Amoeblog

Under the Influence: The Dry Spells offer a heady debut

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, December 31, 2009 08:00am | Post a Comment
dry spells too soon for flowers lp on empty nest records san francisco psych folk rock band
Too often it seems those who write about music resort to whittling albums, by means of record reviews, into a pronged rod of divination in an attempt to dowse the well from which the music-makers' inspirations originated. For San Francisco folk-rock locals The Dry Spells, reviews of their debut LP Too Soon For Flowers (Empty Cellar Records) read alike in that the word "witchy" is summarily mentioned in almost every critique and comparisons to Fleetwood Mac, Espers, Citay, Fairport Convention and even Loreena McKennitt drop in abundance like heavy fruit from a burdened bough. It's easy to see the common understanding, as the Dry Spells are comprised of Citay's one-time and sometime players, though they've been at it since before Citay's inception and their esteem for rocking on traditional folk-ballads perceptibly deals in some of the same magic conjured by Espers, sure, not to mention that both bands share a cover of "Black is the Color" between them (Espers play it like a heart-sick maid pining over a years-dead lover, whereas the Dry Spells almost flaunt the tune, fleshing out into a verdant composition worthy of Willow the inkeeper's daughter on Summerisle). They also lend their trademark harmonies to a beguiling cover of "Rhiannon," arguably Fleetwood Mac's most enchanted mom-rock tune (I fancy many a mother-to-be has considered naming a girl-child after such a spirited strain as this), and I have to applaud the effort, as the Dry Spells manage to leave Stevie Nicks' leather and lace leanings intact despite weaving in their own fibrous skeins of alternating folk, rock and light-in-the-dye psyche threads; indeed, the Dry Spells craft complex song compositions not unlike heavy tapestries laden with meaning, tradition and more than a hearts-worth of woeful devotion.
Dry Spells, band, San Francisco, folk, rock, too soon for flowers, Tahlia Harbour, April Hayley, Andria Otte, Diego Gonzales
I could go on along these lines of correlation, offering more aural comparisons to the Dry Spells "witchy" ways (imagine Dolores O'Riordan kidnapped by the Deal Sisters meeting a wayward Meriel Barham altogether singing Steeleye Span and the Trees while on a backwoods journey to liberate the hidden mythology of the lost city of Ys via melody and romantic lyricism), but I'll let it be in favor of the band for who they really are: Thalia Harbour (vocals/guitar/melodica/glockenspiel), April Hayley (vocals/violin/melodica), Adria Otte (guitar/vocals/violin) and Diego Gonzalez (bass/oud/viola). However, I would like to take the focus away from the more obvious sounds-likes to indulge in a little examination of what makes this record great under an entirely different lens. The perspective being that their record is, for me, almost the equivalent of a very good read of high fantasy, or at least as good as any old anthologized, oft-told yarn.olive fairy book, andrew lang, henry ford, h.j. ford, fairy tales, victorian era, book

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STEVIE NICKS SONG GETS NEW LEASE ON LIFE FROM KIDS @ PS22

Posted by Billyjam, May 21, 2009 09:34pm | Post a Comment
fleetwood mac
Above is the wonderful recent version of the timeless Stevie NIcks/Fleetwood Mac song "Landslide" sung by the PS22 Chorus, which is a children's choir of about sixty kids from a New York City public elementary school. Since this video was posted on YouTube yesterday (May 20) by Agreggofsociety, who works with these kids and is seen/heard playing guitar in the piece, it has gotten close to 80,000 hits. And no wonder: it is hard not to be moved by the power of these young souls pouring their hearts into the song. Their hand and facial gestures alone just grab you.

Below is Stevie Nicks with Lindsey Buckingham singing "Landslide" on the Late Show with David Letterman twelve years ago when the song appeared on the live album The Dance. The original version can be found on the band's 1975 album Fleetwood Mac and to this day remains a favorite amongst both Fleetwood Mac and Stevie Nicks fans as well as many other artists who have covered it over the years.


