Amoeblog

New "What's In My Bag?" Episode With Macy Gray

Posted by Amoebite, November 5, 2014 06:11pm | Post a Comment

Macy Gray

Easily recognized by her natural afro, reminiscent of a young funky Betty Davis, Macy Gray is unmistakable. In the spring of 2000, Gray went from single mother of three, studying film at USC to international mega star. The world was introduced to Gray's trademark raspy vocals by her smash hit Macy Graysingle, "I Try." The song topped charts around the globe helping her debut album, On How Life Is (Epic Records), go triple platinum in the United States and sell seven million copies worldwide. Gray went on to launch a successful acting career co-starring alongside A-listers like Denzel Washington and Tobey Maguire. Six Grammy nominations later (winning 1), with multi-platium record sales and a bonafide acting career, Macy Gray continues to be as productive today as she was a decade ago.     

Aftr releasing The Sellout in 2010, Gray is back with her 6th studio album, The WayFor her latest production Gray partners with a revolving cast of collaborators, including the legendary Booker T Jones. The new album is out now on Gray's own label, Happy Mel Boopy Touring Co., and  is available on CD and download at Amoeba.  

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Essential Records: Portishead's 'Dummy'

Posted by Amoebite, October 27, 2014 04:24pm | Post a Comment

Essential Records Portishead Dummy

During the summer of 1996, I became obsessed with Portishead. Dummy had been released two years earlier, so generally speaking, I was late to the game, but in the suburban town where I was about to start high school, I was definitely way ahead of the game. Because when it came to underground music, culture or film, there was no game.

I was just about to turn fifteen and leave all the friends I'd known for nearly a decade to attend the state's largest high school on my own. It was a deeply mopey time. At the same time, I was starting to realize that the music on Top 40 radio made me feel like something was missing, that musically-speaking, there must be more out there. So, I started tuning into the local alt-rock station after school, alone in my room, and that's where I first encountered Portishead's "Sour Times."


Portishead - Sour Times
Watch and comment on YouTube

 

I hated this song. I thought it was irritating and abrasive. Singer Beth Gibbons would wail "Nobody loves me/it's true/not like you do" with her '60s jazz influenced vocals and I would get pissed off that I'd have to sit through it for the next three or four minutes. (For some reason I never went as far as actually turning the radio off.) Every time I heard it, I would get angry at it, angry that I had to sit through it, angry that the station's Music Director had poisoned the rotation with this grating, slightly terrifying few minutes of song. 

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New York State Of Mind Amoeblog #98

Posted by Billyjam, September 24, 2014 11:00am | Post a Comment

Billie Holiday "Autumn In New York" (1952)

NYSOM #98 of 100: Since Fall or Autumn officially arrived a couple of days ago here in New York City (and you can feel it in the air especially with chilly cold evenings this past days) Billie Holiday's classic "Autumn In New York" comes to mind.  Hear the song, that is found on such collections as The Best of Billie Holiday, above in homemade slide show video of NYC over the decades. Speaking of weather and NYC the big event here over the past weekend was the huge Climate Change March that attracted (depending on which news source you can believe) anywhere from a quarter of a million to 450,000 participants. The big march included numerous well known actors and musicians including the Bay Area's Michael Franti of Spearhead - seen in photo left that also includes movie stars Edward Norton and a barely recognizable bearded Leonardo DiCaprio. That was Sunday but the following day's Flood Wall Street protest down on Wall Street (also in the lead up to the UN Climate Summit 2014 that began yesterday here in New York), which drew much fewer protestors, had more arrests numbering about a hundred when more vigilant protestors gathered to voice opposition to the corporations who aren't investing in green initiatives.


Prolific Producer L'Orange Unleashes His Finest Work To Date: "The Orchid Days"

Posted by Billyjam, May 14, 2014 06:40am | Post a Comment

L'Orange "The End (feat. Billy Woods)" from The Orchid Days (2014)


Hot on the heels of his collaborative album with Stik Figa (The City Under The City) talented prolific producer L'Orange now returns just six months later with more of his refreshingly unique sound: the highly recommended The Orchid Days that was released last month and that, like City, comes via the high caliber indie label Mello Music Group. "Two and a half years ago I got out a piece of paper and wrote down every single thing I wanted to do in the next year and at the very bottom of it I wrote Mello Music Group," the artist told me of finding his ideal label home after self-releasing some free albums digitally. "This is where I have seen myself for a long time and it is definitely an honor to be counted among the roster." His brand new Mello Music release The Orchid Days features carefully selected guest vocalists, (including Blu, Homeboy Sandman, and Billy Woods) on just 7 of its 19 tracks allowing the Nashville based producer to fully stretch and flex his trademark, hypnotically dreamy production style - while interweaving just the right amount of vocal guests to perfectly compliment his (and their) styles - all the while subtly moving the album's storyline along. The Orchid Days storyline is the story of love - finding love, falling in love, and then losing it and missing it - a story told via random soundbites expertly assembled - to the backdrop of an old world mood crafted by building layer upon layer of dreamy jazzy  grooves from digging deep into really old jazz records with flutters of dramatically engaging soundbites/samples (handpicked over time by  L'Orange) from old black and white movies, along with, often static sounding, classic old radio broadcasts. These samples along with the mood created by the musical backdrop tell a story that strongly hint that there was some specific romantic figure in L'Orange's life that inspired The Orchid Days. So I asked the artist was there a specific girl in mind as he recorded the album? "Of course there's a girl. I'm a poet," he replied adding. "Since that's not a satisfying answer I'll tell you something I haven't told anyone yet- she's on the album cover." [above left]

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Music History Monday: April 7

Posted by Jeff Harris, April 7, 2014 10:35am | Post a Comment

To read more Behind The Grooves, go to http://behindthegrooves.tumblr.com.

Born this day: April 7, 1915 - Iconic jazz vocalist/songwriter Billie Holiday (born Eleanora Harris in Philadelphia, PA). Happy Birthday to "Lady Day" on what would have been her 99th Birthday.
 


On this day in music history: April 7, 1967 - FM Underground radio is launched at KMPX 106.9 in San kmpx san franciscoFrancisco. Having grown tired of the grind of AM Top 40 radio, broadcasting legend DJ Tom Donahue, who will pioneer the free-form album rock radio format that puts the focus on rock album cuts rather than the tight and often restrictive Top 40 pop formatting that plays strictly hit singles. KMPX will broadcast from a studio at 50 Green Street in San Francisco's North Beach district. The station will both change the face of commercial radio and be instrumental in breaking new artists like Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead, and Jimi Hendrix. However, Donahue's time at the station will last less than a year. Splitting his time between the San Francisco station and sister station KPPC in Pasadena, the strain of working both stations will cause the veteran DJ/Program Director's relationship with owner Leon Crosby to breakdown, leading to Donahue's ouster from the station. In a show of solidarity, the staff of KMPX will strike after Crosby replaces Donahue with Bob Prescott as PD. The strike will last for eight weeks, in which time Crosby will fire all of the original staff and replace them with DJ's mined from other stations around the country. Upset by what has transpired, a number of prominent rock musicians including The Grateful Dead and The Rolling Stones will ask KMPX to refrain from playing their music as a show of support for the deposed station workers. By May of 1968, Tom Donahue and several former KMPX staffers will be working at rival station KSAN (owned by Metromedia Broadcasting).

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