Amoeblog

The Broadway Beat, IHOMI and Other Downtown Ghosts

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, October 25, 2008 11:45am | Post a Comment
Santo's liquor grand central market

Last month I found myself with quite a bit of free time, roaming Downtown L.A. during extended breaks. I was stuck on a jury and the trial was being held up for many reasons. Anyhow, I finally got truly familiar with Broadway. Ross Cutlery, the Bradbury Building, Clifton's Cafeteria, Angels Flight, La Cita, and the Grand Central Market--  all places I had been to before, but now I was finally steeping in them. The Los Angeles, Orpheum, Million Dollar, State, UA and Palace Theaters. Even with all the razing going on downtown, Broadway is still a time warp.



carlos y jose mananitas a mi madre lp covercorridos y racheras con carlos y jose lp cover

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GUITAR HERO WORLD TOUR PREVIEWS + AMOEBA PREVIEW PARTY

Posted by Billyjam, October 25, 2008 06:00am | Post a Comment
               
 
Above is a video preview of the new Guitar Hero World Tour and its Battle of the Bands mode, which allows eight players to join online and challenge each other band-to-band to determine who is the best player. In the band modes, up to four players can jam together, online or off, as they progress through the game, and in single-player career-mode, players can jam on any of the instruments in branching venue progression, enabling them to rock out in the order of their choice. And as you know tomorrow is the official release date of this new Guitar Hero World Tour game and Amoeba is previewing it at Blake's in Berkeley tonight (Sat) with a Midnight Sale and Preview Party for the new game with three areas (Wii, PS3, and Xbox360) set up for demoing the game. More details here.  

You can check out some previews of the new Guitar Hero on the GamerTrailers website or in Popular Mechanics magazine, which pits Guitar Hero World Tour up against Rock Band 2 and Rock Revolution in a preview from E3 2008 (with video). Meanwhile, today's Los Angeles Times takes a more sobering look at the game in a story less about its technical aspects but instead focusing on the implications of its success in relation to the state of the economy, stating that, "wildly popular Guitar Hero video game could become a test of the game industry's ability to weather the broader economic storm."

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Joseph Childress Chats

Posted by Miss Ess, October 24, 2008 12:41pm | Post a Comment
Joseph Childress is a drifter-- the kind of artist I had heard about months before actually meeting and seeing him perform, because he had been hitchhiking and rambling around the country. His reputation preceded him, and it was rumored that he was coming to live here in San Francisco; and indeed he has, becoming a solid part of the SF scene within the 2-ish years he has been here in our fair city. His voice is strong, burbling like a stream, and it's one of his greatest assets; and then there are the songs -- melodic stories about landscapes, both inner and outer. Though he has settled down for a while, he is still one to keep an eye on: Joseph will release a highly anticipated first album in the near future. Here, he chats about working on cattle ranches, seasons changing and his upcoming record.

joseph childress recording in portland

Miss Ess: So, what have you been listening to these days?

Joseph Childress: Well, besides the obvious classics, I have been digging almost everything I've grabbed from Sublime Frequencies and Mississippi Records. Also, Lucky Dragons, White Rainbow, the Yaala Yaala label, Los Increibles, Melodii Tuvi, and the George Mitchell field recordings, mostly country and world stuff. 

ME: What inspires you to write songs? Do you write the lyrics or the music first?

JC: With the exception of maybe three songs, I write the music first. I let the melody tell me the story. I willjoseph childress usually get an image if the part is doing its job. As for inspiration, a whole lot of things inspire me, from nature and women to politics. The weather plays a huge role, also seasonal change. When the air starts to change I get an overwhelming feeling to write.

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Money Talks: AC/DC and Wal-Mart collaborate for profit's sake

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, October 24, 2008 12:34pm | Post a Comment
hair metal rockers Pretty Boy FloydOne of the best things about working at Amoeba Music is all the stories you get to hear. It seems everyone has at least one really great story starring some celebrity or other. Add to that the countless daily recounts of brushes with the bizarre (I'm sure each location has it's own special blend of resident and transient "street life" enthusiasts) and the many stories from the road told by those touring musicians Amoeba frequently fosters; the odd life-altering event/near death experience sort of yarn is spun as often as are the wheels of the gossip wagon. All this and more than enough stupid jokes and "inappropourri" to swell one's ears and imagination for days. Some of the stories I've heard will stay with me forever and some of the story tellers I'd swear have lived multiple lives.

One of my favorite co-workers I like to trade stories with at Amoeba is dear to me for his deep appreciation of all kinds of heavy metal, especially glam/hair metal. Though he's a bit older than me, I'll never forget the day we bonded over our knowledge of obscure (read: tragic) hair metal bands. Floodgates opened and we discussed everything from Bang Tango's singular hit, "Someone Like You," to Pretty Boy Floyd's album Leather Boyz With Electric Toyz and their singular saving grace (ultimately, their hair). Clearly we could go on for days as, it seemed to me anyway, I had no one else at work with whom I could discuss late eighties Hollywood glitter rock and still feel comfortable with myself afterwards. 

