Amoeblog

Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: The Beastie Boys' Paul's Boutique, 25 Years Later

Posted by Billyjam, April 1, 2014 09:25am | Post a Comment
beastie boys paul's boutiqueHard to believe that it is already a quarter of a century since the Beastie Boys' Paul's Boutique was initially released, and five years since the 2009 20th anniversary deluxe reissue of that landmark second Beastie Boys album. Paul's Boutique, while widely considered the group's greatest recording, was initially considered a (commercial) flop by its label, Capitol Records, back in '89 cut to its lackluster sales in comparison to its predecessor. In fact so disappointing to Capitol were sales that, following a huge initial hype / marketing campaign, they completely stopped promoting the album. Many rap fans, drawn to group by the hits on their Rick Rubin produced 1986 Def Jam debut mega-hit album Licensed To Ill, were disappointed too. But true hip-hop fans saw/heard the brilliance of Paul's Boutique that was a distinct departure from Licensed To Ill.

Instead of Rick Rubin handling production on this sophomore release, which demanded repeated listens to fully appreciate its depth and brilliant nuances, was produced in good part by the Dust Brothers and recorded in both Los Angeles and Brooklyn over an extended period of time to ensure it came out just right and to the liking of members Michael "Mike D" Diamond, Adam "Ad-Rock" Horovitz, and the late Adam "MCA" Yauch.  It did, and sure while it may not have been as commercially successful as Licensed To Ill (still a great album too) Paul's Boutique was a far greater quality recording and one that truly stands the test of time as proven by such tracks as "High Plains Drifter," "Looking Down The Barrel Of A Gun," "Car Thief," "Shadrach," and "Get On The Mic." No wonder then that over the years it grew in popularity (and sales),  is regularly included high up on music lists' best albums of all time, and was reissued on its 20th anniversary.
 
Re-released five years ago to celebrate the 20 year anniversary of its initial 1989 release, the 2009 reissue of the LP reissue version was on 180 gram vinyl, in a nice two-sided, four-panel gate-fold sleeve - that revised the very original expensive gatefold pressing of the album. The 2009 reissue also included a digital download card to access bonus audio band commentary on the album that was so close to the Beasties' hearts. For instance the track "59 Chrystie Street" was titled in reference to an early residence of the Beastie Boys, back earlier in the 80's when they were young punk rockers about to morph into full time hip-hoppers.

Continue reading...

New York State of Mind Amoeblog #50: Steely Dan's Week-Long Series, Government Shutdown's Impact On The Big Apple + More

Posted by Billyjam, October 2, 2013 11:03am | Post a Comment

This week in New York City the weather is just perfect: sunny, no rain or fog, temps in the upper seventies, and none of that typical overbearing summer humidity. Ideal weather to cycle round town and enjoy sights like the above one taken yesterday morning heading east towards Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village where the fountain, that is normally turned off, was on in full force. Meantime in the park itself people, including NYU students, tourists, and neighborhood residents, all seemed to be in a good mood taking in the glorious weather of the first day of October in New York City. Near the fountain several members of ZTA (Zeta Tau Alpha) busied themselves spreading the word on National Breast Cancer Awareness Month by handing out pink ribbons to passers by and with drawing images and messages on the concrete park ground with colored chalk (see pic below).

Meantime a little further down the island of Manhattan on this fine first day of October the vibe was less happy as tourists who had traveled to Battery Park at the end of the island to take the boat over to the Statue Of Liberty and nearby Ellis Island were disappointed to learn that, due to the government shutdown, that the National Park Service had closed the famous landmark. An estimated 15,000 people visit the Statue Of Liberty everyday but not yesterday or today or for as long as the Government shutdown (now, October 2nd, in day two) lasts. The Statue Of Liberty and Ellis Island were not the only destinations shut down in New York City. The Park Service also closed The National Museum of the American Indian, Federal Hall, and Theodore Roosevelt's Birthplace.
 

Continue reading...

