Amoeblog

John Sinclair Talks to the Amoeblog Before Performing at Amoeba SF

Posted by Billy Gil, October 24, 2012 05:35pm | Post a Comment

Harry Duncan’s Roots and Rhythms Series returns to Amoeba SF Saturday Oct. 27 from 2-5 p.m. To hear a sample of the music Duncan spins, listen to In The Soul Kitchen with DJ Harry Duncan on KUSF In Exile Tuesdays from 7 to 9 p.m. Listen to past shows here.

John SinclairThis Saturday’s show will include a rare appearance by legendary poet and activist John Sinclair. Sinclair was once the manager of Detroit proto-punks MC5 and lead anti-racist and pro-marijuana efforts in the 1960s. He was imprisoned in 1969 for the possession of two joints of marijuana, which spawned the John Sinclair Freedom Rally in Ann Arbor, Mich. in 1971, which featured John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Allen Ginsberg, Abbie Hoffman and another of other luminaries from the time. He was soon after released, and the Michigan Supreme Court ruled the state’s marijuana law was unconstitutional. He was charged with two others in the 1972 Supreme Court case United States v. U.S. District Court, which upheld that warrantless domestic wiretaps were illegal.

Sinclair is now based in Amsterdam, where he continues to write and record poetry, which is often accompanied by blues, jazz and rock musicians. He hosts a radio show at RadioFreeAmsterdam.com where he plays jazz, blues, R&B and other music, and maintains a blog, Fattening Blogs For Snakes. I caught up with Sinclair over the phone as he was working on a documentary in Healdsburg, Calif.

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Django Django Talk Self-Titled Debut Album

Posted by Billy Gil, September 24, 2012 07:19pm | Post a Comment
Django DjangoUnfortunately, this in-store show has been canceled due to travel delays. You can still catch them at The Independent later tonight. 

For a new band without an album out in the U.S., British psych group Django Django already have a lot going for them. A band that began in drummer/producer David Maclean’s bedroom after the band met in art school in Edinburgh, Scotland, earlier this year Django Django (which also includes singer/guitarist Vincent Neff, bassist Jimmy Dixon and synth man Tommy Grace) released their debut, self-titled album, a whirling stew of spaghetti western guitars, Middle Eastern-inspired synthesizers and psych-pop structures, to universal acclaim in the U.K., putting them up for the esteemed Mercury Prize. As their album is set to release in the U.S. Oct. 9, they’ll play Amoeba San Francisco Sept. 25 at 6 p.m. Catch them before they blow up stateside, and preorder their album here! I caught up with Maclean as the band was in Chicago, settling into its U.S. tour, which also will put them at S.F.’s The Independent the night of Sept. 25 and L.A.’s The Echo Sept. 26.
 
PST: You guys haven’t done many interviews in the U.S. press yet, but there’s already a lot of chatter about this album. We’ve been hearing about it from the U.K. for some time now! Are you excited to come here and take over.
 
Maclean: Yeah, it’s good to finally have a label sorted and have it coming out in America. As you say, it’s been out in Britain since January. To finally have a release over here and get to come over and do some proper shows is amazing. We’ve been itching to do it all year really. It’s taken a while to but it’s good to finally get here.
 
PST: U.S. audiences seem to have become more amenable to psych pop as of late with the success of MGMT, Hot Chip and the like. Why do you think that sound is resonating with so many more people now than, say, in the ’90s?
 
django djangoMaclean: People like Beck have had the time to grow a long career now. I guess he would be someone who has influenced a lot of bands in the moment with the kind of way he mashes up psychedelia and funk and hip-hop. I guess since he broke out, there’s been a lot of bands both in America and Britain that are interested in pop music and making it slightly weird, whether its MGMT or Hot Chip, there’s a certain kind of strain of bands that have been doing that for quite a while, so I guess that it’s starting to resonate with people and sort of spread throughout pop culture.
 
PST: I’ve read you are sort of the aesthetic director of the band. How do you decide, amid all the musical ideas presented, which is a good fit for this band?
 
Maclean: I guess yeah, it’s different sometimes because we can sit down and start a track that ends up sounding completely different. From that starting point, it gets twisted and manipulated and the more people who get involved with it, it ends up sounding like us. I guess we’re happy just to take a starting point from anything, whether it’s a rockabilly riff or a drum machine beat. We just take it and work it ’till it’s something we’re happy with. So many songs … have started out sounding like garagey and ended up sounding electronic or started off techno-y and ended up garagey. They just go through a lot of phases and we end up happy where we’re at. … A lot of the ideas, we wanted a big psych sound and would aim toward that and end up with something else in the process. It’s just a mixture of playing around and also pushing limited resources — one mic and floor tom and guitar. For me a lot of the fun of making the album was pushing the sounds, not even pushing but just letting the music come out. … I think they all kind of are jangle but they come from sort of disparate places. For us that was just a fun thing to do, let the music sort of take us on a sort of trip.
 
