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Preview: Maya Jupiter Record Release Show 10/6/11

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, October 2, 2011 10:19am | Post a Comment
Maya JupiterMaya Jupiter is a classic example of the international influence of Hip-Hop. She was born in La Paz, Mexico to a Mexican father and a Turkish mother. Her family moved to Australia where she lived until a few years ago. Her first release in 2003 received much critical praise that lead to steady career both as a rapper and a radio host for the better part of ten years. Wanting to explore her Mexican roots, Maya moved to Los Angeles where she started to collaborate with L.A.’s Chicano/Latino community. Her new self-titled album is a result of those collaborations. It is a mixture of Soul, Dancehall and Son Jarocho, which she calls, “World Hip-Hop” Maya Jupiter will be performing on October 6th at the Little Temple in Los Angeles with an all-star band that includes Aloe Blacc, Martha Gonzalez and Quetzal Flores of the band Quetzal, and many other great L.A. based musicians. I caught up with Maya to discuss her new album, her upcoming show and about life in Los Angeles.

Your new album takes a different route than your previous releases. What was behind that?

I wanted to push myself vocally and artistically and I wanted to make an album that reflected all the music styles that I enjoy, not just Hip-Hop. My brother-in-law, Victor Valdes, is a harpist from Xalapa, Vera Cruz and introduced me to the world of Son Jarocho ten years ago. I knew it was a style I wanted to incorporate as well as Soul and Dancehall. All of these genres come from the community and have a history of being socially conscious.
 
There are many Afro-Caribbean influences in your album such as Son Jarocho, Dancehall Reggae and Cuban Son. What was the process of writing like?

We had some jam sessions with Aloe Blacc as well as Quincy McCrary (keyboard player for Mayer Hawthorne) Juan Perez (bass player for Son De Madera)
Quetzal Flores made songs out of the jams. The music came from the heart and is a reflection of everybody involved.
 
Maya Jupiter Album CoverYou left behind what seemed to be a promising career in both music and radio in Australia. At one point you were a host of a Hip-Hop show on Australia’s Triple J Radio network. What was behind that move? What do your fans in Australia think of the new album?

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Spray Paint The Walls: The Story Of Black Flag

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, September 18, 2011 11:25pm | Post a Comment
By now most most Amoeba customers know about our expanded book section. From time to time I'll be pulling out some books from the section and recommend some I find of interest. The First one that caught my eye was Spray Paint The Walls: The Story Of Black Flag, written by Stevie Chick. Here is a small review of the book, which you can currently buy at Amoeba Hollywood.

Sparay Paint The Wall The Story Of Black FlagBy the time I finally saw Black Flag live it was early 1986, shortly before the band broke up. Fenders Ballroom in Long Beach, which only held 500 people, was only a quarter full. I had just seen The Circle Jerks at the same venue a few weeks before and the place was packed. Still, the band was amazing and everything I thought it would be. The band was so loud that the vibration from the speakers shook my clothes as if I was caught in a windstorm. Henry Rollins looked like a younger Charles Manson in his running shorts and tattoos, trying to sing between bouts with a group of skinheads. He just glared at them and kept singing, occasionally swatting at a few of them when they came to close to hitting him. Greg Ginn stood away from Henry, eyes closed, obliviously playing guitar and shaking his long hair as if he was Carlos Santana. This version band was light years away from the band that had released the Damaged album, which was released only five years before. It was indicative of the progression of the band, a decision to progress musically rather to continue to play the same music and retain a fan base. In the end, that choice ultimately destroyed one of the most influential bands of all time. Black Flag’s music was not the only legacy they had. The way Black Flag toured, release records independently and even the sound systems they took on the road are still linked to modern day bands to this day.

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Venezuela's Bituaya Live At Tropical De Nopal 7/24/11

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, July 25, 2011 12:59am | Post a Comment
Bituaya At Tropical De Nopal
Bituaya
’s first show in Los Angles wasn’t met with much fanfare. Roughly sixty people came to their show Saturday at Tropical De Nopal gallery, hosted by Eclectica deejays Reyes and Glenn Red. After their seventy five minute set briefly stalled by power outages and a complaining neighbor who called the police, I can gladly say that I was there to witness one of the best shows I’ve seen this year, if not in the last few.

