Amoeblog

Fleeting Phases: Falling for Once and Future Band

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, September 28, 2014 07:25pm | Post a Comment
once and future band brain ep mouth magazine record vinyl debut san francisco prog psych rock Joel Robinow (keyboards/guitar/vocals), Raj Ojha (drums/recording engineer) and Eli Eckert (bass/guitar/vocals)

Sheesh, it's been a minute since I've thrown my two cents into this here pot and I've got a lot of pennies to spend. So far, 2014 has been a damn good year for new music and I would like, if I may, to take you back to May when a local band dropped one hell of a debut EP for the ages.
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Seemingly fixed somewhere between derivative approximations recalling the Crimson courtiers of Progressive Rock and master multi-part harmonizers of yore like, for example, maybe Wishbone Ash or Bubble Puppy, it could be said that Oakland's Once and Future Band has calculated dead reckoning in waters more well known than uncharted. However, this assessment is flawed. Roughly two minutes into the sprawling eponymous opening track of their debut EP, Brain, when lead vocalist, guitarist, high synth-sayer, and man behind the dream Joel Robinow (of Howlin' Rain, also wearing an exceptionally well designed OAFB tee, right over there) sings, "everyone knows ‘cept yourself that these phases are fleeting, time to take stock and face up to the path life is leading", it's time to give up and give in. The nearly nine minute saga advances not unlike said fleeting phases, progressing along most unpredictably in stone grooves, lucid pulses, transitory textures, and ascending arpeggios, executed with a passion for sound and vision so palpable that any trifling comparison made to apparent forebears would seem a dull and heartless pursuit. Considering the first track alone, it is clear that this band possesses something of a sonic timelessness, a quality that perhaps gives some credence to wanton Steely Dan-ish, CSNY et cetera Classic Rock banalogies, but is rather more a result of a fortuitous confluence of unabashed creativity and masterful musicianship. Fact: these guys make music magical, fanciful, adventurous, and valuable -- every second worth the effort. Once and Future Band simply rules. And they would still rule even if Rick Wakeman had said "no" to Yes.

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Game of Thrones' Season Four: Let the Bodies Hit the Floor!

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, April 3, 2014 01:43pm | Post a Comment
The wait is almost over -- who's ready to play?
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This Sunday, April 6th, Game of Thrones' fourth season is set to get real. Really real. Real to death. And when HBO plays the Game of Thrones everyone wins, except maybe the cast. NO SPOILERS or anything but -- in the spirit of keeping it real --  everyone knows by now that no one in this high fantasy saga is "safe" by any meaning of the word. In a recent interview Scottish actor Rory McCann, who portrays Sandor "The Hound" Clegane in the series, claims to cautiously read through the ninth episode script for each season while quaffing a glass of whisky, prepped for death and distress not unlike that major drama bomb that dropped back in S1E9. Of course it doesn't help that the show's writers sometimes insert fake death scenes into scripts just to freak out their already nervous troupe, prompting stars to worry in advance about life and work after landing a hit series. British actor Kit HaringtonJohn Snow on the show, explains, "We all flip through the scripts when we get them to see if we live or die, but the writers are very cruel; they sometimes write fake scenes to kill someone off and then that actor will be kind of out of a job and scared." Even hunky Hawaiian actor Jason Momoa, undeterred by the premature demise of his beloved character, Khal Drogo, in season one, has attempted to write his own way back on to the show, saying, “It’s a fantasy world, sweetheart. You never know!” Yeah, no.
game of thrones book series a song of ice and fire every death tabbed marked paperback george r r marttin hugh fantasy epic saga
To give non-readers an idea of just how much death the series deals in, on the left is an image of the five (of the planned seven) published books, collectively known as A Song of Ice and Fire, with each death marked by a brightly colored post-it, like a bizarre murder rainbow. It's difficult to assess who is more relentless, author George R.R. Martin or whoever went through the trouble of tallying every death in the books. At the moment, the HBO series is only halfway through that green book in the middle, A Storm of Swords, which means that the seasonal thinning of the cast will be no less brutal than anything we have previously seen. On a more positive note, the scope of the show stands to expand further this season, revealing new faces and places on the map we've only ever heard mentioned before while also returning to some of the previously established  family seats n' things that have been out of play for a while.

