Amoeblog

AUTHOR JG BALLARD (Crash/Empire of the Sun) DEAD AT AGE 78

Posted by Billyjam, April 19, 2009 12:51pm | Post a Comment
jg ballard
As reported by the BBC and other UK media sources, the famed British author JG Ballard, best known for his novels Crash and Empire of the Sun, died earlier today following several years of illness. He was 78. As noted on the BBC site, despite being referred to as a science fiction writer, Ballard instead insisted that his books were, "picturing the psychology of the future." 

Ballard's most acclaimed novel (one of 15 he wrote and he also penned some short stories collections), Empire of the Sun, was based on firsthand experience drawn from his crashchildhood in a Japanese prison camp in China. "I remember a lot of the casual brutality and beatings-up that went on," Ballard was quotied as saying in reference to the three years he spent interned in a prison camp run by the Japanese from age 12 during World War II. and from which he drew much material for the fictionalized account of his childhood in his famed book.

Empire of the Sun
was later made into a film by Steven Spielberg. Meanwhile, his controversial book Crash, about sexual desires stimulated by car crashes, was made into the 1996 film Crash by director David Cronenberg and stars James Spader, Holly Hunter, Elias Koteas, Deborah Kara Unger, and Rosanna Arquette. Ballard/Cronenberg's Crash is not to be confused with the similarly titled 2005 Paul Haggis movie set in Los Angeles and involving a collection of interrelated characters.

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INTERVIEW w. DOSEONE/THEMSELVES WHO PLAY COACHELLA TODAY

Posted by Billyjam, April 19, 2009 11:00am | Post a Comment

Today is the third and final day of the talent-packed, weekend-long Coachella Festival, which has been Amoeblogged about here intensively in the hella informative Coachella 2009 30/30 Initiative (30 Coachella Bands Featured in 30 Days) blog over the last few weeks leading up the annual diverse outdoor music festival at the Empire Polo Field in Indio, CA.

Rightfully dubbed by the UK music magazine NME as "probably the best festival in the world," today's (Sunday, April 19th) impressive lineup includes The Cure, Public Enemy (the recently reunited), Throbbing Gristle, Lupe Fiasco, Roni Size Represent, My Bloody Valentine, Groove Armada, K'NAAN, Brian Jonestown Massacre, Antony and the Johnsons, and Themselves, who I recently caught up with. I checked out their show (amazing!) and talked with member (and former Amoeba employee) Adam "Doseone" Drucker, who shares membership in the Oakland-based Anticon duo with fellow producer/emcee Jeff "Jel" Logan.

Although Jel and Doseone are both members of the group Subtle and are constantly producing together or just hanging out in the East Bay, where they both live, as the duo Themselves they had not performed or recorded together in six years until recently. They've just recorded an album that will drop in a couple of months or so, put together a kick-ass mix-CD, and have undertaken a national tour that ends today at Coachella. Then, on Friday (24th) they begin their European tour, starting in Paris, France. I caught up with them in NYC a couple of weeks ago when they played at Webster Hall and talked with Doseone about various doseonethings, including the Anticon group's ten-year anniversary. "We made up a ton of music we always wanted to make and one was a giant collaborative effort...with everyone we ever shared air with and that was something we always wanted to do in a million ways," said Dose-One of the new mix CD that includes such killer tracks as "Know That To Know This," featuring Aesop Rock. "There's nothing like an hour-long posse cut to clean the blood," he laughed. "And we finished our full-length, which is our kind of stoic little ten song banger for the ten year anniversary and [on it] every song has its place in the history of rap recording to us and our own personal history with respect to rap and how we make music these days. So, you know, it's a blast. It was great! It was like getting our fitted suits."

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RECORD STORE DAY 2009: YOU CAN'T PUT ARMS AROUND AN MP3

Posted by Billyjam, April 18, 2009 10:18am | Post a Comment

Today, April 18th, 2009, is Record Store Day and Amoeba Music is among the countless independent record stores today celebrating the annual event. RSD this year seems even more worthy of celebrating than ever. We all have our own record store memories. My earliest ones go back to when I was just a little kid -- maybe four or five -- growing up in Ireland where my dad, a DJ and avid music collector, would take me along with him on Saturday mornings when he would make his regular stops at tiny record shops in the heart of Dublin. I remember that always reassuring familiar record store smell. These were shops where he knew the owners by name and they knew him and would always have that record he was "looking for" set aside. I remember how they would keep the actual records under the counter, all carefully catalogued and filed in their sleeves, with the empty floppy album covers out in the bins that I was barely tall enough to see.