Bituaya hails from Venezuela, a country known by most Americans more for their oil, baseball players and of course, their leader Hugo Chavez, who is overly hated by the right and overly loved by the left. Venezuela has a rich music history, from the Joropo music that reminds me of Mexico’s Son Jarocho, to Latin Pop stars Richardo Montaner and Jose “El Puma” Rodriguez. In recent years people all over the world have been getting down to the alterna-house sounds of the legendary Los Amigos Invisibles. Venezuela also has a rich history of great Salsa artists such as personal favorites, Oscar D’Leon, Federico y Su Combo, Los Dementes and La Dimension Latina. One cannot deny the influence of Caribbean music on Venezuelans or for that matter, on Bituaya as a band. Bituaya continues the trend of recent Latin America artists perfecting the mixture of Merengue, Salsa, Cumbia, Reggae, Hip-Hop and Electronica effortlessly and without sounding contrived.

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Omar Souleyman At The Echo 7/12/11

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, July 18, 2011 07:45am | Post a Comment
Omar Souleyman at The EchoWhen I heard Omar Souleyman was playing in Los Angeles, I knew I had to go. Not only do I love his music but also how many times do you have a chance to see anyone from Syria perform in the U.S.? All those who cry about what a disappointment the Obama administration is can thank their liberal visa policies towards international artists. Do you know how many artists’ visas were denied during the Bush administration, especially if they’re from a country deemed a threat to the U.S.? 

Truth be told, there are many places you can hear music like Omar Souleyman across the Los Angeles area. In various Arabic restaurants in Glendale, Alhambra and the West Hollywood you can find someone like Souleyman’s collaborator Rizan Sa'id on a couple of keyboards playing behind a group of belly dancers or at a wedding reception. However, comparing Souleyman to those restaurant musicians is the equivalent of comparing Junior Kimbrough to some hack wearing a fedora playing slick Chicago-style blues. Sure, they both play blues music, but with Kimbrough, you felt the blues.

I had a feeling what an Omar Souleyman audience would look like: The hipster boys who travel to places like Indonesia and buy cassettes of local artists with their ambiguously ethic girlfriends? Check! Arabic people, mostly Syrian nationals, checking out a guy from their home country? Check! The “way too cool” musicians and deejays, who never say anything to you even though you see them everywhere you go? Check! Aging hipsters, still on the brink of discovering something new? Check! Ok, we can proceed.

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The Autographed Bin Cards Of Amoeba Hollywood's Latin Section

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, July 11, 2011 07:37am | Post a Comment
Cafe Tacuba Amoeba Bin CardThere is a tradition in the Latin section that doesn’t exist in the rest of the store. It’s the autographed bin cards. The bin cards are the separators between the CDS, DVD, and LPS that help you find your favorite releases. When I started working at Amoeba Hollywood several years ago, there was only one autograph bin card. It was from Alex Lora from El Tri. Legend had it he came into the store before a show and some fans recognized him and started a mini-ruckus in the Latin Rock and Pop section. A former co-worker and Amoeba favorite, Joyanne Troutman, decided to get Alex to autograph the bin card. Although being mobbed, he thought it was funny to be asked to autograph his bin card, so he did. That’s how it started.

We now have over two-dozen autograph bin cards throughout the Latin section, most of them, acquired by Paul Vasquez, World Music employee since 2006. I asked him a few questions about why and how this happened.

What was the first autograph bin that you had signed?


It was Rodrigo Y Gabriela. They did an in-store performance and I thought they were so cool that I wanted an excuse to talk to them. By then we had a few autograph bins that Joyanne and other World Music employees have gotten so I told them it was a tradition, which it is now.

Enrique BunBury Amoeba Bin card How do you get the autographs? Are they all from in-store performances?


Some are, but most of them come from the artists themselves shopping at the store or people they are with introduce us to them. For instance, a friend of Los Tres Reyes introduced the members to me while they were shopping at the store. I love their music but I wouldn’t have recognized them.

Was there anyone that refused to autograph the bin card?


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