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MARCH 8th: INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY

Posted by Billyjam, March 8, 2009 05:00am | Post a Comment

Today, March 8th, is the day recognized every year as International Woman's Day (IWD). It is a major day of global celebration for the economic, political and social achievements of women. IWD began as a political event, with the annual event blended in the culture of many countries (primarily Russia, as well as other nations of the former Soviet bloc).

While In some cultures IWD has lost some of its political flavor and become simply an occasion for men to express their love or respect towards women (a la Valentines Day meets Mother's Day), in many more countries it has maintained its political/sociological edge, where issues pertaining specifically to women are discussed. This year is no exception, as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has warned that the specific health-care needs of women are often ignored or insufficiently taken into account in war situations.

The ICRC points out, "In the world’s least developed countries, many of which are at war, women are 300 times more likely to die in childbirth or from pregnancy-related complications than in developed countries, according to UNICEF. While armed conflicts and other violence affect entire communities, women are particularly at risk of rape and other forms of sexual violence. Because of poor security conditions or because they have no means of transportation, it is often impossible for women to reach a health-care facility so as to give birth safely."

And in recognition of IWD, leaders from seven international organizations converged in New York this week for a 'Girl Power and Potential' reception with the event featuring a panel of speakers outlining the strategies and goals of the United Nations Interagency Task Force on Adolescent Girls. For more information click here.

AMOEBA MUSIC WEEKLY HIP-HOP ROUND UP 03:06:09

Posted by Billyjam, March 6, 2009 06:00am | Post a Comment
Amoeba Music Berkeley Hip-Hop Top Five: 03:06:09

1) K'NAAN Troubadour (A&M/Octone Records)

2) Zion I The TakeOver (Gold Dust Media)

3) Madlib Beat Konducta 5 & 6 (Stones Throw)

4) RZA Afro Samurai Resurrection (TVT)

5) Beastie Boys Paul's Boutique (reissue) (Capitol)

Thanks to Inti at the Berkeley Amoeba Music for this week's Hip-Hop Top Five chart which finds reigning Somalia hip-hop music star K'NAAN in the top slot with his new album Troubadour. He was also number one at the Hollywood Amoeba last week. Meanwhile, Oakland duo ZIon I, who were number one at Amoeba SF two weeks ago, are in the number two slot with their highly recommended new album The TakeOver, which is full of potential hit singles. Currently Zion I, made up of producer AmpLive and emcee Zumbia, are on a West Coast tour. For details click here.

To celebrate its 20th anniversary, the Beastie Boys' second album, 1989's Paul's Boutique, was recently reissued and has been selling well at all Amoeba stores since its late January reissue date. At the Berkeley store it is this week's number five top seller.

A lot has changed in the 20 years since the album's initial release from the New York group. Initially considered a paul's boutiquecommercial failure by their record label, who expected Licensed To Ill-scale sales and pop radio acceptance, the album catapulted the Beasties from being remembered as mere novelty rap act to serious hip-hoppers in the music history books. Included in countless magazines and critics' "Best Of" album lists, the 20th anniversary reissue of Paul's Boutique package features 24-bit remaster audio and a commentary track. If you don't already own this album, get it.

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COVERING CREEP: RATING RADIOHEAD COVERS

Posted by Billyjam, March 5, 2009 11:11am | Post a Comment
radiohead
Since Radiohead first released the Thom Yorke-penned song "Creep" seventeen years ago, numerous artists -- including many well known, high-profile acts -- have covered the Radiohead hit that became so popular that the band themselves distanced themselves from it for a spell.

Originally released in 1992 as their debut single, "Creep" was not initially a hit. But it did become one when it was rereleased the following year, when it also appeared on their debut album Pablo Honey. Out of uneasiness with becoming a sort of one-hit-wonder band associated with this sole major worldwide hit, plus the fact that Radiohead had shifted in style as the nineties progressed, Yorke and the band ceased playing it in concert altogether by 1998. After three years, they changed their mind and re-added it to their show playlists, although only sporadically.

