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The Legend of Lead Belly Lives On With New Documentary and Releases

Posted by Billyjam, February 25, 2015 12:50pm | Post a Comment
He may have died 66 long years ago but the highly influential Delta blues artist Lead Belly's music is very much alive and well, as witnessed by the two new Lead Belly releases having dropped this month (Black History Month) - two CD releases whose content overlaps somewhat. A few weeks ago the Lead Belly / Woody Guthrie 1940 New York City radio station session WNYC Radio New York 12th December 1940 CD arrived in Amoeba via Keyhole Records. And this week the fine folks at the Smithsonian unleashed the 5CD set Lead Belly: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection which includes some of the same Lead Belly WNYC recordings found on one of the five CDs. The five CDs total include a total of 108 Lead Belly songs most of which are culled from the Folkways' deep archives - much previously released and found at Amoeba's online store. Sixteen of these tracks, collectors will be pleased to learn, are previously unreleased Lead Belly recordings.  Also included in the Smithsonian set is an engaging accompanying 140-page booklet that contains various essays, lots of photographs of the blues legend born Huddie Ledbetter in Louisiana in 1888, whose influences run long and deep with fans including the likes of John Fogerty, Kurt Cobain, Van Morrison, Tom Jones, Tom Waits, Robert Plant, Lonnie Donegan, and Ben Harper.

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Essential Records: 'Rage Against The Machine'

Posted by Amoebite, February 25, 2015 11:15am | Post a Comment

Essential Records Rage Against the Machine

With the release of Nirvana's Nevermind (Geffen), Pearl Jam's Ten (Epic) and Red Hot Chili Peppers' Blood Sugar Sex Magik (Warner Bros), Alternative Rock dominated the early '90s mainstream. Touted as the voice of a generation, Kurt Cobain was the poster boy for grunge, leading the way with chart-topping, angst-filled hits. For perspective, Los Angeles was dealing with its own levels of angst and anarchy with the '92 riots which were spawned in the wake of the Rodney King beating. With the City of Angels literally on fire, President Bush had to call in the U.S. Guard for help. Compton rap group N.W.A. was ending its terror on the music industry, but not after prompting strict Parental Advisory guidelines on CD packaging for explicit content and drawing scrutiny from the FBI. With emotions on high and tension building in the streets, the stage was set and no one could have ever predicted the sonic tsunami that was about to shake up the music scene.  

Essential Records

Taking their name from a song written by frontman Zack de la Rocha (while with his previous group Inside Out), Rage Against The Machine produced a 12 song demo cassette. The tape was self-released and made available at shows for $5. The band's buzz quickly erupted like a molotov cocktail and with just a handful of live performances, Rage were being persued by several major record labels. Ultimately signing with Epic, the band's debut album, Rage Against The Machine, was released on November 3, 1992. On the strength of the lead single, "Killing In The Name," the album hit #1 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart and #45 on the Billboard 200 chart. "Killing In The Name" received heavy radio play with just 8 lines of repeated lyrics, including the explicit, "Fuck you I won't do what you tell me" repeated 16 times. In line with the aesthetic and social message of RATM, the song alludes to the idea that police brutality is closely associated with the deep-rooted racism in the United States. It's safe to say that none of the grunge bands of the time were singing songs like this.

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New "What's In My Bag?" Episode With Avant-Garde Composer Nils Frahm

Posted by Amoebite, February 24, 2015 05:00pm | Post a Comment

Nils Frahm

Nils Frahm is a Berlin-based Avant-Garde composer and pianist known for his Nils Frahm Spacesunconventional approach to Classical piano. Frahm creates a unique style of classical and Jazz-influenced electronic music by utilizing a grand piano, upright piano, Juno 60 keyboard, Rhodes and a drum machine.

Frahm has gained recognition for his trance-inducing live shows where he's known for painstakingly sustaining notes over a long period of time. On his tenth studio release, Spaces (Erased Tapes), Frahm delivers layers of atmospheric sonics while displaying his ability to create meticulous compositions. Many of his pieces paint broad pictures and can easily be used as film score. Nil Frahm's work satisfies Jazz listeners, electronic fans and those who enjoy avant-garde. Spaces does not disappoint.   

Nils Frahm dropped by Amoeba Hollywood recently and picked up some choice vinyl from our Jazz Room. Once Nils starts talking about albums, it's clear he is a true connoisseur who takes his record collecting very seriously. He also explains the importance of being patient when hunting for harder-to-find records. A huge fan of classic Jazz, Nils finds a copy of Billie Holiday's Songs For Distingue Lovers. He follows that up with another rare copy of Thelonious Monk's Thelonious Himself. Frahm finds some amazing records and his genuine appreciation for Jazz makes you want to fire up the record player and chill out to some Miles Davis or John Coltrane.

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Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: Public Enemy's "It Takes A Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back"

Posted by Billyjam, February 24, 2015 02:01pm | Post a Comment
public enemy it takes a nation of millions to hold us backBack in April 1988 Public Enemy (PE) released the classic album It Takes A Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back on Def Jam Recordings. And prove that it's a classic is the fact that  27 full years later Nation still packs the same punch it did when it was initially unleashed on the world back in the late eighties. Widely considered the Strong Island (aka Long Island, New York) crew's greatest work ever, It Takes A Nation... was not only one of PE's finest moments, but hip-hop's as well. Released during the much lamented "golden" era of hip-hop, the album, which was the follow up to PE's 1987 debut Yo! Bum Rush the Show, defied the stereotypical "sophomore slump" that so many artists suffered from.

PE's debut was an excellent hip-hop album but this sequel simply blew it away since it was a jaw-droppingly amazing album (of any genre) in every way. Production-wise, it was so richly layered and hardcore that it just grabbed you and didn't let go. Chuck D's militant and thought-provoking, in-your-face revolutionary lyrical flow was so powerful it scared some people. But mostly it won over new fans who still thought of rap as some fad or disposable urban pop. Combined, all the elements of Nation made up an album that was unlike anything heard in hip-hop, or any music, up to that point. I remember that summer of '88 in the Bay Area hearing it blasting everywhere I went in every type of neighborhood. I had never experienced that before!

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Album Picks: Colleen Green, Torche, THEESatisfaction

Posted by Billy Gil, February 24, 2015 10:55am | Post a Comment

Colleen Green - I Want to Grow Up

Colleen Green I want to grow up lpColleen Green details major life upsets as she faces the end of her 30s on her new album, I Want to Grow Up. From breakups to digitally addled attention spans, Green’s power-pop panache makes quarterlife crises go down smoothly on hooky songs like “Pay Attention” and girl-groupish “Wild One.” “I’m so sick of being self-absorbed,” Green sings on the title track, yet she’s so good at communicating that sense of staring at the ceiling and chastising yourself that we can’t help but be hooked on her particular brand of sugary anxiety. She writes a catchy ode to getting clean and going to bed early with “Things That Are Bad for Me” and then follows it up with another track about wanting to get fucked up on the drone-rocking “part 2,” summing up a sentiment on this album we can all relate to: I’m gonna get it together, maybe tomorrow. Read more about I Want to Grow Up in our interview with Green here. See her live at Amoeba Hollywood today at 7 p.m.!

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