I wrote a guide to sea vegetables over at my blog. As a companion piece here at the Amoeblog, I thought I’d compile a guide to modern day sea shanties by vegetarian (or former vegetarian, in some cases) songwriters or bands with vegetarian members.
When you think about it nearly every pop song is about love in some form or another. Most songs on the topic are either about celebrating being in love or alternately mourning falling out of love and wanting to get back there. Of the literally millions of songs on love I think John Lennon wrote and recorded some of the most touching and poignant ones - two of which I have included here on this Valentine's Day. Above is "Oh My Love" with Lennon on piano and George Harrison joining him on guitar. The song was written by John Lennon with Yoko Ono and first appeared in 1971 on Lennon's album Imagine on which George Harrison contributed to several songs in addition to this one. "Oh My Love" can also be found on Wonsaponatime: Selections from Lennon Anthology
Then below is the simple but powerful Lennon song "Love" (with lyrics in the video) that was first released on the 1970 album John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band. As anyone who has that album knows the piano part at the beginning (and end) is really quiet but builds in volume. So you will notice that the version below is the later remix of the song with the sound levels more equalized on these two parts. The posthumous version of "Love" below appeared a dozen years after the initial release on the 1982 compilation The John Lennon Collection, and later appeared on such other collections as the John Lennon Anthology box set.
The first time I heard thenewno2 was in my car, listening to KCRW. Their song “Make It Home” was on, and I was immediately taken with its unusual, insistent melody. It was enough to get me Shazamming the song immediately and discovering who this band was. This method of discovery is appropriate enough, given the band's fusion of electronic experimentation, programmed sounds and rock hooks. I was surprised to find out the band’s singer is Dhani Harrison, son of my favorite Beatle, George Harrison. But not only does he look like his father, his voice bears a pretty strong resemblance as well. The now Los Angeles-based (formed in London) band, which includes Grammy-winning sound engineer Paul Hicks, as well as Jonathan Sadoff, Jeremy Faccone, Nick Fyffe and Frank Zummo, will perform at Amoeba Hollywood today at 6 p.m. and sign copies sold at the store of their second album (which is out today), thefearofmissionout. Harrison even mentioned the performance on Conan — sweet! I caught up with Harrison a bit before their performance.
PST: What did you try to do differently on this time around compared to the last album?
Harrison: Write better songs. Work with more people. Get more a group vibe going, more of a collective, different heads in the game, more creative, more players on the pitch. Mash it up a bit more. The last one was being like a lonely astronaut. This record kind of like a big gang.
Today is the 69th birthday of English artist, graphic designer and illustrator, Alan Aldridge (click here to visit his site). His distinct airbrush work adorned numerous books and albums in the 1960s and '70s and helped define the aesthetic of the era -- equal parts whimsy and menace.
Aldridge appeals to me, in part, due to the way he draws upon older artists from very different traditions. The grotesque, fantastical characters echo the febrile visions of DutchRenaissance painter Hieronymus Bosch. The invasive, sometimes threatening vegetation reminds me of the vegetable portraits of Italian Mannerist Giuseppe Arcimboldo. The soft, velvety folds and textures of clothing remind me of French Neoclassicist Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres's almost single-minded focus on mastering the technique of depicting textiles.
As a young child, when I was first exposed to Aldridge, I hadn't yet heard of any of those artists. I don't remember ever even asking who Alan Aldridge was, but it was clear even that his particular synthesis of influences and ability to simultaneously captivate and repulse was immediately recognizable as the work of one artist, whatever work it adorned.
Of interest to anyone into rock albums from the seventies and of particular interest to folks in LA into recent era history is the excellent collection of Billboards on Sunset Blvd 1974-5 flickr page by Larry The Frog that features photos of billboards shot in those two years of the mid 1970's along Sunset Blvd. in the vicinity of the Hollywood Amoeba store. The majority of these shots are ones advertising new album releases or concert dates from such acts as Poco, Loggins & Messina, Barbi Benton, Donovan, The Who, War, Joni Mitchell, Billy Preston, Neil Sedaka, Greg Allman, Elton John, Eric Clapton, Mahogeny Rush, Rod Stewart, Joe Cocker, Rolling Stones, George Harrison, The 5th Dimension, Steppenwolf, Rick Derringer, and many more.
These great shots were all photographed by Larry The Frog when he lived a block off the Sunset Strip back in the 70's.and were recently lovingly restored by the photographer utilizing photoshopping from scanned 35mm slides and negatives. There are over a hundred shots in this engaging collection that, like rummaging through the old 70's album dollar bins at Amoeba, will unveil a whole bygone era - only better than merely album cover art since they also capture the time and place so well. View the full collection here.