Amoeblog

Rest in Peace to Iconic 70's Photographer Leee Black Childers (Drag Queens, Rent Boys, Pick Pockets, Junkies, Rock Stars, & Punks)

Posted by Billyjam, April 7, 2014 08:15am | Post a Comment

Legendary New York underground photographer Leee Black Childers, whose iconic 1970's photos were captured in his 2012 published book Drag Queens, Rent Boys, Pick Pockets, Junkies, Rock Stars, and Punks, has died in LA. The folks from Lethal Amounts in Downtown LA had recently flown Childers out to Los Angeles for a showing of the photo exhibition of the book photos, that opened on March 22nd and is scheduled to run through April 19th, which Amoeba Music was one of the sponsors of.  In conjunction with that photo exhibit Amoeba Hollywood obtained two of signed Childers’ prints (one of David Bowie and another of Patti Smith) to have for sale in the LA store.

The Kentucky born Childers, who worked for Andy Warhol in both NY and London was among the earliest photographers to capture the burgeoning glam scene and the early NYC underground punk scene, was also at one time involved in the business management of both Johnny Thunders (New York Dolls) and David Bowie (he was the tour manager for the Ziggy Stardust tour). Childers' photography was featured in the cover art of Bowie's Diamond Dogs album and Thunders' Born Too Loose - among others. Childers' Factory era photos of Warhol, his countless pics of the Hotel Chelsea denizens including lots of drag queens, and his photos from the Stonewall era NYC had made made him  a milestone historic chronicler of both gay and rock cultures.

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Hip-Hop Rap-Up, Week End 04.04.14: CunninLynguists, Kev Brown, 9th Wonder, Zion I, Slum Village, Mobb Deep, DJ Shortkut

Posted by Billyjam, April 4, 2014 10:08am | Post a Comment
       


Amoeba Music Berkeley Hip-Hop Top Five: Week Ending 04:04:14


1) Freddie Gibbs, Madlib Pinata (Madlib Invazion)

2) CunninLynguists  Strange Journey Volume Three  (MRI)

3) 9th Wonder Jamla Is The Squad (Jamla Records/Empire Dist)

4) MindsOne & Kev Brown Pillars (Ill Adrenaline/Fat Beats)

5) Mobb Deep The Infamous Mobb Deep (Infamous Records)

Thanks to E-Lit at the Berkeley Amoeba Music store for running down all the new hip-hop releases this week that include the latest from North Carolina super-producer  9th Wonder Jamla Is The Squad on his Jamla Records label. Jamla is the Squad is a compilation featuring the singles "Be Inspired," "No Competition" and "15 Minutes of Fame" and, in addition to Jamla acts, showcases guest features from such non-label talents as Pete Rock, Phonte, Talib Kweli, and BJ The Chicago Kid. Real good album worth picking up as is the brand new one from Maryland  emcee / producer Kev Brown with MindsOne Pillars on Ill Adrenaline via Fat Beats that features such underground burners as "Equinox" (see music video below).

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Wu-Tang Clan's $5 Million Album Personifies Music Industry's Unpredictable, Ever Shifting New Business Model

Posted by Billyjam, April 3, 2014 02:37pm | Post a Comment
"Wu-Tang Clan ain't nuthin ta fuck with" - those famous well-worn, two-decade old Wu-Tang Clan lyrics are proving to be most accurate with the latest news on the Staten Island (aka Shaolin) hip-hop crew who last week announced that for their next album (The Wu — Once Upon a Time in Shaolin) that they would only be manufacturing one single (physical) copy of the album.

That sole physical LP copy, to be released in addition to the later unlimited digital download version of this brand new album that was recorded in secrecy, would be auctioned off for what they hoped would be a final bid of a million dollars or more. The 31-track, 120 minute album will be a double vinyl set and reportedly packaged in a hand carved nickel-silver box designed by British-Moroccan artist Yahya. Most intriguing is the ambitious figure of a million dollars or more that the group said they hoped to get. That was last week and I thought it was outlandish and unrealistic amount of money that in no way would they ever get. But I was wrong - very wrong.

