Tropicaza-Bamerette (cassette release only)
Bamerette is another excellent mix tape by one of Mexico’s best audio archivists, Carlos Icaza aka Tropicaza. This is a loving tribute to the Bamer Hotel, in particular The Bamerette, a nightclub located on the top of the hotel. Located in a part of Mexico City once called the Latin Quarter, where the nightlife congregated to enjoy the sounds of the best Cuban and Cuban influence musicians of the day. The heyday for The Bamer Hotel was between 1940 through 1970 before the hotel was shutdown for good after the 1985 Mexico City Earthquake. Many underground events were thrown in the ruins of the hotel, with many saying they could feel the spirits wandering around the complex while they were there.
Tropicaza’s mix feels like you are walking through the halls of the abandoned hotel, listening to those spirits conversing in Chilango slang as they share their memories via vintage Afro-Cuban rhythms and early Mexican rock & roll. The songs of Perez Prado, Carlos Roman, Nacho Mendez, J. C. Esquivel, saturated with delay for the ghost that still roam the former Latin Quarter.
With swinging Mambos, dirty joke songs and big band psychedelia, Bamerette is more than a mix tape, it is a story of a Mexico City long since past. Much like Sun City Girls audio journals (released by Sublime Frequencies) Bamerette should be listened to as a whole, rather for it’s individual tracks.
Tune into a new episode of Discos Inmigrantes, as we explore the sounds of Chicano Rock From 1960-2013. The first hour, wee will cover the days from the British and Detroit influenced sounds of Cannibal & The Headhunters and Thee Midniters on through the 70’s conscious rock from El Chicano, Tierra and Sapo. The second hour will focus on the punk influenced 80’s sound of The Brat, The Plugz and Los Illegals, to the 1990’s re-conscious sounds of Quetzal, Ozomatli on to today’s sounds of Thee Commons, Chicano Batman and Chicano Son. Discos Inmigrantes will air live from 8-10 pm PST on October 14th on the world famous Radio Sombra, Boyle Heights Community Radio station. Radiosombra.org.
Tropicaza-Bamerette (cassette release only)
"Local L.A. musician and Amoeba's very own Thom Petrizzo (a.k.a. Songs By Thom) presents Love...Unrequited, a limited edition cassette-only release. This album is a whimsical and wistful collection of catchy ditties with simple but universally-relatable topics: longing, yearning, and hard-won love. Thom builds upon guitars, keyboards, and drums, with heartfelt, confessional lyrics and layered vocals, such as on album opener "May I?" or the kaleidoscopic treat "It's Nice To Dream." This is bashful bedroom pop at its most charming!" - Brian G.
On this day (1 October) in 1982, the first album released on CD came out -- Billy Joel's 52nd street.
On the day of that occasion, I still hadn't really discovered music for myself yet. My dad played '50s, '60 and '70s jazz records on the rare occasions that he mustered the paternal energy required to make his children grilled cheese sandwiches. My mother was more likely to play Carmen Rivero, Johann Sebastian Bach, Bill Monroe, Aretha Franklin or Otis Redding records that she'd purchased back in the ancient, vinyl 1960s. We also had a Victrola which was fun because you had to crank it if you wanted to rock out to some Earl Rogers or other shellac 78.
Since the release last week of Jason Bitner's engaging new book Cassette From My Ex: Stories and Soundtracks of Lost Loves, the St Martin's Griffin published, 212-page anthology of 60 short stories, has been striking a nerve with readership of a certain age who can directly relate to and recall its pre-iPod subject matter: the bygone era of the homemade mixtape -- specifically mixtapes made to woo new crushes or love objects.
An image that pops into many minds would be the Rob Gordon character played by John Cusack in the Stephen Frears directed film adapatation of Nick Hornby's novel High Fidelity and his obsession with making the perfect mixtape, regardless of how long it took. Or as Shirley Manson of the group Garbage wrote for Cassette From My Ex's jacket cover, "Anyone who understands the obsessive attention to detail, the time it took to collate, select, and edit the content of a perfectly executed mix tape, or just someone who appreciated the rhythms and nuances of such extraordinary artifacts will treasure this collection of stories, comfortable and secure in the knowledge that such exquisite efforts were not made in vain and indeed there was a time when a humble cassette tape was perhaps the greatest gift of all."
For Cassette From My Ex: Stories and Soundtracks of Lost Loves, Bitner, who is best known as a co-founder of the wonderful Found magazine series, compiled first-person essays about mixtapes fueled by crushes or love (some tragic, some hilarious, many in-between) written by sixty different writers, many of them journalists & musicians. Contributors include author Rick Moody, This American Life's Starlee Kine, The New Yorker's Ben Greenman, The Magnetic Fields’ Claudia Gonson, Improv Everywhere's Charlie Todd, Mortified's David Nadelberg, and former Rolling Stone writer and MTV2 veejay Jancee Dunn.
By end of the voting Amoeba had beaten out Rasputin with 68% to their 32% of votes by Bay Area NBC website visitors. The poll was actually about the Berkeley Amoeba but what Lovedrop Says about the Telegraph Ave. Amoeba is equally true of the Haight Street Amoeba, as reaffirmed about a week or so ago when I stopped by the San Francisco Amoeba Music store for some therapy myself.
Besides that feeling of "therapy" described by Lovedrop Says -- when you get so lost in the rows and rows of vinyl and CDs that time just magically slips away and what seems like ten minutes can be two hours -- there are many other reasons to love visiting the Amoeba Music San Francisco store. I made a list of ten of the top reasons to shop Amoeba right here, including what Lovedrop Says wrote about Amoeba as therapy -- reason #1.
As an art lover, especially graffiti, I have almost as much fun outside Amoeba SF gazing at the walls of colorful art on the store's outer walls (reason #2) including the image above (minus the photoshopped in Tony Bennett I Left My Heart in San Francisco LP -- that record can found inside in the used LPs section). So impressive are the colorful outer walls of Amoeba SF that they have been used in many photo and video shoots including in Bored Stiff's most recent video "@ A Distance." There is also lots of other graf art on walls nearby all within a block of Amoeba SF. It is like a free outdoor art gallery. Well wicked!