Posted by Billyjam, December 9, 2009 03:00pm | Post a Comment

The much revered (and missed) nineties alt-rock outft Jawbox performed last night (12/8) for the first time in twelve years! They played a one-off, one-song reunion show live on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon at NBC's New York studios in the famed 30 Rockefeller Plaza building, performing the song "Savory" (video above in case you missed their charged performance). The Washington DC group played their first show ever back in 1989 opening for Fugazi and were once signed to Dischord before surprising/shocking many by jumping to a major (Atlantic Records). The occasion for this surprise reunion was to celebrate the reissue of Jawbox's 1994 album For Your Own Special Sweetheart -- available at Amoeba Music -- featuring the song "Savory" that was once covered by the Deftones. And, despite the wishes of the many remaining fans of this post-hardcore band, the group's J. Robbins insisted in a recent statement that, besides last night's TV appearance, there would be no other shows or chance of a full-fledged reunion.


Posted by Billyjam, December 8, 2009 07:40pm | Post a Comment
The Dakota, December 8th, 2009

On this date, December 8th, exactly 29 years ago, John Lennon was tragically shot and killed outside his New York City home, The Dakota building on 72nd Street and Central Park West. He was gunned down at approx John Lennon, New York City10:50pm in cold blood by Mark David Chapman, a "fan" who Lennon had signed an autograph for earlier in the day. The former Beatle, along with his wife Yoko Ono, had just returned from a remixing session at the Record Plant recording studio.

While this event stunned Lennon/Beatles fans the world over, for those who lived in New York City it was momentous. While certainly nowhere near as devastating a tragedy as the 9/11 attacks on New York City, Lennon's horrifying murder on a Manhattan's streets was similar in that the event brought the city and its citizens together in shock and mourning. A densely populated metropolitan area, New York City can often be a cold, unfriendly place where strangers may bump shoulders with fellow city dwellers but rarely stop to talk to total strangers.

But on that night in 1980, as news of Lennon being slain trickled out, total strangers in shock gathered in the streets and cried together over the unbelievable news. It hit New Yorkers especially hard because Lennon had adopted New York City as his own. He had relocated there nine years earlier and had always proclaimed his love for the Big Apple. He even titled one of his albums after NYC, the highly politicized 1972 Yoko collaboration and double-album Some Time In New York City. And one of the most common images that comes to peoples' minds of John Lennon is one with him proudly wearing that New York City t-shirt (above). So his death in New York City hit hard. And on the night of the shooting concerned fans converged at both Roosevelt Hospital where Lennon was taken (and died within a half hour of tstrawberry fields central parkhe shooting) and outside the Dakota building, where a huge crowd had gathered, with candles lit and singing Lennon songs. And once word that Lennon had died got back to the swelling crowd outside the Dakota, the crying and mourning intensified. In fact, it continued through the night and into the days after.

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Posted by Billyjam, December 7, 2009 09:00am | Post a Comment
Anerae "X-Raided" Brown
Today we have another installment in the ongoing exclusive Amoeblog series Hip-Hop Behind Bars: A First Person Account by X-Raided, in which long-incarcerated Sacramento rap artist and label owner Anerae "X-Raided" Brown writes from behind the bars of Pleasant Valley State Prison in Coalinga, CA  where he is serving a 31 year to life sentence. In this edition, he writes about his two most recent releases, the two volumes in the Unforgiven series, which are available at Amoeba Music.

As outlined in his last Amoeblog entry, X-Raided, who somehow manages to run a record label and release albums from behind prison bars (he's released a dozen projects since his incarceration back in the early nineties), has released three albums just this year, all with Unforgiven in the title. One is entitled Eternally Unforgiven, recorded, he said, "to get my voice back out there" after a gap in releases. Meantime, The Unforgiven 1: In the Beginning is an updated version of the album he released ten years ago via Sacramento's Black Market Records. The new 2009 version, released on the artist's recently formed Bloc Star Entertainment label, features completely different sequencing, added tracks, and remixes. The goal of this release was to bring new fans up to speed and to prepare them for The Unforgiven 2: Assisted Suicide, which, according to X- Raided, "is here to let y'all know I'm back and I'm serious. Anybody think we ain't on fire, listen to the "Mortal Combat" remix and tell me we ain't the best. I put the rhymes on Unforgiven 2 against anything out there." What follows is X-Raided's track by track breakdown of each of these Unforgiven volumes.

