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John Vanderslice Chats

Posted by Miss Ess, September 19, 2008 04:33pm | Post a Comment
John Vanderslice is one of the Bay Area's most well known and most beloved musicians. He is also the proud owner of one of the few remaining all-analog studios, Tiny Telephone. John's a Barsuk recording artist and his most recent album is entitled Emerald City. He also happens to be one of my favorite people I've had the pleasure of meeting during my tenure at Amoeba. You can check out a sweet performance/interview with John from 2007 here on the Amoeba website, and you can also check out an mp3 of his song "White Dove" right here. Read on for our interview about reluctant piano lessons, greencards and the perfection of the Kinks.

john vanderslice

Miss Ess: How did your passion for music develop when you were young?


John Vanderslice: My mom forced me into piano lessons when I was 6. God, I hated them!! Of course, john vanderslice emerald cityyears later, when I had absorbed some theory and could play a bit of piano I thanked my mom for starting me out. From there, it was a lot easier to move to piano and voice.

ME: I took piano from six as well and had much the same experience, minus the great success you’ve gone on to! When was the moment you realized you could make creating music your life and livelihood?

JV: After I started Tiny Telephone and we got a few clients, I realized that the combination of the studio and my touring income would allow me to leave my job (I was a bartender at Chez Panisse, a fantastic to place to work).
 
ME: What have you been listening to lately? Whose songs resonate with you?

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AMOEBA MUSIC WEEKLY HIP-HOP ROUND UP 09:19:08

Posted by Billyjam, September 19, 2008 04:20pm | Post a Comment
                                        Ameoba Music Berkeley  Hip-Hop Top Five  09:19:08
Spearhead
1)  Michael Franti & Spearhead All Rebel Rockers   
     (Amer-I Can/Unity One/Anti)

2)  Diplo Top Ranking Santogold (Mad Decent)

3)  The Game LAX (Geffen/Interscope)

4) Young Jeezy The Recession (Def Jam)

5)  eLZhi The Preface (Fat Beats)

The number one selling album at the Berkeley store this week is from the Bay Area's very own veteran political musician Michael Franti and his group Spearhead. Recorded in Kingston, Jamaica and produced by Sly and Robbie, this brand new full length titled All Rebel Rockers is the anticipated follow-up to the acclaimed Yell Fire!, released two years ago on Anti. This new album may not possess that same sense of urgency as its predecessor and hence, takes a little longer to get into, but All Rebel Rockers is still a very good album. (Yell Fire! is a hard one to top because it was so powerful a release.) Naturally, with Sly & Robbie at the controls, it has more of a reggae feel than the other genres it incorporates (mainly hip-hop and soul). 

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BAY AREA HIP-HOP ARCHIVES: OAKLAND RAP TOP TEN 1990

Posted by Billyjam, September 19, 2008 09:09am | Post a Comment
                                                        Oakland Rap Top Ten 1990

01) Too $hort / "The Ghetto"
02) Richie Rich / "Don't Do It"
03) Mhisani / "Y.O.U.T.H."
04) 415 / "Groupie"
05) Mac Mill / "Dangler"

06) D-Loc / "Ace In The Hole"
07) Digital Underground / "The Way We Swing"
08) 2 Bigg MC / "He's the King of Hype"
09) Freddy B / "Why"
10) MC Valentine, K-Cloud & Crew / "Have You Seen Her?"

Digging in the Bay Area archives today I came across this Oakland Rap Top Ten chart from eighteen years ago. The list is a subjective singles/songs based chart that I had originally tallied based on a combination of artists I was writing about at the time for my Bay Area column in Source magazine and on radio airplay on the weekly Sunday hip-hop radio show (Hip Hop Slam) I did at the time. The show, on KALX 90.7FM, was co-hosted along with G-Spot (now heard on KPFA late Saturday nights) in addition to, invariably, a ton of guests (a great many of them Bay Area) rolling through the Berkeley studios each week, including all of the artists in this top ten. Note that back circa 1990, DJs and writers generally used the word "rap" to describe these artists rather than "hip-hop," even though it was recognized as a part of hip-hop.

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Ceres - Dwarf Planet

Posted by Eric Brightwell, September 19, 2008 09:01am | Post a Comment
Dwarf planets are objects with sufficient mass to assume a roughly spherical shape but yet too small to get picked for the starting lineup in the solar tee-ball match. There are currently four planets designated as dwarf planets. Before 2006 they were also known as minor planets, planetoids and (my favorite) subplanets.

  

Although there are currently only four designated dwarf planets, there are at least 41 known objects which may qualify when we get around to it. And when the Kuiper belt is fully-explored, there may turn out to be another 200. Beyond that there may be another 2000 subplanets in our solar system.
Ceres is named after the Roman goddess of cereals (a word which is itself derived from her name) and motherly love. She was both the sister and wife of Jupiter. Her worship was adopted by the Romans in 496 BCE, during a particularly severe famine. Her followers were mostly plebes who controlled the grain game in antiquity. For some reason, their rites included tying burning sticks to fox's tails.

The original name for the planetoid was Ceres Ferdinandea but that got shot down as not everyone was so keen on brown-nosing Spanish royalty. The dwarf planet is the smallest of the currently designated subplanets. It was actually discovered way back in 1801 by Giuseppie Piazzi who wrote, "since its movement is so slow and rather uniform, it has occurred to me several times that it might be something better than a comet." Even further back, Johann Elert Bode, in 1768, had suggested that there may be a planet between Mars and Earth. And lo, Ceres is situated within the asteroid belt. It's actually the largest  object in the belt --making up a third of the belt's mass. Its surface is made up of water ice (more than the total amount of water found on Earth), carbonate and clay. The weather on Ceres isn't that bad, reaching -38 degrees Celsius, which is warmer than some Midwestern winters I've experienced.

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The Circle Game

Posted by Miss Ess, September 18, 2008 06:31pm | Post a Comment
I love it when musicians write something new in response to another artist's song. One great artist inspiring another is what makes the world go round, in a way, and it's fun to find examples of artists reacting to one another's work.

One of the more famous examples of this is "Sweet Home Alabama," Lynyrd Skynyrd's 1974 response to Neil Young's earlier songs slamming stereotypical Southern racism, "Southern Man" and "Alabama." Neil apparently loved it when he heard his name in the track, as the bands were friendly:

"Well I heard Mr Young sing about it
Well I heard old Neil put her down
Well I hope Neil Young will remember
Southern Man don't need him around anyhow..."

 
 

Apparently Neil Young is extremely inspiring, because the other song that springs to mind as being written in response to a great song is Joni Mitchell's "The Circle Game," which she wrote for Neil after hearing his "Sugar Mountain." Both songs are about growing older and youth slipping by. The two songwriters met back in 1964, the same year 19 year old Neil wrote "Sugar Mountain," which contains the line "You can't be 20/on Sugar Mountain." Joni's response in "The Circle Game": "So the years spin by and now the boy is twenty/ Though his dreams have lost some grandeur coming true/There'll be new dreams, maybe better dreams and plenty/Before the last revolving year is through."

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