Amoeblog

out today 4/29...madonna...portishead...

Posted by Brad Schelden, April 29, 2008 11:30pm | Post a Comment

I really wanted to spend this blog talking about the new releases from our old favorite bands Def Leppard and White Lion, but there are some other more important albums out this week that might have more people excited. Both Madonna and Portishead have some highly anticipated albums coming out today. I wanted Madonna to have to battle with Mariah Carey for the #1 album of the week, but Mariah came out a couple of weeks before Madonna, so we are left with Portishead instead to battle it out with Madonna-- a much better competitor I think.

So yes really, Def Leppard and White Lion both have albums out today. And there is a new Brett Michaels on the way as well. It has been over 20 years since White Lion released their second album Pride back in 1987. The album featured the massive song "When the Children Cry." You really could not get away from that song back then. The album did really well and I remember being obsessed with it myself. I ordered the cassette of it along with Hysteria by Def Leppard from one of those record clubs that  shipped you like 7 albums for 7 cents. Hysteria was Def Leppard's fourth album but it also came out in 1987. This was the album that really got me obsessed with Def Leppard. I was listening to the deluxe reissue version of Hysteria a couple days ago. I always forget until I listen to it, but the album is still amazing. I still have every song memorized. I am sure the album was overplayed for many and there are still many people out there scarred for life because of this album, but I really do love it. I could probably live my life without listening to White Lion again, but that one song still gets me whenever I hear it.

Just in case you were trying to remember 1987, Madonna did not release an album that year. It was the year after True Blue and we were all still in love with "Papa Don't Preach" and "Live to Tell." We had no idea of the controversy that lied ahead of us with Like A Prayer in another couple of years. I am sure there were a lot of Def Leppard fans out there that did not like Madonna, and I am sure they are still out there, but I really did love them both. I was young and really did just love myself some popular radio music. These albums made a huge impact on my life and are still somehow a part of me. It is a bit crazy to think that 20 years have passed since then, but they all have new albums out this week. I have not ventured into the new albums from White Lion or Def Leppard, and I might just skip them altogether so I can keep my memories somewhat sacred. But Madonna has been quite the busy lady since 1987-- it does really seem like her last album just came out. She seems to be always ready with a new one just when you have finished the last one. You have either worn it out or been sick of it since it came out and finally got it out of your head. I have pretended to not be a fan of Madonna a couple times over the last 20 years, but I just can't resist her or her music. She got me back then and I have not really been able to shake my love of Madonna. I have had mixed feeling about the last couple albums. I always sort of love it and like many of the songs, but I also always hope for a bit more that I get. I do respect the lady for continuing to be relevant and make albums that sound different than the last. The new album is mostly a Timbaland and Justin Timberlake album, but it is also most definitely a Madonna album. Justin Timberlake would not really exist without Madonna, so if you think about it that way, she is just using the people that she influenced to help her create a new album. I have been trying to get coworkers to place bets on what album will come out on top at Amoeba this week. Madonna will most certainly have the top album in the country this week. But I have my faith that Portishead will win the competition at Amoeba. Although based on first day sales today, the race will be much closer than I thought.

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ALBERT HOFMANN, FATHER OF LSD, IS DEAD AT AGE 102

Posted by Billyjam, April 29, 2008 07:51pm | Post a Comment

Earlier today (April 29th, 2008) Albert Hofmann, the Swiss born scientist best known for synthesizing Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (aka LSD), died of a heart attack. He was 102 years old.  Two years ago in 2006, coinciding with his hundredth birthday, there was an international symposium (see clip below) -- with a good deal of publicity surrounding it at the time -- on his mind altering creation.

In addition to synthesizing LSD in 1938, Hoffman, known as the "Father of LSD," was also the first to synthesize psilocybin -- the active constituent of 'magic mushrooms' in 1958.  He was also the author of several books including The Botany and Chemistry of Hallucinogen and  LSD: My Problem Child. Additionally he wrote in excess of a hundred scientific articles.

Born in Baden, Switzerland in 1906, Hofmann graduated from the University of Zürich with a degree in chemistry in 1929 and went to work for Sandoz Pharmaceutical in Basel, Switzerland. This involved years of laboratory research which led him on to the study of Claviceps purpurea (ergot) and ergot alkaloids.  This led his research to spend a few years working his way through the lysergic acid derivatives. He eventually arrived at synthesizing LSD-25 in 1938.

According to sources after minimal testing, LSD-25 was set aside as Hofmann continued with other derivatives, only four years later in 1943, re-synthesizing LSD-25 because he felt he might have missed something the first time around. And on that day in April of 1943 he was the very first human to experience the effects of LSD after accidentally ingesting a tiny amount of the mind-altering drug. Although he stopped working in research several years ago, Hofmann continued to write and work as lecturer and spokesman on psychedelics right up until the time of his death.