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Posted by Billyjam, December 4, 2009 09:00am | Post a Comment
Amoeba Music Hollywood Weekly Hip-Hop Top FIve: 12:04:09
Black Keys, RZA, Blakroc, Mos Def
1) BlakRoc Blakroc  (V2/Cooperative)

2) Lil Wayne The Carter Documentary DVD (Cash Money/Universal)

3) Birdman PRICELE$$ (Cash Money/Universal)

4) DOOM Unexpected Guests (Gold Dust Media)

5) Juvenile Cocky and Confident (Atlantic Records)

Blakroc by BlakRoc, the number one new hip-hop release from the Hollywood Amoeba store this week, is one of those refreshing albums that pushes the boundaries of what rap or hip-hop is, or can be. The Blakroc project, which was initiated by rapper Jim Jones and produced by Damon Dash, is a large scale collaborative affair between the Black Keys (who you'll recall worked with Danger Mouse on their last album) and a slew of high profile hip-hop talents including Mos Def, Q-Tip, Raekwon, RZA, Pharaohe Monch, Ludacris, and the late ODB. But to label BlakRoc simply another rap-rock fusion (a melding that so often comes off sounding forced) is selling it short. The album comes off sounding fresh and never forced with the Black Keys' (guitarist & vocalist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney) dirty, guitar driven, big drum beat sound proving to be the perfect match for the album's numerous emcees. Because it is far from your typical cliche rap release, this album will not appeal to all rap fans, which is why it is so worth listening to. For a taste of this album, check out the video below for the album track "Ain't Nothing Like You (Hoochie Coo)" featuring Mos Def and Jim Jones.
Birdman Cash Money Lil Wayne
Cash Money Records holds down two new releases on the new Top Five, a CD and a DVD from Birdman and Lil Wayne respectively. The 90 minute documentary takes an in-depth look at the highly successful New Orleans rap artist Dwayne Carter Jr., aka Lil Wayne, aka Weezy, aka the self-proclaimed 'greatest rapper alive." It includes lots of interviews, behind the scenes segments, and, of course, concert footage. The movie, which won positive reviews when it screened at this year's Sundance Film Festival, also offers a pretty revealing look at Wayne and what makes him tick (and also what gets him high). You get to see the popular and prolific artist, who has been a star since his early teens, as an alternately funny and short-tempered fellow. Unfortunately -- due to the timeline of its creation -- the film doesn't include his latest legal problems (gun possession) and the likely jail time he may soon serve. There is a ten minute excerpt from the documentary below. 

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Posted by Billyjam, December 1, 2009 07:27pm | Post a Comment

Grotus live in Rouen, France - 1994.

The expression "ahead of their time" pretty much sums up the musically unique, genre blending, multi-media 1990's Bay Area group Grotus. Grotus was an amazing band, especially live, that appealed to fans of punk, industrial, metal, two drum-set percussion, samples, and politically outspoken lyrics. Unfortunately though they were also one of those really good bands that never fully got the type of credit grotusor, more importantly, the level of success that they deserved and the band called it quits in 1996, only five years after they released their debut album.

Grotus' original members Adam Tanner (keyboard, guitars, sampler) and John Carson (keyboards, bass, sampler) formed the band in San Francisco in 1989. Drummer/vocalist/sampler player Lars Fox joined afterward and together they honed their unique sound and steadily built up a strong local following, getting much airplay on stations like KUSF and KALX, and gigging at a variety of venues, often with the band Consolidated with whom they were friends. Drummer and DJ Bruce Boyd joined the group after they released their debut in 1991. His addition gave Grotus the two drummer sonic assault that helped define their powerful sound.

Grotus' record labels included Spirit Music Industries, Alternative Tentacles and the major London/Polygram, and between them all the band released a series of singles, EPs, and albums. They played on stages alongside such groups as Nine Inch Nails and Mike Patton's Mr Bungle, for whom they opened on a 1992 US tour. For the next four years the band toured tirelessly, winning diehard fans along the way in countries such as France, where the above live concert clip was shot and where they recorded a live album in 1994. Grotus' three studio albums are Brown (1991), Slow Motion Apocalypse (1993), and Mass (1996). While most of the Grotus catalog is out of print (Slow Motion on Alt Tent is still in print on CD), you can usually, with a bit of digging in the vinyl and CD sections, track down copies of their records at Amoeba Music. Recently I caught up with member Bruce Boyd to ask him some questions about this great SF group.
Amoeblog: You joined the band after it had been around for a minute. Can you give folks an idea of what point Grotus was at when you joined and how you came to join the fold?

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