Amoeblog

New "What's In My Bag?" with Donald Glover aka Childish Gambino

Posted by Amoebite, May 8, 2013 05:40pm | Post a Comment
Childish Gambino

Donald Glover aka Childish Gambino found some time in his busy schedule to do a little shopping at Amoeba Hollywood. Many of you know Glover for his acting role on the comedy sitcom, Community. Or maybe you've seen his hilarious Comedy Central special Weirdo. Perhaps you are one of the 9 million people who viewed Glover in the viral video Bro Rape. It's obvious, the dude is funny, super talented and he's everywhere! Did you know he was a writer for the NBC show 30 Rock?

Childish Gambino CAMPNot only is he quickly on his way to blockbuster status a la Will Smith, but he's proved to be a bonafide emcee and has the lyrical punchlines to rival Kanye West. ("The shit I'm doing this year? Insanity. Made the beat then murdered it: Casey Anthony"). Already an underground favorite, Childish Gambino (Glover's moniker) has released 3 mixtapes followed by his well recieved debut album CAMP (Glassnote). To further solidify his Hip Hop cred, Gambino has recorded tracks with the likes of Ghostface Killah and Kendrick Lamar.

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Album Picks: Thee Oh Sees, The XX, The Raveonettes, Plus Albums and Blu-rays Out Today

Posted by Billy Gil, September 11, 2012 05:45pm | Post a Comment
thee oh seesThee Oh Sees – Putrifiers II
 
S.F. psych-rockers Thee Oh Sees’ cult seemed to overflow with two great albums released last year, the scuzzy lo-fi pop of Castlemania and its more acid-tinged follow-up, Carrion Crawler/The Dream. Putrifiers II works off that momentum and delivers on its promise, scaling back the noise of their more rambunctious moments to offer hypnotic, low-key psych-pop. “Wax Face” features some of Thee Oh Sees main man John Dwyer’s idiosyncrasies, with wacked out harmonic guitarwork and echoing, screechy vocals, but with that familiarity out of the way, the album’s next two songs feel new for Dwyer, as “Hang a Picture” is nostalgic, even sweet jangly pop, and “So Nice” takes a Velvets-inspired trip through stately drone. “Flood’s New Light” sounds like a cleaned-up version of the off-kilter Turtles-style garage rock the band previously produced, and with its cleaner production, Dwyer’s pop songwriting smarts come through more clearly, as does his way of subverting his pop arrangements with slightly atonal melodies. As the album’s noise-and-space epic title track flows into the ethereal, strange ’60s pop of “We Will Be Scared,” it becomes clear this is Dwyer’s strongest material to date. For all his prolificacy, Putrifiers II is remarkably consistent and a fine statement of purpose moving forward for Dwyer.
 
the xxThe XX – Coexist
 
The XX dig further into their shrouded corner of the universe with Coexist, an album that finds the trio even more assured in producing their minimalist, romantic sound. “Angels” opens the album breathtakingly as Romy Madley Croft’s vocal coaxes intensity with just a few simple refrains. Co-vocalist Oliver Sim pulls a similar trick on the yearning “Missing,” while “Chained” is one of the best examples yet of how Jamie Smith’s production meshes perfectly with Madley Croft and Sim’s simple yet divine vocal interplay and subtle guitarwork, its beats coming in offtime to break the spell at just the right time. Coexist works when its trio supports each other with the just the right amount effort, such as on “Reunion” and “Sunset,” in which Smith’s lush keyboards and muffled beatwork provides a perfect backdrop in which the vocalists can swim, or when Smith largely removes himself for the first half of the haunting “Tides” before coming in with his most pronounced beat of the album. At times it threatens to blow away in the wind, given its lightness of touch. But taking the view that there’s a time and place for most music, Coexist plants The XX firmly in nighttime music territory, and for such times — for sleep, romance, introspection — there’s nearly nothing better to suit the mood.
 
the raveonettes observatorThe Raveonettes – Observator
 
After spending the better part of a decade producing huge, wall-of-sound, Jesus & Mary Chain-style guitar noise, The Raveonettes continue the scaling back of their sound begun on the darker, unfairly maligned Raven in the Grave on Observator. Though it still eschews the campiness that marked much of The Raveonettes earlier work, Observator is a sunnier affair than Raven, full of sparkling guitarwork and Sune Rose Wagner and Sharin Foo’s twinlike harmonies. The beginning songs on Observator sound like a back-to-basics approach to their sound, Buddy Holly melodies over tinny beats, but the Ride-like rush of “Sinking With the Sun” and lovelorn single “She Owns the Street” display an interest in jangle pop, without as much of the shoegaze sheen the band used to coat their songs with. This is a more melody-focused rendition of The Raveonettes’ sound, and thus its emotional quality comes through more clearly. Observator’s noise-flecked pop in songs like the glorious closer “Till the End” relay a lonely sense of wonderment, like staring at the stars alone.
 
