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Who's Really Listening?: The Minimal Wave Tapes, Volume One

Posted by Aaron Detroit, February 1, 2010 04:00pm | Post a Comment

Over the last few years, Amoeba Music Hollywood has stocked a slew of obscure but quite excellent and endlessly exciting limited-edition vinyl reissues of DIY European and North American dark and minimal analog synth-based music from the 1980’s -- all thanks to the stellar underground label Minimal Wave. Originally these recordings were released in ridiculously small quantities either on cassette or vinyl by the bands themselves or by equally-unknown labels local to the band. Albums by the likes of Spanish Industrial pioneers Esplendor Geometrico, the Belgian Linear Movement (featuring Peter Bonne of New Beat progenitors A Split Second), and French New Wavers Martin Dupont have all recently seen the light of day on quality vinyl pressings via the loving care of the Minimal Wave label.

Minimal Wave’s label head/überfan Veronica Vasicka struck a deal late last year with Peanut Butter Wolf’s Stones Throw label to issue a series of “best-of” compilations featuring choice cuts from the MW roster and beyond. Recently, the popularity of new minimal synth-based bands like Cold Cave and Xeno & Oaklander has heightened, making this the perfect time to issue the first in the series of Minimal Wave/Stones Throw team-ups, The Minimal Wave Tapes, Volume One (available on CD and 2LP). It is a wonderful thing to hear these rescued gems and decades-old transmissions mostly recorded in isolated bedrooms miles away from any bustling cityscapes. Volume One very much invokes a familiar nostalgic feeling, like a mixtape would from your way-cooler friend or older sibling did in your formative years. Vasicka functions here as that cooler friend or sister and thankfully, she doesn’t mind spreading her cool around -- making us ear-opening mixes from her even-cooler record collection.

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Amoeba Hollywood World Music Best Sellers For Jan. 2010

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, February 1, 2010 09:13am | Post a Comment


1. Charlotte Gainsbourg-IRM
2. Aventura-Last
3. Shakira-She Wolf
4. Mahssa-Oyun Havasi Vol. 1
5. Manu Chao-Baionarena
6. Charlotte Gainsbourg-IRM (LP version)
7. Tinariwen-Imidiwan: Companions
8. V/A-Colombia!
9. V/A-Tumbele! Biguine, Afro & Latin Sounds from the French Caribbean, 1963-74
10. Buika-El Ultima Trago

Even though Charlotte Gainsbourg’s IRM has only been out for the last week, it has already sold well enough to take the top spot on Amoeba Hollywood’s World Music chart. IRM was produced by Beck and was the first anticipated release of the year. The vinyl version of IRM also took the sixth spot and probably could have sold more had we not sold out over the weekend. Last year, Charlotte's father, Serge Gainsbourg, was the only artist to also have the CD and vinyl version of a record in our top forty best sellers of the year, with the reissue of Histoire De Melody Nelson.

At number five is Manu Chao's second live album, Baionarena, which includes two CD’s and one DVD. Baionarena was recorded and filmed over the last couple of years while supporting the La Radiolina release. Having caught two shows during this tour,  Baionarena triggers many great memories I had attending the shows. Baionarena is also available on vinyl, which also comes with the DVD.

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Cyril Pahinui at Amoeba Hollywood - Jan 23, 2010

Posted by Amoebite, January 25, 2010 05:26pm | Post a Comment
An acoustic guitar isn’t just an acoustic guitar, at least not in the hands of a ki ho’alu (slack-key) player like Cyril Pahinui. As part of the Third Annual Southern California Slack-Key Festival on January 24 in Redondo Beach, Pahinui stopped by Amoeba Cyril Pahinui in-storeHollywood and played a few sweet island songs to a crowd that he would warmly call his “friends.” Little matter that the lyrics of these songs were mostly indecipherable, Cyril couldn’t have been cooler or more emblematic of the island way of life. His slack-key guitar playing was so fluid that it just proves the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Using the fingerpicking technique that his father—the legendary Gabby “Pops” Pahinui—helped preserve as a live tradition in the 1940s, the two-time Grammy winner’s baritone voice is always very full of mood. As each song tells a story, Pahinui paid homage to his father with one number, and to his drinking days in Nanakuli in another, saying that with 17 grandchildren those days are well behind him. He brought out a Japanese Hula dancer for a song, and his wife, Chelle, for another. It was a real treat to catch Pahinui like that on a blue-skied day after the Southern California storms. And it was a bigger treat to watch up close and personal the easy way his thumb and fingers can turn that acoustic guitar into something more...plural. Very cool.