Mick Fleetwood's Autobiography: Fleetwood - My Life and Adventures with Fleetwood Mac

Posted by Miss Ess, May 6, 2009 04:48pm | Post a Comment
Ever since I wrote this post a few months ago, it's been a full on Mac attack in my life -- I have been listening non-stop to Fleetwood Mac's Tusk, everywhere I go, over and over. I picked up Mick Fleetwood's 1991 autobiography as well, Fleetwood - My Life and Adventures with Fleetwood Mac, hoping for some salicious tidbits about the band that is known not only for its instantly addicting, mega-popular music, but also for the many interband rumours...

mick fleetwood autobiography

The book is pretty great. Mick describes his childhood and early life with candor, including his stints in boarding school and his feeling that he was not smart, upheld by his poor academic performances and difficulty memorizing facts...thus, he turned to music, and with perfect timing. Although he certainly slaved away upon moving to London, paying his dues in one dank club after another, he makes the process of gaining early fame and fortune seem somewhat simple -- after all, this was Swinging London! He was in mick fleetwoodthe right place at the exact right time to make a career for himself.

Mick portrays himself as the glue that held the various incarnations of the band together over the years, and it appears to be true -- he and a rather mute John McVie are the only two members that have stuck with the band since its creation in the mid 60s. Mick felt he had no back up career; holding the band together was what he pledged his whole heart to, even at the expense of his first marriage, relationships and children.

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What Your Favorite Fleetwood Mac Member May Say About You...

Posted by Miss Ess, February 5, 2009 02:39pm | Post a Comment
One of the best things about working at Amoeba is that I am surrounded by people who think like me. No, I don't mean we all worship Brian Wilson and Jeff Mangum and listen neverendingly to Roy Harper imports... I just mean that employees here always already relate everything back to music somehow. Our life lessons are only concrete when they are reverberating in song.

fleetwood mac

A friend and I were chatting yesterday with a customer at length about Fleetwood Mac. We talked around and finally settled on the idea that you can really tell a lot about someone by which Fleetwood Mac member is his or her favorite. I should add though that we only took into account the band's current incarnation -- this doesn't apply to the Peter Green-era Mac. Anyway, I've been enjoying thinking about it over the past day, so I thought I wostevie nicksuld share our musings here. Sure, they're reductive, but come play along:

If your favorite Fleetwood Mac member is...

Stevie Nicks: You may have always been a misfit or maybe you just have a flair for the dramatic. You might even have an affinity for crystals and spells. You live life with passion and are an opinionated leader. You are unfailingly guided by your intuition. Just guessing, but I bet somewhere inside you have always been a storm.

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(In which history repeats itself.)

Posted by Job O Brother, November 24, 2008 06:10pm | Post a Comment
Jack Ruby Lee Harvey Oswald

It seems like only a year ago that it was November 24. How time flies. Time flies less often than it did, it seems. Probably due to all the crazy “safety” precautions that airports employ now.

You know, they can make sure I don’t carry-on my switchblade, my flame-thrower, or my collection of vintage anthrax samples onto my flight, but they can’t confiscate my NINJA ABILITIES. Think about that one, my friends. My lightening moves don’t fit in no Ziploc baggie.

It was on this day, in 1963, that Lee Harvey Oswald was gunned down by man-about-town Jack Ruby, which brings to mind a song I quite like by Camper Van Beethoven, which brings to mind an album I rather fancy by Camper Van Beethoven.

The album is called Key Lime Pie and it takes me back to my high school days; though not actually my high school itself, because I never listened to rad tunes on campus. Only the Peanuts-like drone of adults as they lovelessly forced us to recite Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet.
Romeo & Juliet
From the scene in which Juliet drinks Romeo's blood while clutching her highly-prized, ball-point pen

It’s a wonder I love The Bard as much as I do considering that nothing was more painful than listening to a classroom full of barely literate teenagers haltingly fumble their way through iambic pentameter. It didn’t help matters that these same teenagers called me faggot to my face and probably f**ked with my locker. (Joke was on them, I never once figured out where my locker was.)

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