Also released today:
 
st vincent and david byrneDavid Byrne & St. Vincent – Love This Giant
 
An old art school meets new art school dream collaboration comes to us from David Byrne and St. Vincent’s Love This Giant, which plays to the strengths of both artists with a dynamic, eclectic sound, immaculate production and deft arrangement. The Byrne-led “Who” calls to mind classic Byrne/Talking Heads with its quizzical delivery, while “Weekend in the Dust” makes St. Vincent’s Annie Clark into a worldbeat dance diva. “Dinner for Two” is a sublime duet, nicely interrupted by horn-work that dots the album and holds it together, especially coming into play on the funky pop of “The One Who Broke Your Heart,” featuring Antibalas and The Dap-Kings. “I Am an Ape” and “I Should Watch TV” find Byrne at his most satirical, while Clark shines on “Optimist,” one of her sweetest vocal performances to date. Some of the album’s middle tracks mesh Byrne’s and Clark’s styles so well, such as the clockwork sound of “Lazarus,” that a future collaboration to see how these two could get into even more interesting territory seems like a sure thing — at least we can hope, because Love This Giant already is a slyly rewarding gift from two artists, one over many years and one in just a short time, who have given us plenty already.
 
calexico algiersCalexico – Algiers
 
Calexico’s noir folk sound grows even more majestic on Algiers. The band’s eighth album finds them as confident in their sound as they’ve ever been, becoming more soulful, more embracing on tracks like opener “Epic,” which balances warm verses with a darker chorus. In particular, Joey Burns’ and Jacob Valenzuela’s vocals mesh beautifully on the propulsive “Splitter,” and Burns carries “Sinner in the Sea” through its spooky, spiritual setting of sparkling piano and minor-key guitar, suggesting the New Orleans setting the band has said helped inspire the record. Calexico have often evoked various times and places, namely the desert setting of their namesake, and Algiers can’t help but feel like the work of a band at some mysterious port-town dive, whether that be in New Orleans, Algiers or any number of Spanish-speaking cities, calling out Santo Domingo and strumming Spanish guitar in “Puerto” and going back to their mariachi-inspired roots on the Spanish-sung “No Te Vayas.” Surprisingly, Calexico’s globe-trotting, more pronounced than ever, holds together and doesn’t feel like dilettantism; rather, it helps not define Algiers by one specific time or place, instead conjuring unspeakable feelings of nostalgia and becoming lost in another culture. Wherever Algiers puts you, you know the feeling.
 
bob dylan tempestBob Dylan - Tempest
 
Over the opening sounds of steel guitars and a bouncing bass, Bob Dylan’s ever-growlier voice comes in like a train conductor from another time and we’re whisked away to an Amierca of yore in Tempest opener “Duquesne Whistle.” Tempest is classic Dylan, full of his trademark detail and skillful incorporation of various threads of classic American styles. Dylan and his band tunnel through the country blues of “Narrow Way,” as Dylan delivers irresistible lines in his rambling fashion like “It’s a long and narrow road/If I can’t work up to you/You’ll surely have to work down to me some day.” Tempest isn’t all dusky blues, though, as its ballad “Long and Wasted Years” is one of its best, Dylan offering romantic lament (“I wear dark glasses to cover my eyes/there’re secrets in them that I can’t disguise”). Tempest’s strongest moments come in its closing tracks, the immaculately detailed murder ballad “Tin Angel,” hopeful album closer “Roll on John,” and sandwiched between them the title tracks, an already much-discussed near-14 minute tale of the Titanic “sinking into the underworld” (and also, “Leo and his sketchbook”), over a stately mix of country blues and sea shanty, buoyed by transcendent violins that give pause to Dylan’s depiction of tragedy and what it brings out of ordinary people, good and bad. Tempest ends leaving listeners with renewed interest in the complexity of humanity, as the best of Dylan’s work often stokes our desire to know ourselves and others more deeply.
 
