Amoeblog

Let's Make It a Movie Night

Posted by Smiles Davis, June 8, 2009 09:15pm | Post a Comment
I have the same dilemma every weekend: what foreign film or documentary is it going to be tonight? My mammoth DVD collection is pretty impressive, but a little overwhelming. I sometimes ponder what to watch for entirely too long, looking over shelf after shelf, from right to left, then left to right, up and down, down and up just to make sure there’s one I didn’t miss. Minutes pass, sometimes hours, sometimes the ice cream truck, you really just never know. Eventually, fatigue kicks in and my legs and back begin to ache, then my neck, and inevitably my eyes and then it just takes over my entire body 'till the only thing left for me to do is retire to bed. Not exactly how I’d like to spin every Saturday night.

Since this question has pitched tent and perpetually inhibited my thinking space, I’ve officially decided to get it out and put it down on paper for good. So, in the future I can reference it and decipher what’s going to be my entertainment for the night in a utilitarian, more expedient manner. Well, I’ve made my list and checked it twice. Here, in no particular order, are my top 5 foreign picks (for now). 

Y tu Mamá También

Directed by Alfonso Cuaron
One amazing reason to love this film:


Amelie

Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet
This is one film I have to watch at least once every other month. One of the many reasons to love this film:


Malèna
Directed by Giuseppe Tornatore
One reason to love this film:


Frida
Directed by Julie Taymor
Aside from Salma Hayek, one reason to love this film:



I Heart Stones Throw

Posted by Smiles Davis, May 29, 2009 02:08pm | Post a Comment
stones throw records
What’s the best thing about living in Los Angeles? If you guessed Amoeba Records, you were close (we’re second-- actually first, according to LA Magazine). The correct answer, or I should say, the appropriate answer, is the surfeit of open-minded music aficionados that breathe and walk the streets every day. Being able to find inspiring and mood altering music readily at your disposal is the sweetest candy; being able to share it with like minded individuals who will appreciate it and celebrate it as much as you is priceless. That is why I heart Stones Throw. The air over at the Stones Throw headquarters is thick with bubbling ingenuity and relentlessness blended meticulously with an appetite for exploring outside the box. With artists like Madlib, Aloe Blacc, Damn Funk and Mayer Hawthorne leaving the swagger and overactive egos at the door, Stones Throw has singlehandedly redefined the definition of cool.

Giles Peterson dubbed Aloe Blaccs last album, Shine Through, as simply “brilliant” and I agree 110%. It's R&B, it's hip-hop, it's in two languages, and it's magic to my ears. I was fortunate enough to catch up with the bilingual, multi-instrumentalist crooner and emcee to ask him about his relationship with Stones Throw, his love for music, his upcoming album, the return of Emanon, and some of his favorite new artists.

Coachella Was A Beast!!!

Posted by Smiles Davis, April 22, 2009 10:35pm | Post a Comment

Coachella
was bananas! It was packed, hot and full of unexpected moments. Love was in the air...or, maybe I should say, infatuation was in the air. Oh, young love. The plethora of emotions evoked from this weekend was like something out of a Fellini flick. Between the sea of screaming fans, dancing nomads, empty liquor containers, blazing balls of fire, earplugs, lawn smoochers, unfortunate mishaps, and broken dreams, I’d have to say people got their money's worth. Looking back at who I was most excited to see and who, I felt, gave me that tingle after watching their set, I realized just how hard it is to put on a show of that caliber and pull it off with rave reviews. Golden Voice did a pretty superb job at making sure fans would leave with enough awwww and ew moments to fill a thick book. I made a list of my favorite and not so favorite moments from Coachella ’09. I had some unfortunate mishaps of my own, so I missed a few key players, but the journey is what counts. So, here in no particular order, are the highlights:

The Black Keys, who I was so amped to see, were something else! The blues rockers really know how to bring it. Fearless. There was enough thick smoke in the air to make me assume viewers from every angle were enjoying themselves plenty. Their set was flawless, from start to finish. They didn’t disappoint. It was like watching a baby Jimi Hendrix and mini Buddy Miles up there. Superb!

Coachella Is A Beast!!!

Posted by Smiles Davis, April 13, 2009 04:03pm | Post a Comment

Coachella 2009 is less than a week away and I couldn’t be more stoked about it. The anxiousness, over emotionalism and lack of sleep could be brought on by the fact that this will be my first time, or it could be the fact that I get to skip town for a couple days that’s making me giddy like a young school girl on a first date. Could be either of those, but I’m really going to have to place my bets and give full credit for my fevered state to the acts I’m most excited to see grace the stage.

Day 1: The Black Keys. The blues-rockers put on a spectacular live show, having toured with bands like Pearl Jam, Radiohead and Beck. They’re phenomenal on every record. My favorite has got to be Thickfeakness. It’s the truth! Meaning: the sweetest tasting candy in the world!!! Their last album, Attack & Release, which was produced by Danger Mouse of Gnarls Barkley, was originally supposed to be a collaboration with the legendary Ike Turner, but that idea was rendered impossible after Turner’s sudden death in December 2007. Danger Mouse, or that guy who put Jay-Z’s vocals from The Black Album over beats from The BeatlesThe White Album, isn’t on the bill this year, but it would be a great surprise to see him grace the stage with The Black Keys this weekend. I know… just wishful thinking. Then again, anything’s possible at Coachella -- I say it like I know. To whet your appetite, check out a video of the Black Keys performing at Amoeba right here.

Day 2: M.I.A. on the main stage. What a feast for the eyes and ears she's going to be; some kind of spectacular! I must admit, I was a little disappointed after hearing Amy Winehouse had pulled out of the line-up. Nothing could have made my day more, though, than learning M.I.A. would be taking her place. This will be my first time seeing her live and I'm going to enjoy it like the kids on the block love to jump rope, like a waitress loves a good tip. She's my hero. The visual artist was as cute as a button at the Grammys with her polka dots on and her big, beautiful belly bouncing around. She just gave birth to a little bundle of joy. Good news, considering she would have been miserable with a belly full in the scorching heat of Coachella, which tends to cause an alarming amount of inflammation in the feet and ankles. We’re just glad to hear she’s decided bed rest is for snoozers. I’ll be her number one fan, front row center, k'ankles and all. Click here to watch a video interview with M.I.A. from her Berkeley Amoeba instore.

Ten Questions For Talib Kweli

Posted by Smiles Davis, March 27, 2009 01:10am | Post a Comment

Talib Kweli can easily be crowned as one of Brooklyn’s finest mc’s. For years the industry veteran has championed positive portrayals of urban society through his eternally omniscient lyrics. After the critical and commercial success on Black Star, Kweli, alongside “Ms. Fat Booty” himself, Mos Def, forced record labels to pay closer attention to underground Hip-Hop. Before the Internet, an underground artist struggled immensely without the help of perpetual touring. Needless to say, the crowned emcee puts on a concert better than blueberry pancakes and mimosas on a breezy Sunday morning. He takes “hip-hop live” to a whole new level. Check out this EXCLUSIVE footage of Talib and long time collaborator Hi-Tek putting it down last week in Austin, TX at SXSW to a live band and a packed house.

 
                                                   (video courtesy of Paul Stewart of Next-Thing)

I caught up with Talib and asked him ten simple questions. We chopped it up about the upcoming Reflection Eternal: Train of Thought II album -- one of the most anticipated albums of '09 -- Blacksmith artist Jean Grae, Strong Arm Steady, his collaboration with R&B singer Res, and the possibility of a Black Star Reunion.

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