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Remembering Experimental Music Artist and Amoeba Music Family Member: Jim Kaiser

Posted by Billyjam, January 11, 2017 11:55pm | Post a Comment

Recently a dark cloud has been hanging over Amoeba Music Berkeley since the sad news of the passing of longtime Amoeba family member Jim Kaiser who died last week at age 46. Experimental music fanatic, talented  and ever creative experimental music artist, and universally beloved guy Jim, who moved west to the Bay two decades ago, had worked at Amoeba Berkeley since 1997. In the years since he made quite an impression on those he met. "He was an incredibly special human being. [That's] why so so so many of us are in mourning," said Gregory Scharpen who performed with Jim in Thomas Carnacki, one of a few local experimental ensembles Jim had been a member of. Among those who worked alongside him at the Telegraph Ave. record store was Amoeba Music co-owner Marc Weinstein who today recalled how, "Jim was at once an uncompromising artist and a sweetheart of the highest order; everybody loved him. As a buyer at the front counter for over 15 years, he got to know a huge percentage of our customers. And as our experimental music buyer and expert, he was an unparalleled resource for people interested in unusual sounds. We will all miss him greatly."

Former Amoeba Berkeley employee Sam Lefebvre wrote an insightful and touching tribute to Jim in the current East Bay Express. Under the heading Jim Kaiser: Eccentric Champion Of Incredibly Strange Music Dies At 46 the article, which you can read here, noted how Jim's various experimental instruments included playing a bicycle wheel ("lithely bowed contact-mic'd bicycle spokes to absorbing effect") and how he had released limited edition solo recordings such as Blood Has Taste and Swept Through & Nullified on mini CD format via the Oakland Petit Mal label. In the comments of that EBX piece Steve Cain, an old friend of the artist's from his Kansas City days, wrote how: "He was the guy at the record store that could get me anything I wanted. Always a kind soul, almost always had a smile, even when things were rough. …He was a unique soul, one the world will miss." Below and above are a series of photos of Jim, courtesy of Amoeba's Lori Katz, taken in the store and at a bunch of different Amoeba events over the years with various co-workers and friends. Rest in peace Jim Kaiser.
 

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New "What's In My Bag?" Episode with BJ The Chicago Kid

Posted by Amoebite, December 5, 2016 05:44pm | Post a Comment

BJ The Chicago Kid What's In My Bag? Amoeba Music

"I believe most of this stuff is going in my studio," says soul signer/songwriter BJ The Chicago Kid (aka Bryan James Sledge) after his recent trip to Ameba Hollywood. BJ picked up a cool collection of records, movies and posters at the store that piqued his interest or had particular meaning to him. "It's all about the circle of the inspiration for me."

BJ The Chicago Kid In My Mind Amoeba MusicBJ The Chicago Kid hails from Chicago, IL. He released his debut album, Pineapple Now-Laters, in February 2012 before signing to Motown. In February 2016, he released his second studio album and his major label debut, In My Mind.

"I've seen everything else of Prince but this movie," says Sledge holding up the iconic singer's directorial debut, Under the Cherry Moon. Next up in his picks is the concert DVD James Brown: Live at Boston Garden. Filmed in 1968, the footage captures Brown not only during his creative peak, but also performing the night after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. While riots were starting across the country, Brown's show was broadcast live on Boston's public TV channel in an attempt to unify the city. Sledge also had to pick up a 10" reissue of Marvin Gaye's classic single "What's Going On" featuring a new duet with a name that might sound a little familiar: BJ The Chicago Kid.

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Amoeba Music Berkeley Among Premier Bay Area Destinations For New Golden State Warriors Star Kevin Durant

Posted by Billyjam, October 24, 2016 03:30pm | Post a Comment
New Bay Area resident and recently signed Golden State Warriors star Kevin Durant spent the weekend exploring (and seemingly loving) the Bay with premier destinations including a visit to Amoeba Music in Berkeley. See pictures from KD's adventures around the Bay.

