Amoeblog

Kelly's Choice Albums (and So Fourth) of 2014

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, December 30, 2014 03:15pm | Post a Comment
best of 2014 kelly amoeba personal list choice cuts vinyl record album list
This is it, we made it to the last Tuesday of 2014. With nothing but a new year's worth of new release days ahead, here's to looking back over the past three-hundred sixty odd days filled with sonic revelations and reverberations. With that in mind, I've complied my very own short stack of yummy black plastic pancake picks -- my favorite records released this year. Mmm, pancakes....

1. Once & Future Band - Brain EP
once and future band best of 2014 rock prog san francisco local band

Listening to this sprawling progressive precipice of a rock record for the first time was like slipping backwards over a ledge built by everyday mundanities and falling. Falling but never bracing for impact, maybe never touching Earth again. Just like "looking ahead with no backwards glancing," as vocalist/keymaster Joel Robinow puts it in the nearly nine minute eponymous opening track, I was besotted and entirely overcome with feels. I mean, as much as it urks my nerve when folks misuse and overstate things as "literally" being or doing this or that, I can state without hesitation that this record literally blew me away. Well, in a figurative sense. Add to that the fact that this sweet baby is obviously a passionate labor of love, deftly crafted by a couple of local backyard Bay Area wizards, and GAH! my esteem for this band couldn't be any more swollen. These guys are pretty much the best band around right now.

Continue reading...

Merry Christmas, Christmas Realness!

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, December 25, 2014 12:25pm | Post a Comment
bobbie gentry snow red bandana sequin dress country christmas realness bing crosby special
Merry Christmas everyone! There's nothing like waking up on Christmas morning and getting all dolled up for the ultimate day of zenith-level holiday season revels! Here are a few of my favorite Christmas looks from some of my all time favorite famous people, like Bobbie Gentry, above, serving country Christmas realness in a gorgeous sequin bandana dress. This snowy shot of Miss Bobbie from late 1968 promotes an NBC variety show she appeared in, her dress sparkling ever so magically as she sang alongside one of television's most beloved holiday ambassadors, Bing Crosby, and, of all people, Tiny Tim. Here's a clip:




Another ensemble from a Christmas special that makes my spirits bright is the oversize sweater Joan Rivers wore for Pee-Wee's Playhouse Christmas Special (also starring Grace Jones, k.d. lang and Cher!!!) Though our one and only Joan exited life's temporal stage this year, her spirit continues to entertain all of us Earthbound couch potatoes. Check out those shoulder pads! It's like she's smuggling stollen in there!
joan rivers christmas sweater pee-wee's playhouse special realness holiday

And Food Did I Have and Plenty: A Cornucopia of Feast Folk for your Thanksgiving Comedown

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, November 30, 2014 12:52pm | Post a Comment
steeleye span below the salt thanksgiving folk rock dark medieval songs about food feast fellowship
I can't imagine everyone is pumped to jump right into all things Christmas before the Thanksgiving leftovers have cooled or even ceased to provide soup and sandwich solutions aplenty. This is especially true, for me, when it comes to accepting the inevitable aural advent of Holiday Music, a sonic offense that can sometimes begin as early as weeks prior to Black Friday. As a sentimental hoarder enthusiast of Holiday tunes, I relish the reason for the season and all the weird and wonderful music that comes with it, but I feel it's in poor taste to unleash the likes of "Last Christmas" too soon. And given that Thanksgiving music thankfully isn't a thing, the lack of any bankable November music tradition leaves the door wide open for folks like McCartney to simply have their "Wonderful Christmastime" as prematurely as they please. I feel an intervention is in order.

Thus I spent the last four weeks exploring possible playlists that might adequately satisfy the season-specific music void that exists Halloween and Christmas, something like a dignified tribute to noble November. Enter the notion of Feast Folk -- a seasonal buffet of harvest-inspired "folk rock" mainly adapted from or informed by ye olde English Roots music as exhumed by many a new age troubadour in the British Isles of the late 1960s (the likes of which is surveyed at length in Rob Young's exemplary book Electric Eden: Unearthing Britain's Visionary Music). Here is some food for thought:

Such a Vision: Grace Sings Sludge's Red Light Museum

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, November 24, 2014 07:14pm | Post a Comment
grace sings sludge cooper singer songwriter sandwitches last years friend red light museum empty cellar bay area artist painter

There are plenty of divas and dime-a-dozen darlings moving through the vanity fair on any given day, but there is only one Grace Cooper in existence. An artist, singer, and songwriter known in part for her countless collaborations with local visionaries and troubadours aplenty, as well as for her contributions as one-third of the oft celebrated and much missed Bay Area "girl band" The Sandwitches, Grace has lately released a new collection of songs as Grace Sings Sludge, an alias that serves as a monicker for her mostly-solo show, one that is apparently executed entirely on her own terms.

Following up from her past two Grace Sings Sludge releases with San Francisco’s Secret Seven Records, This Time It’s Personal and Last Year’s Friend, this new self-released album, Red Light Museum (via Empty Cellar), is a heady potion of lust, devotion, and darkened encounters that seems to be a more disturbed affair compared its predecessors, in a good way. One bewitching example of this is the opening track, "Difficult to Luv," what begins as an intimate, barely-there rhythmic apparition that slowly slips it's limbs around you, easing into a slow-handed throbbing inquisition for the "Jesus Christ of love" -- see the cattitudes aplenty video for the song, below:


Drac-factor: Ten Recording Artists with Definitive Dracula Appeal

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, October 19, 2014 11:30pm | Post a Comment
Dracula vampire elvis halloween costume
Halloween approach-eth and the pumpkin-spiced hype is unrelenting. What's more, a new vampire movie hit theaters this Fall -- Dracula Untold, a dark, Marvel-esque origin story starring Welsh hottie Luke Evans as Prince Vlad (the Impaler). While time will only tell if this particular incarnation of the Dracula legend is truly franchisable immortal, it got me thinking about recording artists who could suitably don Dracula's cloak. Stars that possess a kind of timeless magnetism, like Elvis Presley, pictured above -- you just know he'd be down to drink some blood. Or, similarly, stars who naturally exude a kind of Draculaic vibe, sharp-dressed with cheekbones to match. With this in mind, I've come up with a short list of ten living recording artists who possess a definitive undeadliness, or Drac-factor, as I reckon it. So cover your necks or succumb willingly, here come some Drac-tacular candidates for your consideration:
 
David Vanian the damned dracula vampire halloween young ones spooky goth punk rock band
Dave Vanian, lead singer and ever-present member of The Damned, has been serving that undead-and-loving it look since the band began in London in 1976. Vanian, a stage name that stems from a play on the word "Transylvanian", took his patent gothic chic looks to new heights when The Damned appeared as the spooky musical guest on an episode of The Young Ones to perform a song that may or may not be called "Nasty". It is worth noting that The Damned are distinguished as the first British punk band to release a single, an album, have an album hit the UK charts, and tour the United States. That said, if you don't have The Damned's 1977 debut LP Damned Damned Damned in your collection, surely some kind of vinyl vampire is coming for you i.e. I don't know how you can sleep at night. That's a buy or die record, folks.

BACK  <<  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  >>  NEXT