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San Marino (aka Chan Marino)

Posted by Eric Brightwell, April 29, 2008 03:00pm | Post a Comment
This entry in a series about Los Angeles County communities is about San Marino. To vote for more communities, click here. To vote for Los Angeles neighborhoods, click here. To vote for Orange County neighborhoods, vote here.

San Marino is located in the San Gabriel Valley and is neighbored by Pasadena and San Pasqual to the north, East Pasadena and East San Gabriel to the east, Alhambra and San Gabriel to the south, and South Pasadena to the east.
Map of the San Gabriel Valley Map of San Marino, California
                             Pendersleigh & Sons' Official Maps of the San Gabriel Valley and San Marino                                                                                                                                          

San Marino (aka Chan Marino - thanks to Ngoc for that tidbit) is a tiny, affluent city nestled in the San Gabriel Valley which comes in at number 48 on the list of America's least-affordable places to live.  Its homes were mostly built in the second quarter of the 20th century and are in a fairly wide variety of styles-- some are actually pretty low key. Monterey Park may've been envisioned as the "Beverly Hills of East L.A." by its planners, but surely San Marino has more right to the comparison than other Easterly cities and neighborhoods. It has often, on TV and film, subbed as the West Side, East Coast or just a nice, anonymous neighborhood in such timeless, Hollywood classics as Mr & Mrs. Smith,  Monster-In-Law,  One Hour Photo, American Wedding, Men In Black II,  and television episodes of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, the Office, The West Wing and Alias. Despite the fact that in films and TV it is used to portray genteel, white neighborhoods, in reality most of the population is Chinese-American, which is why people jokingly refer to it as Chan Marino. The population is currently 47% Asian (mostly Taiwanese and Chinese), 44% white (mostly English) and 5% Latino.

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Bebe Barron 1925 - 2008

Posted by Whitmore, April 29, 2008 12:37pm | Post a Comment

One of the pioneers of electronic music and co-composer of the first all electronic film score, Bebe Barron, died this past April 20th of natural cases at the age of 82. She along with her husband, Louis Barron, who passed away in 1989, composed the sound effects / soundtrack to the 1956 sci-fi classic Forbidden Planet.

Charlotte May Wind (her husband nicknamed her Bebe) was born in Minneapolis in 1925. She earned a degree in music at the University of Minnesota then moved to New York, where she worked as a researcher for Time-Life. Soon after, she met and married Louis Barron in 1947. As a wedding gift the Barrons received a tape recorder and began delving into the world of musique concrete (music created by sounds other than musical instruments, often referred to as “real world” sounds). In 1948 Louis Barron was inspired by the book Cybernetics: Or, Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine, by MIT mathematician Norbert Wiener. After studying Wiener’s equations, Louis began building electronic circuits to generate sounds. That combined with recorded tape, created a unique and otherworldly aural experience. After moving to Greenwich Village, the Barrons built a recording studio and became entrenched in New York’s burgeoning avant-garde scene. In their studio they recorded the likes of Aldous Huxley, Anais Nin, Henry Miller and Tennessee Williams reading their work; they also recorded and worked with many like-thinking composers such as John Cage, Morton Feldman, Earle Brown, and David Tudor. In addition, the Barrons scored their first soundtracks to several experimental short films by Ian Hugo, husband of Anais Nin.

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SOUNDTRACK SERIES #1

Posted by Job O Brother, April 29, 2008 11:13am | Post a Comment
Directions: Imagine Mr. Brother living another day, as always, with music playing. Whether it’s one of his trusty iPods, or his home stereo, or working the soundtracks section of Amoeba Music Hollywood, Mr. Brother is eating, sonically, with the mouths of his ears.

To simulate this experience, as you read the below story of a day lived, you will be given certain music clips to play. These are inserted to provide you with the same tunes Job was hearing as he was doing what you’ll be reading.


For example, while he was writing the above directions, he was listening to this:



So, I was at Target the other day, looking to see if Method had launched any new cleaning products (which they had – a new toilet bowl cleanser, so I was happy), when I found myself looking at the pet toy section with fresh interest.

I decided to purchase a cat laser. That is, a little plastic mouse which shoots a red laser point; the idea being that the cat will think the red spot is some kind of living, flying, glowing thing and chase it around. Not every cat registers the laser, however, so spending the four dollars was a real risk on my part. You know me, though – I live on the edge. Cat laser? Purchased!

Before I left Target, I put my courage to the sticking place and ventured into the men’s restroom. The men’s restroom at the West Hollywood Target reminds me of jail, somehow. And yes, I’ve been to jail, thank you for asking.



Everything was going well – if not for my olfactory sense. I was washing my paws. A few sinks over from me was an old man in a porkpie hat. I watched, transfixed, as he removed both his upper and lower teeth and set them on the very public, men’s restroom sink.
I quickly left. I didn’t want the janitor to have to clean up any regurgitated Vitamin Water on my account.

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