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AMOEBA MUSIC WEEKLY HIP-HOP ROUND UP 04:24:09

Posted by Billyjam, April 24, 2009 10:02am | Post a Comment
Amoeba Music San Francisco Hip-Hop Top Five: 04:24:09
grouch and eligh
1) The Grouch & Eligh Go G+E! (Legendary)

2) Mr. Lif I Heard It Today (Bloodbot/Traffic Ent) 

3) Finale A Pipe Dream And A Promise (Interdependent Media)

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

5) Keak da Sneak Thizz Iz Allndadoe,Vol. 2 (Thizz)

Thanks to Luis at the San Francisco Amoeba Music store for this week's Hip-Hop Top Five chart. The Living Legends power-duo, The Grouch & Eligh, hold down the top slot with their new album Go G+E! -- the third and latest in an ongoing collaborative series that just hit Amoeba on Tuesday this week. Coincidentally the pair are also playing a free show at the Haight Street Amoeba on Monday at 6pm. They will also play a longer set later that night at Slim's on 11th Street in San Francisco. Both shows should be really good based on the new album alone, which sports some kick-ass tracks with lots of collaborators on board including Mr F.A.B., Slug of Atmosphere, and AmpLive of Zion I to name but a few. As accurately noted elsewhere on this website, the Legends' Grouch & Eligh have been at the forefront of the West Coast's independent qbert at amoebarap movement for over a decade. The Legends' history can be traced back to Amoeba Music when the collective first started getting their lo-fi but heartfelt early recordings into the Berkeley Amoeba. Note that you can purchase the new Grouch & Eligh CD online for $10.98 at Amoeba by clicking here. You can also check out a performance from a past instore by Zion I and the Grouch right here.

As you probably already know from either/or attending the big Record Store Day this past Saturday at the three Amoebas or reading about it on the Amoeblog, the event was a huge success. "It was crazy...just off the hook," said Luis, who also said that he and everyone at the San Francisco store had a blast. One of the highlights, Luis noted, was the surprise turntable display by world renowned turntablist DJ QBert, who just happened to be crate digging in the store but was easily persuaded to get up on the ones-and-twos. Check out the full Amoeblog report of the Record Store Day at the SF Amoeba here.

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MIRA COOK'S UNIQUE YET FAMILIAR WINNING SOUND

Posted by Billyjam, April 23, 2009 07:07am | Post a Comment
mira
Every once in a while an artist who is totally unique yet immediately relatable and instantly engaging comes along and wins you over; the sort of artist whose soothing, seductive sound, with soulful melodies & heartfelt harmonizing, creeps up on you and pulls you in from the first few bars. Bay Area one-woman band Mira Cook is this kind of artist. Tonight she shares a bill with Michael Hurley and Sean Smith at The Verde Club in San Francisco.

Mira Cook's lo-fi yet lush sound, while completely original and unique, will remind you of a myriad of other artists you might have heard before, from Meredith Monk to Liz Phair to the U.S. Girls to Laurie Anderson to DJ Radar. Radar the DJ? Yes, her similarity to the Arizona turntablist is based on her performance style of utilizing live loops to build upon her sound, the difference being that while Radar uses records as his sound source, Mira Cook uses her own voice. 

A classically trained ballet dancer with a respected career in dance, the Texas born, San Francisco based vocalist/multi-instrumentalist is also classically trained in piano and comes to the music she makes from a refreshingly different place than your typical "alternative" artist. I have seen Cook perform live twice recently and each time was completely blown away, first by the harmonic sound she creates with her voice -- pitch-perfectly layered to sound like a group of female vocalists heavenly harmonizing that at times conjures up the Gillian Welch, Alison Krauss & Emmylou Harris' collaboration on the O-Brother-Where-Art-Thou soundtrack -- and also by the fact that she does it all solo and live without missing a beat. Amazing!

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WHEN CONTROVERSY GOES TO WASTE: BANNED EUROVISION SONG

Posted by Billyjam, April 22, 2009 05:17pm | Post a Comment
putin
Usually when an artist's music is banned or mired in controversy, particularly policital controversy, said artist's song/album/music is something that you definitely want to track down and hear, and most likely own a copy of for posterity. What could be so powerful a piece of music that would lead to it being banned? Incidents that come to mind include the classic example of the Sex Pistols and their controversial 1977 single "God Save The Queen" which was banned by the BBC upon its release. 

So when I recently read all of the hullabaloo that made international news headlines surrounding the "controversial anti-Putin" (as in notorious Russian leader Vladimir Putin) song “We Don’t Wanna Put In,” I was intruiged. The song is by the quartet Stephane & 3G who hail from the country of Georgia, and it recently won that country's preliminaries for the Eurovision Song Contest, which this year is to to be held in Moscow, Putin's backyard. But due to pressure (much of it reportedly trickled down from Putin himself) to change the lyrics or be banned, the song has been withdrawn from the contest by the group, who refuse to change their song in any way. Now Georgia will no longer be represented in the Eurovision Song Contest. In fact, the country of Georgia, in solidarity with the banned group, is reported to be holding its own international music show, to be broadcast on the Georgian national TV station Rustavi 2 at exactly the same time the Eurovision Song Contest is to be broadcast live from Moscow.

Observing Yom Hashoah: Holocaust Remembrance Day

Posted by Billyjam, April 21, 2009 11:31am | Post a Comment
the readerOne of the most memorable scenes from the hilarious Ricky Gervais/ Stephen Merchant television series Extras produced by HBO/BBC is the episode in which Kate Winslet, playing a nun taking a break from shooting a Holocaust film, is giving advice on how to score an Oscar. "If you do a film about the Holocaust, you're guaranteed an Oscar," advises Winslet, playing herself in the mockumentary about extras in Hollywood. Winslet's episode was first aired in August 2005. Of course, the real kicker to this fictional scenario is that just three years later Winslet went on to star in the wonderful 2008 Holocaust film The Reader and won an Oscar for her role for "best actress" at the Academy Awards earlier this year. 

But the real reason why so many films about the indelible scar on the human experience that is the Holocaust go on to justifiably win Academy Awards is that these typically somber heartfelt films tend to be made, by both directors and actors alike, with such a level of pure passion and sincerity that it comes across in the finished product and ultimately makes for really powerful pieces of art. Examples of films that deal in some way with the Holocaust include Anne Frank - The Whole Story (2001), The Devil's Arithmetic (1999), Conspiracy (2001), Sophie Scholl - The Final Days (2005), Life Is Beautiful (1997), Schindler's List (1993), Jakob the Liar (1999), as well as the 1978 TV mini-series Holocaust. All of these films are available on DVD and found at Amoeba Music.

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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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