Amoeblog

Dub Club's Tom Chasteen Discusses New Release: "Natural Numbers In Dub" on Stones Throw

Posted by Billyjam, November 26, 2014 10:10am | Post a Comment
Recently the ever prolific and consistently diverse Peanut Butter Wolf headed Stones Throw Records label unleashed yet another great release: Natural Numbers' dub reggae Natural Numbers In Dub. The excellent album joins the label's reggae dub catalog that also includes such other Dub Club related releases as Gappy Ranks Meets Dub Club that was released earlier this month, This  Generation Dub (the Tom Chasteen remix of The Lions) from June, and the Dub Club presented compilation Meaning of Dub LP, featuring such artists as Tippa Irie, Josey Wales, and Dub Club, that Stones Throw released back in August.

Natural Numbers' Natural Numbers In Dub, which features members from Wilco and Mazzy Star, is the newest solo production from the same hard-working, highly revered Tom Chasteen from the ongoing party Dub Club in LA at The Echoplex - happening tonight (November 26th - see flyer below or click here for details). With the lead single "Dub and Blind" the full-length, ten track dub album follows a series of other Chateen produced dub releases under the Dub Club name. For this latest project by the skilled producer Chasteen pushes the envelope by stretching the musical boundaries beyond the usual reggae dub flavor and incorporating such other elements as Middle Eastern, African, and even some country music into his mix.

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Top 20 Songs About Heroin

Posted by Billyjam, November 25, 2014 03:00pm | Post a Comment

Upon hearing the incredible, engaging new single "Bag A Gear" from the Dublin, Ireland-based rapper Tommy KD (formerly known as Man & The Machine) on the topic of his former heroin habit that he is grateful to have finally kicked, I was reminded of the numerous songs tackling the topic of the highly addictive opiate.

I have put together a Top 20 Songs About Heroin list - some seemingly pro but most definitively con. These songs (with accompanying videos) are culled from different genres and different eras but all share views on the same topic - one that has destroyed way too many great musicians' careers and lives over the decades. Just as there are countless terms and nicknames for heroin (horse, smack, H, skag, junk, dirt, brown sugar, golden girl, hell dust, white nurse, thunder, etc. etc.) there are also seemingly endless songs about the drug. This subjective top twenty list could easily be extended into a Top 100 or Top 200 list, so feel free to post any songs on the subject of heroin that you think should have been included. Since I tried to keep it down to 20, I had to cut out duplicates by artists included and did not include such greats as "Ain't it Fun" by both The Dead Boys and Guns N' Roses.

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Hip-Hop Rap-Up: M.O.P., Shadow & Cut Chemist, Too $hort, Live Human, Diamond District, REKS X Hazardis Soundz + more

Posted by Billyjam, November 22, 2014 12:08pm | Post a Comment

Among the recent releases to arrive at Amoeba is M.O.P.'s Street Certified, which was released earlier this week by Nature Sounds as a digital download. The new nine track EP from the two-decade strong influential Brooklyn rap duo (whose name stands for Mash out Posse) features such tracks as "187," "Broad Daylight (featuring Busta Rhymes),"  and the Street Certified title track with Queens hip-hop duo Mobb Deep. The EP is executive produced by DJ Premier and is just one of two new releases from the duo. The other will be a special box set retrospective entitled 20 Years And Still Gunnin: The Ammo Box.

If you are in the Bay Area and missed DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist's recent all vinyl Afrika Bambaataa record collection-themed Renegades of Rhythm tour when it stopped at the Mezzanine two months ago (I checked it out and it was off the hook!), you will have another chance to catch the two noted Cali DJs/producers/vinyl collectors when their openers will be Dam-Funk and Davey D at the Fox Theatre in Oakland on Tuesday, November 25th at 8pm. Tickets here.

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The Coup's Boots Riley Keeps The Revolution Alive & Discusses His Ambitious "Shadowbox" Stage Production

Posted by Billyjam, November 21, 2014 10:18am | Post a Comment



About a quarter way into the The Coup's amazing world premiere of Shadowbox - the longtime politicized Oakland hip-hop group's ambitious multifaceted, mixed media, multi-stage production that played as a preview for only two shows at San Francisco's Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) - front-man/emcee Boots Riley pointed to the giant floor-to-ceiling artwork by East Bay street artist Jon-Paul Bail. The East Bay muralist's giant cityscape print, that wrapped its way around all walls of the entire performance space at YBCA, was an accurate image of the changing city that awaited outside the museum's walls. Skyscrapers and other towering buildings with bold logos emblazoned on them of American born and bred entities like Twitter, Google, IBM, AT&T, NRA, and the PMRC acted as the perfect backdrop to the revolutionary hip-hop group's message of Shadowbox - to question authority and rebel against exploitative predatory corporations and the politicians that they've paid off to continue their rise to power at the expense of increasingly poorer working class of America.

In addition to Boots Riley and his full live band, the large scale production boasted numerous other artists joining the Coup on three stages (sometimes simultaneously) including Dead Prez, Classical Revolution, W. Kamau Bell, Mortar & Pestle, Snow Angel, Eat The Fish Presents, and Extra Action Marching Band. The choice of all of these artists, like the inclusion of Jon-Paul Bail's art work and the video projections and other stage designs by David Szlasa, was all the brainchild of Boots Riley. The Coup mainman has been a fan and friend of Bail's for many years and the inclusion of his art seemed like a no-brainer, he told the YBCA audience.

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Remembering Jimmy Ruffin

Posted by Billyjam, November 20, 2014 07:28am | Post a Comment

Since the sad news broke yesterday of the passing of Motown great Jimmy Ruffin - who died earlier this week at the age of 78 - I've been going back and digging up some of the popular recordings by the man. While he may not have been quite as famous as his younger brother David Ruffin (the lead singer of the Temptations), he was an incredibly talented artist. Born in Mississippi, Jimmy Ruffin moved to Detroit in the early sixties to connect with Berry Gordy's Motown Records - or rather Motown's Miracle Records imprint. There he recorded his biggest hit in 1966 with "What Becomes of the Broken Hearted."

Other Ruffin songs that enjoyed success over the years included "Gonna Give Her All the Love I Got," "I've Passed This Way Before," and the 1980 hit "Hold On To My Love." Ruffin, who relocated temporarily to the UK in the 1980s where he recorded with such artists as Paul Weller, continued recording up until two years ago when he released his final album, There Will Never Be Another You. Below are a few select videos featuring the man that Berry Gordy called "truly underrated."

Check for his music at Amoeba including his 1969 album Ruff'n Ready, the 20th Century Masters collection The Best Of Jimmy Ruffin - The Millennium Collection, and the duet full-length I Am My Brothers Keeper  that he recorded with his late great brother David who died 24 years ago. Hopefully, the two Ruffin brothers are reunited in the afterlife and singing sweet soul music together again.

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