Amoeblog

(In which we celebrate the birth of Tiny Tim.)

Posted by Job O Brother, April 13, 2011 09:05am | Post a Comment
tiny tim

This week would have seen the birthday of beloved (and truly alternative) musician Tiny Tim, who passed away in 1996 from an acute case of death.

He matters to me because I cannot think of him without feeling a lovely little warmth in my normally cold, cold heart.

Recently, the (coincidentally-named) Amoebite posted a swell interview regarding Tiny Tim, but I wanted to tackle this subject, too – particularly because I am less burdened with fact and honesty and can therefore flesh out what may be as-yet-unknown facets of the artist’s life and career.

depression era
Tiny Tim, before puberty ruined everything

Tiny Tim was born Herbert Khaury on April 12, 1932, in a town just south of Duchess County called New York City (not to be confused with the song "New York City" by Hanoi Rocks). Many historical records list his parents as being people, though this is speculation, and any actual witnesses have long since not been asked.

Young Herbert was given the nickname “Tiny Tim” by locals in his neighborhood because of his habit of walking around on crutches, munching Christmas puddings and asking God to "bless them, every one." (Other nicknames were bestowed as well, such as “that cripple kid who smells like stew” or “faggot,” but none of these stuck.)

Continue reading...

(Wherein Spring Fever breaks.)

Posted by Job O Brother, April 4, 2011 01:12pm | Post a Comment
warning sign
beating heart

In my last blog I showcased some of the awful/wonderful synthpop I’ve been enjoying on the advent of this Spring season. Due to the thousands of letters I’ve gotten from my tremendous fan base, I’ve decided to include more.

Before I do, however, I would like to give a shout out to the website Heaven or Hell, which managed to steal a healthy chunk of my time today, which could have been spent cleaning my carpet, brushing the cats, aiding the Japanese, or giving people with terminal bone marrow cancer exfoliating foot baths and zrbts. It’s amazing, isn’t it, how much time can be wasted on the World Wide Web? With that said, please enjoy these videos…

Continue reading...

(Wherein Spring Fever takes over the jukebox.)

Posted by Job O Brother, March 28, 2011 04:25pm | Post a Comment
80's keyboard

Well my little dreamlets, we’re ten days into Spring, and it’s already clear to me what music is going to carry me through into Summer – it’s all about synthetics. Synthpop, that is, of the late 70’s and early 80’s variety.

This amuses me, because for much of my life I detested a lot of the music I’m going to celebrate here. A lot of the hatred stemmed from being so unhappy in the 1980’s; by association, the music “sounded” like unhappiness. Think of it this way: When was the last time you were taking a shower and felt like listening to the soundtrack to Psycho? Exactly.

Some say that synthpop began when Giorgio Moroder teamed up with Donna Summer and created the hit single "I Feel Love." Calling this the “start” of synthpop is convenient, but an over-simplification, because so much came before that informed it. What can be said is that the song was influential, both in terms of inspiring artists who would go on to develop the synthpop genre, and give mainstream audiences a taste for it.

What follows are some synthpop songs that bring me joy. Many can be claimed by other sub-genres of music, but they're all related. Some are guilty pleasures – the sonic equivalent to a Snickers bar, in that they are bad for me, but make me feel great for the duration I’m imbibing – and others I stand by as solid accomplishments. I’m also putting a spell on them: listening to these songs will make you feel a little ticklish in the deepest part of your brain, which will result in your not hating your fellow man as much (even though they totally deserve your hate). Enjoy!

Continue reading...

(Où l'on considère les chanteurs français.)

Posted by Job O Brother, March 22, 2011 04:32pm | Post a Comment
french poster

When you work at Amoeba Music there’s certain questions you answer over and over again:

“Where’s the restroom?”

“Why’s this one this price and this one this price?”

“Where can I find Edith Piaf?”

That last question is occasionally (to my endless amusement) pronounced as, “Where can I find Edith Pilaf?” to which I always want (but never) answer:

“We file her in-between Condoleezza Rice and Tim Curry. They all go great together.”

My internalized snarkiness aside, I’m all for Edith Piaf. Who could hate La Môme Piaf (her French nickname, literally translated as “That short woman in the black dress with the amazing voice but tragic make-up which someone should seriously having a talking-to-her about”)?

But I think too many people stop with Piaf and don’t investigate the chanson française of her peers, which is a shame because there’s so much to love. Below I offer some performers I think are à l'opposé de terrible.

border

Continue reading...

(In which we celebrate the birth of Georg Philipp Telemann.)

Posted by Job O Brother, March 14, 2011 01:55pm | Post a Comment
georg philipp telemann
I'm... too sexy for my justacorps

Today would have been the 330th birthday of one of my favorite composers, Georg Philipp Telemann, if he hadn’t tragically passed away in 1767. What follows here is a brief history of his life which isn’t entirely a made-up lie.

1681–1701: Childhood and early youth

Telemann was born in Magdeburg, the capital of the wild and swinging Duchy of Magdeburg, Brandenburg-Prussia, into an upper-right middle of center just-under-the-yellow-bit class family. His parents were Heinrich “The Tickler” Telemann, deacon at the Church of the Holy Spirit & Wafflehouse in Magdeburg, and Maria Haltmeier, daughter of a clergyman-turned-female impersonator (most famous for his rollicking version of O, Thar’s a Terryble Byrn in Mye Nawty Place which he’d perform while re-enacting the signing of the Treaty of Bakhchisarai in a particularly saucy fashion involving a few busty courtesans, a trained parrot and some offensively-molded birdseed sculptures).

Telemann's father died in 1685, leaving Maria to raise the children, protect them from their grandfather and his birds, and oversee their education. Telemann studied at the Altstädtisches Gymnasium and at the Domschule, where he was taught the catechism, Latin and Greek, and American History (then a very short and easy class). At age 10 he took singing lessons, studied keyboard playing, and learned some tips on how to make perfect pancakes for two weeks with a local gourmet organist. This was enough to inspire the boy to teach himself other instruments (recorder, violin and zither), start composing, and dabble in making his own syrups. His first music pieces were arias, motets, some freestyle rap and instrumental works, and at age twelve he composed his first opera, Sigismundus, a drama which told the story of a young man who was eager to see a woman naked but was thwarted by having acne and a reputation at school that he was a “total fag.” The opera was not a success.

Continue reading...
BACK  <<  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  >>  NEXT