Amoeblog

Pick up the 2014 Grammy Winners on CD and LP

Posted by Billy Gil, January 28, 2014 11:41am | Post a Comment

The 2014 Grammy Awards took place over the weekend, with big winners including Daft Punk and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. We were excited to see Grammy love given to Amoeba friends like La Santa Cecilia and The Civil Wars, while best alternative album went to Pitchfork and Rolling Stone's favorite album of 2013, Vampire Weekend's Modern Vampires Of The City. A lot of people were talking about Imagine Dragons' performance with Kendrick Lamar, while our favorite has to be Beyonce's opening performance of "Drunk in Love" with her husband, Jay Z.

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Keeping Up Appearances: Lady Gaga Expresses Herself and the 53rd Grammy Awards

Posted by Charles Reece, February 13, 2011 11:33pm | Post a Comment

From the Lacanian perspective, what then is appearance at its most radical? Imagine a man having an affair about which his wife doesn't know, so when he is meeting his lover, he pretends to be on a business trip or something similar; after some time, he gathers the courage and tells the wife the truth that, when he is away, he is staying with his lover. However, at this point, when the front of happy marriage falls apart, the mistress breaks down and, out of sympathy with the abandoned wife, avoids meeting her lover. What should the husband do in order not to give his wife the wrong signal? How not to let her think that the fact that he is no longer so often on business trips means that he is returning to her? He has to fake the affair and leave home for a couple of days, generating the wrong impression that the affair is continuing, while, in reality, he is just staying with some friend. This is appearance at its purest: it occurs not when we put up a deceiving screen to conceal the transgression, but when we fake that there is a transgression to be concealed. In this precise sense, fantasy itself is for Lacan a semblance: it is not primarily the mask which conceals the Real beneath, but, rather, the fantasy of what is hidden behind the mask. So, for instance, the fundamental male fantasy of the woman is not her seductive appearance, but the idea that this dazzling appearance conceals some imponderable mystery.
-- Slavoj Žižek [emphasis mine here, but his below]

The internet is already aflutter with Lady Gaga's obvious appropriation of Madonna's "Express Yourself" for her new single, "Born This Way," which she performed tonight on the Grammys (in a style more or less like what you can see in the above video). In an interview with 60 Minutes before the show, she referred to herself as a sociologist of fame, "academic" in her research. This research doesn't seem to have taken her much further than Madonna, but her rediscovery of the latter's wheel of fortune contains a good deal of truth to it. After all, Madonna was a master at tweaking the mainstream, having it think that its boundaries were being transgressed while the status quo remained. Turning her concerts into self help seminars, Lady Gaga passes on the secrets of her success to her fans between songs: you can be anything you pretend to be as long as you wear a believable costume. Honesty here is a matter of being true to the mask one wears. There's no pretense that anything's underneath. When photographers want to shoot who she "really is," she replies that her appearance is who she really is. Her costumes mask the fact that there is nothing being hidden. So she's a good Lacanian:

In order to exemplify the structure of such redoubled deception, Lacan evoked the anecdote about the competition between Zeuxis and Parrhasios, two painters from the ancient Greece, about who will paint a more convincing illusion. First, Zeuxis produced such a realistic picture of grapes that birds were lured into picking at it to eat the grape. Next, Parrhasios won by painting on the wall of his room a curtain, so that Zeuxis, when Parrhasios showed him his painting, asked him: "OK, now please pull aside the veil and show me what you painted!" In Zeuxis's painting, the illusion was so convincing that image was taken for the real thing; in Parrhasios' painting, the illusion resided in the very notion that what we see in front of us is just a veil covering up the hidden truth. This is also how, for Lacan, feminine masquerade works: she wears a mask to make us react like Zeuxis in front of Parrhasios' painting - OK, put down the mask and show us what you really are!

Too bad she's not a better musician.

cee lo gwyneth paltrow muppets grammys

It's a bit like making notes from the underground when commenting on the Grammys, but I can't help thinking masks are about all that's left of popular music. I saw Usher's little white hope imitating Michael Jackson, a black Elton John singing with an emaciated Miss Piggy, and Muse ripping off Marilyn Manson. Then there were the tributes, which, to be kind, only served to remind me of the absence of those being celebrated: Norah Jones, John Mayer and Keith Urban trying to do Dolly Parton; Christina Aguilera, Whitney Houston and some gals I didn't recognize trying to do Aretha Franklin; Mick Jagger trying to do Solomon Burke; and Bob Dylan trying to do Bob Dylan. And "country" has come to simply mean fatter than pop stars (Lady Antebellum), while "indy rock," uglier (Arcade Fire). As popular music has increasingly crossed class, genre, race, age and region -- has become music for anyone (at least, according to the Grammys) -- it's done so by being homogeneous sludge. It's easier to hear actual distinctions in electronic dance music. I'm not disagreeing with Lacan, just saying no one's good at painting believable curtains these days.

