Posted by Billyjam, September 30, 2009 06:00am | Post a Comment

Last week, while visiting the San Francisco Amoeba Music store, standing in the hip-hop aisle gazing at its thousands upon thousands of vinyl and CD titles I found myself drooling in awe. The seemingly endless Amoeba Music San Franciscoselection is like an encyclopedia of hip-hop, which is what I mentioned to Luis (the store's hip-hop buyer), who offered to do a quick run-through video tour (above) of Amoeba SF's truly amazing hip-hop section for those who have not recently or ever visited the Haight Street store. This section offers the most comprehensive Bay Area rap selection (including tons of DVD titles) I have ever seen -- thanks in large part to Luis, who really knows and cares about the Bay's homegrown hip-hop flava.

One aisle over from hip-hop is the soul / r&b section and it is damn good, too, with an exhaustive selection of soul from the very latest back to the classics of bygone decades. In that section I ran into Dr. Goldstein of Free Gold Watch (the nearby Haight district store that makes some of Amoeba's T-shirts and was featured on the Amoeblog last week) and knowing his love for both soul and Amoeba I asked if he would do a quick run through tour of the Amoeba SF soul section. He obliged (video below) and made the very good point, especially in these MP3 happy days, about how when you buy a CD or record you are getting an artifact -- not to mention much higher quality audio.

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Posted by Billyjam, September 29, 2009 08:03am | Post a Comment
In 1999 the independent East Bay hip-hop-themed online company The Giant Peach was formed by Karen Dere with planning help from Stinke, whom she had worked closely with at the Hierogyphics' company (the pioneering Oakalnd hip-hop entity that was one of the very first to embrace the Internet in the mid 1990's -- years before most people even had an email address, nevermind a fully functional online Kid Robotdistribution outlet for indie hip-hop). Working at the Hieros' company for several years coupled with the previous years' experience and expertise she culled from her time as a DJ, etc. at KALX radio, Karen had gained enough insight and knowledge to launch The Giant Peach.

Initially created as "a means for independent labels (with an emphasis on hip hop) and artists to produce their own line of garments and distribute their products to the masses" -- as its mission statement lays out -- the Giant Peach (GP) has grown by leaps and bounds over the past decade but has still pretty much stuck to its initial plan of creating a bridge between artists/labels and fans and of exhaustively carrying the clothing lines of popular design artists and collectives, and always with an emphasis on those from the Bay Area.

Currently celebrating its ten year anniversary, the GP has a store within a store this month at TRUE in the Haight (near Amoeba SF), and, I am told, this will expand into October. Last week I stopped by the GP's product-packed East Bay warehouse/offices to talk to Karen about her company and capture on video (above) some of the cool items for sale on its website. I also followed up with a text interview (below) to cover some things we didn't get to in the video version.

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Posted by Billyjam, September 28, 2009 01:37pm | Post a Comment

The wonderful summer-long Amoeba's Monday Movies @ Space15Twenty in Hollywood (the weekly free outdoor screenings of music-related films curated by Amoeba Music) ends tonight with a screening of the highly recommended Anvil! The Story of Anvil. If you have to miss the screening, the DVD of this underdog story about endearing Canadian metal band Anvil comes out next week, October 6th, on DVD, and will be available at Amoeba Music. Last Monday evening there was another Amoeba-curated screening of the film up in the Bay Area at Elis Mile High Club

I just loved this film so much since it is totally unlike your typical, run of the mill music documentary. LA Weekly summed it up pretty well when they dubbed it "Hilarious and achingly touching." In fact, it is so touching and personal, yet always respectful of its subjects, the two lifelong metalhead buddies Robb Reiner and Steve "Lips" Kudlow, that you instantly connect and feel watching it that it has to have been made by someone whom the band members really, truly trusted and felt totally comfortable around.

Not surprisingly then, Sacha Gervasi, the director of the documentary, was once a roadie for the band. And for this riveting documentary he went out on the road again with Anvil, a band who looked all set to make it big in the 80's metal world but somehow never did. He's made a film that will remind you of Spinal Tap except that it is real, and more importantly, reverential. Last week I caught up with the film's director to ask him about this refreshingly unique music documentary. 
Amoeblog: I love your film, including how it flows so naturally and seems to have taken on a life or direction of its own. Did the film turn out differently than maybe what you had initially expected?

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Posted by Billyjam, September 26, 2009 10:50am | Post a Comment

This weekend the Berkeley Video & Film Festival is happening at the Landmark Shattuck Cinemas with a concentration on short films/videos typically of about ten minutes in length. At opening night last night of the eighteen year old festival, Dan K Harvest was at the downtown Berkeley cinema and got to view a dozen of these shorts. "It was invigorating, with lots of dark, foreboding, futuristic doomsday themed films Dan K. Harvestand a lot of relationship commentary," he said. In addition to about 15 local productions, there are also many entries from around the US and overseas, including challenging new independent cinema from Italy, Cuba, Germany, Venezuela, and Great Britain.
"There was even a film by a 12 year old that was fascinating," said Harvest. Today, the second and final day of the fest, at 6:30pm, Dan K will be featured in the ten minute Escapin' From Oakland. Earlier this week, while still at the Interbike Convention in Las Vegas, I caught up with the longtime Oakland renaissance man, whose illustrious career has included being a rap recording artist, a BMX bike champ, and almost a reality TV star, among many other things (a few years back he was featured in an East Bay Express cover story), to ask him about the festival, the film, and himself. Never one stuck for words, Dan K responded in detail via his iPhone.

Amoeblog: What would you say is your greatest accomplishment in life?

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Posted by Billyjam, September 25, 2009 07:01pm | Post a Comment

Amoeba Music San Francisco Hip-Hop Weekly Top Ten c/o Luis: 09:25:09
brother ali

1) Brother Ali Us (Rhymesayers)

2) Andy Allo UnFresh (Allo Records)

3)  Peanut Butter Wolf 45 Live (Stones Throw)

4) John Forte StyleFREEThe EP (Theory 7)

5) V/A Definitive Jux Presents 4 (Def Jux)

6) Blue Scholars Bayani Redux (Duck Down)

7) Trick Daddy Finally Famous: Born a Thug, Still a Thug (Dunk Ryder Records)

8) Lil Boosie Superbad:lil boosie The Return of Boosie Bad Azz (Asylum Records)

9) Cage Movies for the Blind (High Times Records)

10) Beastie Boys Hello Nasty (Capitol)

Super special thanks to the ever knowledgable Luis @ the hip-hop department of Amoeba Music San Francisco for always being so down to supply the Amoeblog with up to the moment news on what's popping at the SF store, new music- wise. For the second week in a row Luis has provided us with a Top Ten due to the wealth of releases (both new and reissues) dropping recently. Above you can see the chart in video and text forms, while below are a series of videos by several of the artists in this latest Top Ten chart.

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