Click on Amoeba Music Record Store Day for details of the music & fun packed events jumping off today at each of the three Amoeba Music outlets, including both Wendy & Lisa and DJ Babu spinning at Amoeba Hollywood at 1pm and 5pm respectively; Kylee of Loquat, Kelley Stoltz, John Vanderslice and Aesop Rock all spinning sets at Amoeba San Francisco; and Yoni Wolf of Why? spinning a set at Amoeba Berkeley.

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AMOEBA MUSIC WEEKLY HIP-HOP ROUND UP 04:17:09

Posted by Billyjam, April 17, 2009 06:17am | Post a Comment
Amoeba Music Berkeley Hip-Hop Top Five: 04:17:09
jadakiss the last kiss
1) DOOM Born Like This (Lex)

2) Jadakiss The Last Kiss (Roc-A-Fella)

3) Aceyalone Aceyalone & The Lonely Ones (Decon) 

4) eLZhi Witness My Growth (Fat Beats)

5) UGK UGK 4 Life (Jive)

DOOM, the artist formerly known as MF DOOM, continues to sell well at each Amoeba Music store with his latest album Born Like This on Lex. Last week he was #1 at Amoeba Hollywood, two weeks ago #2 at Amoeba San Francisco, and this week the masked mic master is number one at the Berkeley store, and deservedly so. It's a great album that demands repeated listens! And number two at the Telegraph Ave store this week is the brand release from Jadakiss, The Last Kiss on Roc-a-Fella. If there ever was a cameo-laden, star-studded rap release, this is it. Dizzam, does it have a lot of guests! Jadakiss has eye-catching, big name stars to collaborate with on the 18 track CD -- he only has three tracks to himself! Guests include Lil Wayne, Nas, Mary J. Blige, Young Jeezy, Styles P, Pharrell, Ghostface Killah & Raekwon, Ne-Yo, and Faith Evans, to name but some. Evans, the singer and widow of Christopher "The Notorious B.I.G." Wallace, appropriately appears on "Letter To B.I.G.," a truly touching tribute to the late, great Biggie Smalls that is also found on the recently released soundtrack to film B.I.G. biopic Notorious.

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY BESSIE SMITH, EMPRESS OF THE BLUES

Posted by Billyjam, April 15, 2009 09:12am | Post a Comment
bessie smith
Today marks the birthdate of legendary blues singer Bessie Smith, who was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee on April 15th, 1894 according to the 1910 census. (Note that Smith's D.O.B. has been contested, but this one is the commonly agreed on date.)

Life was tough for the young Smith, who would go on to great success and become widely known as the “Empress of the Blues” (initially she was dubbed "Queen of the Blues").

After both Smith's father and mother died by the time she was only nine, she and her siblings teamed up to earn money to make ends meet in their impoverished household and assist her older sister, Viola, who had taken over the role as parent for her and her brothers and sisters. 

At a young age music became a way to make money. Around the turn of the century, along with her brother Andrew, Bessie would do a song and dance routine on the streets of Chattanooga for spare change. Andrew played guitar while she sang and danced.

By age 18 Bessie Smith joined the Stokes troupe, a company that also included Ma Rainey, as a dancer initially. Smith's singing career would later be given a chance to blossom via stage productions and when Columbia Records began releasing her recordings in the early 1920's. bessie smith

She would make over 150 recordings for the label before splitting from them in 1931. Smith soon beacame a major star and was the highest paid black performer in her heyday, when she became the biggest headliner on the black Theater Owners Booking Association circuit. Her stage shows, during which she was known to wear a variety of  eye-catching costumes, were legendary.  Smith's signing with Columbia Records in 1923 coincided with the label expanding its target audience to include blacks by forming a "race records" series and Smith's earlist hits for the label included "Gulf Coast Blues" and "Downhearted Blues."

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