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WHY BEING THE BAND LEADER SUCKS

Posted by Billyjam, January 27, 2009 09:40pm | Post a Comment

Patrick Hambrecht
of the unique Brooklyn rock group Flaming Fire has a really wonderfully written article in the latest Vice magazine (published online yesterday) entitled "The Past, Or Three Reasons I Quit My Band and Started Over." In the piece he writes, "I was in a band called Flaming Fire. I recently ended this band." The charismatic center of the self-described "spooky electronic chant" band / metaphysical arts collective has created an extremely entertaining piece of writing in which he draws analogies to the cartoon G-Force and also Syd Barrett. What he wrote follows and will certainly entertain anyone who has ever been in a band:

"When I was a kid, my favorite show was G-Force, an anime about "Five secret agents trained to fly like birds." They traveled around in a huge space plane that could turn into a phoenix, and everyone on the show had a cool vehicle that detached from the phoenix. Mark, the leader, had a jet fighter; the robot sidekick had a subterranean drill; the girl had a scooter; the cool guy had a racecar. The only guy who didn't have a cool vehicle was Tiny. Tiny was the fat dork who drove the big plane, and waited for everyone to come back from their awesome solo missions. When you start a band, you think you're going to be Syd Barrett, and everyone else will let you get drunk, do lots of drugs and be fun while they pack drums and set up gigs and do all the boring stuff. But that's not going to happen. Because you're the band leader, the band is your thing, not theirs. Your drummer may be in eight bands, your bassist may be a painter, your lady vocalist may be a cartoonist, but you won't have time for those things yourself. You have to set up gigs, book tours, cart them around in a van you buy, smooth over arguments between members, try to save money from gigs for recording sessions, mail out promo CDs over your lunchbreak. You're not Syd Barrett; you're a secretary. You're Tiny."

AMOEBA MUSIC WEEKLY HIP-HOP ROUND UP 01:25:09

Posted by Billyjam, January 25, 2009 11:00pm | Post a Comment
AMOEBA MUSIC BERKELEY HIP-HOP TOP FIVE: 01:25:09

e-40 the ball street journal
1) Q-Tip The Renaissance (Motown/Universal)

2) Common Universal Mind Control (Geffen)

3) 88 Keys The Death of Adam (Decon)

4) E40 The Ball Street Journal (Sic Wid It/Warner)

5) Atmosphere God Loves Ugly (Rhymesayers Entertainment)

Thanks to Inti at Amoeba Music Berkeley for supplying this week's Hip-Hop Top FIve chart of the best selling albums of the week. As with both other Amoeba stores, the current Q-Tip and Common albums are both still selling steadily. So too are 88 Keys and the "Ambassador of the Yay Area," E40. In addition to the former Jive Records artist's first release through Warner, E40 is also one of the 40 odd artists featured on the fantastic new hip-hop rooted but musically diverse compilation N.A.S.A. The Spirit of Apollo on Anti (more on this release later). Not on this chart but still selling well at Amoeba Berkeley, as well as elsewhere, and coming in at a close number 6, is Kayne West's 808s & Heartbreak (Roc-A-Fella Records). "I really like that album," said Inti from Amoeba, adding that, "It's a concept album and I always appreciate concept albums. And people are loving it and buying it."
 
atmosphere god loves uglyThis week's Top Five's newest chart entry, Atmosphere's God Loves Ugly, is in fact a reissue of the relatively slept-on 2002 release by the superb Minneapolis, Minnesota duo comprised of Slug (emcee) and Ant (beats). Atmosphere's stellar last album When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold (Rhymesayers) was the top selling hip-hop album at Amoeba Music for 2008. As time goes on and mainstream hip-hop gets more redundant and repetitive, it seems unique voices like Slug's (an intelligent, insightful emcee with a real gift for storytelling and flipping the script in a truly original way) over the dense innovative beats of Ant, rise to the top to get the attention they rightfully deserve.

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LONGTIME SF HIP-HOP CREW BORED STIFF KEEP THEIR GAME ON POINT

Posted by Billyjam, January 24, 2009 03:05pm | Post a Comment
Bored Stiff video for "@ A Distance" off their new album The Sad Truth (Solidarity)
(Check for the scenes shot at Amoeba Music San Francisco)

The brand new video "@ A Distance" from Bored Stiff, who headline the Elbo Room in SF tonight (Saturday Jan 24th), is like a nice condensed history lesson (set to music) of the longtime San Francisco true hip-hop crew, who have been tirelessly putting it down on the hip-hop scene since the early 90's. The Matt Straus directed video (above) mixes footage taken over the years of the tight knit Sucka Free collective spanning from 1992 to 1998 to 2001 to the present day. Some of the current day shots in the video for the song, taken from their highly recommended new album The Sad Truth (Solidarity Records),  were shot partially inside Amoeba Music San Francisco (:53 - :57) where they go digging for their latest release in the "New Hip-Hop CD" aisles) as well as outside including right in front of the Haight Street store (1:06 - 1:10) with sometime collaborator Z-Man making a cameo.

