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The Dilettantes' Joel Gion Chats

Posted by Miss Ess, May 9, 2008 12:52pm | Post a Comment
Joel Gion is quite the musical renaissance man.  In addition to working amongst piles of vinyl and CDs and obsessing over fine cinema and its soundtracks, he also finds time to front his own popular band, The Dilettantejoel gion dig brian jonestown massacres, while intermittently doing time in his old band, The Brian Jonestown Massacre.  BJM was recently the subject of a feature documentary entitled Dig, which enabled fans to get up close and personal with one of the most riotous, chaotic groups of all time.  The film comes highly recommended by this blogger.  Joel will be touring with BJM this summer, and continues to gig regularly with The Dilettantes in support of their album 101 Tambourines.  More info in the conversation that follows. Here, Joel speaks about his Brian Jonestown Massacre days, how The Beatles changed his life, and the tambourine.

ME:  What was the first record that really blew your hair back when you were a kid and made you start to really get into music?
 
JG:  I saw Yellow Submarine when I was 5 and that was it. My mom took me to The Gemco the next day and bought me the Red and Blue [Beatles hits] double LPs. I jumped around in front of the mirror with my bowl cut and a tennis racket for about a week straight. I never get tired of The Beatles. I have never owned a copy of Abbey Road or Let It Be because I made a decision a long time ago I would save the later period for when I turned 40. I want to keep some fresh Beatles on reserve for the last half of life. I never want that magic out of my life.

1988: In celebration of the year 1988 in hip-hop.

Posted by Billyjam, May 9, 2008 09:06am | Post a Comment

Today I invite you to join me and others in celebrating the year 1988: a time widely considered to be the peak of the so-called "golden era" in hip-hop's relatively short history. In addition to this Amoeblog on 1988 I have also written another blog today on the same subject on WFMU's blog -- the website of the radio station where I do a weekly show entitled "Put The Needle On The Record."  And coincidentally, today's (Friday May 9th) program will be titled "1988" and will celebrate the same topic with lots of music from that year being played plus lots of discussion about that era in hip hop history.

It airs 3PM to 6PM (noon - 3PM PST) on 91.1FM and can be heard, either live or in later archives, online here. Joining me in the studio will be the hip-hop authors  Michael A Gonzales and Marcus Reeves who have also penned blogs on 1988. Read Michael's 1988 blog on his Blackadelicpop blog and another collaborator Miles Marshell Lewis' 1988 blog and scroll down to the end of this Amoeblog for links to other bloggers' 1988 essays. These will include many of the other scheduled participants in today's radio show including Bill Adler, Lisa Cortes, Todd Craig,  Serena Kim, and Steve Fleming.



For this Amoeblog on 1988 I want to make note of some of the many releases that dropped that year, mention some noteworthy events, plus include some hip-hop videos from that year. For me personally 1988 was a great year. I was a DJ on three Bay Area radio stations including KALX, where I played hip-hop and had just begun my writing career for a San Francisco newspaper. That same year I met the guys who had started a promising new magazine called The Source and by the following year I would be writing for their new hip-hop mag about Bay Area rap.  And there was lots of exciting Bay Area rap being released back in '88 -- mostly independently released cassettes and 12" singles -- including San Francisco's All Ready Fresh "2" who dropped their single "Sucker Butts," SF's Super Macks, who released the super hero themed single "Super Mack's In Effect," and Milpitas' Chris & Ray (neighbors of a young Peanut Butter Wolf) released their single "U Don't Walk U Run." There was also San Francisco's Thermo feat. The Waimea Bass, who released "Chillin' At Ocean Beach," Digital Underground, who dropped their first single "Your Life's A Cartoon"/"Underwater Rimes" on TNT/Macola, and the Vallejo group MVP (later to morph into The Click) who released an EP on Rushforce Records.

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May 8, 2008

Posted by phil blankenship, May 8, 2008 11:37pm | Post a Comment



HIP-HOP IS ALIVE AND WELL: BILLY JAM'S WEEKLY HIP-HOP ROUND UP

Posted by Billyjam, May 8, 2008 06:00pm | Post a Comment

As proven by the entries on the new Top Five Hip-Hop Charts from each of the three Amoeba Music locations (Berkeley, SF, Hollywood -- charts below by Tunde, Jason Chavez, & Marques Newson) hip-hop is very much alive and well. 

Not only that, but hip-hop, a genre known for its high turnover and tendency for chewing up and spitting out artists after a short shelf life, is instead demonstrating love for several longtime hip-hoppers with new releases. 

These include Prodigy, who started out rapping with Mobb Deep potna Havoc two long decades ago, The Roots, who've just dropped their ninth album, and E40 who is celebrating twenty years as a rap recording artist and just released the new Sick Wid It Umbrella: The Complete Second Season rap compilation with its appropriate Sopranos styled cover.

The Roots, who just get better and better as time evolves, have just released their ninth album Rising    Down. It's their eight studio album and second for Def Jam, and it's in big demand with music fans. The  Philadelphia based hip-hop band, who tore shit up September '06 at their Amoeba Hollywood instore, is the number one seller at both the LA Amoeba and at Berkeley, while in SF it is a close second to Atmosphere (another longtime hip-hop artist).  Following The Roots' Game Theory album in 2006, the new album culls its title, presumably, from the William T. Vollmann's book Rising Up and Rising Down: Some Thoughts on Violence, Freedom and Urgent Means, published in 2004. Rising Down features numerous cameos and guest shots ,including Mos Def, Styles P, Talib Kweli, and Common.

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The Cros: I'd Swear There Was Somebody Here...

Posted by Miss Ess, May 8, 2008 12:04pm | Post a Comment
David Crosby has a well-earned reputation for being an angelic-faced bad boy, a drug addicted ego david crosby mug shotfreak. His work throughout the 60s and early 70s was mostly within the confines of The Byrds or Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. There is one record though, that to me is the standout among all the work of both of those bands, and it technically belongs to Crosby alone.
 
Crosby's first solo record, If I Could Only Remember My Name, as far as I am concerned, is one of the best albums ever created in the first place. It's an oddity for sure, and it seems miraculous that it was ever made. The album was recorded in San Francisco's Tenderloin in 1970/71. Sonically it's pure Cros-- heavy on the mystical harmonies, musically meandering all over the place-- but it also has guest appearances by Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Jedavid crosby solo if i could only remember my namerry Garcia, and Jorma Kaukonen, among many others. One of the best parts about the record is laying back, letting the sound float around you and then hearing intermittent vocals from Joni and Neil washing in and out of different songs. Though this is a solo album, the feeling of the record is often one of hazy collaboration, of seamless blending toward a greater vision. Someone needs to write a book about these recording sessions, if anyone can remember them!

The title just seems so fittingly Crosby! It always kind of cracks me up. The early 70s were a particularly drug-addled period for him. I recently read that he was referring to reincarnation with the title, not general confusion...but if you listen closely to the lyrics they seem to often reference being overwhelmed by city life, distrust and paranoia. All of this is presented in gorgeous, hooky tracks, so you could easily miss some of the more heavy themes. On the positive side of the lyrics, there are tracks like the beautiful and hippy-ish "Music Is Love." Check out this awesome performance of "Traction in the Rain" by Crosby and Graham Nash. This was on the BBC before the record was even recorded.

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