Amoeblog

Vinyl Confidential, 2.1 -- The Brief History of 45’s, Part One

Posted by Whitmore, May 28, 2009 08:42pm | Post a Comment

The whole brief history of 45’s comes down to about two and a half minutes of heartbreak and a music industry coked up on millions of nickels and dimes from ten year olds spending their allowance. Aaah! But the joy in the weird, seemingly up the arse, off-the-cuff business decisions arbitrarily slung together.  
Why seven inches, and not six… phallic compensation? Why a big whole instead of a small one … phallic compensation! There must be some kind of underlying order and logic to all this, I guess. Then again, I'm no expert on logic and order-- I spend most of my thinking time in the absurd, geeky universe of 45's.   
 
The 7” 45 rpm record was introduced in 1949 by RCA as a smaller, more durable and marketable way to sell records to teenagers. In between crashing jalopies and begetting the next generation at lover’s lanes across the nation, all the flattop cats and the dungaree dolls were done playing Dad’s deadsville 78 rpm shellac platters at sock-hops. The Second World War brought new technology into the marketplace, the unbreakable disc was born, changing and dominating the industry for the next 40 years.
 
The first 45 rpm records were monophonic...and probably should have stayed there in its sepia toned aural perfection. But a few years later technology once again wielded new brawn, cutting a swath through the new middle class’ piggy banks and their want for shiny new electric toys. In the 1950’s and 60’s stereophonic sound looked too fancy to ignore, capturing the imagination by way of graphic designs carving up the backs of entire album covers with a geometry textbook fill of charts, dials and numbers. To starry eyes, this was the conduit to the modern world, chock-full of jetpacks, personal robots, self guided automobiles and scrumptious TV dinners. Except for the occasional monophonic promo record pressed for AM radio play, by the early 1970s almost all 45 rpm records were produced in stereo, though coincidentally, we’re still waiting on everything else promised by those rosy sci-fi prognosticators. I suspect color TV was invented specifically to take the edge off all the disappointments.  
 
Records, like bodies, like the Earth, are not necessarily made to move smoothly on curved orbits by a force called commerce. The cheapest and quickest way for record companies to track the newest new thing in a curved space was always 7” singles. Etched into each side is the shortest distance to a musicians sound, the fastest way to contemplate their muse, value, and the least painful way to navigate the unknown until the slow fade at grooves end has left your head either bopping or shaking. But sometimes the manufactured pre-determined length of a 45 was woefully insufficient. Old school set of natural law insisted three minutes was more than adequate. (Though on occasion editing could be conspicuously delicious, slicing out the unnecessary crap to get to a song’s hook: for example, the original single versions of "American Pie," "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" and "Thong Song"...) Eventually 12” 45’s, unhampered by space and time, boogied down the pike and unhinged the pulse, setting off the ballroom floor, teaching matter how to dance and in particular small objects traveling along the straightest possible lines in curved space. Anyway, the cosmos continues to evolve in its typical way; Earth continues to revolve -- though not at 45 revolutions per minute -- and my blather continues to dissolve in its typical way ...

out this week 5/26...james blackshaw...phoenix...grizzly bear...blank dogs...

Posted by Brad Schelden, May 28, 2009 01:45pm | Post a Comment
blank dogs
I imagine that everybody will be so busy talking about Grizzly Bear this week, they will forget about any other albums that have also come out this week. I am still trying to get into the Grizzly Bear, but it just hasn't been working. I don't neccessarily have a problem with them and maybe they will finally grow on me in the next couple of weeks. It just has not happened yet. But I imagine if you are already a Grizzly Bear fan then you will love this new album -- everybody seems to like it. Some lucky fans got to hear the album early and even buy it early on this Monday here at Amoeba, the day before the album officially came out.

