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Album Picks: Alvvays, La Roux, Common, White Fence, The Raveonettes

Posted by Billy Gil, July 22, 2014 09:40am | Post a Comment

Alvvays - Alvvays (LP, CD)

alvvays lpSomewhere between the sunny melancholia of Best Coast, earnest alt-rock of The Cranberries and the college rock of bands like Talulah Gosh lie Toronto's Alvvays. Their debut record is a delight of heartfelt naivete spun out in catchy indie-pop nuggets. Molly Rankin's lovably untrained voice pleads irresistibly on the charming "Archie, Marry Me" amid a four-chord, minor-key jangle. "Don't leave ... we can find comfort in debauchery" Rankin sings with the requisite mix of winking irony and legitimate feeling; taken with the songs lovely synth strings and gently rambling nature, it comes off like future nostalgia for a time that's currently being experienced. Youth may be wasted on the young, but Alvvays make young sadness sound pure and sweet on their debut.

 

La Roux - Trouble In Paradise (LP, CD)

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May Day 2014: Songs That Celebrate and Defend The Rights of Workers Everywhere

Posted by Billyjam, May 1, 2014 09:40am | Post a Comment
        Common a month ago doing a free show in support of workers at the Nissan car
        plant in Canton, Miss. who are pushing for a vote to organize as part of the UAW


In light of the ever increasing war being waged against unions and in turn the stripping of the basic rights of the working class in this country and elsewhere, this year's May Day (the internationally recognized day to celebrate and to defend the rights of workers everywhere from Modesto to Moscow) seems extra significant on this May 1st, 2014; perhaps even as significant as that very first mass US May Day protest back in 1886 when hundreds of thousands of disgruntled workers across the US, in a fight for an 8 hour work day, walked off their jobs in protest. Hence for this May Day I have assembled a selection of songs/videos that reflect the plight of struggling workers in a time when the gap between the rich controlling class and the rest of us gets wider and wider. 

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Pick Up Tickets to The 27th Annual UCLA JazzReggae Festival

Posted by Billy Gil, May 8, 2013 05:04pm | Post a Comment

jazzreggae festivalOn May 26 and 27 (Sunday and Monday of Memorial Day weekend), UCLA hosts the JazzReggae Festival, featuring a diverse array of artists covering the pop, hip-hop, reggae and jazz arenas. Amoeba Music has tickets for sale to the event. Pick them up at the Info Counter before they’re all gone!

jazzreggae festivalTaking place at UCLA’s Intramural Field, JazzReggae Festival is the largest, entirely student-produced-and-run event of its kind on the West Coast. The festival is divided into two days: the Jam Day May 26 and the Reggae Day May 27. Performers on the Jam Day will include indie dancehall-pop star Santigold, rap hero Common, underground hip-hop crew The Grouch & Eligh, R&B singer Jhene Aiko, and G.O.O.D. music affiliate and artist/producer Ryan McDermott. Reggae Day features reggae star Ziggy Marley, reggae and dancehall artists Barrington Levy and Mr. Vegas, and "Queen of Reggae" Marcia Griffiths. In addition, art exhibits and craft projects by local artists and collectives will be featured at the festival.

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Hip-Hop Rap-Up, Week Ending 02.11.12: Common, Union, Talib Kweli, Planet Asia, Moe Green, Pharoahe Monch + more

Posted by Billyjam, February 11, 2012 06:06pm | Post a Comment
  Amoeba Music Hollywood Hip-Hop Top Five Week Ending 02:11:12


1) Common The Dreamer, The Believer (Warner)

2) Young Jeezy TM-103 (Def Jam)

3) The Roots Undun (MCA)

4) Gangrene Vodka & Ayahuasca (Decon)

5) Union Analogtronics(Fat Beats)

Special thanks to Ray Ricky Rivera at the Amoeba Music Hollywood store for this week's Amoeba Hip Hop Chart which includes the latest from Common (The Dreamer, The Believer), The Roots (Undun), Gangrene (Oh No & The Alchemist) Vodka & Ayahuasca (Decon), and Young Jeezy (TM-103 on Def Jam).  Meantime the newcomer (released this week) to the chart is the number 5 chart entry from Union, aka Union Analogtronics, which is the Paris, France based hip hop group comprised of the production duo OJ & Gold whose instrumentation of choice is classic synths and various vintage keyboards. Hence the album title Analogtronics which means the analog at the service of the electronic. This album works on two levels: the chilled out groove of the instrumentals by these talented French producers and also on the vocal tracks for which he very tastefully selected their invited guests.  Case in point is the lead Talib Kweli and Sly Johnson track "Time Leak" (video immediately below) in which Kweli shares some of his best rhymes. Another excellent guest vocal track is (MF) DOOM track "Co Co Mango" in which the masked emcee delivers, in his trademark flow, such top notch rhymes. The list of other emcees on this album, which might lead some to file under Various Artists/Compilations category, include Moka Only, Elzhi, Roc Marciano, and Guilty Simpson. A really good album, available from Amoeba in both CD and LP formats, as you will figure out if you check out that video below.

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Numerous J Dilla Tributes & Benefits Happening This Month on Six Year Anniversary of Revered Artist's Death

Posted by Billyjam, February 5, 2012 02:13pm | Post a Comment
Super Bowl isn't the only event happening today. On a more bittersweet note around the same time as the Giants/Patriots game over in the UK is a big J Dilla fundraising tribute party - just one of numerous events scheduled this month, on both sides of the Atlantic, that will honor the greatly revered late hip-hop producer and emcee who died six years ago around this time (Feb 10th, 2006) following a battle with lupus. Fittingly money raised at the British Dilla event today, which is titled J Dilla Changed My Life and will be held at Scala in London, will be donated to both Lupus UK and the J Dilla Foundation with all the DJs performing for free to benefit both causes. Also in the house today will be Ma Dukes - the mother of the late great artist born  James Dewitt Yancey and was also known as Jay Dee (not to be confused with an early 90's European house music act of same name). For more exact details on today's London event, that will be hosted by Phat Kat, visit the official Facebook event page.

Other J Dilla tribute events this month include ones in Detroit, LA, Baltimore, San Francisco, and New York where on Feb 19th at the Brooklyn Bowl the sixth annual Donuts Are Forever celebration will start at 8pm and will feature such talents as DJ Neil Armstrong, Prince Paul, and the hip-hop group Tanya Morgan. Of this NYC accidentally annual event Derreck "Dee Phunk" Johnson,  a partner in Rare Form - the event's organizer, said, "We never went into this planning for it to be an annual series. The original Donuts Are Forever in 2007 was a commemoration of the first anniversary of his passing.  But when we witnessed the turnout, we were dumbfounded.  We were fans and we knew there were a ton of other fans out there...but just seeing the physical manifestation of that love blew us away.  And five years later...here we are on number six." Details.

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