Amoeblog

The Killers' "Christmas In L.A." and other New Holiday Season Songs/Videos

Posted by Billyjam, December 23, 2013 04:00pm | Post a Comment

The Killers "Christmas In L.A. (feat. Dawes)" (2013)

Every year at this time artists roll out new recordings of classic holiday tunes or newly written ones in the hope of becoming a new Christmas/holiday time classic - a la Mariah Carey's 1994 runaway smash hit single "All I Want for Christmas Is You" off her Merry Christmas album of that year (in 2010 she released the sequel Merry Christmas II You). So for this holiday season here are four brand new Christmas themed music songs and accompanying videos. They include the above latest Christmas time charity raising song/video from the ever generous Las Vegas rockers The Killers who, for every Christmas since 2006, have teamed up with the RED organization and recorded a song specifically to raise funds (100%) for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS. "Christmas in L.A." is the latest song/video from Brandon Flowers and crew with a feature from Dawes on the track plus the voices of Harry Dean Stanton and Owen Wilson - the latter of whom also appears in the video. Partly animated the clip captures what its like for Wilson to wake up alone in an L.A. apartment on Christmas morning. In addition to this new Killers Christmas track below are three other brand new holiday season song/video recordings including from RnB singers K. Michelle and Tyra B, and pop singer Asher Monroe. Whether any of these songs will follow Mariah Carey's good fortune and stick around for future Christmas seasons remains to be seen.

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Hip-Hop Rap-Up, Week End 12.20.13: Childish Gambino, Dam-Funk & Snoopzilla, E-40, Madlib, DJ Toure, + more

Posted by Billyjam, December 20, 2013 08:08am | Post a Comment
Amoeba Berkeley Hip-Hop Top 5 Chart Week Ending 12:20:13

1) Childish Gambino Because the Internet (Glassnote)

2) Dam-Funk & Snoopzilla 7 Days of Funk (Stones Throw)

3. DJ Platurn So This Is De La Heaven 2 (Oakland Faders)

4) Madlib Rock Konducta Vol. 1 (Stones Throw)

5. E-40 Block Brochure Vol. 4, (Heavy On The Grind)
    E-40 Block Brochure Vol. 5
(Heavy On The Grind)
    E-40 Block Brochure Vol. 6  (Heavy On The Grind)

He may be known to most as an actor and comedian, but Donald Glover, under his hip-hop alter ego Childish Gambino,  is also an accomplished skilled rapper and not a novelty rapper who proves with the success of his latest Childish Gambino release (Because the Internet is this week's top hip-hop chart entry) that he indeed has a lot to offer the hip-hop world. Of that number one at Amoeba Berkeley this week the Amoeba.com reviewers write,  "He’ll likely always have to content with haters knocking him for starting as a comedian, but now Glover can point to Because the Internet as proof positive that his multifaceted professional title can firmly include rapper, as well." Indeed! Meanwhile another artist, who started as hip-hop but has drifted off into other areas of pop culture and watered down his rap street by cavorting with the likes of Martha Stewart and Katy Perry in the kitchen and studio respectively, Snoop Dogg returns supreme with his latest project: Dam-Funk & Snoopzilla 7 Days of Funk on Stones Throw on which the artist known as Snoop Lion for a minute returns to his (G) funk roots with the best practitioner of said genre, power producer/multi-instrumentalist Dam-Funk who presents the Long Beach, CA artist born Calvin Broadus with the perfect smokey funky musical backdrop. Amoeba.com reviewers accurately herald this EP release as, "a revelatory event for for fans of and freaks for The Funk, and should be particularly pleasing for those whose funk du jour is syrup-thick mid-tempo boogie-funk seasoned heavy with synthesizers a la Yarborough & Peoples or Zapp. ......Easily transcending the side-project ghetto, 7 Days of Funk is two major voices in contemporary music, subsuming their individual identities into something new and simply huge. A match made in funk heaven." Indeed!

