Amoeblog

AMOEBA MUSIC STORES' MURALS

Posted by Billyjam, July 2, 2007 04:00pm | Post a Comment

If you've ever checked out the murals on the outside walls of the three Amoeba Music stores (Hollywood, Berkeley, San Francisco), you may have noticed a similarity in styles between all three. That's because the same two artists, Larry Smulian as designer and Brian Blesser as art executor, contributed their art to the outside of all three music stores.  "Larry does all our ad art, and Brian did our murals on the front of Berkeley way back when, and the side of Haight street, and the top of the front of Haight," said Amoeba Music's Marc Weinstein.

Note that these artists contributed to the Ivar side of the Hollywood Amoeba (not the Cahuenga side of building -- more on that art and the artist who created it in a later Amoeblog) and that they are not responsible for the graffiti art side of the Haight Street store.

Most of the pics displayed here in this BLOG are from the Haste Street side of the Berkeley Amoeba Music store and are chosen because they are among this blogger's favorites for many reasons, including the historical content's significance -- mainly the fact that they represent the period during the 1960's history of Berkeley's Peoples Park, which is steeped in radical political activism, not to mention that People's Park is directly behind Amoeba Berkeley in the same block bordered by Telegraph & Bowditch and Haste & Dwight.

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WHAT IF IAN CURTIS HADN'T HUNG HIMSELF?

Posted by Billyjam, July 1, 2007 08:56pm | Post a Comment
joy division
One recent afternoon, while ambling through the rock vinyl aisles of Amoeba Berkeley, my eye caught that great Joy Division album cover Unknown Pleasures. Wow, I thought, just how perfect is that cover artwork that was actually taken from an edition of the Cambridge Encyclopedia of Astronomy? And how even more perfect is that whole album -- originally released on June 15th, 1979? I could listen to it and everything by Joy Division a million times over and never get tired of hearing it. Even the over-played and over-covered "Love Will Tear Us Apart" (released a month after Curtis' suicide) never ages in my head. Perhaps part of the greatness of all this music is that it is frozen in time, never having to be matched by later releases from a band that came to an abrupt early end after the tragically troubled lead-singer Ian Curtis had literally kicked the bucket -- instantly making him and Joy Division stuff of music legend, to be forever admired and romanticized in pop culture from afar.
ian curtis
But what (let's just imagine) if Ian Kevin Curtis hadn't hung himself back on May 18th, 1980, at the young age of 23? What if instead, he had kept on living and making music with Joy Division (meaning, of course, that there would have been no New Order), cranking out (increasingly weaker and weaker) albums throughout the eighties and up until an ugly break-up in 1997, followed by Ian Curtis completely disappearing for many years up until, let's again pretend, in 2004 when the producers of VH1's Band Reunited track him down. What if they find him old, fat, bald, bitter and living in a bedsit in Birmingham? Then, encouraged by VH1's intervention, he officially pulls himself together, temporarily kicks his age old habit, and tours small clubs with a new Joy Division lineup doing at best average covers of his old songs. Not pretty, eh? Not compared to the perfectly preserved, romantically tragic Ian Curtis that is the pop culture icon today.

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piano magic is magic!

Posted by Brad Schelden, July 1, 2007 02:05pm | Post a Comment

I love Piano Magic. I know that I may throw that word "love" around a lot. But I would take back all the times I have used it, if I could use it just this one time. This band has been around for a bit over 10 years, but I only just discovered them maybe about 4 or 5 years ago. One of my friends, June, was obsessed with them. Since I like all the same music as him (Cocteau Twins/Lisa Germano/Red House Painters/This Mortal Coil/His Name Is Alive/etc.) I figured I would also love this band like he had. So my first introduction was "The Troubled Sleep of Piano Magic" back in 2003. I quickly discovered they were one of the bands that were made for people like me. I was excited for their next excellent album "Disaffected" in 2005. It is always exciting to discover a new band that has already been around for a while. It is like they somehow kept themselves hidden and their fans kept them a secret. Once you find about them, you want to keep them to yourself for a little bit. Until you just can't take it anymore and you to share them with everyone. When I always think I have already heard everything, it is nice to know there are still some great bands out there for me to discover. It's exciting.

They have just released their new album "Part Monster" on Important Records. They have  been on about 7 different labels and have had many different members. They are currently Glen Johnson, Jerome Tcherneyan, Alasdair Steer, Franck Alba and Cedric Pin. They are of course from England. They sort of fit into that ambient rock category. Dreamy and ethereal but still a rock band. Sad and emotional and all tragic. The vocalist sometimes reminds me of a mix of Jesus & Mary Chain and The Tindersticks. Sort of like what Slowdive sounded like as they were transitioning into Mojave 3. They also remind me a bit of bands like Field Mice but just with a little Black Heart Procession. That is enough band comparisons. They are just awesome and do sort of have their unique little sound.

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Jaguar Lives

Posted by phil blankenship, July 1, 2007 01:14am | Post a Comment
 






Interglobal Home Video 1409

HOW I REMINISCE OVER YOU: THE PRE DIGITAL ERA

Posted by Billyjam, June 30, 2007 10:54pm | Post a Comment
nirvana nevermind
Once upon a time in ye olde pre-digital days, music fans would have to trek to their local record store on a certain day, usually a Tuesday, to acquire new music. It was the only way. And in the great new documentary Good Copy Bad Copy, the sample-happy artist Girl Talk reminisces about those long gone days when some of his fondest memories were formed. In the film he recalls when as a kid he was accompanied to the record store with his parents to buy the then new Nirvana CD Nevermind and how, sadly, that this nostalgic relationship no longer exists for most young blossoming music fans today.

Directed by European Andreas Johnsen, the engaging Good Copy Bad Copy, which so far has only been seen on the Danish Broadcasting Corporation television station, is a well worth watching documentary about music, copyright, and culture, and where it is headed. The one-hour documentary also features interviews with Danger Mouse, Siva Vaidhyanathan, Lawrence Lessig, and others. Below is a clip from the film. Fittingly, this film, which is supportive of copyright free file sharing, is available for free download. You can access the torrent of the XviD version at The Pirate Bay on the site goodcopybadcopy.net. However, since the film producers have still only recouped a quarter of their production costs, they do request a donation -- but only if you liked the film. And I think you will. 


For even further info, check out rosforh.com. On their homepage you can also check out clips from another good music-related documentary, Curtain Raising: Musicians in East Africa.
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