But there are some smaller albums that are getting me very excited this week. First up is the new album by Blank Dogs. The album is called Under & Under and is released by In the Red Records. Blank Dogs is actually just one Blank Dog: one dude from Brooklyn. We seem to know way too much about most artists these days, so I find it refreshing when I know absolutely nothing about an artist. It just makes it all about the music, which is what it should be. This guy even goes so far as to wear masks when he is photographed. Blank Dogs have been putting out music for a couple of years but this is my first real introduction to him. I have long been a fan and will always be a fan of blank dogs under and undershoegaze...and shoegaze this is not, but it does sort of fall into the new genre -- "Shitgaze," brilliant term that makes complete sense. He basically is sort of making up his own weird distorted intrepretation of a genre. It makes it super personal and way more interesting than anything else out there. I am also forever in love with the keyboard, so when it is done right, I usually fall in love with the album. Blank Dogs sound not too different than the synth bands you might have grown up with. Elements of Joy Division, The Cure, and Tuxedomoon are easy to find in these songs. He is not really hiding his influences, but imagine a Jay Reatard type playing with those old genres and making his own sound. The album is dark and dreary but also has a hidden energy inside that make the songs have a sort of more fun, pop feel to them. This is probably the music I would have wanted to play if I had ever continued on my career in music and perfected my keyboard playing skills. Lots of good songs on the album, however, the first track is still my favorite. As much as I love Joy Division, sometimes I need a break. This album is the perfect alternative -- giving you the darkness you desire but with a little something else. Maybe if Ian Curtis had found the right medication and managed to survive the 80s and 90s, this is the sort of album he would have ended up making.
james blackshaw
One of my other favorites of the week is the new James Blackshaw. This guy has been around for a while but I have never actually gotten around to listening to him...although it is very possible that I did listen to him before and it just didn't hit me until now. I honestly always thought this guy was some 60 something Irish dude playing old timey folky ballads. I pictured him with a long white beard and maybe in a wheelchair -- not unlike Robert Wyatt. I was amazed to find out he was actually born in 1981, and he is from London...so I was not so far off on his location, just a bit off on my guess of his age. He has been putting out albums since 2004. He made his way to the label Young God for this new album called Glass Bead Game. Like the albums of Grouper and Jose Gonzalez, this album manages to break my heart a little every time I listen to it. At first it just seems like a simple little album of solo guitar and piano, but it managed to get inside me and break me all up inside. It was one of those albums that I put on not really exjames blackshaw glass bead gamepecting to like, but I was intrigued because it was on Young God. I just expected some Glenn Yarbrough style vocals over the music. I have not had a chance to explore his old albums, but I know he has crossed some boundaries and experimented with a couple different genres. I just like what he is doing right now. There is also some great piano work on this album. The Glass Bead Game is actually the last book by author Hermann Hesse, the man who brought us Siddhartha and Steppenwolf. The album features Joolie Wood on violin, clarinet, and flute; and also John Contreras playing the cello, both of whom also play with Current 93. Lavinia Blackwall also contributes some vocals, but most of album is instrumental. The album is nothing short of beautiful. While it manages to break my heart every time I listen to it, it also mangages to heal it every time. The album is sort of a spiritual classical album. It really makes me feel like I am living in a different era.

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Continued Anticipation Surrounding Lil Wayne's Rebirth Album

Posted by Billyjam, May 28, 2009 08:00am | Post a Comment
Lil Wayne Rebirth
With its release date having been postoned more than once already (April 7th, May 19th, and June 23 were each cancelled street dates), Lil Wayne's anticipated seventh studio album Rebirth (Cash Money Universal Motwon) is now slated to be released eight weeks from now, on July 21st. However, the promise by the rapper that it would be an all rock album is up for debate. Still, regardless of whatever music is on the new Southern rap artist's album, Rebirth is a guaranteed future hit.

Originally billed as a "rock album" by the artist, born Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr, who has cited Kurt Cobain in interviews as being among his major influences, Rebirth has caused controversy among rap fans who fear that their hero had deserted the genre he came to fame in. In fact, the first single off Rebirth, the rocking, guitar laced "Prom Queen" (video below), didn't chart nearly as well as some past Wayne hits. Some have speculated that this was part of the reason for the album's delay and its genre reformatting to more of a rap than a rock album.

"The influence of the new album is mainly rock...a little different than they [the fans] have been used to," offered Lil Wayne in his recent Soundcheck interview. "We just used the title rock cos we didn't want people to think I am too different so therefore we put the title on the music before they do. But really it's just more Lil Wayne maturing," he said in an interview on The View four weeks ago. Meanwhile Bryan "Baby" Williams (aka Birdman -- one half of BIg Tymers), Cash Money Records co-CEO and mentor to Lil Wayne, informed Vibe magazine that, “It’s not a rock record...That’s what I think people are getting misunderstood. When you speaking about a rock record, you think he’s got a guitar and everything, but it’s not that."

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Back to the Future Marathon at the New Beverly

Posted by phil blankenship, May 28, 2009 12:03am | Post a Comment

Amoeba Music and Phil Blankenship are proud to present some of our film favorites at Los Angeles’ last full-time revival movie theater. See movies the way they're meant to be seen - on the big screen and with an audience!




Friday & Saturday
May 29 & 30


Back to
the Future Trilogy Marathon!


Actress Claudia Wells, Jennifer from the first film, will appear in person both nights to discuss the film!

All Tickets $10
One tickets admits you to all three films

Back to the Future 7:30pm

Back to the Future Part II 10:00pm

Back to the Future Part III 11:59pm


New Beverly Cinema
7165 W Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036



Be sure to check out Claudia Wells' new website www.armaniwells.com, too!

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Beach Party 2009

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, May 27, 2009 10:07pm | Post a Comment
andy williams happy heart lp coverorquesta del recuerdo lp covernajee lp cover
We're expecting a heatwave, so here's a nice round of beach themed covers...
charlie barnet quartet jazz oasis lp coverrod mckuen seasons in the sunn II lp cover
romanovsky & phillips trouble in paradise lp coversandy owens ensemble montage lp covertma beach party 2000
a date with riverside lp coverjimmy buffett riddles in the sand lp covernat king cole those lazy hazy crazy days of summer
I know that the Jazz Oasis cover is supposed to be desert, but it looks like the Pismo Beach sand dunes to me.
trigo limpio lp covertammy wynette only lonely sometimes lp coveriguana the winds of alamar lp cover
los joao vamos a la playa lp coverhard rock hits lp coverthis is steve & eydie lp cover
Although I love the Date With Riverside cover above, the Enrique Jorrin LP below is my personal favorite of the bunch.
call of the midnight sun lp coverorquesta enriques jorrin lp covertornader hit it again lp cover
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