Truth is that it is a great song and one that one that countless others have covered: many of which are included below in either video or audio format. Included in the versions are covers by Beck, Chrissie Hynde/Pretenders, Moby, KoRN, the Dutch band Shiver, Sad Kermit, and Weezer at a Hootenanny in Portland last summer. Weezer also played the song at a Hootenanny in the Bay Area and again at a concert in Tokyo last year. Also below is the original version by Radiohead. Not below but viewable on YouTube is Tears For Fears 1996 live in Brasil cover of the song. 

My personal fave remains the original, with Chrissie Hynde coming in a close second. I place off-key Moby (an ariist who I normally like) in the last place, even behind the frog named Sad Kermit. If you have time, check out the versions below and post your opinion / rating of best to worst version in the COMMENTS below.
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Amoeblog Update: thanks to the Amoeblog commenters SFatNIght who informed me of the Prince cover of "Creep" at Coachella last year which is not great audio quality recording but well worth checking out, and also to Amoeblog commenter Robert Gable who turned me onto the wonderful Edmund Welles bass clarinet quartet version of the song which I have added below. Thanks!

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MISSION DISTRICT CELEBRATED IN BEN STOKES' ANIMATED AZEEM VID

Posted by Billyjam, March 4, 2009 01:21pm | Post a Comment

The brilliant, Ben Stokes-directed video above for Azeem's Air Cartoons' album track "Latin Revenge" (on Oaklyn Records with music production by DJ Zeph) takes place in the Mission District of San air cartoons azeemFrancisco. Inspired in part by Terry Gilliam's work and also by Azeem's music, the animated piece also puts a spin on the role of how police are perceived in society. In the video Azeem gains popularity as he peruses the streets of the Mission (eventually becoming a King Kong-like menace) as meanwhile a host of local neighborhood characters take notice. The police in the video are described by the maker as "enablers and cheerleaders."

I called up Azeem the other day to ask him what he thought about the new video. "It made me a fan and it's my video," he laughed, adding that, "All I can say about that video is that I can really almost take no credit for it. I just made the song. Like you and anyone else, I am fan of the video and I am amazed at the level of artistry that it incorporates." The video's animation was done by Ben Stokes (the video's producer/director) with additional animation by Patrick Siemer, who drew from the thousands of still photographs they shot, then cut up, mixed and matched, and then painstakenly animated using After effects.

Ben Stokes, also a part of Tino Corps, D.H.S.,, &  Meat Beat Manifesto, has been professionally making music videos for about 20 years. The Mission District, San Francisco-based Stokes started out doing videos back in 1990 in his native Chicago where he began directing & producing a lot of the pioneering hometown WaxTrax industrial music artists' videos such as Ministry and the Revolting Cocks.

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NEW MUSIC LABEL, FEAT. DAEDELUS, BASED ON FRIENDS OF FRIENDS

Posted by Billyjam, March 3, 2009 08:30am | Post a Comment
daedelusFor many, many years now Tuesdays have been the music industry's standard day of the week to release new records and CDs. And today, Tuesday March 3rd, is when brand new Los Angeles music label FoF Music is dropping its inaugural release, Friends of Friends Vol. 1 featuring Daedelus and fellow LA electronic act, duo Jogger. But similarities with the traditional music industry business model end there for this modern, post-Internet age, self-described "T-shirt label," whose catalog will be all digital file only releases.
 
"The Internet in many ways has been “the great equalizer” for both artists and music fans, giving us all new opportunities to release, buy and receive music," writes creator of this new indie label Leeor Brown on FoF's website. The concept for FoF Music, which stands for Friends of Friends Music, he writes, is to invite an artist "to join the FoF family by signing on to do a split EP; they in turn invite another musician or group to complete the split release and commission a designer to create the EP’s artwork on a limited edition T-Shirt which will include a download card (100% seed paper card-- Included will be the release, exclusive remixes and special content: ie videos, mixes etc)."

Today's premiere release, Friends of Friends Vol. 1, is a digital only six song shared "EP" with three songs each from number one "friend" Daedelus (born Alfred Darlington) and his friend Jogger. Alfred also invited friends Amir Yaghmai (who he attended high school with) and Jonathan Larroquette, both of whom are active live band members of his side project The Long Lost with his wife Laura, to also contribute to the new project. Additionally he invited the husband and wife art duo Kozyndan to do the cover art/t-shirt design for the release.

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