Amoeblog

Essential Records: The Pharcyde's 'Bizarre Ride II'

Posted by Billyjam, November 17, 2014 02:23pm | Post a Comment

The Pharcyde

Each person has their own personal way to judge and rate the music they love. For me the criteria for rating an LP an "Essential Record" includes two key qualities: first, it's an all killer, no filler album (no temptation to ever skip over any track); and secondly, it is such a quality release that it doesn't age one bit over time (the timeless factor). Sometimes an Essential Record gets even better over the years. Such is the case with The Pharcyde's remarkable 1992 debut album, Bizarre Ride II (Delicious Vinyl), which sounds even more amazing today than it did when I first heard it 22 years ago. I say this after playing the 57 minute record from start to finish twice in a row today, having not listened to it in a few years. Damn, that J-Swift-produced album is so incredibly good! It's packed with soul, passion, and richly varied but cohesive beats and flows - from jazzy to old school to next generation - with varying BPMs. But, most notably, the album was totally unlike anything else at the time.

In late 1992, the SoCal-based Delicious Vinyl record label released Bizarre Ride II within just a few weeks oThe Pharcyde Ya Mamaf fellow LA based hip-hop artist Dr. Dre's G-Funk classic, The Chronic. While the two landmark hip-hop releases may have been linked by timeline and geography, they could not have been further apart in sound and style. Even Bizarre Ride's wild, fun, cartoonish cover art set it apart as a record that did not take itself too seriously. The album effuses a feeling of nonstop fun all the way through, as proven by the numerous impromptu-sounding hilarious studio bits that were mixed in or left in the final recording, like at the end of "Ya Mama" where they are just riffing off of each other. Unique, too, is how many of the "skits" on Bizarre Ride sound like songs, such as the 2:10 long "Quinton's on the Way (Skit)" which is like a Louis Armstrong inspired jazz song that captures the guys having fun in the studio with their different sounding voices and tones perfectly in contrast with each other.

Continue reading...

Patti And The Pope

Posted by Billyjam, November 14, 2014 10:52am | Post a Comment

Singer/poet and friend of Amoeba Patti Smith, seen in Reuters photo above being greeted by Pope Francis in St Peter's Square at the Vatican, will be among the specially selected artists invited by the pope himself to perform at the Vatican Christmas concert in mid December in front of bishops and cardinals.

Since this news was reported by the Italian newspaper Il Corriere della Sera many, including myself, have had a similar reaction (say wha?) with that one Patti Smith song lyrics instantly popping into our collective heads: the one from the famous Horses album track "Gloria" that goes
"Jesus died for somebody's sins but not mine." Whether at the Christmas Vatican concert, scheduled for December 13th and to be broadcast live, Patti Smith will perform that song or not remains to be seen. Meanwhile below is a 1979 live performance from Germany of the song.



Hip-Hop Rap-Up: Logic, DJ Quik, Blu, YG, Diabolic

Posted by Billyjam, November 14, 2014 05:04am | Post a Comment
Top Five Hip-Hop Chart for Week Ending 11:14:14


1) DJ Quik The Midnight Life (Mad Science)

2) Logic  Under Pressure (Def Jam) also avail as LP

3) Diabolic Fightin' Words (WarHorse Records) - also avail as LP

4) YG My Krazy Life (Def Jam)

5) Blu Good To Be Home (Universal) also avail as LP

The above top five chart from the Hollywood Amoeba Music store reflects the top sellers of the past week which are not always necessarily new releases. Case in point are both YG's My Krazy Life from March of this year, and (to a degree) the Blu album Good To Be Home featuring production by Bombay and not by Exile this time - with whom their previously released collaborative Below The Heavens LP continues to sell well. The Blu chart entry originally came out six months ago via the indie Nature Sounds (who along with Fat Beats issued the LP version of the full-length) but has now been re-released by Universal. Have not heard the Universal version but hopefully the major label remastered the original which most agree was "shitty" sounding - and I quote countless fans of the artist himself as stating this. And the super gifted LA emcee has lots of fans - especially in his hometown where he always gets a lot of love.

Continue reading...

Brian Coleman's Bay Area Book Tour In Support of "Check The Technique Volume 2"

Posted by Billyjam, November 13, 2014 01:22pm | Post a Comment
Respected longtime music journalist/hip-hop fanatic Brian Coleman will be in the Bay Area this week to promote his brand new book Check the Technique Volume 2 (Wax Facts) that picks up where the 2007 published first volume and its 2005 predecessor left off with "more liner notes for hip-hop junkies" as the engaging, information packed 526 page new book accurately promises on its cover.

Spanning 25 chapters with over 80 interviews and tons of accompanying images Coleman has meticulously presented the back story of 25 albums and 325 hip-hop songs (some eighties but mostly nineties) with the artists, producers, plus some label execs associated with them weighing in on these recordings. The end result is a page turner packed with  insights and answers to questions you might have had, or had not thought you wondered about until reading this enlightening book.

The chapters include The Coup Steal This Album, Diamond and the Psychotic Neurotics Stunts, Blunts & Hip Hop, Dr. Octagon Dr. Octagonecologyst, Ice Cube AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted & Kill At Will, Masta Ace Incorporated SlaughtaHouse, Kool G Rap & DJ Polo Wanted: Dead Or Alive, ED O.G & Da Bulldogs Life Of A Kid In The Ghetto, Jeru The Damaja The Sun Rises In The East, Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star, and KMD Black Bastards. Meanwhile the accompanying artist interviews include ones with such hip-hop acts as DJ Jazzy Jeff, Ice Cube, Mos Def & Talib Kweli, Mantronix, MF Doom, and Company Flow.

Continue reading...

AFI spinoff group XTRMST

Posted by Billyjam, November 13, 2014 08:23am | Post a Comment


The Blue Man Group gone red, gone bad, and acting like characters from The Warriors is what I first thought upon seeing the brand new music video (above) from traditionally structured, new hardcore punk band XTRMST. The song "Conformist" is a lead single by the self-described "straight edge hardcore" (with some electronic instrumentation thrown in) group formed by veterans Davey Havok and Jade Puget  of NorCal's legendary long running "goth punk" group AFI. The song is a taste of what's to come on the AFI spinoff supergroup's self-titled debut that will be released (oddly enough) by electronic dance producer/artist/label owner Steve Aoki through his Dim Mak record label. Look for the 14 track album at Amoeba Music when it will arrive in stores next week on November 17th.

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