Amoeblog

The Breeders Release Moutain Battles!

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, April 8, 2008 01:06pm | Post a Comment

The Breeders
are a force of nature (no pun intended)!  I wasn’t sure that they could up the ante after 2002’s Title TK, which I thought might have been the most perfect album ever and seemed to pick up right where Pod left off.  To my great pleasure, they certainly have created an incredible album in every respect, possibly the best album of young 2008-- Mountain Battles.  Blasting off with “Overglazed,” you are taken to another planet where The Breeders guide you through sonic terrain only they can offer.

Mountain Battles is the culmination of many years of recording on and off with the assistance of the likes of Steve Albini, Erika Larson, and Manny Nieto in Los Angeles, Chicago and Dayton, Ohio, and comes complete with incredible design and of course classic 4AD aesthetics and style as a whole.  Mastered at Abbey Road “because I’m going from half-inch tape directly to vinyl, there’s only a couple of places in the world that still do half-inch directly to the cutting of the acetate,” as Kim has explained.  You can hear the passion and dedication to the art of record making in every single track of the album. Joining Kim and Kelley Deal (vocals, guitar) are drummer Jose Medeles and bassist Mando Lopez (of Fear), who played on TitleTK.

The namesake track “Mountain Battles” is somehow oddly reminiscent of Nico's Desertshore and Low-era David Bowie.  The avant-garde composition works its magic whilst Kim croons “My wilting heart does shadow on the moon/ Fantastic view/ Thinking of things to do.”  As a matter of fact, you can hear bits and pieces from decades of music history in the mere 36.5 minutes of the duration of the album.  A few rise to the surface immediately – Jimi Hendrix, Isaac Hayes, Roy Orbison, The Pretenders, Wire... Isn’t this the stuff of which great music is made?  Here one might want to consider the fact that the “All Wave” recording method was used in conjunction with on the fly mixing during mastering for a total analog dream sound end product.  This “pure sound” method is opposed to using any form of digital recording manipulation and sound can be seen as a music making strategy or style parallel to the realist film movement Dogme 95.  Ladies and gentlemen: sit back, relax, close your eyes and enjoy the masterwork that is Mountain Battles

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Mick Jones Stops In...Thrills All

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, April 5, 2008 03:11pm | Post a Comment


Last week I received a frantically excited email from our floor manager Tony Green-- Mick Jones of The Clash had just been in the store!  He was with Tony James from Carbon Silicon

And, as the above photo attests, it's true!  Tony Green tells me Mick was a complete sweetheart, even taking a walk down memory lane with him, remembering the Clash show in Christchurch, New Zealand in 1979 that our Tony had attended.  It's good to know Mick is still up on politics-- apparently he purchased a great many politically-related DVDs.

I recall hearing similar sweetheart stories about Joe Strummer, who played an instore at Amoeba back in 2001.  Strummer went to nearby bar Murio's and had a drink with a few of our employees!

It goes without saying that The Clash remain one of the most thrilling and passionate bands to ever make their mark on the musical world.  Check out an old, semi-awkward yet exceedingly entertaining interview with Tom Snyder and the members of The Clash from their vital, ducktailed heyday:

Consolers of the Lonely

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, April 1, 2008 11:22am | Post a Comment

You know how it feels when you listen to a new album and it gives you chills up your spine and that feeling in your throat?  Well, that’s how The Raconteurs' new album Consolers of the Lonely makes me feel.  It’s sooooo good!!!  The first thing I noticed that was somewhat different was the general feeling of the album: comfortable and relaxed.  Now, I don’t mean the music sounds comfortable and relaxed-- the band does.  There was a feeling of excitement surrounding the last album, Broken Boy Soldiers, since it was the first time these old friends had recorded an album together.  This time around, they know exactly what they are doing and have evolved into the next level.  They must have been enjoying themselves because the album is quite long considering the length of the previous album.  55+ minutes and 14 songs as compared to 33+ minutes and 10 songs.

It’s exciting to hear the Nashville influence on this album.  After Detroit turned on Jack White, he moved down to Nashville, as did Brendan Benson, Jack Lawrence and Patrick Keeler.  “Top Yourself” and “Old Enough” particularly capture a southern country/blues feel, which is different than the more typically northern sound that was on their previous album.  There is more acoustic guitar in these songs and some banjo and fiddle too, and I can picture these ol’ boys hanging around on the porch in the evening warmth just finger pickin’ these songs and enjoying themselves.

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Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, March 7, 2008 07:25pm | Post a Comment
When Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks took the stage to legions of hoots and hollering and a very crowded floor, it was clear that we were in for a rare treat. Malkmus is known for a few bands he’s been in such as Pavement, The Silver Jews and The Crust Brothers. Just last month he was the recipient of the Plug Awards’ Impact Award; known among it’s recipients as the “Indie Grammys’ Lifetime Achievement Award.”
The Jicks (a hybrid of “Jerk” and “Dick,” or Mick Jagger’s name backwards ...) are composed of drum maven Janet Weiss (Sleater-Kinney and Quasi), Bassist Joanna Bolme (Elliott Smith and The Minders), and Mike Clark on guitar and tripped out keyboards. Fresh from a secret show in Portland and a Sonic Boom, Seattle in-store just before that, Amoeba WAS their San Francisco post-record release show (that is, if you missed them in December at the Great American Music Hall) and the legions of fans and curious folks who crowded the aisles for the 45 minute plus performance couldn’t have been witness to more electric and often psychedelic magic.

With a heavy attack of electric guitar (a la Hendrix) the band grooved into the first song on the album "Dragonfly Pie." The band was on from the start, seemingly commanded by Janet Weiss’ super tight style on the house drum kit, “the best borrowed kit I’ve ever used,” she commented.  However, throughout the performance, all eyes looked to Malkmus for cues.

There had been a bit of equipment talk prior to starting – Malkmus pointed out that his guitar was plugged into the amp Jack White of the White Stripes was notorious for using. “Let’s see what we can do!”  He even joked,  “can we pass on the store credit and keep some of this equipment?”

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Amoeba SF Celebrates Mardi Gras 2008

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, February 9, 2008 04:13pm | Post a Comment
Every year the staff at Amoeba San Francisco looks forward to the Fat Tuesday Celebration, and this year something was added to the mix:  the parade would involve children from the Boys & Girls Club, from around the corner on Page Street, making it an honest-to-goodness community event. The idea of bringing kids in to augment the parade brought some added anticipation and excitement from the staff, as we'd hoped.

With the store decked out in beads, and the traditional colors of purple, green and gold adorning the aisles, the staff was treated to superb and sublime Cajun food catered by Cajun Pacific, as a steady stream of music -- from New Orleans to Brazilian Carnaval --was provided by DJs in the afternoon. Costumes, headgear and decorations had already started to proliferate, and the festivity started to become infectious.

Just before five o'clock, the children arrived, bearing homemade signs and costumes, many of them relishing the opportunity to hide behind colorful masks and brandish noisemakers. They lined up on the ramp, eagerly waiting for the parade to begin. The staff started to gather at the info booth, next to the giant crawfish on the rolling cart, feeding off the energy of the spirited kids. With the invited guests, it really did feel like a celebration.


Finally, Big Ant, adorned with the crown and cape indicating his status as Parade King, led the restless crew down the aisles, once around the store and into the street, joined by other costumed employees and staff. Kathy held up a big MARDI GRAS sign to alert the onlookers, and for the first time the Amoeba Fat Tuesday parade greeted the public and crossed Haight Street. The young krewe snaked around the block to Page, passing the Boys And Girls Club and curved back towards the store.

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