A San Fernando Valley Playlist

Posted by Eric Brightwell, March 23, 2015 03:33pm | Post a Comment
So the bad news is that I missed out on CicLAvia — The Valley. Cream Soda (my bicycle) was in the shop (nothing serious) and I was dog-sitting on the Eastside. I thought about bringing and walking the dog there but they’re not allowed on Metro buses or trains and there were further complications too that I won’t get into... so I ended up having breakfast at Din Tai Fung and exploring the trails of Ascot Hills Park

Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's water color map of the San Fernando Valley
Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's water color and oil paint map of the Valley

I am glad that so many people went and enjoyed it (hopefully getting some use out of my guide to the event) and that so many people seem to have discovered that the Valley, like everywhere else, is much more enjoyable when not seen from behind the wheel of a car. I also decided to capitalize on Valley Fever by making a Valley playlist. 

Postcard of the Valley in the 1970s
Postcard of the San Fernando Valley in the 1970s

The songs on this playlist cover the 1940s to the 1980s, which are good bookends for the Valley's period when it was a largely Anglo collection of suburbs and Cold War industry. The Valley today is much more urban and much more (predominantly even) Latino. It's also diverse, with large populations of residents with ancestral origins in Armenia, China, El Salvador, England, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Korea, Mexico, Palestine, Persia, the Philippines, Russia, Taiwan, Thailand, and elsewhere. I welcome any suggestions but it would be especially great to have some that reflect the Valley identity of the last 25 years. Let me have them in the comments!

'Turn Up the Radio' Features L.A. Rock on Film at The Egyptian

Posted by Billy Gil, August 8, 2014 03:30pm | Post a Comment
james brown the t.a.m.i. show
James Brown performs in The T.A.M.I. Show


Amoeba is sponsoring The American Cinematheque’s film series Turn Up the Radio, which covers the intersection of music and media, rock and pop in Los Angeles during the birth of rock ‘n’ roll, from 1956 to 1972. The shows run Aug. 13-17, and you can get tickets here. General admission tickets are $11.

The films in the series cast a light on L.A. as a cultural zeitgeist during a time of great upheaval in pop culture, in concordance with one of the programmers Harvey Kubernik’s new book, Turn Up the Radio!, covering such iconic artists as The Doors, The Seeds and Frank Zappa. Kubernik will be signing his book in the lobby of the Egyptian at 6:30 p.m. Thursday and Saturday. The series is co-sponsored by Santa Monica Press.

the doorsWednesday Aug. 13 sees The Doors: Live at the Bowl ’68, covering the band’s triumphant Hollywood Bowl show on July 5, 1968, just as their classic album Waiting for the Sun was released, playing such classics as “Light My Fire,” “Hello, I Love You” and “The End.” The film is directed by Doors organist Ray Manzarek and has been restored and remixed by the band’s longtime engineer, Bruce Botnick. The show starts at 7:30 with a slide show by rock photographer Henry Diltz, followed by the film at 8. Watch a remastered clip of the band performing "Light My Fire" at the Bowl in '68 here.

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Record Store Day Countdown: 45s

Posted by Amoebite, April 18, 2013 06:59pm | Post a Comment

Record Store Day is almost here! Check out these mouth-watering limited, exclusive 45s... remastered Zappa single available on vinyl for the first time in 40 years; Pink Floyd on pink wax; an amazing David Bowie "Drive-In Saturday" picture disc; and the Rolling Stones 5x5 EP, re-pressed for the first time since 1964! You're gonna have to line up early for these. See you on Saturday for RSD13!

Download our menu (.pdf) of exclusive Record Store Day titles available on April 20, 2013.

See our list of events and happenings at all three stores on RSD.

Record Store Day 45s


Celebrate Record Store Day at Amoeba

On Invention: Frank Zappa vs. Baby Boomer Favorites

Posted by Charles Reece, November 13, 2011 10:16am | Post a Comment
frank zappa mojo classic cover

Mojo's collector's edition dedicated to Frank Zappa is a year old, but I chanced across it the other day at my local newsstand. Having found myself in more than one geeky debate over whether Zappa has tended to receive short shrift in evaluations of pop innovation and importance relative to The Beatles (e.g.: "In June 1968, Newsweek declared him second only to John Lennon as pop's 'leading creative talent.'" -- p. 27) or The Beach Boys (Leonard Bernstein called Brian Wilson one of the 20th century's greatest composers) or even The Grateful Dead (recall the days of coverage of Jerry Garcia's death versus the brief blurb accorded to Zappa's), this bit from British writer Miles' remembrance ("Inside Dr. Zircon's Secret Lab") proved satisfying:  

At the London press launch of Absolutely Free Frank told me he wanted to meet The Beatles to get their permission to parody the Sgt. Pepper ... sleeve on his next album, We're Only In It For The Money. I had been seeing a lot of Paul McCartney who was involved with IT [International Times, a British underground magazine that Miles co-founded] and my bookshop, Indica, so I went to a back room and called him. Paul liked Freak Out! very much, and in fact, just before The Beatles began recording Sgt. Pepper ... he told me, "we're going to do our own Freak Out!, but not like Zappa's of course." -- p. 40-1

Regarding Absolutely Free's sound collages, critic Mark Paytress ("Hungry Freaks") has it right:

Light years ahead of The Beatles' Revolver and The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds, only the inscrutable complexity and rich textures of The Beach Boys' autumn hit, Good Vibrations, could compare. But, born of Zappa's gnarly nature and recorded in the immediate aftermath of the teenage riots on Sunset Strip, Absolutely Free was the antithesis of Brian Wilson's sun-kissed bliss. -- p. 25-6

But, just to keep it all in perspective, former Mother keyboardist Don Preston sums up Zappa's musical legacy:

Frank's a strange phenomenon. Some people regard him as one of the new, innovative classical composers, but I think his work suffers in comparison to, say, Xenakis or Takemitsu. -- p. 29

And while the British Invasion was listening to American Blues, here's a shot of Zappa's high school-era band:

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The Art of the LP Cover- Kitchens Covered

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, August 21, 2011 11:35pm | Post a Comment

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