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Joanna Newsom and the Magical Tour of 2004

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, March 21, 2014 04:20pm | Post a Comment
Joanna Newsom with Kevin Barker, Old Ironsides, Sacramento CA, July 10, 2004. Photo by Alissa Anderson. The Family Jams 2004 tour documentary devandra banhart vetiver new album 2014 harp freak folk nevada city california
Joanna Newsom with Kevin Barker at Old Ironsides, Sacramento CA, July 10, 2004. Photo by Alissa Anderson.

Once upon a time, or nearly ten years ago, a couple of bands combined their like-minded pursuit of music, travel, and kindred jamming and took to the road for what would later be known as the "Magical Tour of Two Thousand and Four" or The Family Jams, as revealed in Kevin Barker's tour documentary of the same name. Perhaps a more accurate description of the happening would be to say that it was an extended jaunt comprised of artists caught in Devendra Banhart's orbit at the time -- an Earthbound constellation of celestial talents that, for better or for worse, birthed the term Freak Folk. Though the documentary captures intimate performances and would-be private moments of many hearts and artists, the camera focuses mainly on Banhart, Vetiver, and Joanna Newsom.

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Fantasy March: Campaigning for Genre Awareness

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, March 10, 2014 02:20pm | Post a Comment
amoeba music san francisco fantasy film cinema movie endcap trend trendcap magic knights wizards princess damsel fairy tale legend dungeons dragons game of thrones warfaring strangers darkscorch canticlesbootleg movie poster conan the destroyer ghana africa arnold grace jones fantasy magic comic book hero film adaptation

This month at Amoeba SF we're forging a fellowship for Fantasy genre awareness and appreciation! Given the recent release of Numero Group's most excellent "one comp. to rule them all" collection of Dungeons & Dragons inspired pre-Heavy Metal underground Rock, Warfaring Strangers: Darkscorch Canticles, and the impending Game of Thrones hype-a-thon building up to the premiere of the HBO show's fourth season on April 6th, we figured the month of March could do for a heady dose of Ice and Fire-fueled cinematic dream-fasting -- a visual poultice with which the reality-weary may allay their workaday woes, watching. Do keep an vigilant eye out for our Fantasy endcap at Amoeba SF featuring golden genre gems like these from the nineteen-eighties:
 

dragonslayer fantasy film 1981

Dragonslayer (1981) in which a young wizard's apprentice (Peter MacNichol of Ally McBeal and Ghostbusters 2 fame) must kill a virgin-snacking dragon to save the King's daughter who has been chosen by the kingdom's lottery system as the next sacrifice in line to keep the beast's appetite for destruction at bay.

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7" Fix: Blonde Redhead - 10 Feet High b/w Valentine

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, February 14, 2014 02:36pm | Post a Comment
Blonde Redhead 10 feet high valentine seven inch 7" single 45 rpm vinyl early 90s art rock kazu makino

Wishing oceans of love --  sweet, fuzzy, flawed, moody, or otherwise imrov'd love -- to everyone on this Valentine's Day. For me, no other band embraces the tragic romanticism of the human condition quite like Blonde Redhead. Without a doubt one of the best live bands still playing today, their sound ever continues to strike the just right chords, conjuring intense feelings and visceral love vibes that have, over the years, served as both cause and cure, effectively igniting and extinguishing many a lovelorn soul's heartache symptoms at once. Their 1995 7" single "10 Feet High" features something of a playful antidote of a b-side in "Valentine" -- a meandering surge of Violent Life dissonance that literally has Kazu giggling in her lah-las before the song is even half finished.

Blonde Redhead - "Valentine"



Here's a pretty great live video from 1999 featuring songs from three of their first four albums La Mia Vita Violenta, In An Expression of the Inexpressible, and Fake Can Be Just As Good -- check it out!

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