Luis, from the hip-hop department at Amoeba Music San Francisco, is both a big fan and supporter of the group, most of whose members live not too far from the SF store."They're a humble group of really good rappers who have steadily kept their rap game on point all these years. Their style is timeless because they transcend trends. In fact they have an album called Timeless," said Luis by phone this week. "They've been doing this stuff since the early or mid-nineties and their music is still top quality all these years later." Their current album The Sad Truth, which features such guests as The Grouch and The Jacka, has cracked the SF store's Hip-Hop Top Five Chart.

INAUGURATION LIKE ROCK CONCERT, REVIVAL, & POLITICAL RALLY

Posted by Billyjam, January 22, 2009 02:00pm | Post a Comment

I'm really not an early riser. I sure don't like the cold. And I certainly don't care for standing around for hours on end in freezing temperatures after getting out of bed really early and without enough sleep. But on Tuesday this week in Washington DC I gladly put aside all of these personal disinclinations to be on the National Mall for the inauguration of the 44th president of the United States, Barack Obama

Sure it was uncomfortably cold as I waited, standing in the one spot for five long hours in frigid temperatures after being up since 4AM. Not only that but, like the majority of the other people that crammed all the way from the Lincoln Memorial to the Capitol Building on Tuesday, I didn't even catch a firsthand glimpse of the miniature faraway figure of Barack Obama on the steps of the Capitol Building. Instead I only got to see him (and everything else) on one of the many JumboTrons that were set up along the National Mall. But none of these temporary, uncomfortable inconveniences mattered one iota to me or seemingly to anyone else who had gathered in the numbingly cold pre-dawn to late morning hours patiently waiting for the historic ceremony to begin. It was all well worth it.


While varying reports I have read estimated Tuesday's turnout to be anywhere from 1.5 to 2 million, all seem to agree that it was a landmark event with a stunning turnout. Consider in comparison that for the last inauguration, George W Bush's second in January 2005, that a mere 100,000 showed up, and many of them were protesters. Meanwhile, for this year's inauguration festivities an estimated 10,000 charter buses, packed with revelers from as far away as Chicago and California, descended upon Washington for Tuesday's events and the couple of days leading up to it. So crazy were the numbers arriving in the nation's capitol that not only were all hotels in the DC area completely booked (many reportedly jacking their rates way up in a direct correlation to demand) but hotels up to a three hour drive in all directions out of DC were also booked up. One guy told me how his friend had rented out his DC apartment for $2000 for a night. In fact, get this, even all the campgrounds in the greater DC area were all booked up, and trust me, this is not camping weather on the East Coast. Many, like me, were lucky to have friends living in the DC/Maryland/Virginia areas who they could stay with.

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MACWORLD EXPO REPORT BY CAPTAIN FRED

Posted by Billyjam, January 19, 2009 03:43pm | Post a Comment
macworld 2009
This year's Macworld Expo, every Mac-head’s favorite trade show, was unfortunately a bit of a downer. Steve Jobs was too sick to give his traditional keynote address. There were no really groundbreaking products to announce (iLife 09-yawn), and an overall tone of austerity. 

Most of the exhibitors were not giving away any free stuff, and the ones that did have free stuff seemed kind of cheap. There were a few cool booths at the show.  Probably the The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus was the most impressive.  A fully loaded Greyhound type bus with digital audio and video studios built into it. They visit about 200 high schools a year and teach kids how to produce a CD or DVD. Check out their website.

I saw a huge amount of iPhone and iPod related stuff: little jackets and wallets for the gadgets, speakers to amplify the tiny amount of sound coming from these devices. There are about 10,000 “apps” for the iPhone and iPod Touch now; an amazing selection of software. One of them turns your iPod into a whoopy cushion. Yipee! Truphone (marketed as "a free application that lets you make international mobile calls from your own phone over the internet at incredibly low rates") has a free app that turns your iPod Touch into a VoIP phone when you’re near a wi-fi network. 

Myvu has little video eyeglasses that display the video from your iPod -- probably not a good idea to use these when you’re walking or driving around. A company called Solio makes compact solar power devices that can charge up your unit on the go. The one company doing something really different for Mac users was Axiotron. They turn your Macbook into a tablet computer with a touch screen. Of course, it’s very expensive.  The Macbook is about $1400 and then another $1400 to convert it into a “modbook.” Ouch! One piece of software I have loaded onto my Mac is Wiretap Anywhere. Basically it takes the audio from any source coming into your computer and makes it available to your audio recording software. Grab the audio off YouTube or MySpace or some internet radio station...whatever! Supposedly, PC users have had this capability for a while, but now it’s here for us Mac users.

So, all in all, it was a day well spent at Macworld. Supposedly, Apple, Inc. will not participate in the Expo anymore. That seems kind of sad. Hopefully, it’s just a ploy for them to control the event more to their liking. In any case, there are more Mac users every day, as people get tired of Microsoft and their lame products, so to those of you who just bought your first Mac, I say, “Welcome!”                          

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