Amoeblog

Top Ten NYC Subway Songs

Posted by Billyjam, September 3, 2014 10:51pm | Post a Comment
New York State of Mind Amoeblog #96:

As this 100 part weekly series winds to a close over the coming weeks I figured I'd do some music best-of lists in these final five installments including this week's Top Ten Best NYC Subway Songs. While a tough list to compile, due to the sheer number of songs out there that reference the most frequently used mode of transportation here in New York City, it was still a fun one to draw up.

For this top ten, rather than just do say 70's rock or 90's hip-hop or any one specific genre, I tried to cover several genres and eras, and even still just scratched the surface. The selections are mostly subway themed songs - although some are overall NYC themed but with subway references in them like the ones by Fear and VU which placed in the last two positions for that very reason. Some others that almost made the list include "F Train" by Babe the Blue Ox, Unsane's “D Train,” "The L Train Is A Swell Train And I Don't Want To Hear You Indies Complain" by Out Hud, "Subway: The Last 'I Love New York' Song" (from the musical Mayor), and another musical one - "Subways Are for Sleeping" from the musical of the same name. In comments below please feel free to add any songs you think should have made the list.



1) Duke Ellington Orchestra “Take the ‘A’ Train” (1941) "You must take the 'A' train / To go to Sugar
Hill, way up in Harlem.
" Even if they don't realize it, everyone knows this song - a jazz standard and signature tune for Duke Ellington and his orchestra with lyrics. Literally a classic and one that pops
into my head every time I take the A train, and I rate it number one on my list for its historic relevance. Honorable mention to another jazz classic: "GG Train" by Charles Mingus about the line now known
simply as the "G" line - as the "L" line used to be the "LL" line.

Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: Longtime Oakland MC Naru Kwina (formerly Sir Quick Draw)

Posted by Billyjam, September 2, 2014 08:16pm | Post a Comment
His name may not be as familiar to the average Bay Area rap/hip-hop fan as such fellow Oakland rapping contemporaries of his as Too $hort but longtime East Bay hip-hop emcee talent Naru Kwina, who began his career back in the eighties along with a handful of other local rappers and is still making music to this day, is both a talented artist and an integral part of Bay Area hip-hop history's formative years.

Originally known as Sir Quick Draw, Naru Kwina began his hip-hop career when few others were recording and releasing music in the Bay Area compared to nowadays - and those that did make rap/hip-hop music had a tough time getting their music out there and heard. "I started rapping in 1979, the day I first heard Rappers Delight," he recalled recently. However it would several years later, in 1986, when I first met the artist. He had submitted a demo cassette tape for a Bay Area rap contest I produced on UC Berkeley radio station KALX in the Fall of that year. With a fresh upbeat inspired style and flow on the song he submitted ("Rapaholic") Sir Quick Draw's tape was so good that the judges of the contest (including Davey D Cook) all agreed that he was the best out of all the demo tape submissions. In fact in the months following the radio contest win, into the following year of 1987, the song "Rapaholic" that was recorded with his David K-OS got signed and released by Baywave/Macola Records as a 12" single. Then the year after that, in 1988, he would record another 12 inch single  - this time under the name MC Quick but again along with David K-Os entitled "I Like It Like That" (b side "I'm Just Rollin'").

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Run The Jewels Announce Tour & Tracklist For "RTJ2" On Nas' Mass Appeal Records

Posted by Billyjam, September 2, 2014 01:31pm | Post a Comment

Run The Jewels - the super talented hip-hop power duo of El-P and Killer Mike - has just announced new tour dates along with track listings,  contributing guests, and artwork details for their forthcoming  sophomore release. With cover art almost the same as last year's self-titled debut on Fool's Gold (only in a different color), the new album on Nas' new Mass Appeal Records is  slated for release on October 28th. Aptly titled RTJ2, the album will feature guest spots by Zack de la Rocha, Travis Barker, Diane Coffee, and BOOTS (note this is not Boots Riley of The Coup but BOOTS the sometimes BeyoncĂ© collaborator).

The Run The Jewels has been attracting attention of late for their impressive recent tour sets, including a stop in the Bay Area last month at Outside Lands and the previous month in New York at the Governors Ball. They've also been garnering attention with new audiences care of Killer Mike's recent guest appearance on CNN, speaking out on the grander implications of the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson (see video below).

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Hiero Day 2014 Artists Preview

Posted by Billyjam, August 31, 2014 11:20pm | Post a Comment
 
 

Hiero Day 2014 -- happening Monday, September 1st in Oakland in the blocks surrounding 95 Linden Street (Linden Street Brewery) -- may only be in its third year, but this ambitious, annual, refreshingly non-mainstream, all-ages East Bay hip-hop festival has quickly become the best Bay Area hip-hop festival of the year. Hiero Day features the extended Hieroglyphics hip-hop collective along with a slew of equally talented hip-hop friends (mostly Bay and Cali hip-hop acts) performing on three different stages throughout the day.   I attended last year's Hiero Day and was so impressed with how fun and how peaceful this musically rich event was!

Hiero Day is free and all-ages with a truly indie feeling, and no nasty corporate overtones. In fact it is more like an expanded modern day continuation of the Living Legends' Unsigned & Hella Broke jams back in the day. Fittingly, Mystik Journeymen are among those on the bill at Hiero Day 2014 - a day that will attract hip-hop appreciative fans in the thousands to enjoy great music, a variety of tasty food trucks, tables selling cool hip-hop clothing, a skate contest, and (for vinyl fiends and crate diggers) the beat swap meet.

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Gabba Gabba Hey It's Time For The Ramones Biopic By Martin Scorsese

Posted by Billyjam, August 28, 2014 09:47am | Post a Comment

The Ramones in concert in  1977 doing "Pinhead" (with refrain "gabba gabba hey")

Is it time for a big production Ramones biopic? As a longtime fan of the pioneering punk group I would say yes it sure is time! But the fact that there are more and more young music fans getting turned onto the timeless music of the Queens NY band who formed in 1974 and left us with such classics as "Blitzkrieg Bop," "Sheena Is a Punk Rocker," "I Wanna Be Sedated," "Pinhead," and "Rockaway Beach" is one of many arguments in favor of a bio-pic about The Ramones. More importantly is the fact that all four original Ramones - Johnny, Joey, Dee Dee and Tommy -  have all passed on (Tommy, who died last month at age 62, being the last original Ramone to leave us), means that yes it is most definitely time for a Ramones biopic. But the film should be done right. So it was good news to read in Billboard yesterday that Queens NY born Martin Scorsese has reportedly made plans to direct (or "attached" to the production as reported by Billboard) of such a film about The Ramones whose 40th anniversary (of their first record in 1976 as distinct from when they first formed two years earlier) is fast approaching in 2016 - a perfect time to release such a film. As the Billboard article reported in addition to this bio-pic there is also a Ramones documentary in the works, along with a theatrical play, and a new book (note that there are already many Ramones books published either - visit the book section at Amoeba). Read Billboard article here and check out The Ramones music at Amoeba.
 

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