Amoeblog

FM Belfast's "Pump" and Stereo Total's "Tour De France" Are More Than Mere Covers of Past Hits:

Posted by Billyjam, May 24, 2010 04:48pm | Post a Comment
FM Belfast
Their economy may be in tatters and the spewing volcanic ash that caused so much disruption to air travel may have strained relations with their mainland European neighbors, who were hardest hit, but Iceland's music scene is still in a very healthy state. From the ever-inventive post-rock sound of Sigur Rós to the turntablist hip-hop sounds of former Amoebite and Icelandic born DJ Platurn, and from the home-made, lo-fi analog sounds of longtime Icelandic duo Slowblow to the warmly produced, retro electronic sounds of FM Belfast, Iceland clearly has much to offer musically.

And of all the recent non hip-hop releases I have been listening to lately, FM Belfast, who hail from Reykjavík, Iceland, are among my top faves.  Their just released eleven track how to make friends album on Kimi Records (which was originally released in 2008 as an import-only on the small Icelandic indie World Champion Records) captures the fun electro-pop/electronicia trio's throwback style on such tracks as "Frequency" and "VHS" (which longs for the bygone days of VHS tapes and other old technology). But the FM Belfast album track that won me over upon first hearing it was the group's inspired cover of Technotronic's "Pump Up The Jam." For their interpretation of this once ubiquitous 1989 upbeat, bouncy, hip-house-y global hit, they totally rework it by bringing it almost to a screeching halt. They transform the song, renamed "Pump," into a hypnotic, DJ Screw (Chopped and Screwed like) slowed-down version that I think is pure brilliance. Check it out below yourself to see what you think. Meantime, all the way down the page is Technotronic themselves with the Belgian outfit's 1989 video for "Pump Up The Jam," which was a worldwide smash hit, including in the US, where it went to number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts in late 1989 & early 1990, becoming the first ever house record to go commercial Stateside.

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Nas + Damien Marley, Sage Francis, Reflection Eternal Play Amoeba, New Andre Nickatina Skatedecks, Amoeba Hollywood Top Five, + More: Amoeba Music Weekly Hip-Hop Round Up: 05:21:10

Posted by Billyjam, May 21, 2010 08:22am | Post a Comment
Amoeba Music Hollywood Weekly Hip-Hop Top Five Chart: 05:21:10

Sage Francis
1) Sage Francis Li(F)e (Strange Famous Records)

2) B.o.B. presents The Adventures Of Bobby Ray (Rebel Rock/Grand Hustle/Atlantic)

3) Madlib Madlib Medicine Show #4: 420 Chalice All-Stars (Stones Throw)

4) Roc Marciano Marcberg (Fat Beats)

5) Black Eyed Peas
The E.N.D. (Interscope)

Amoeba Hollywood's hip-hop chart features the new album from Sage Francis Li(F)e on the artist's own Strange Famous label in the number one position. The record is also doing extremely well at both the San Francisco and the Berkeley Amoeba stores. Peep last week's Amoeba Music Hip-Hop Weekly Round Up for more background info on this recommended new release from the alternative rap act, as well as upcoming California dates/venues on the ongoing Sage Francis tour, which reportedly is selling advance tickets at a rapid rate. All the other chart entries this week at the SoCal Amoeba, including B.o.B. presents The Adventures Of Bobby Ray, Madlib's Madlib Medicine Show #4: 420 Chalice All-Stars (Stones Throw), and Long Island, NY emcee Roc Marciano's Marcberg on Fat Beats, have also been best sellers lately at Amoeba Berkeley and San Francisco. Meantime, the Black Eyed Peas' The E.N.D. (Interscope), which is coming up on the one year anniversary of its release date in a few weeks, is like the Energizer bunny. It just keeps on going and going and selling and selling -- thanks in great part to the group touring and the hook-laden hit singles it keeps spinning off.