guano padanoGuano Padano – 2
 
Along with Calexico’s Algiers, this week has seen a wealth of Western-inspired rock released. Guano Padano are an instrumental three-piece who move from nourish country (“One Man Bank”) to Middle Eastern-inspired surf rock (“Gran Bazaar”) to glitchy jazz (“Lynch”) and just about anywhere else their instruments can take them, incorporating your basic guitar, piano, bass and drums, plus banjo, eerie steel guitar, Chinese instrumentation (“Miss Chan”) and anything else that might seem appropriate while retaining their Spaghetti Western sound. Mike Patton shows up to lend his howling vocals to the dark “Prairie Fire,” and the band turns in a dreamy cover of Santo & Johnny’s “Sleep Walk,” but these moments aren’t even necessary diversions — Guano Padano’s cool, kitschy sound stands on its own, soundtracking imagined, unmade films and allowing the listener to explore their own interpretation or simply bask in the sound.
 
amanda palmerAmanda Palmer – Theatre is Evil
 
Amanda Palmer drops some of the theatricality of Dresden Dolls for this synthier, poppier album with backing band The Grand Theft Orchestra.
 

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Earth Day at 40: As Individuals Become More Conscious of Their Environment, Corporations Appropriate the G Word

Posted by Billyjam, April 22, 2010 06:30am | Post a Comment
Greenzo, 30 Rock
Today, April 22nd, Earth Day 2010, is the fortieth year of celebrating Earth Day! And looking back over those 40 years it is clear that things have changed a lot in our collective consciousness as well as in our behavioral patterns towards the good of our planet, including our awareness of the seriousness of climate change.

Today it is clear that a greater percentage of the population is much more aware than back on the first Earth Day in 1970, of such things as the importance of composting, or methodically recycling their garbage including E-waste, and truly thinking "green." In fact, awareness of that word "green" (the G word, if you will) is among the key things that have changed over the years -- both for better and for worse. Despite all of the well-meaning folks' adaptation of the term "green," the G word has simultaneously become a buzz word for big business to borrow. At its worst the G word has morphed into one of those hollow words that profit-driven corporations love to market as they loudly throw it on leaflets, wastefully printed up by the hundreds of thousands to inform us of just how "green" and "eco-friendly" they are.

I always think of that hilarious episode of 30 Rock starring David Schwimmer as the NBC Earth Day 2010environmentally-friendly mascot Greenzo used by the GE owned NBC to make the most money off of what they see as "the whole green trend." Of course, in true 30 Rock comedic tradition, the project backfires when Greenzo, with new-found popularity gone to his head, insists that he really believes in the meaning of "green." Furthermore, the real joke behind this 30 Rock episode is that Tina Fey and company concocted it in a slightly subversive reaction to the real-life NBC's week long green-themed programming, which the company, at the time three years ago, toted as "aimed at entertaining, informing and empowering Americans to lead greener lives."

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30 Rock - One Small Step For Network TV

Posted by Miss Ess, February 8, 2008 02:46pm | Post a Comment
 30 Rock Season 1 is out on DVD at last!

30 rock tina fey rachel dratch alec baldwin tracey morgan

Ex-SNLer Tina Fey writes and produces the show. I never paid much attention to SNL, but when I did I alec baldwin tina fey tracey morgan 30 rockalways thought Tina was onto something. I feel like she knows what it is like to be a real life woman, and for this, I salute her. She knows what it's like to find women who care about highlighting their hair or finding that perfect nail shop completely alien. She knows what it is like to be the not-as-cute friend, the one who watches quietly while her more high maintenance pals score dates. She knows what it is like to finally get a date and then feel so awkward in that world that one can't imagine how anyone actually forms a real relationship.

In other words, what I like best about Tina Fey and her writing is that she isn't afraid to just be herself. Isn't that refreshing? What kind of world would we have if more people felt comfortable and confident enough to just be themselves? But in the meantime, let's just say, the ratings for this tina fey 30 rock jane krakowskishow have not been good. Ah, America.

30 Rock
takes place on the set of a variety show that Liz Lemon (Fey) and her old blonde friend Jenna (Jane Krakowski) created. Liz is the head writer of the show and Jenna stars on it ... Until one day a new boss who is used to running the corporate headquarters of General Electric, Jack (Alec Baldwin), bursts their bubble and hires unstable movie star Tracey Jordan (Tracey Morgan) to headline the show.

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