In Memoriam: 2012

Posted by Billy Gil, December 26, 2012 03:15pm | Post a Comment

As the year comes to an end, we pause to remember those who have passed this year. Click on the photos to see our bloggers’ tributes earlier this year.

 

Austin Peralta, pianist/composer

austin peralta

 

 

Whitney Houston, singer

Whitney Houston

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

 












Ravi Shankar, musician

Ravi Shankar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




















      

Continue reading...

Dia De Los Muertos 2012

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, November 1, 2012 07:44am | Post a Comment
Bob BabbittAs I mentioned in previous blogs about Dia De Los Muertos, I look forward to this celebration more than other holidays. The older I get, I feel the best way to celebrate life is to celebrate death without fear; with the same celebratory spirit one would have for a birth or an anniversary. The ritual of Dia De Los Muertos, the ofrenda (altar) the food and drink, and having the time to reflect those who have passed on are all-important components of this celebration. This is the day we party with the dead as we would with the living, some we knew intimately and others we admire and wish we knew better.

Besides celebrating family and friends that have passed on, I like to include musicians and artists who have inspired me in some way. This year, many great musicians have passed. Consider this a digital ofrenda to them. I hope these musicians have inspired you as much as they have I.


The Bass Players

Donald "Duck" DunnTwo amazing bass players passed this year. Bob Babbitt was a member of the infamous Funk Brothers, the backing group of musicians that played on many of the best Motown recordings of the 60’s and 70’s. Donald “Duck” Dunn did the same damage for Stax Records as a member of Booker T And The MG's, playing behind many of the greats on the Stax Records roster. You may not know their names but I bet you can hum their bass lines by heart.

Babbitt played bass on such Motown classics as "Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours" by Stevie Wonder, "War" by Edwin Starr, "The Tears of a Clown" by Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, "Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)" and "Inner City Blues" by Marvin Gaye, "Band Of Gold" by Freda Payne, "Ball of Confusion (That's What the World Is Today)", and "Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)" by The Temptations.

Continue reading...

Flying Lotus Rocks Amoeba With Killer Set

Posted by Billy Gil, October 4, 2012 12:05pm | Post a Comment

Flying Lotus AmoebaThe subtleties of what goes into creating a Flying Lotus song could be seen when he took the stage at Amoeba Hollywood Oct. 1, the day before his new album, Until the Quiet Comes, was officially released. Fly Lo worked busily over a minimal setup of a couple of laptops and samplers/sequencers. He played bits from the new album, like the bass-heavy “Sultan’s Request,” but kept things moving quickly — much like his albums do — never lingering long on a particular sound or song before flowing it into the next. A large and very appreciative crowd head-bobbed furiously to the music (the beatheads’ equivalent to head banging) as Fly Lo worked the heavier side of his sound spectrum, unlike the mostly chilled-out quality of his latest album. He paused a minute from the beat assault and spinning bits of songs like Schoolboy Q/A$ap Rocky’s “Hands on the Wheel,” Jay-Z/Kanye West’s “Ni**as in Paris,” Frank Ocean’s “Thinkin Bout You,” Portishead’s “Machine Gun” and Beastie Boys’ “Intergalactic” to welcome the audience and later ask for Transformers 3 on Blu-ray — which he got, and held up with glee, before passing it off quickly to continue hyperactively turning knobs and setting off sequences. Watching Flying Lotus at somewhere like the Hollywood Bowl, it can be easy to dismiss the work he puts into everything. In closer quarters Flying Lotus appears as a virtuoso, animatedly hunching and bouncing over his machines and stroking them like a piano with ease. They don’t call him a beat maestro for nothing. Flying Lotus was joined by fellow artists from his Brainfeeder label Teebs and Jeremiah Jae, the latter of who released one of my favorite hip-hop albums this year, Raw Money Raps. See more photos from the performance and Flying Lotus’ signing session here!

Continue reading...
<<  1  2  3  4  >>  NEXT