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Recently Refurbished Oakland Museum of California Has Created A New Model That Is More In Conversation With Its Attendees

Posted by Billyjam, May 19, 2010 09:47am | Post a Comment

The first thing that struck me upon entering the recently reopened, remodeled & restructured Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) is how much more hands-on and visitor friendly it is now as compared to before it closed its doors to the public eight months ago to undergo its first major makeover since the museum first opened back in 1969. On re-opening day earlier this month everywhere I looked throughout the museum's many exhibits I saw people of all ages getting hands-on involvement from museum-headphone wearing folks voting via "Yes" or "No" tickets in the "What is Art?" exhibit, and other participants scribbling down personal histories on post-its to add to the exhibit wall that asks museum-goers, "What events in recent history will have the biggest impact on our future?"

This radical move away from the staid traditional model of museum-goer as non-participant observer and toward becoming encouraged active participant is a deliberate one by the downtown Oakland museum, which invested $58-million into its recent refurbishing. "Interactivity is so important and that is one of the challenges for museums," noted OMCA curator Rene de Guzman in the Amoeblog interview (video below). "Museums traditionally have been talking at people. And you really have to create a new model where you are in conversation with people," said the curator, whose rich Bay Area gallery/museum background includes influential positions at such respected San Francisco arts entities as Intersection for the Arts, Southern Exposure (as artist committee member), and Yerba Buena Center for The Arts (YBCA), where he was the visual arts director (along with Renny Pritikin, de Guzman curated the progressive & popular Hip-Hop Nation exhibit in 2001). de Guzman, who joined OMCA in time for this renovation, pinpoints "community" and "culture" as the two key elements of the East Bay institution, which he put plainly-but-profoundly as, "People telling their point of view."

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Spill a Little on the Curb for Law & Order, Canceled After 20 Seasons

Posted by Billyjam, May 18, 2010 10:42am | Post a Comment
Law and Order
Spill a little on the curb for the passing of the long-running TV show Law & Order, which, after 20 solid years/seasons on the air, plus giving birth to several spin-offs, had the plug abruptly pulled on it by NBC last Friday. Admittedly, the passing of a TV series may not be nearly as seriously tragic as the recent real life passings of musicians Ronnie James Dio or Lena Horne, but for both the dedicated fans and the actors and others employed by the long-running show (matched only by Gunsmoke in terms of being TV's longest running dramas), it is sad news. But at least we have re-runs and the various seasons of Law and Order on DVD -- available at Amoeba Music.

The Dick Wolf created show, with its instantly recognizable theme music by Mike Post, in its current season stars Anthony Anderson, Jeremy Sisto, and Linus RoacheLaw & Order has also featured S. Epatha Merkerson for 391 episodes and Sam Waterston for 368, with a grand total of 453 episodes. Perhaps most beloved on the show was the late Jerry Orbach, who played Detective Lennie Briscoe from 1992 to 2004. In fact, he even made cameos on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, and the short lived Law & Order: Trial By Jury -- three spin-offs of the influential Law and Order franchise that each employed the trademark "doink doink" sound effect (hear it below) to bridge scenes. There is also a spinoff British version, Law & Order: UK.

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AZ's Regressive SB 1070 Triggers Return To Politicized Rap of Public Enemy's "By The Time I Get To Arizona"

Posted by Billyjam, May 17, 2010 11:44am | Post a Comment
Arizona Hip-Hop Artists "Back To Arizona" (2010)

The regressive Senate Bill 1070, or, SB 1070, as it is widely referred to, is the new law in Arizona that makes the failure to carry immigration documents a crime, and it has spurred similar proposals in other states. Public EnemyOn the other side of things, the bill has not only triggered nationwide outrage and protests, but it has also sparked a solidarity among many hip-hop artists, and kick-started a renaissance of sorts of the type of politicized militant hip-hop that was prevalent back in the early nineties when Public Enemy (PE) released their commentary on Arizona at that time in the song "By The Time I Get To Arizona."

At the forefront of the anti SB 1070 protest rap movement are the thirteen different Arizona hip-hop artists who recently found cause to join forces and record the powerful song (and video above) "Back To Arizona" that lyrically decries the bill (rightfully seen as legalized
racial profiling) that was signed last month by their state's Gov. Jan Brewer. The mostly unknown but talented Arizona artists that contributed to this posse cut include Queen YoNasDa, DJ John Blaze, Tajji Sharp, Yung Face, Mr. Miranda, Ocean, Da'aron Anthony, Atllas, Chino D, Nyhtee, Pennywise, Rich Rico, and Da Beast

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