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MoogFest Now In Its Tenth Year

Posted by Billyjam, December 19, 2013 07:11pm | Post a Comment

     
 

The annual MoogFest inspired by the Robert Moog invention that bears his name takes place every Spring in the same North Carolina town that houses the factory where Moog's instruments are hand-built to this day. Now in its tenth year, the MoogFest (April 23-27th in Asheville) will include daytime conference programming, with such speakers as Giorgio Moroder and Laurie Anderson, and landmark nightly performances including such headliners as Kraftwerk and Chic featuring Nile Rodgers.  It is a five-day homage to the legacy of the analog synth, the electronic musical instrument that shook things up in the 60's and helped shape the course of popular music over the past half century.

Need further proof of the influence of the 50-year-old electronic synthesizer keyboard instrument that originally cost $11,000 and that counted amongst its earliest owners The Beatles, Sun Ra, and Mick Jagger? Then check out the informative video lecture above by Cornell University professor of Sociology and of Science and Technology Studies, Trevor Pinch. Entitled From Trumansburg to Abbey Road: History of the Moog Synthesizer, Pinch's history lesson traces the five-decade history of the Moog synthesizer (including its oft mispronounced name - it rhymes with "rogue" not with "fugue") and how  Robert Moog and his Moog Music undeniably changed the course of popular music up to this day. MoogFest, which annually draws a motley crew of musicians, scholars, scientists, engineers and plain ole fans, pays homage by honoring the instrument's spirit of innovation via what organizers call "the intersection of art, music, performance and technology."
 

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New York State of Mind Amoeblog #60: Holidays in The Big Apple

Posted by Billyjam, December 18, 2013 10:06am | Post a Comment
Being such a popular tourist destination, especially at this time of the year with hotels booked to capacity and airbnb reservations close behind, not surprisingly New York City goes all out for the holiday season with extravagant Christmas / holiday displays and  exhibits all around town where it's been snowing a lot this past week - something that only enhances that December holiday vibe.

Festive destinations for tourists and New Yorkers alike include  Rockefeller Center (photo left taken earlier this week) where in addition to the usual all year round attractions, such as going up to the Top Of The Rock (one of the best aerial views of the Big Apple), there is the big brightly lit Christmas / holiday tree and the Center's famous ice rink plus a tapestry of large scale colorful holiday statues and lights for the one square block around the Center.

Being that NBC's main television studios are right there at 30 Rock, in addition to earlier this month broadcasting the lighting of the tree ceremony accompanied by performances from such musical guests as Mary J. Blige, Mariah Carey, Kelly Clarkson, and the Goo Goo Dolls, the TV network has been featuring the hella holiday themed area over the past couple of weeks on such NBC shows as Saturday Night Live and the Today Show. Very closeby Rockefeller Center is the big Saks Fifth Avenue department store where, in addition to their extravagant holiday themed window displays, they also have a  large scale 3D light show, complete with booming music system blasting "Carol Of The Bells," that plays in repeat mode on the front of the block long Fifth Avenue building between 48th and 49th streets every night between 5pm to 10pm for the duration of this holiday season (scroll down to see video of this nightly display).

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Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: Public Enemy's Chuck D on Politics, Hip-Hop & more - from a November 1992 Perspective

Posted by Billyjam, December 17, 2013 07:07am | Post a Comment

For this week's Hip-Hop History Amoeblog, I take it back to 21 years ago to early November of 1992 when I caught up with Chuck D of Public Enemy (PE) to chat with him on the state of politics. Since that interview (which I just uncovered again this past week) was never archived anywhere, I decided to share it here because its content is pretty engaging from a historical point of view. I also assembled a series of Public Enemy videos from their six-year career up to that point.  November 1992 was a time when the politically charged hip-hop crew was still riding high in popularity and public consciousness.

Tragically, even hip-hop heads don't realize that PE are still together as a group these days, touring, recording, and making meaningful statements. But back then, everyone knew and intently listened to what the group, -- whose previous year's album Apocalypse 91… The Enemy Strikes Black, was still selling briskly and whose compilation of remixes and new tracks, Greatest Misses, had just been released seven weeks earlier -- had to say. Of course things would soon shift on the popular hip-hop landscape since, just a month later in mid December of 1992, former N.W.A. member Dr. Dre would release a game-changing album - The Chronic with the Snoop Doggy Dogg featured lead single "Nuthin' But A G Thang" - that would be highly instrumental in helping push popular rap away from the political arena and towards the gangsta/G-Funk/mob style of rap as the predominant force in popular hip-hop.

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