PST: The aesthetic of the record sort of reminds me of steampunk. Like it makes me want to play Final Fantasy or something. What are some of your non-musical influences?

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Special DJ Set At Amoeba San Francisco @ 2pm Today by DJ/Producer/Detroit Hip-Hop Ambassador House Shoes

Posted by Billyjam, June 16, 2012 08:25am | Post a Comment

Michael "House Shoes" Buchanan
, the noted Detroit DJ/producer & hip-hop mentor who plays a special DJ set at 2pm at Amoeba San Francisco today in celebration of his new album Let It Go (available in both CD and vinyl formats at today's Amoeba in-store in advance of Tuesdays June 19th release), has long been Detroit hip-hop's greatest ambassador. Most notably back in 1996, via his small but influential House Shoes Recordings label, he released J Dilla's (then known as Jay Dee) Unreleased EP.

House Shoes was also central in promoting a whole slew of other hip-hop artists from Detroit. This he has done over the past couple of decades both while he was living in the Motor City (he left in 2006) and since he moved to LA several years ago. In LA House Shoes was a part of the LA Fat Beats store right up to its closing events two years ago but wherever he goes, it seems he can't but rep his hometown city of Detroit which he travels back to frequently.

The long list of Detroit artists he has worked with include Guilty Simpson and Elzhi.  And no doubt today's Amoeba DJ set by House Shoes will include a lot of Detroit hip-hop - many of his own productions including tracks off his brand new anticipated, long overdue debut album. Note that he also recently released the 12" EP The Time which was a hot seller at the Hollywood Amoeba store - it went straight into the top five chart the week it was released. He has also released a couple of records two years ago - one via Dublin, Ireland indie label All City (profiled on the Amoeblog here). On Tuesday next, June 19th, Tres Records will release House Shoes official debut album Let It Go and today only at Amoeba San Francisco you can purchase advance copies of the album (and get them signed) at the in-store DJ set which begins at 2pm. More details here.

Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth In-Store Performance at Amoeba SF 4/12

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, April 4, 2012 06:50pm | Post a Comment
JUST ADDED: Sonic Youth guitarist Lee Ranaldo is performing at Amoeba San Francisco on Thursday, April 12 at 6pm! He'll play songs from his new album, Between The Times And The Tides (out now on Matador Records).

Recorded with longstanding Sonic Youth producer John Agnello, Between The Times and The Tides is a shimmering and melodic tapestry of rock sounds. Ranaldo’s trademark alternate-tuning guitar work is at the forefront; it is amplified by brilliant guitar work from Wilco’s Nels Cline on almost every track. The all-star lineup also includes Sonic Youth’s Steve Shelley on drums, Alan Licht on guitar, and John Medeski on keyboards. There are also cameos from former Sonic Youth cohorts, drummer Bob Bert and producer/instrumentalist Jim O’Rourke.

You can also see him later that night at Brick and Mortar.

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Lana Del Rey and How Symbols are Sometimes More Important than their Meaning

Posted by Billyjam, March 14, 2012 10:45am | Post a Comment

In this fast paced online information age - with its non-stop constant overload of new facts (and fiction) been Tweeted and shared in some digital fashion every single micro-second of the day - it is often hard for individuals to get beyond that condensed 140 characters version of a particular story. But yet, based solely on that short (often editorialized) synopsis of a much longer in-depth story many will embrace that opinion put forth and jump on the bandwagon of popular thought on said topic. A case in point I believe was back in mid - late January when singer Lana Del Rey suddenly trended (around the time of fellow trending items as Rick Santorum and Jeremy Lin)  as one of the most talked about individuals of that week or so. The trend was all related to her reportedly bombing on Saturday Night Live during her January live concert performance on SNL.

However her presentation on SNL was is secondary though since most folks who joined in the public mud throwing at this new pop star did so without having seen the actual TV show. Some did (mostly after the fact and in edited form) but a great many of these self-appointed critics who joined in the cacophony of critique (haterism?) hadn't even seen her SN: bit at all.  But that didn't stop them from joining in and critiquing the artist for such things as appearing stiff and nervous and just standing still as she sang during her SNL performance. They also echoed the other criticisms leveled against the artist  to such as she came from a privileged background, or that she changed her name and her image in her makeover bid of becoming a pop star.

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