Online posts to Reddit and Twitter last week asking for tips on what to do in his newly adapted Bay Area home, including suggestions on "dope record stores," resulted in the NBA star doing some crate digging at the East Bay Amoeba store on Telegraph Ave. where he was joined by popular Bay Area hip-hop artist Sage The Gemini. Both are pictured in a photo Durant posted to his Twitter account over the weekend. And last night the music loving/BART-riding basketball star, who is on the cover of the new (Nov. 3) issue of Rolling Stone, was up front in the mosh pit at the Kanye West concert in Oakland where he got mobbed by fans and shouted-out by Yeezy from onstage.

In July the 28-year old MVP award winner made headlines when he announced he would leave Oklahoma City Thunder to sign a lucrative $54.3 million 2 year contract with the Warriors, with a player option after the first year. His signing to join the Oakland based team with fellow NBA superstar Steph Curry gave the Golden State Warriors one of the greatest starting lineups in NBA history. With the new 2016-17 NBA season kicking off this week, KD has finally fully relocated to the Bay Area and begun to familiarize himself with the area, with a little help from his fans.  On Thursday he went on Reddit posting,  "Its KD. New to the area, still tryin' to get my feet wet and want to know what places in The Bay to check out...." In a separate post he noted how he's into music shopping, asking about,  "Any dope record stores … you would suggest?" A few days earlier he had sent out a similar request via his Twitter account when he Tweeted, "Getting familiar with my new city. Tell me what I’m going to love most about The Bay." Both requests resulted in him being inundated with suggestions, many of them mentioning Amoeba Music in San Francisco and Berkeley. "If you haven't been to Amoeba Music it's a great spot for diggin' vinyl of all genres," suggested one fan while another suggested SFMOMA, the Museum of African Diaspora, and checking out visiting Chicago artist Chance The Rapper's Bay Area appearances over the weekend.
 

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New "What's in My Bag?" Episode with Allah-Lahs

Posted by Amoebite, September 16, 2016 05:17pm | Post a Comment

Allah-Lahs - What's In My Bag? Amoeba Music

We recently had the pleasure of having modern garage rock band (and former Amoebites) Allah-Lahs here at Amoeba Hollywood. That's right, not only are they one of the coolest bands around town, but three of the four members are Amoeba alums! When asked what record he was always looking for while working at the store, drummer Matthew Correia answered, "I was always imagining the day when I was gonna find some original Spacemen 3 records." That day never came, but the guys did find some other great albums on their latest visit.

Allah-Lahs Calico Amoeba MusicAllah-Las consisit of vocalist/guitarist Miles Michaud, guitarist/vocalist Pedrum Siadatian, bassist/vocalist Spencer Dunham, and drummer/vocalist Matthew Correia. In 2011 the quartet released their first 7", "Catamaran/Long Journey," featuring production by old school soul-inspired singer and guitarist Nick Waterhouse. A year later, the band released their self-titled debut for Innovative Leisure, which was also produced by Waterhouse.

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January 2000 Amoeba Music Magazine Ad Harks Back to A Different Time

Posted by Billyjam, August 16, 2016 10:20pm | Post a Comment

Sixteen and a half years ago the above Amoeba Music magazine print ad was published, right at the beginning of the new century. In one respect it's not long ago but in another it is a whole other time period in many ways. Hence this ad is a historic capsule that captures a bygone era in terms of the music industry, technology and Amoeba Music itself. This was still almost two full years before the Hollywood Amoeba Music store would open in November 2001 (see pic left).

It was also before this Amoeba Music website, that you are currently reading, became an important entity and integral part of Amoeba's distribution of music and information. Telling is that the Amoeba ad does not even include a URL web address, just street addresses and phone numbers. Noticeable also is that the ad was for CDs only. In the relatively short time since then vinyl has undergone a real resurgence while CDs have dropped in popularity with music collectors.

Prepared in the final weeks of 1999, it appeared in the January 2000 issue of Flyer SF which like so many print publications, once staples of the music industry, is long gone.  The ad filled the fold-out center pages of the pocketbook size zine that specialized in San Francisco club listings and reviews of related music. The print ad promoted an Amoeba in-store sale of various hip-hop and beat driven music by Jazzanova, Dieselboy, DJ Kicks, Blackalicious and also various artists on the Quannum and Solesides compilations that included DJ Shadow, Lateef the Truth Speaker, and Lyrics Born.

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