Amoeblog

MAC's 100 Years Of Flexi / Cardboard / Oddity Records

Posted by Billyjam, December 9, 2013 09:40am | Post a Comment



















"You had me at that 1922 Oakland Chamber of Commerce  record!" - I told the curator MAC upon first glancing the above historic record oddity - a free phonograph record issued by the East Bay City's Chamber of Commerce back in the 1920's to encourage residents from nearby San Francisco as well as other faraway locations to relocate to Oakland, CA "where California's promise is Fulfilled." This rare record was one of approximately 200 equally engaging and odd discs on exhibit during the recent WFMU Record Fair in New York City. 

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Amoeba's Zak Wilson On The New "Art Gods" Documentary About Tower Records' Legendary Art Displays, Part I

Posted by Billyjam, December 6, 2013 01:33pm | Post a Comment

        

Amoebite Zak Wilson, who I last talked with here a few years back when he offered his invaluable insights on the world of guitar picks for the Amoeblog, is always busy working on some new project. His latest, of which he is one of several contributors, is the wonderful new documentary Art Gods (An Oral History of the Tower Records Art Department). As its title implies, Art Gods is about the art display department of the now defunct Sacramento-based record store chain during its 1980's heyday (when Wilson worked in their art department). 

This documentary is an engaging time capsule of a bygone era in both the record business (when records were the primary format) and in the pre-computer/pre-digital age of art displays. The film premieres tonight and tomorrow (Dec 6th and 7th) at San Francisco's Balboa Theatre.  Next week, Art Gods will arrive in Amoeba and other stores on DVD. This is part one of a two-part interview with Zak about the film, along with pictures of some of those great album art-based record store displays. Part two will run next week to coincide with the release of the documentary on DVD.

 



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Remembering Nelson Mandela Through Song

Posted by Billyjam, December 5, 2013 03:30pm | Post a Comment

Johnny Clegg "Asimbonanga (featuring Nelson Mandela)" (1999)

To honor the legacy of the great Nelson Mandela, who died earlier today at the age of 95, here is a selection of songs written and recorded about this great man who spent his lifetime in the fight against racial oppression. So inspiring a figure was Mandela that he had the distinction of having more songs written in his honor than perhaps any other global political figure in history.

These include Johnny Clegg's "Asimbonanga" (above) -- a very special live concert version from 1999 featuring a walk-on cameo from Mandela himself who blesses the mic for a bit and grooves to the music of Clegg's band.

Other songs (all below) include the best known of all the songs recorded about him: the 1984 hit single by The Specials/ The Special AKA (free) "Nelson Mandela," a live version of Hugh Masekela's inspired "Mandela (Bring Him Back Home)," Nomfusi & The Lucky Charms' "Nelson Mandela Song," (my personal favorite) Youssou N'Dour's "Nelson Mandela" (live in NY in the early 90's), and a cool song and video remix of "Number 46664" which was Nelson Mandela's prison number when he was incarcerated on Robbin Island, Cape Town (Mandela spent a total of 27 years in prison after being convicted of treason by the white minority government of South Africa). Read the full news report here on the Los Angeles TimesRest In Peace Nelson Mandela!

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New York State of Mind Amoeblog #58: Startups + Studio Backlots, NYC Rich vs Poor, 5Pointz' Blue Period, NYC Circa 1940, + more

Posted by Billyjam, December 4, 2013 12:12pm | Post a Comment
            Overlooking United Nations (UN) Headquarters - view from the end of East 40th Street

Greetings from New York City which seems to be stealing some of the West Coast's thunder of late (namely Silicon Valley and Hollywood) by not only becoming a booming location for tech startups, but also this week adding a big new large-scale (one square block in scale) outdoor film production studio backlot. This brand new 35,000 square feet lot is on the sprawling Kaufman Astoria Studios campus in Queens - just across the river from Manhattan that is home to the excellent Museum of The Moving Image - where it will provide film production companies a desired controlled environment for filming and safely utilizing special effects unlike busy NYC streets where most filming takes place such as the Michael J Fox TV Show being filmed on East 33rd Street today (12/4) or the forthcoming movie 1:30 Train, starring Chris Evans about woman chasing through the streets of New York amidst a series of obstacles in an attempt  to catch the 1:30 train to Boston, that will be filmed this Saturday (12/7) way downtown on the East Side at Jackson and Cherry Streets near the FDR Drive and East River Park (see production notice below).


Another West Coast like recent development in New York, that has drawn comparisons to Amoeba Music by several reporters, is the just opened cavernous Rough Trade record store and concert space down near the waterfront in the hip and pricey Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn. But as the Gizmodo website reported in their review of the new space that opened last week, when comparing it with Amoeba, "Aisles upon aisles of CDs and vinyl records for sale. Not as many as you'd see in a music mega mart like a Virgin Megastore or in legendary independent chain Amoeba Music, but a respectable amount." I have still to make it over to check out firsthand this new Rough Trade space but once I do will do a full report here on the Amoeblog.

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Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: West Coast Rap the First Decade Part III: Breakin' N Enterin' Documentary + Captain Rapp & DJ Flash

Posted by Billyjam, December 3, 2013 11:20pm | Post a Comment

        

For this week's Hip-Hop History Tuesdays Amoeblog installment we continue with more on the topic of the first decade of LA/West Coast Rap. Above is a continuation of the video interview with DJ Flash and Captain Rapp and below is the entire film of the little-seen 1983 documentary on LA Hip-hop's early history: the 84 minute film Breakin' N Enterin.  In the above video interview with Flash and Rapp, they discuss both LA rap history and their latest release, Westcoastin featuring Ronnie Hudson along with a slew of legendary West Coast rappers, which has been selling well at Amoeba Hollywood since its recent release on CD. Meanwhile, the out-of-print 30-year-old documentary on LA Hip-hop made by Topper Carew is a refreshing West Coast counterpart to such NYC hip-hop films as Wild Style and Style Wars. It showcases LA's vibrant early b-boy, poplockin, graffiti, DJ, and MC scenes. Among the many highlights of this engaging documentary told by the practitioners of the art form is the Blue City Crew out of Carson, CA featuring members of what would later become the Boo Yaa Tribe. A young Ice-T, who would not appear in the hip-hop film Breakin' until a year later, is also featured here.

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