Interview with Bay Area Hip-Hop Artist Turned Novelist Bret Alexander Sweet on "Among The Veils"

Posted by Billyjam, October 12, 2015 01:30pm | Post a Comment
Bret Alexander Sweet is the Bay Area hip-hop artist turned author who expertly channeled his writing skills as an emcee (Karma with Kemetic Suns, and Fundamentals) into being an accomplished author. This year Alexander Sweet, who works in mentoring inner city youth in entrepreneurship and is the son of prominent Bay Area civil rights attorney and social entrepreneur Clifford Charles Sweet, published his impressive first novel Among The Veils.  With a distinct musical backdrop to its storyline (references songs and musicians throughout) the work of fiction is clearly fueled by Alexander's love and broad knowledge of music. The book is the Oakland, CA resident's first in an ambitious five-part series of publications. Already half completed the author, who graduated from Berkeley High School in 1995, has scheduled the sequel to Among The Veils - to be entitled Sanctuary In The Veils - for a late 2016 planned publication date. 

As a hip-hop artist in the nineties Sweet was a founding member of Kemetic Suns, a member of Fundamentals, as well as founder of the underrated indie label House Kemetic Suns whose releases included the cassette The PatterFall Wars (scroll down to hear). As mentor/teacher Alexander was awarded Certified Teacher of the Year by the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship in 2004 which led to him a few years later founding the Dualism Group whose mission statement he outlined as an, "early stage venture capitalism firm and consulting arm geared toward helping underserved entrepreneurs launch and expand their companies in order to bring jobs to lower income communities."   Recently I caught up with Bret Alexander Sweet to find out more about his book and its inspiration.

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New "What's In My Bag?" Episode With ODESZA

Posted by Amoebite, June 10, 2015 11:04am | Post a Comment


Harrison Mills and Clayton Knight are the duo behind indie electronica project ODESZA. Founded in 2012 prior to graduating Western Washington University, the pair released their debut LP, Summer's Gone, only a short time later to great acclaim. In 2013, ODESZA released their My Friends Never Die EP and opened for Pretty Lights on his Analog Future Tour. A year later, Mills and Knight were back in the studio finishing up their sophomore LP, In Return (Counter Records), before heading out on a U.S. tour that would culminate in a live performance at Coachella. That summer they toured Australia, and returned to the U.S. for a string of dates prior to their second album's release in September 2014. This summer, ODEZSA is set to tour North America and Europe.

ODESZA recently stopped by Amoeba Hollywood to shop around and hang out with our What's In My Bag? crew. Harrison gets things started with a copy of Ain't It Funky by legendary soul man James Brown on vinyl. We at Amoeba are happy to have supplied Harrison with his very first James Brown LP! For Clayton's first pick, he opts for a copy of Dragging A Dead Deer Up A Hill by psychedelic folk musician Grouper. If you're ever in the mood for some ambient-dream pop jams to remind you of Portland, this is the album for you! Harrison also picks up a sweet re-issue of renowned Brazilian singer-songwriter Marcos Valle's self-titled release. If you dig Brazilian artists like Sergio Mendes and Os Mutantes, Marcos Valle needs to be in your record collection. Clayton manages to dig up a vinyl copy of Sam Cooke's Ain't That Good News, which contains his favorite song to listen to, "A Change Is Gonna Come." The guys of ODESZA dig for an array of great music, including electronica classics Daft Punk and French band AIR.

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New "What's In My Bag?" Episode With Mike Scott of The Waterboys

Posted by Amoebite, April 21, 2015 06:17pm | Post a Comment

Mike Scott

The Waterboys is the brainchild of Scottish-born singer-songwriter Mike Scott. The project blew up in the '80s with its Celtic-inspired rock and roll, including the hit song "The Whole of the Moon" from their 1985 album This Is the Sea. Ten years into the band's career, Mike Scott, the driving force behind The Waterboys,  went "solo" and the band were on hiatus for most of the '90s. The Waterboys came back in 2000 and have been releasing albums and touring the world since. 2015 has been very busy for The Waterboys, including two new releases, tour dates and their North American national television debut on the Late Show With David Letterman. The band's new album, Modern Blues  (Harlequin & Clown) hit shelves April 7th and was closely followed by Puck's Blues, (Harlequin & Clown) a special 10" vinyl for Record Store Day.

Be sure to catch The Waterboys when they're in Los Angeles next month to play the Fonda Theatre May 13th. You can purchase tickets in-store at Amoeba Hollywood with super low fees or you can get them online here.

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Top 20 Songs About Heroin

Posted by Billyjam, November 25, 2014 03:00pm | Post a Comment

Upon hearing the incredible, engaging new single "Bag A Gear" from the Dublin, Ireland-based rapper Tommy KD (formerly known as Man & The Machine) on the topic of his former heroin habit that he is grateful to have finally kicked, I was reminded of the numerous songs tackling the topic of the highly addictive opiate.

I have put together a Top 20 Songs About Heroin list - some seemingly pro but most definitively con. These songs (with accompanying videos) are culled from different genres and different eras but all share views on the same topic - one that has destroyed way too many great musicians' careers and lives over the decades. Just as there are countless terms and nicknames for heroin (horse, smack, H, skag, junk, dirt, brown sugar, golden girl, hell dust, white nurse, thunder, etc. etc.) there are also seemingly endless songs about the drug. This subjective top twenty list could easily be extended into a Top 100 or Top 200 list, so feel free to post any songs on the subject of heroin that you think should have been included. Since I tried to keep it down to 20, I had to cut out duplicates by artists included and did not include such greats as "Ain't it Fun" by both The Dead Boys and Guns N' Roses.

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'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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