Jaakko Eino Kalevi creates what could be called mystery pop. Like a distant Finish cousin to Ariel Pink, Kalevi’s dreamy tunes pulse with gently syncopated grooves, otherworldly synth bursts and a deeply intoning voice that gives his self-titled album a tinge of 4AD-style goth. Though Kalevi clearly has successfully digested albums by This Mortal Coil and Talk Talk, it’s also clear that he’s taken the time to develop his own sound, drawing from his moody ’80s predecessors, lacquering on some fashionably semi-ironic soft-rock sheen and hints of prog-rock and ’80s movie soundtracks, and coming out as a next-generation pop auteur with tunes as exotic as his vowel-friendly name. You might not know quite what Kalevi’s getting at, but his somewhat intangible nature is part of his appeal. The sultry “Say” and aerobic “Night at the Field” stand out from the crowd, but Jaakko Eino Kalevi is an incredibly warm and inviting listen from the top down. Curl up on Kalevi’s luxury sofa and let the magic happen.
Lately I have been digging in my long neglected hip-hop crates and it has been a lot of fun rediscovering a bygone era. Comprised of mostly 12" singles, but some LPs too, that era is made of mostly late-'80's to early-'90's releases. That time is known as the golden era for good reason since so much of this music is truly golden. Under the letter K I stumbled upon a string of rappers named "Kid" including Kid Named Panic, Kid Rock (back when he was rap), and Kid Sensation as well as (pictured above) Kid Frost, Kid Capri, Kid Flash, and Kid 'N Play. Had I been including more recent era hip-hoppers named Kid, included would have been Kid Cudi, Kid Ink, and Kid Sister or perhaps turntablist Kid Koala.
But back to those four golden era "Kid" records that I dug out to pop onto the turntable recently. These included three 12" singles and one album: Kid Flash's forgotten 1988 LP He's In Effect, which was released on Tabu via distribution from CBS and featured some great tracks like "Go Jackson" and "I Hate The Bus," as well as the main single and video off the album "Hot Like." (Note that this LP shows up in the used bins at Amoeba from time to time and usually at a nice price.) Kid Flash's career began and ended with this record (he's rumored to have gone on to become a doctor), which was because, I'm guessing, that while he was very good, his sound was nothing new or original. All the He's In Effect album tracks have a distinct mid-'80's hip-hop sound. Hence, from a hip-hop historic perspective, Kid Flash's whole style and sound contributed little to the overall development and growth of the genre. Compare say Kid Flash to another hip-hop act also releasing an album in 1988 such as Eric B. & Rakim's Follow The Leader and you have two totally different schools of hip-hop artist. While Eric B. & Rakim's sound signalled the beginning of a new era and decade in hip-hop, Kid Flash had the end of the '80's hip-hop sound. Down with the prestigious Cold Chillin' label, Kid Capri was part of what that new hip-hop sound would be like with his 1991 12" "Apollo" release that came in both "Album" and the then popular "Dub" versions, in addition to the "Shout Outs" track.
Following just two dates into their US tour (LA and NY), UK female rock group PINS play a free show and album signing at Amoeba Music San Francisco on Tuesday (June 16) at 6pm in support of their critically acclaimed second album Wild Nights, which arrived at Amoeba last week care of Bella Union.
Comprised of founding member Faith Holgate (vocals and guitar), Lois McDonald (guitar), Anna Donigan (bass), and Sophie Galpin (who replaced original member Lara Williams on drums), PINS hail from the musically rich Northern England city of Manchester. Rooted in garage rock, musically the PINS' guitar-driven, decidedly retro sound is reminiscent at times of many UK indie-pop acts as well as US indie bands Dum Dum Girls and Vivian Girls. When asked who their influences are, they typically cite (American) female artists such as Bikini Kill and Patti Smith, and others they view as "really strong women." Furthermore, they recorded their new eleven track album in the US at California's Rancho De La Luna in Joshua Tree.
Starting next week, we're holding a huge sale on Criterion Collection movies at Amoeba Hollywood—from June 18 through July 4, get 25% off all new Criterion DVDs and Blu-rays. You can read more about that sale here. To kick it off, we gathered our collective heads to pick our favorite Criterion movies on disc. Criteria varies, but generally these discs offer something special beyond the movie itself. Check out our picks below.
Band of Outsiders (1964)
Jean-Luc Godard’s French New Wave classic gets a pristine high-definition digital transfer on both the DVD and Blu-ray, while excerpts from the documentary La nouvelle vague par elle-mÃªme offer behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with Godard. And a short film by the great French New Wave filmmaker Agnes Varda featuring much of the Band of Outsiders cast is just icing.
The Battle of Algiers (1966)
Walking into the massive cavern of fun that is Amoeba San Francisco, it can be easy to forget what you came in to shop for in the first place. The senses are immediately flooded with stimulus from every direction and, like most of us music fiends, it’s a free-for-all as soon as you’ve entered the big red doors. Maybe you didn’t have a plan of attack and are here to browse? That’s ok too. In fact, that just might be the right way to go. As you peruse the always-expanding Book & Magazine Section and prepare for your journey onto the main floor, take a gander at the Toys & Collectibles Showcase on the mezzanine. There’s something for kids of all ages on display in there!
Besides finding rare, out-of-print action figures and toys in the Showcase, you’ll also be able to choose from current popular lines such as the Funko POP and ReAction figures. Game Of Thrones, Breaking Bad, and the Star Wars Black Series are ever popular, and everyone loves a bobble head! Stop in and check it out.
“There’s always that one customer who absolutely needs something from the Showcase, even if they don’t know it!” says Amoeba SF Collectible Buyer, Brent James. “That’s the beautiful thing about our brick and mortar stores. Twenty years into the game and counting, we’ve become museums. Only in THESE museums you can walk out with things. Amoeba customers are the real deal and they know a good thing when they see it. I think it’s important to offer a little bit of everything, since we deal with such a wide range of clients. It’s also worthy to note that there aren’t many ‘traditional’ toy stores left in San Francisco -- not even a Toys R Us -- so every little bit helps in the toy world. I’m constantly searching for good deals and am thrilled when people bring items into the store to sell.”