GRAMMY NOMINATED BAY AREA ARTIST JOHN SANTOS INTERVIEW

Posted by Billyjam, January 30, 2010 07:39pm | Post a Comment

Among the many artists up for a Grammy this year is longtime Bay Area Latin jazz musician John Santos, whose 2009 anti-war themed album La Guerra No (Machete Records) is nominated under the the Best Traditional World Music category. This is actually not the first time in his career that the Afro-Latin percussionist has been nominated for such an award, but if he wins, it will be the first time he will have won.

Santos is also an in demand music lecturer on the college circuit, and like the seasoned musician and music industry veteran he is, he takes it all in stride, with a sense of realism and a wait-and-see attitude. Should the Grammy be granted to him this weekend, it will be something he'll share the glory of with the (literally) dozens of other artists from various other countries who collaborated and contributed to this powerful album that took a five year period to record and produce.

Earlier today I caught up the busy artist to ask him about his career to date, what went into the making of La Guerra No, and whether or not he will be heading down to LA for Sunday night's big event, the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards.

Amoeblog: How many times have you been nominated for a Grammy?

John Santos: This is the fifth time.

Amoeblog: And how does it feel to be nominated?

John Santos: It's an honor.

Amoeblog: For those who may not be aware of your prolific body of work, can you briefly run down your rich musical history?

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out this week 1/27 and 2/3....grouper....franz ferdinand...paul mccartney...barbra streisand...

Posted by Brad Schelden, February 5, 2009 01:21pm | Post a Comment
kelly clarkson
This year really flew by. I mean that 2008 really flew by. You might be thinking...it is already 2009, but I am still sort of living in 2008. I am now almost ready for the new year to start. I figure I will be ready by about March. I just moved back to Los Angeles last January and it has already been a year! I was barely done uppacking and settling down when we decided to move again. But I really did sort of fall back in love with Los Angeles this year, so we are still here for a while I think. It was just time to move again. Now that 2009 is officially underway to the rest of the world, the music is starting to come out again. I worry every once in a while about the state of the music industry. But I do get some faith back in it every time I fall in love with a new album. I just get excited thinking about all the new albums that are going to come out this year -- all the bands that might not even be bands yet that will put out fantastic little albums in the next couple of years. The albums are out there. You just have to look for them. The year might be getting off to a slow start but those new albums are coming. Just in case you don't have it already, please go buy the new Antony & the Johnsons. It is called The Crying Light and it is magical! I have also been obsessed with the debut album from Empire of the Sun. They are from Australia and sort of sound like MGMT. It is just an import right now but I am sure it will come out domestic soon.

There is something coming up for everybody, don't you worry. All you Kelly Clarkson fans out there don't have to wait too much longer, I swear. I don't really know how that Doolittle lady from american idol managed to get an album out, but it is true-- Melinda Doolittle has an album out this week. I try to avoid american idol as much as I can. I don't even think it deserves to be capitalized in this blog. But it does have an amazingly powerful hold over the country. They manage to find some of the grouper dragging a dead dear up a hillmost unattractive and worst musicians in the country and some how make people obsessed with them. Seriously, those are some magicians over there producing that show! But that Kelly Clarkson, there is just something about her. Maybe I have given into American Idol just a little bit. I never watched a single episode that she was on but somehow she got some power over me. I told you -- those producers have some crazy magical powers. Somehow those catchy pop songs get a hold of me sometimes. I do love listening to the radio though. Maybe that is my problem. So the new Kelly Clarkson is out March 17th and that is all I am going to say about it. Enough with my super guilty pleasure! But I feel like I have to give in to popular music every once in a while or I will explode or something. Some pop culture is good for you in moderation. To balance that out a bit I have been listening to this Grouper record a bunch lately. It came out last year, but my coworker Chris recommended it to me and I finally bought it and am now a bit obsessed. If you want some weird folky dark lady music than I highly recommend it. The album is called Dragging a Dead Deer Up A Hill. It is worth it alone for the amazing album cover. I seriously can't stop staring at it. I dare you to try and stop staring at it. I still can't figure out if it is a doll or an actuall girl.
fran ferdinand tonight
Last week was the week of Bruce Springsteen and Franz Ferdinand. Two completely different generations but I imagine that I am not the only one that was interested in both albums. I have loved the Franz Ferdinand ever since I first heard "Take Me Out" about 6 years ago. I will admit that I am probably one of their older fans. Seems like their fans just keep getting younger. We went and saw them at Bill Graham Civic for the last album and the crowd was mostly 18 year olds. But they just did an instore at Amoeba last week and the crowd did mostly seem to be more like 13 and 15 year olds. But it made me happy -- not all 13 year olds just listen to the Jonas Brothers and Miley Cyrus. I don't think I will be turning into a musical grandpa quite yet this year. But it might be getting close to that time. I still love Franz and that show was great and super high energy. Bruce was too busy performing at inaguration parties and super bowls to stop by Amoeba, but maybe someday he will stop by for a little instore. Also out last week was a new album from Andrew Bird and Amoeba's Secret by Paul McCartney finally came out on CD.

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