named after the KCRW host Chery Glaser, Cherry Glazerr are a young L.A. trio fronted by Clementine Creevy. The singer / guitarist’s tunes are as laden with attitude as they are with catchy melodies on their debut album, Haxel Princess, which features such song titles as “Bloody Bandaid” and “Trick or Treat Dancefloor.” Mixing spacey sensibilities with garage-rock chords and snarling vocals in a similar fashion to The Breeders, Cherry Glazerr have won the hearts and minds of L.A. music lovers and beyond. Their latest release was the 2014 single “Had Ten Dollaz.”
The documentary Eyes of the Rainbow, which appears in full below, tackles the never dull life of Assata Shakur, the Black Panther and Black Liberation Army leader who in 1973 was involved in a shootout on the New Jersey Turnpike in which she was accused of killing a New Jersey State Trooper, and who escaped from prison and was given political asylum in Cuba. This film views Assata in an Afro Cuban context, including the Yoruba Orisha Oya, goddess of the ancestors, of war, of the cemetery and of the rainbow. Eyes of the Rainbow was dedicated by Rolondo to "all women who struggle for a better world." As such Assata, who is considered a terrorist by some but a hero to others and has famously referenced herself as a "20th century escaped slave," is a prime example of an African American woman leading the struggle in the fight of calling for social justice.
Regulo Caro has quickly become a powerhouse in the Regional Mexican scene. At age 16, Caro began performing with a band locally and developing his craft. After attending college and earning his degree in business administration, Caro began pursuing music. Finding early success as a songwriter, Caro's songs were covered by the likes of Julion Alvarez, Los Bohemios de Sinaloa, Los Nuevos Rebeldes, and Raul Hernandez to name a few. Backed by Del Recrods, who are at the forefront of the modern day regional Mexican scene with young stars like Gerardo Ortiz and Luis Coronel, Caro is poised to have a long, successful career.
With three albums under his belt, Regulo released his fourth offering, Senzu-Rah (Del Records), in October 2014. Caro says this album is a stance against censorship the alternative corrido genre has faced. Described as a fusion sound embracing hints of norteÃ±o, reggae, banda and metal, Senzu-Rah, is Caro's most ambitous effort yet. The 15 track album is packed with catchy hooks, with most songs coming in at under two minutes in length.
Vulnicura is the album Bjork fans were longing for. Co-producing with white-hot underground beatmaker Arca, Bjork crafts some of her most singular and affecting music yet, writing complex string arrangements that elevate the drama in songs like “Stonemilker” to that of classics like Homogenic’s “Joga” or “Bachelorette.” Vulnicura measures the effects of the end of a relationship—the end of Bjork’s partnership with artist Matthew Barney serves as the catalyst—and she acts as an emotional scientist on tracks like “Lionsong,” tinkering with what’s left in the aftermath (“Should I throw oil on one of these wounds? But which one?”) amid vocal manipulation that calls to mind her work on the voice-centric Medulla. As that striking album art portrays, the core of Vulnicura is a gaping wound. On “History of Touches,” she sees every touch and sexual ecounter as a singularity, illustrated by electronics that glow like an aurora borealis. But her shield of objectivism crumbles on “Black Lake,” Vulnicura’s absolutely devastating centerpiece. Over 10 minutes, Bjork details how hitting absolute bottom at the end of a relationship that feels like a life’s worth of work coming to and end. Every so often, the music, a dark swirl of strings and beats supplied by Bjork and Arca, cuts out for a strange, long coda that feels like a necessary swallowing of air before she delivers the next stanza, sometimes wearily, sometimes desperately. Each time it hits like a punch to the gut. She’s simply never done anything so affecting before; given her catalog, this alone is remarkable.
Amoeba Music and CIIS Public Programs & Performances present singer Lila Downs on Wednesday, April 22nd at the Nourse Theater in San Francisco.
Lila Downs has one of the world’s most singular voices and innovative approaches to music. Her music and vocal artistry have many influences, including the folk and ranchera music of Mexico and South America, and American folk, jazz, blues, and hip-hop. Downs, who grew up in both Minnesota and Oaxaca, has gone on to win a Grammy and a Latin Grammy award. She has performed at many of the world’s most prestigious festivals and venues, and has been invited to sing at the White House.
Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's water color and oil paint map of the Valley
I am glad that so many people went and enjoyed it (hopefully getting some use out of my guide to the event) and that so many people seem to have discovered that the Valley, like everywhere else, is much more enjoyable when not seen from behind the wheel of a car. I also decided to capitalize on Valley Fever by making a Valley playlist. Although in general I don’t like to waste my energy arguing with people who base their ancient stereotypes of Los Angeles and Orange counties on the lyrics of 30-year-old pop songs or Hollywood films but I feel a word of explanation of the songs is here warranted.
Postcard of the San Fernando Valley in the 1970s
The songs on this playlist cover the 1940s to the 1980s, which are good bookends for the Valley's period when it was a largely Anglo collection of suburbs and Cold War industry. The Valley today is much more urban and much more (predominantly even) Latino. It's also diverse, with large populations of residents with ancestral origins in Armenia, China, El Salvador, England, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Korea, Mexico, Palestine, Persia, the Philippines, Russia, Taiwan, Thailand, and elsewhere. I welcome any suggestions but it would be especially great to have some that reflect the Valley identity of the last 25 years. Let me have them in the comments!
To read more Behind The Grooves, go to http://behindthegrooves.tumblr.com.
Born on this day: March 23, 1953 - R&B vocal icon and songwriter Chaka Khan (born Yvette Marie Stevens in Chicago, IL). Happy 62nd Birthday, Chaka!
On this day in music history: March 23, 1963 - “Our Day Will Come” by Ruby & The Romantics hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for one week. Written by Bill Hilliard and Mort Garson, it is the biggest hit for the R&B vocal quintet fronted by lead singer Ruby Nash. Hilliard and Garson will submit their song to Kapp Records with the hopes of either Jack Jones or Julie London recording it. Label A&R man/producer Allen Stanton will choose Ruby & The Romantics, a R&B vocal group from Akron, OH to record it as their first release. Recorded in December of 1962, the track features legendary guitarists Kenny Burrell, Vinnie Bell (inventor of the Coral Electric Sitar), and Al Gorgoni (The Monkees, Carole King, The Four Seasons); bassist Russ Savaukus (Bob Dylan, Van Morrison); and drummer Gary Chester (The Shirelles, The Drifters, Dionne Warwick). Two versions of the song will be cut, one with a straight pop arrangement and one with a bossa nova arrangement. The latter is chosen for release and is an immediate smash. Entering the Hot 100 at #79 on February 9, 1963, it will streak to the top of the chart just six weeks later. "Our Day Will Come" will be covered a number of times after Ruby & The Romantics success with the song by the likes of Frankie Valli, Cher, Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass, Nancy Wilson, The Supremes, Isaac Hayes, and Amy Winehouse.