white rain shampoo One of my favorite stories this person shared with me involves Warrant, a band that almost always suffered comparison to Poison yet never eclipsed, or even slightly reached, Poison's level of glam-rock stardom. Perhaps that explains why my friend saw them playing in a crappy night club in Fresno. The story is short and amounts to this: at sometime during the gig he stole backstage and lifted a number of items from Warrant, namely a bottle of White Rain shampoo. Now, maybe it's not that funny to everyone, but I clutched my gut in laughter upon hearing this. White Rain! The bottom shelf of hair products! These glamorous guys, who obviously pride themselves on their hair, couldn't get it together to get some Panteen Pro-V or Mane and Tail (being the show ponies they were). I have to admit that I was and still am inclined to think the worst of Warrant -- I was never a fan, not even a little, of their music and their frontman, a man called Jani Lane, frightened me in an Edgar Winter way. To me their music was a tepid, obvious attempt at following Poison's lead (and so was Jani Lane's romance with"spokesmodel" Bobbi Brown, who happened to be Poison frontman Bret Michael's ex-girlfriend) and it was even rumored that Warrant's two guitarists Erik Turner and Joey Allen hadn't played even a shred of a note on Warrant's debut album though they received credit for it. To top it all off, the most annoying girl in my school, who was also my best friends' neighbor and confidante, loved them and Warrant quickly became the crux of our rivalry. And so the very thought of Warrant roughing it on the road with dollar store bought White Rain set me snickering. It was too perfect. And to think that Warrant's debut album was titled DTrauma Kamp irty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich-- hardly.
 
Later on I got to thinking about all those wanna-be rock stars featured in Penelope Spheeris' documentary Decline of the Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years and my laughing slowly subsided into a kind of internal choke. Remembering all those faces staring directly at the camera proclaiming, "Oh yes, I'm gonna make big one day. Definitely. Without a doubt," really hit home. I wonder just how many rockers made the pilgrimage to Hollywood with a mind to find fame and fortune. I thought of my brother (pictured second from the right with his band Trauma Kamp) and how he moved to Hollywood around that time with only what I can imagine to be the same dream of making it big in the music business (and let me tell you, not only did he survive the strip, he's got endless yarns of killer stories about the madness that is, er was, er probably still is, the Hollywood rock scene). Suddenly I was furious at my friend. How could he steal such vital items from a hair metal band on the road like he's stealing food stamps from the needy? The ridiculousness of my anger started me laughing again and I giggled my way over to my dusty video shelf to look for my copy of The Metal Years, only to find it missing, stolen perhaps by a fellow coworker and metal enthusiast whose name just happens to rhyme with the latter syllable of the word Warrant.
AC/DC dollar bill from Money Talks
A few weeks later I'd find myself hungry again for a viewing of The Metal Years after being asked for the umpteenth time when Amoeba's gonna have the new AC/DC album, Black Ice. In answering this oft repeated query, I've noticed that customers seeking this release get a cool, terse response: it's a Wal-Mart exclusive. Now, I am as courteous as the next person when manning the info counter and exclusive sales of new releases are nothing new in music retail, it's just that I find it very hard to swallow that a retailer that once used to ban all releases that required a Parental Advisory sticker, a retailer that seemingly backed the PMRC (the Parents Music Resource Center, a comPMRC: Parents Music Resource Center founded by Tipper Goremittee founded in 1985 by Tipper Gore and three other highly connected political ladies, pictures right) in their endeavors to protect and uphold the morals of America by stifling first amendment rights for recording artists of every genre, a retailer whose name used to be synonymous with right wing, so-called "bible-thumping" Christians could ever, ever sell, exclusively, the new, long awaited record by heavy metal bad boys AC/DC. Maybe the lyrics to AC/DC's hit single "Money Talks" from their Razor's Edge album released in 1990 could clue us in on this retail gaffe: "come on come on love me for the money/ come on come on listen to the money talk." Yeah, and the only way anyone can hop on AC/DC's "Rock N' Roll Train," the first single from Black Ice, is to slum it on down to Wal-Mart 'n' buy it there, or, as it turns out, Sam's Club is selling it too, but only to those who have a membership of course. I understand that a large part of American rockers live in places where Wal-Mart is the only place they can shop for music and I've been reminded repeatedly that times are tough all over, yet BillboardRock Band video game reports that copies of Black Ice are "flying off the shelves" in Wal-Mart and Sam's Club -- money talks indeed -- and I can't help feeling like the "understanding" between Capitol Records and Wal-Mart is a last ditch effort to make mega-bucks on a new release while the mega-bucks can still be made. At least while Wal-Mart is "rolling back the prices" on items like toilet paper you can get the new AC/DC album used at Amoeba for a fraction of what they're flying off the shelves for in the 'burbs. This just in: New York Times reports that Wal-Mart now owns rights to the new AC/DC-themed Rock Band video game, "AC/DC Live: Rock Band Track Pack." I wonder what they'll own rights to next. 

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RADIO KILLED THE IPOD STAR? CHANGING MUSIC LISTENING HABITS

Posted by Billyjam, October 24, 2008 04:00am | Post a Comment
Radio killed the iPod star? Not quite but, as reported this week by Ad Age, a recent study of online and radio listening habits of a youth/young-adult demographic, revealed some interesting findings.

The study, which was conducted by Paragon Research in a random survey of 400 14-24 year olds, showed that this group has increased its time spent listening to radio by 11% this year, while its time spent listening to iPods has actually decreased by 13%.

In the Ad Age story, Jeff Haley, president-CEO of the RAB (Radio Advertising Bureau), said the study confirms what the radio industry has heard anecdotally by reflecting the "lack of inertia in the MP3 experience. You don't have the ability to refresh or any kind of automated way to come across great new music. As a result, that isolated programming effect does not allow you the serendipitous experience the way radio does."

Indeed, that is exactly what makes listening to your favorite (especially local, non commercial) radio station in real time so special: the surprise and sense of the unexpected; never knowing what will be next on the DJ's playlist or in his/her mic break. But of course, a radio or an iPod are merely listening devices and it is only a matter of time before all digital players such as iPods will be easily able to pick up all terrestrial radio stations' streams on their iPods and other music players.
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