As reported by Billboard magazine yesterday the Wu got offered a lot more than one million dollars. "Offers came in at $2 million, somebody offered $5 million yesterday," the group's RZA told the music magazine. "So far, $5 million is the biggest number," he continued. "I don't know how to measure it, but it gives us an idea that what we're doing is being understood by some. And there are some good peers of mine also, who are very high-ranking in the film business and the music business, sending me a lot of good will. It's been real positive." Real positive is an understatement. That's absolutely incredible and a hell of a lot more money (provided this is not some hoax) than the Wu-Tang would ever make from selling an album via the traditional channels of releasing it via a major label like RCA who distributed Loud Records - their original label on which they released their hip-hop classic, 1993 landmark debut Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)

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New York State of Mind Amoeblog #75: Old vs New NYC, WTC B.A.S.E. Jump View, Frankie Knuckles R.I.P., Danny Brown in New York +

Posted by Billyjam, April 2, 2014 10:00am | Post a Comment
        

The above video, produced by the pro-walking for health City Walk series, is a mix of new New York City plus a century old New York City - back in 1901 when the sidewalks were wider than the actual street in the middle. The 113 year old NYC footage was filmed by the Thomas Edison Company and culled by the folks at City Walk, whose goal is to encourage Americans to walk more and utilize their communities in the best possible way with respect to the environment. Compared to today this footage is from a much simpler and more peaceful time in New York City. I say this after last week's most unsettling statement from President Barack Obama who said that stopping "a nuclear weapon going off in Manhattan" is the US's top security concern. Say what? He sure caught my attention, and I'm sure everyone else who lives in New York City, not to mention those planning on visiting New York.  I could almost hear the clicks of tourists cancelling their planned trips to the Big Apple.

Even 13 years after 9/11 New Yorkers are still jittery and this type of statement from the commander in chief sure doesn't help. And neither did the news, also last week, of how easy it was for the B.A.S.E. jumpers to break into the site of  almost finished 1 World Trade Center (Freedom Tower) building to make their jump, and in so doing demonstrating just how poor security is even at the site of 9/11. Meanwhile the stunning video of that B.A.S.E. jump, which took place back in September but was only published last week, is below. Adding further proof that homeland security, at the very place where it should be at its highest, is below par was with another news story last week about a 16 year-old New Jersey youth who easily managed to break into 1 World Trade Center, bypass security (who were asleep), and make his way up to the top of 104th floor of the building.  "I walked around the construction site and figured out how to access the Freedom Tower rooftop. I found a way up through the scaffolding, climbed onto the sixth floor, and took the elevator up to the 88th floor. I then took the staircase up to 104th floor," the teen told police after getting arrested.
 
       

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Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: The Beastie Boys' Paul's Boutique, 25 Years Later

Posted by Billyjam, April 1, 2014 09:25am | Post a Comment
beastie boys paul's boutiqueHard to believe that it is already a quarter of a century since the Beastie Boys' Paul's Boutique was initially released, and five years since the 2009 20th anniversary deluxe reissue of that landmark second Beastie Boys album. Paul's Boutique, while widely considered the group's greatest recording, was initially considered a (commercial) flop by its label, Capitol Records, back in '89 cut to its lackluster sales in comparison to its predecessor. In fact so disappointing to Capitol were sales that, following a huge initial hype / marketing campaign, they completely stopped promoting the album. Many rap fans, drawn to group by the hits on their Rick Rubin produced 1986 Def Jam debut mega-hit album Licensed To Ill, were disappointed too. But true hip-hop fans saw/heard the brilliance of Paul's Boutique that was a distinct departure from Licensed To Ill.

Instead of Rick Rubin handling production on this sophomore release, which demanded repeated listens to fully appreciate its depth and brilliant nuances, was produced in good part by the Dust Brothers and recorded in both Los Angeles and Brooklyn over an extended period of time to ensure it came out just right and to the liking of members Michael "Mike D" Diamond, Adam "Ad-Rock" Horovitz, and the late Adam "MCA" Yauch.  It did, and sure while it may not have been as commercially successful as Licensed To Ill (still a great album too) Paul's Boutique was a far greater quality recording and one that truly stands the test of time as proven by such tracks as "High Plains Drifter," "Looking Down The Barrel Of A Gun," "Car Thief," "Shadrach," and "Get On The Mic." No wonder then that over the years it grew in popularity (and sales),  is regularly included high up on music lists' best albums of all time, and was reissued on its 20th anniversary.
 
Re-released five years ago to celebrate the 20 year anniversary of its initial 1989 release, the 2009 reissue of the LP reissue version was on 180 gram vinyl, in a nice two-sided, four-panel gate-fold sleeve - that revised the very original expensive gatefold pressing of the album. The 2009 reissue also included a digital download card to access bonus audio band commentary on the album that was so close to the Beasties' hearts. For instance the track "59 Chrystie Street" was titled in reference to an early residence of the Beastie Boys, back earlier in the 80's when they were young punk rockers about to morph into full time hip-hoppers.

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