Cyril PahinuiCyril Pahinui In-Store

And for those who dig the great Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What A Wonderful World,” it was Pops Pahinui that he dedicates the song to at the beginning—“Kay, this one’s for Gabby.”

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"What I like to hear blow," Job says.

Posted by Job O Brother, January 25, 2010 04:58pm | Post a Comment
fleetwood mac
Stevie Nicks, one of many people not mentioned in the following blog post

Gee whiz, I sure do like sackbuts.

Now there’s a sentence you weren’t expecting! In fact, I’m willing to bet you never once considered whether or not someone would one day write that sentence. As far as that goes, it’s a sentence right up there with, “That’s a lovely cancer you’ve got growing on your blouse,” or “Honey, would you mind moving to Atlantis yesterday?” or even, “That George Bush sure was a fine President.”

Come to think of it, there’s millions of sentences we never expect to read or hear.

But who cares? Not me. So moving on...

I like sackbuts.

I know some of you readers are assuming that “sackbut” is a word that I made up for the express purpose of being silly, which goes to show how little you understand my blog which is NOTHING BUT ABSOLUTELY FACTUAL ALL THE TIME.
Renaissance music

A sackbut is an earlier form of trombone, dating from the Renaissance to Baroque era in popularity. In sound it is similar to trombones, but is more delicate and etheric, though only by comparison.

It was invented by Albern Heißen. Legend has it that Heißen was so vexed at having to hear his neighbor, Ärgerlich Nachbarn (formost cymbal player of Saxony) practice his craft, that he invented an instrument that could rival the cymbal in terms of sleep-ruining. What Heißen didn’t realize was that his neighbor was quite deaf, having lost his hearing after dying from Plague. No matter how often or how loud Heißen would blow his sackbut, Nachbarn continued with his cymbal crashing.

Sixx's Most Unholy 'Sister Devil'

Posted by Aaron Detroit, January 11, 2010 03:30pm | Post a Comment
Von, Sixx, Sister Devil Art
Recently highlighted in Black Light District’s 2009 year-end lists, Sixx’s Sister Devil is a starkly excellent yet nearly-forgotten Deathrock recording from 1991 by the members of San Francisco cult (and largely considered America’s first) Black Metal band, Von. After the release of their Satanic Blood demo, the members of Von started Sixx as a side project. While decidedly taking a turn towards Deathrock, the group recorded 8 tracks as Sixx that retained the lo-fi bleakness and Satanic bent of Von’s now infamous and highly influential demo recordings. Sister Devil has threads of early Sisters of Mercy, Bauhaus, Samhain, early Xmal Deutschland, and The Cure. The LP likely would have been an immediately celebrated record had it been properly distributed and promoted on its initial release in ’91; however, the band only ever released a handful of cassette demo copies. The album -- now featuring brand-spanking-new mastering by James Plotkin (Khanate/Khlyst) -- was finally and properly issued on CD and LP this past November thanks to Von/ Sixx’s very own Goat and NWN! Productions and though it took 18 years to properly release, it will now likely be rightly considered a Deathrock classic.

Stand-out track “Black Ride” sounds like it could be an early demo for the Sisters’ First Last and Always LP had Andrew Eldritch been more of the goat-sacrificing ilk, while Von, Sixx, Black Metal“On The Dead” is Only Theatre of Pain-era Christian Death meets Peter Murphy on some-sort of pill-popping bender. The lo-fi atmosphere and an almost tentative approach to the songs are complimented and tied together by creepy spoken interludes by frontman Goat (taken from his 1993 zine -- a facsimile of which can be obtained in the special “die-hard” edition of the LP) that sound like ‘found’ recordings of a killer’s last confession.

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