Amoeblog

The Coup's Boots Riley Keeps The Revolution Alive & Discusses His Ambitious "Shadowbox" Stage Production

Posted by Billyjam, November 21, 2014 10:18am | Post a Comment



About a quarter way into the The Coup's amazing world premiere of Shadowbox - the longtime politicized Oakland hip-hop group's ambitious multifaceted, mixed media, multi-stage production that played as a kind of preview for only two shows on the one night at San Francisco's Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) - front-man/emcee Boots Riley pointed to the giant scale floor to ceiling artwork by East Bay street artist Jon-Paul Bail. The East Bay muralist's giant cityscapes print, that wrapped its way around all walls of the entire performance space at YBCA, was an accurate image of the changing city that awaited outside the museum's walls.  Skyscrapers and other towering buildings with bold logos emblazoned on them of American born and bred entities like Twitter, Google, IBM, AT&T, NRA, and the PMRC acted as the perfect backdrop to the revolutionary hip-hop group's message of Shadowbox - to question authority and rebel against exploitative predatory corporations and the politicians that they've paid off to continue their rise to power at the expense of increasingly poorer working class of America.

In addition to Boots Riley and his full live band, the large scale production boasted numerous other artists joining the Coup on three stages (sometimes simultaneously) including Dead Prez, Classical Revolution, W. Kamau Bell, Mortar & Pestle, Snow Angel, Eat The Fish Presents, and Extra Action Marching Band. The choice of all of these artists, like the inclusion of Jon-Paul Bail's art work and the video projections and other stage designs by David Szlasa, was all the brainchild of Boots Riley. The Coup mainman has been a fan and friend of East Bay artist Jon-Paul Bail for many years and the inclusion of his art seemed like a no-brainer, he told the YBCA audience. "The first time I met him was in high school when we used to cut school and go to Alameda Beach and the police would harass us - even after school they'd harass us. And all of a sudden I would see police roll up and on the side of their cars where Nazi insignias - what looked like official Nazi insignias on the car and they were placed very neatly so it was done when they were at a coffee shop or something. And I was like 'Who is doing this?' because that was how we felt about the police. And then I met him…… And I was in an organization called International Committee Against Racism and we worked on going to fight the Nazis up in Vallejo. He was the first artist putting out political messages in his art - him a bunch of other students at CCAC. And we ran into each other recently and put this together."

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Weekly Roundup: Sonny & the Sunsets, Jessica Pratt, Tobias Jesso Jr., Colleen Green, L.A. Witch, Susan

Posted by Billy Gil, November 21, 2014 10:11am | Post a Comment

Sonny & the Sunsets – “Cheap Extensions” video

sonny & the sunsets Sonny & the Sunsets have a new album on the way, and they already have an awesome, animated new video for the track “Cheap Extensions.” Follow the tail of a girl and her mysterious extensions over the Sunsets’ hypnotic groove. Talent Night at the Ashram was mostly recorded by Smith at home on his tape machine with the help of friends like Shayde Sartin (The Fresh & Onlys), Garret Goddard (King Tuff), Kelley Stoltz, Rusty Miller and Ian McBrayer. It’s due Feb. 17 on Polyvinyl. Read my interview with Sonny Smith back when they released their terrific last album, Antenna to the Afterworld.

 

Jessica Pratt – “Back, Baby”

jessica prattI missed this new Jessica Pratt song while I was out of town—my bad! Everyone should be aware that it exists, and that the former Amoebite is releasing her second album soon—On Your Own Love Again is due on Drag City Jan. 27. On the first track she’s released from it, Pratt’s elfin voice sings a pensive breakup tune amid loping, seaside acoustic guitar. Absolutely stunning.

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Remembering Jimmy Ruffin

Posted by Billyjam, November 20, 2014 07:28am | Post a Comment
Since the sad news broke yesterday of the passing of Motown great Jimmy Ruffin - who died earlier this week at age 78 following the announcement last month of him being seriously ill - I've been going back and digging up some of the popular recordings by the man (scroll down to see/hear select videos). While he may not have been quite as famous as his younger brother David Ruffin (the lead singer of the Temptations) he was an incredibly talented artist. Born in Mississippi Jimmy Ruffin moved to Detroit in the early sixties to connect with Berry Gordy's Motown Records - or rather initially Motown's Miracle Records imprint. There he recorded his biggest hit in 1966 with "What Becomes of the Broken Hearted."

Other Ruffin songs that enjoyed success over the years included "Gonna Give Her All the Love I Got ," "I've Passed This Way Before," and the 1980 hit "Hold On To My Love." Ruffin, who relocated temporarily to the UK in the 1980's where he recorded with such artists as major soul music fan Paul Weller, continued recording up until two years ago when he released his final album, There Will Never Be Another You. Below are a few select videos featuring the man that Berry Gordy called "truly underrated." Check for his music at Amoeba including his 1969 album Ruff'n Ready, the 20th Century Masters collection The Best Of Jimmy Ruffin - The Millennium Collection, and the duet full-length I Am My Brothers Keeper  that he recorded with his late great brother David who died 24 years ago. Hopefully the two Ruffin brothers are reunited in the afterlife and singing sweet soul music together again.

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Fight For Your Right: A Beastie Boys Tribute Night at the SFJFF

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, November 19, 2014 05:38pm | Post a Comment

Exercise your right to party with the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival in celebration of the original American Jewish rappers, the Beastie Boys! It all goes down on the second night of Chanukah, Wednesday, December 17th at Public Works at 8:30pm. Come get on up ‘n’ get on down with live music from Bay Area bands Felonious, Jazz Mafia, and DJ Cylcofunk, who will be spinning rare Beasties B-sides, remixes, and other hip-hop surprises all night long.

Landmark music videos featuring early directorial work from Spike Jonze, Tamra Davis, and of course, the dearly departed Adam "MCA" Yauch, will be projected all night, providing a visual aid to your sonic illuminations. Put on your best club wear or dress as your favorite Beastie Boy for a chance to win SFJFF tickets and an original painting of the Beasties by local artist Chris Fabbri.
 

Fight For Your Right: A Beastie Boys Tribute Night at the SFJFF
Wednesday, December 17
Doors at 8:30PM @ Public Works SF, 161 Erie St.
$10 advance tix | $15 door.

Show Recap: Joel Jerome at Amoeba Hollywood

Posted by Billy Gil, November 19, 2014 02:53pm | Post a Comment

joel jeromeJoel Jerome brought his seven-man band to Amoeba Hollywood Nov. 18 for a set of songs from his excellent new solo record, Psychedelic Thrifstore Folk, as well as his catalog of songs from his days fronting dios.

They started with the “Everybody Wants Somebody,” jangling forth on a Kinksy arrangement until it slowed down for an extended sunlit singalong chorus. The band layered jangling acoustics, steel guitar, horse-clopping percussion, chimes, saxophone into a perfectly orchestrated mass, showing Jerome’s ability to dress these songs in whatever he sees fit and still have them come through as well-written songs to the core. Jerome introduced singer/songwriter Miguel Mendez for the next song, the Mendez-written “You Got Me All Wrong,” off the first dios album, which was also included on one of The O.C. mixes back in the day. The band faithfully tore through “You Got Me All Wrong” and went into another Mendez song, Thrifstore’s dreamy “I’m Dumb After All,” with Mendez taking lead and Jerome singing backup and snaking country licks around lines like “I wanna die with the radio blasting.”

Thriftstore’s cool, Doors-tinged opener “Stay in Bed” came next, followed by “Tell Me Thing,” off the third dios album, We Are Dios. The song was the set’s show-stopper, its sexy opening riff grabbing you and setting the stage for Jerome’s spine-tingling lead vocal and killer psych-rock solo. They finished the set with a new song he said would be on an upcoming album he hoped would be out next year, a glam-blues stomper that left us excited for whatever the prolific Jerome is up to next.

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